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Thailand VTL: Second PCR in ‘Test & Go’ scheme replaced with self-ART

Test & Go travellers heading to Thailand from next month will no longer need a second PCR test or hotel isolation booking on Day 5, instead simply completing a self-administered ART swab that day.

Update 25 Feb: New details confirm those with a Thailand Pass entering the country from 1st March 2022 onwards will not need to complete the Day 5 PCR test or isolation, regardless of the date their pass was approved.

Great news for those heading to Thailand under the latest Test & Go programme, with officials confirming that the annoying second PCR test on Day 5, which also requires a hotel isolation period, will be removed from the requirements for those applying for a Thailand Pass from 1st March 2022.

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Instead travellers will have to conduct a self-administered ART test and return a negative result on Day 5, with no isolation required.

Thanks as always for Richard Barrow’s tireless updates from Thailand!

Since this will only kick in for applications made from 1st March 2022, it effectively changes for arrivals from 7th March 2022, since you should allow a seven-day lead time for your Thailand Pass to be approved.

Update 25 Feb: Those with a Thailand Pass arriving in the country on 1st March 2022 onwards will not need to conduct the Day 5 PCR test or self-isolate, regardless of their application date. Once the full policy is published in the Royal Gazette, you should contact your Day 5 hotel to apply for a refund. Via Richard Barrow.

Applicants from 1st March 2022 will only have to book one night at an SHA Extra+ hotel while awaiting the on-arrival PCR test results.

Here’s a summary highlighting the differences now announced.

🇹🇭 Thailand
Test & Go Changes

  Test & Go
Application Date
1 Feb 22

28 Feb 22
1 Mar 22
onwards

Pre-departure test
(within 72h)
PCR
(self paid)
On-arrival test
(Day 1)
PCR
(self paid)
Arrival isolation   In hotel room
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

Freedom
(3 days)
Day 5 test
PCR
(self paid)
ART
(free)
Day 5 test isolation   In hotel room None
(Freedom)
Day 6+ Freedom

The second test isolation period currently required on Day 5 (for arrivals till 28th February) is really quite bizarre, and is a deal-breaker for many travellers. Even Thais or expatriates needed to book a second hotel night to complete the process, despite having their own accommodation to isolate in!

This improvement to an ART test on Day 5 will no doubt lead many would-be travellers to now consider a longer Thailand trip.

It effectively brings the Test & Go process back to its original form.

The Self-ART kit for use on Day 5 will be provided free of charge to travellers by their Day 1 hotel.

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The minimum travel insurance requirement for entering Thailand as a non-Thai citizen will also be cut from US$50,000 to US$20,000 for Thailand Pass applications made from 1st March 2022.

As always in Thailand any changes to these processes and procedures are not to be considered final until they are published in the Royal Gazette, which will take a few more days. These details are therefore based on the press conference and the best information we have since received.

How to apply (Thailand Pass)

To use the Test & Go scheme, you’ll first have to apply for a Thailand Pass.

This new more relaxed testing regime will only come into force for applications made from 1st March 2022 onwards, so don’t apply just yet unless your trip is imminent, in which case it looks like you’re on the hook for the Day 5 test and isolation as well.

Update 25 Feb: If you are arriving on 1st March 2022 on later, you can apply for your Thailand Pass at any time but you will need a Day 5 hotel and PCR test booking. You can apply for these to be refunded later, since you won’t have to use them. If you can apply on 1st March 2022 onwards (i.e. for arrivals 7th March onwards), you will not need to book a Day 5 hotel stay or second test, which is even simpler.

The Test & Go application link (but wait till 1st March if you can!)

Applications for the Thailand Pass are free of charge. You can apply up to 60 days in advance of your trip.

   Apply for the Thailand Pass

The process is a little quirky, forcing you to upload everything as a JPG image file, while almost every document you need to show is probably a PDF, but you’ll get there in the end!

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A 3-7 working days timescale is quoted for receiving a Thailand Pass approval. My personal experience was being approved in 17 hours, though some report waits of ~4 days, while others are approved even faster.

Once your Thailand Pass is approved, you’ll receive a QR code.

What if you already have a Test & Go approval?

Update 25 Feb: If you have already applied for or obtained your Thailand Pass QR code for a trip arriving on 1st March 2022 or later, you will not have to undergo the Day 5 PCR test nor is an SHA Extra+ hotel booking required on Day 5. Once the full policy is published in the Royal Gazette, you should contact your Day 5 hotel to apply for a refund.

If you have already applied for or obtained your Thailand Pass QR code for a trip in March 2022, it appears as though you will still be required to undergo the second (Day 5) PCR test, since this new scheme only covers those applying from 1st March 2022 onwards.

We’ll update this section once we know whether you’ll need to make a fresh application on 1st March (for arrival on 7th March or later) or whether some kind of refund system may be put in place.

New process (Singapore – Thailand)

Here’s how the new process for quarantine-free travel from Singapore to Thailand will look for those arriving from 1st March 2022.

Eligibility

  • Thai citizens and foreign travellers arriving from all countries.
  • Fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine at least 14 days before departure, if aged 18 or over.
  • Children aged under 18 can travel with fully vaccinated parents even if they are not fully vaccinated.
  • Children aged 12-17 travelling to Thailand unaccompanied (without parents) must have received at least 1 dose of an approved vaccine.

Pre-departure

  • Apply for a Thailand Pass, allowing at least seven days notice prior to your trip to allow for processing (new rules apply for arrivals from 1st March 2022).
  • Take a pre-departure PCR test within 72 hours of your flight departure time (find the cheapest in Singapore here).
  • No pre-departure PCR test is required for those aged 5 or below.
  • Have an insurance policy with a coverage of no less than US$20,000 (not required for Thai citizens).
  • Book and have proof of prepayment for one night of accommodation at government-approved hotels in the SHA Extra Plus (SHA++), AQ, OQ, or AHQ categories on Day 1, and the PCR test on Day 1.
  • Your prepayment for Day 1 must include accommodation, testing and a prearranged transfer from the airport to the hotel.
  • If you are arriving in Phuket, your Day 1 test will be at the airport. You can book your Phuket Day 1 test here.

Arrival (Day 1)

  • Proceed to Immigration and Health Control for a body temperature check and document check.
  • Download and install the MorChana app (Google / Apple), for use in accordance with Thailand’s COVID-19 precautionary measures during your trip.
  • Collect your luggage then proceed to your booked accommodation or medical facility to undergo your Day 1 PCR test. The trip must be by a prearranged vehicle on a sealed route. Children aged 5 or under will have a non-invasive saliva PCR test.
  • If you are arriving in Phuket, your Day 1 test will be at the airport, before taking your SHA+ approved transport to your SHA Extra+ hotel.
  • Wait for your test result within your booked hotel room.
  • Once a negative result is received, you are free to travel anywhere in Thailand.

Second Test (Day 5)

  • Conduct a self-administered ART test.
  • ART kit will be provided by your Day 1 hotel free of charge.
  • No isolation period or specific SHA Extra+ hotel room booking is required.
  • Report your result on the MorChana app.


 


 

Total testing costs

Here are the estimated testing costs per fully vaccinated traveller for a Singapore – Thailand – Singapore trip, under the latest Test & Go regime effective from March 2022.

Singapore Thailand
Test & Go / VTL
COVID-19 Testing 

Test Cost
SG pre-departure (PCR) From S$96
TH Day 1 (PCR) ~S$80
TH Day 5 (self ART) Free
TH pre-departure (clinic ART) ~S$20
SG on-arrival (supervised ART) S$15
Total ~S$211

Thanks to a recently relaxed VTL testing process in Singapore, additional costs for a Thailand trip have already fallen, and this removal of the Day 5 PCR test should mean a total testing bill of around S$210 per traveller for a total of five tests (one of which is free).

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Remember if you have recently recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days with documentary proof, you are now exempt from all pre-departure testing, on-arrival testing and isolation requirements when travelling from Thailand to Singapore, saving the final two paid tests (~S$35) shown above.

Thailand – Singapore VTL flights

Singapore recently began allowing airlines to operate Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) flights from airports in Thailand other than Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang.

That has opened up far more flexible options for two-way quarantine-free trips, especially now that Thailand is relaxing its testing regime for Test & Go travellers from March.

Here’s the full list of designated VTL flights by all airlines on Thailand – Singapore routes (click to expand):

27th March 2022 - 31st March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= TG403
A350 Long Haul
BKK
08:00
SIN

11:15
 bgcolor= 3K512
A320
BKK
09:25
SIN

12:50
 bgcolor= SQ705
A350 Regional
BKK
09:50
SIN

13:15
 bgcolor= TR625
787-8
BKK
10:50
SIN

14:15
 bgcolor= SQ707
A350 Long Haul
BKK
12:15
SIN

15:45
 bgcolor= 3K516
A320
BKK
12:50
SIN

16:15
 bgcolor= TR753
787-8
BKK
14:35
SIN

17:50
 bgcolor= SQ709
A350 Long Haul
BKK
15:40
SIN

19:15
 bgcolor= TR611
A321neo
BKK
17:35
SIN

21:00
 bgcolor= 3K514
A320
BKK
21:20
SIN

00:45*

* Next day

Important

From 1st April 2022, there will be no more designated VTL flights to Singapore.
All fully vaccinated travellers can enter quarantine-free on any flight operated by any airline on any route.

27th March 2022 - 31st March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
FD357
A320
DMK
10:40
SIN

14:05

Important

From 1st April 2022, there will be no more designated VTL flights to Singapore.
All fully vaccinated travellers can enter quarantine-free on any flight operated by any airline on any route.

27th March 2022 - 31st March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= TR675
A320neo
CNX
15:50
SIN

19:55
 bgcolor= TR675
A320neo
CNX
18:00
SIN

22:05

Important

From 1st April 2022, there will be no more designated VTL flights to Singapore.
All fully vaccinated travellers can enter quarantine-free on any flight operated by any airline on any route.