Entering Thailand in the pre-COVID-19 days was a breeze for most nationalities, but things are different today. If you want to enter the Land of Smiles now, you will need to to comply with all of the following. We will keep this post updated with each new rule announcement.
To enter Thailand on any type of visa in the coronavirus era, you must carry travel medical insurance with a minimum coverage of $100,000 USD. Other mandatory requirements for COVID-19 include coronavirus testing, a mandatory 14-day quarantine in an approved hotel, detailed itineraries including hotel bookings, the use of a tracking app, obtaining a “fit-to-fly certificate”, and completion of the T.8 health form.
Mandatory coronavirus insurance for Thailand travel
Whether you’re coming in on a visa exemption, a tourist visa, a type of business visa, retirement visa, or any other category, you must show proof that you carry travel health insurance with minimum coverage of $100,000 USD and no exclusion for the Coronavirus.
Most travel insurance and travel medical insurance plans have exclusions for pandemics, which means they won’t cover you for anything caused by COVID-19.
To find Thailand travel medical insurance policies that cover COVID-19 , use SquareMouth to compare different plans. Input your details then use filters on the results page to find a policy. On the left-hand side, tick the box for Coronavirus Coverage to see relevant policies. You should also tick the Emergency Medical box and set the minimum cover to at least $100,000 USD.
For more information, see our complete guide to Thailand travel insurance.
Who can enter Thailand now?
Right now, there are no commercial flights coming to Thailand. To get back in, you need to come on an approved charter flight, or get a seat on a repatriation flight. Contact your local Thai Embassy to find out your options.
At the moment, entry is restricted to the following categories, and all must undergo the mandatory quarantine.
- Thai nationals returning home
- Foreigners with work permits or with an invitation to work in Thailand from a government agency. This is currently on a case by case basis. You need to contact the Thai embassy in your country to see what their requirements are.
- Foreigners with Thai spouses or children. This is also on a case by case basis. Again, contact the Thai embassy in your country to see what their requirements are.
- Holders of the Thailand Elite Visa are being allowed in, subject to all the standard requirements in this guide. New applicants can also take advantage of this, but the application process takes at least three months before approval. You can read more about this in our guide to the Thailand Elite Visa.
- A new initiative was just announced (mid-September) to begin allowing tourists in under a newly announced Special Tourist Visa (STV) This will initially be very restrictive, and prohibitively expensive for most, but it’s likely something of a trial run.
- Those who hold retirement visas, or who own or rent condos or property in Thailand are still not being allowed in. Hopefully, this will change soon, though it’s also likely that these people will get back in sooner by applying for the Special Tourist Visa.
Thailand Special Tourist Visa for long stays during the Covid-19 pandemic
On September 16 the Cabinet approved a new long stay visa to begin reopening the country for limited tourism during the coronavirus pandemic. It is expected to become law in the coming days upon publication in the Royal Gazette, and the first arrivals under this visa will likely be in early October.
October 8 2020 Update: Just two days before the first visitors were set to arrive under this visa, the government announced it would be postponed. This is incredibly frustrating and just deteriorates any trust people might have in the Thai government. For now, they are saying it is just a delay of a few weeks and will be implemented by the end of October, but that must be small comfort for the people who had already paid for their charter flight, insurance, and quarantine hotel.
As commercial flights are still banned, tourists entering on this visa will initially need to come via a charter flight, or private jet. Charter flights will be limited to three per week. It is possible that if you can get a seat on a repatriation flight, you can find a reasonably priced option.
Entering on this visa, you will still need to adhere to all the requirements for insurance, testing, and quarantine. The initial announcement also specifies needing a background check from the Royal Thai Police.
The visa will cost 2000 Baht and will grant you 90 days. It can be extended twice for 90 days each time, likely at a cost of 2000 Baht of each extension.
A 270-day visa without leaving the country for 6000 Baht is actually a great deal and much more convenient and cheaper than a standard Multiple Entry Tourist Visa.
It is not yet clear who will be allowed in, but it will probably be restricted to certain countries initially. We will update this section as more information becomes available.
This video from the Tourism Authority of Thailand tries to spell out the process, but it’s pretty hard to follow.
Who needs to quarantine when entering Thailand
Everybody entering Thailand at this time needs to quarantine in a government approved hotel for 14 days. Thai nationals can quarantine for free as part of the State Quarantine program, but non-Thais must pay to stay at an approved Alternate State Quarantine Hotel.
There is some speculation now in early October that the quarantine period could be reduced from 14 to 7 days. That should bring the cost way down and free up more hotel rooms. If this happens we will update the post.
Booking Alternative State Quarantine in Thailand (ASQ)
If you fall into one of the approved categories to enter Thailand and you are a non-Thai national, you will need to book a 14-day stay at an approved Alternative State Quarantine Hotel. The cost of ASQ ranges from 35,000 Baht ($1125 USD) for a 14-day package, up to 150,000+.
Hotels in Bangkok are under the ASQ program, hotels in other locations are categorized as Alternative Local Quarantine.
The easiest way to find an approved hotel is on a Facebook page that was set up to list them. This Facebook post from that page has a list of all the hotels broken down by price.
To book, you need to contact the hotel directly. The cost should include pickup from the airport, your room, and all of your meals. You will have your temperature checked twice daily by the 24-hour on-call nurse, and you will be given a covid test on days five and 13 of your quarantine. These should also be included in the cost, but you should double check that when you book.
Why is this on a Facebook page?
It’s a bit strange that the list is on a Facebook page, but it does seem to be an official resource. The Thai Consulate in Los Angeles links to it from this page on their website. To confirm that a hotel is approved, you can find the official list of approved ASQ hotels on Thailand’s Covid Emergency Operations Website.
The website is in Thai only and is not very user-friendly, but we do recommend that you double-check that the hotel you choose is listed there. The screenshot below shows how to do this. For hotels in Bangkok, click the left image, for hotels elsewhere click on the right.
COVID-19 test to enter Thailand
Currently, you need to show a test result that showed you were free of coronavirus within the 48 hours previous to boarding your flight to Thailand. You may also be required to undergo a second test on arrival.
Thailand Covid-19 Declaration Form
You may be required to fill in a form before you travel. It is not clear at this time who needs this, but you should probably do it to be on the safe side. You can download that form from the Los Angeles Thai Consulate’s website here.
Thailand “Travel Bubble” requirements
Talk of creating “Travel Bubbles” where tourists are allowed in but only allowed to travel in certain areas, (e.g. arrive in Phuket and only allowed to stay on the island) comes and goes. The government announce a plan, then scrap it, then come out with a modified version, then scrap that. Currently there is no talk of doing this, but we’ll update if that changes.
Tracking app for Thailand travel
In the summer, it was announced that to enforce the travel bubble as well as make sure that any mandatory quarantines are not violated, all new arrivals in Thailand must download and use the Thailand coronavirus tracking app.
This seems to have fallen by the wayside, but may be coming back with the newly announced long-stay tourist visa. We’ll update when the actual requirements are released.
T.8 health form
In addition to the standard TM6 arrival and departure card, any foreigners arriving in Thailand must fill out a T.8 health form. The form can be downloaded here, but you may be required to complete it electronically in the AOT (Airports of Thailand) App.
Fit to fly certificate to enter Thailand
To enter Thailand you may be required to show a so called fit to fly certificate. This is basically a doctor’s note showing that you are healthy enough to fly. The fit to fly certification is separate from the Coronavirus test, and basically just has to show that you are not going to drop dead anytime soon.
This is a standard part of the bureaucracy in Thailand where you can go into any clinic, get your pulse taken, and get the piece of paper. This could be much more difficult to obtain in other countries, particularly when the system is already strained by COVID-19.
It would be helpful to others if you could share your experience trying to obtain this certificate in a comment below. Make sure to let us know your nationality.
Proof of itinerary to enter Thailand
To travel to Thailand during these Coronavirus times, you are required to show your itinerary. You should print each of these out, and have them organized in case the immigration officer asks to see them. This should include all hotel bookings and your return flight out of Thailand if you’re a tourist.
If you are coming as a business traveler or medical tourist, you should print out any invitation letters, confirmation of medical appointments, or any other documents you might have.
In Thailand, it’s always better to have too much paperwork than too little.
If we missed anything or if you have questions, comments, or firsthand experience of any of this process, please drop a comment below.