Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), Thailand has taken strict measures that greatly impact the process of entering the country. In this article, you will find general guidelines and procedures for non-Thai nationals wishing to travel to Thailand in October 2020 and after that.
Categories of foreigners that can travel to Thailand
While Thailand still keeps in place travel restrictions, more foreigners are allowed to enter the country in October 2020. Foreigners can apply for the Certificate of Entry (COE) to enter Thailand if they are under the following categories:
- Members of diplomatic missions or international organizations or representatives of foreign governmental agencies and their family
- Non-Thai nationals who are a spouse, parents, or children of a Thai national
- Non-Thai nationals who hold a valid certificate of residence, or permission to take up residence in the Kingdom
- Non-Thai nationals who hold a valid work permit or are allowed to work in Thailand, including their spouse or children
- Non-Thai nationals who are students of educational institutions approved by Thai authorities, including the parents or guardians of the students
- Non-Thai nationals who are in need of medical treatment in Thailand, and their attendants. However, this shall not include medical treatment for COVID–19
- Non-Thai nationals who are permitted to enter Thailand under a special Arrangement (Long Stay Visa Type Non-Immigrant OA/OX, APEC card, Thailand Elite Card) and their spouses and children under 20 years old
Steps for getting Certificate of Entry (COE)
To be allowed to enter Thailand during pandemic, each must have a Certificate of Entry (COE) issued by a Thai embassy or consular office in their country. The procedure for non-Thai nationals wishing to apply for Certificate of Entry in October 2020 is the following:
1. Book Flight Tickets
You can book flight tickets for the direct route from your country to Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) in Thailand or you can book a connecting flight to reach Bangkok.
The list of airlines with flight permits to carry passengers to Thailand
From October, foreigners who wish to travel to Thailand can fly only with the following airlines:
- Thai Airways International
- EVA Air
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
You need to check the flight details from various airlines by yourself and you can buy tickets directly from the airlines' websites or through travel agencies. You just need a booking reference of your flight to submit to the embassy or consulate.
There are also special repatriation flights arranged by Thai government available to fly to Thailand. However, there are not many seats on these flights and in the current situation even Thai nationals have to wait for at least 1-3 months before they can travel. You need to contact Thai embassy or consulate in your country to reconfirm the required procedures for taking such a flight as well as the flight schedule.
2. Prepare Documents
1. Supporting documents for visa application or re-entry permit.
To enter the Kingdom of Thailand, you will need to have a valid visa or re-entry permit according to the purpose of your visit. If your visa already expired, you have to apply for a new one. You need to prepare documents for your desired visa application.
Currently, the holders of the following types of visas are NOT permitted to enter Thailand: Tourists visa holders (TR), Transit passengers (TS), Sports visa holders (S), Monks and other religious visa holders (R) and their spouses or children, Volunteers (O), and non-formal students visa holders (such as language schools, diving schools, boxing schools). The tourist visa and 30-day visa exemption are also still suspended.
APEC card holders and the applicants who wish to obtain Special Tourist Visa (STV) can enter Thailand at the moment but they are still limited to some countries. You need to check regularly with the Royal Thai Embassy in your location for any updates.
2. Declaration form
3. Flight booking reference
4. Booking confirmation of Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) or Alternative Hospital Quarantine (AHQ) if going for medical treatment.
Non-Thai nationals will be subjected to a 14-day state quarantine at a government-designated ASQ or AHQ facility at their own expenses, and obliged to comply with the government’s disease prevention measures. You can't book ASQ hotel via Booking.com or Agoda.com or any other hotel booking website. It is strictly limited to booking directly with ASQ hotel representatives as you need to get the proof of ASQ reservation. Otherwise your application for getting the COE will not be approved.
At the moment, the price of ASQ hotels starts from 28,000 per person for 15 nights and can be 10 times more than that.
Full list of ASQ facilities is available here: Alternative State Quarantine Hotels.
5. Medical Insurance for the whole stay in Thailand
You have to be able to provide a medical insurance which covers a minimum of 100,000 USD (or equivalent in other currencies) of medical costs incurred in Thailand, including medical costs in the event that you contract COVID-19. The insurance must cover the whole duration of your stay in Thailand.
It is strongly recommended to print the insurance certificate and all pages of the terms and conditions on the COVID-19 coverage and medical benefits. We get informed that some people were refused to board the flight because they could not show that their insurance meets this requirement.
3. Contact the Royal Thai Embassy to issue an appropriate visa and Certificate of Entry (COE)
You should not expect the process to be short and shouldn’t leave everything until the last days before planned travel. Thai embassies and consulates ask to submit the above-mentioned documents in advance, at least 5-15 days before your trip. The duration of the process might vary depending on the embassy. You need time to register, fill in the information and get approval to travel to Thailand as the government has a daily limit of the number of passengers entering Thailand.
Documents for Boarding & Arrival
The documents you need to present at airlines check-in counter and upon arrival in Thailand are the following:
1. Valid Thai Visa or Re-Entry Permit
3. Declaration form
4. Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) booking confirmation
5. Medical Insurance (at least 100,000 USD including COVID-19)
6. Fit to Fly Health Certificate - This is a statement by a doctor that you are free from symptoms and fit to fly and issued within 72 hours before departure. This document must be separate from COVID test.
7. COVID-19-Free Health Certificate with RT-PCR laboratory result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected. Such COVID-19 test result must be issued no more than 72 hours before departure.
This is a condition of some airlines, such as Emirates and Etihad. In addition, please check with the airline yourself before purchasing a ticket. Applicants who have a positive RT-PCR test result will not be allowed to travel. COVID-19 Free certificate and Fit to Fly certificate must be in separate papers.
8. T8 Form - Thailand Health Declaration that must be presented to authorities upon arrival in Thailand by all passengers.
During your travel, keep all the related documents in hand or your carry-on luggage and don’t load them in your checked luggage, because you have to show them to the officers on the way to Thailand. The lack of documents may result in being denied to board the plane.
If you require further information, please contact Thai Royal Embassy or consulate in your country for the update on the newest regulations.