Thailand has made a welcome flexibility change to its mandatory Thailand Pass for arriving travellers, with approvals valid to enter the country across a 15-day window starting from 18th April 2022, 7 days either side of your specified arrival date.
It means if you already have a Thailand Pass approved, or you receive approval and you specified an entry date of 18th April 2022 or later, you can now actually arrive within +/- 7 days of your proposed entry date, without having to edit your existing pass in any way or apply for a new one.
The policy applies for those entering via the Test & Go, Sandbox, and Alternative Quarantine programmes, though for the vast majority of our readers based in Singapore taking short trips to Thailand it’s the Test & Go option that’s of most interest.
Thanks as always to Richard Barrow for his Twitter updates on all things Thailand.
The current Test & Go process
Here’s a summary of how the Test & Go process currently looks for those with a Thailand Pass approval.
Test & Go
|In hotel room|
|Day 5 test
|Day 5 test
If you are departing from Thailand on or before Day 5, you are exempt from the Day 5 ART test.
This is the simplest scheme yet for quarantine-free travel to Thailand since the country began to reopen post-pandemic, with further progressive concessions hopefully including a removal of all testing and the Thailand Pass application system by June this year (read on for the latest rumours).
Applying for the Thailand Pass
To use the Test & Go scheme, you’ll first have to apply for a Thailand Pass.
This new +/- 7 days arrival flexibility for approved passes will only come into force for those with a specified entry date from 18th April 2022 onwards.
Applications for the Thailand Pass are free of charge. You can apply up to 60 days in advance of your trip.
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!
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 readers report waits of ~4 days, while others are approved even faster.
Once your Thailand Pass is approved, you’ll receive a QR code.
What the change means
The beauty of the new system is that if your entry date into Thailand changes by +/- 7 days there is no longer any need to make amendments to your Thailand Pass, and then seek a subsequent approval.
For example, an entry approval for 25th April 2022 will allow you to actually enter Thailand between 18th April 2022 and 2nd May 2022.
That’s a nice change because currently even if you will arrive one day earlier or later than you specified on the form, you’ll need to edit your application and provide supporting documents again, or simply reapply from scratch.
This is no longer the case for those with an entry date of 18th April 2022 onwards, however you will still need to:
- Change your SHA Extra+ hotel booking dates and transfers / tests to align with your new arrival date
- Ensure your travel insurance policy still covers your actual arrival date
These details will still be checked by your airline at check-in and/or by authorities on arrival in Thailand, in addition to your valid Thailand Pass QR code, which now has a 15-day validity.
Note that you will still need a unique Thailand Pass approval for each entry into Thailand from overseas. This new arrival flexibility does not allow multiple entries on a single approved Thailand Pass.
Latest process (Singapore – Thailand)
Here’s how the current process for quarantine-free travel from Singapore to Thailand on the Test & Go scheme looks.
- 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.
- Apply for a Thailand Pass, allowing at least seven days notice prior to your trip to allow for processing.
- Pass is valid for your arrival date, or for 7 days before and 7 days after, with no additional document upload requirements even if your arrival date changes within this window.
- Have an insurance policy with a coverage of no less than US$10,000 (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 or Krabi, your Day 1 test will be at the airport. In that case, you can book your 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 or Krabi, 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 (or at the airport in Phuket/Krabi).
- 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.
|TH Day 1 (PCR)||~S$80|
|TH Day 5 (self ART)||Free|
|TH pre-departure (ART)||~S$17*|
* Based on a S$12 Tele-ART test with a provider based in Singapore, plus S$5 for your own approved test kit
Thanks to a recently relaxed vaccinated travel framework process in Singapore, additional costs for a Thailand trip have already fallen, and there should be a total testing bill of around S$100 per traveller for a total of three tests (one of which is free).
There is almost certainly set to be a new relaxation to Thailand’s entry requirements from 1st May 2022, as part of the country’s four-step plan to ‘endemic’ COVID-19 status.
Various government statements and media reports have pointed to a variety of options, including relaxation of PCR to on-arrival ART testing at the airport, a removal of isolation (and therefore SHA Extra+ hotel booking) requirements, plus even an abolition of the Thailand Pass scheme altogether.
A meeting is scheduled for 22nd April 2022 for discussion and approval of proposals, but until then we’ll once again defer to the excellent Richard Barrow for the latest rumours.
Richard is not always right (and certainly doesn’t claim to be!), but he is well connected and we would suggest his latest discussions probably point to the likely outcome, though anything can happen in Thailand!
If you’re hoping not to need an SHA Extra+ hotel booking or Thailand Pass to travel come 1st May 2022, however, it’s sounding like you may be disappointed.
As always, we’ll bring you the latest official policy in effect from 1st May onwards as soon as it’s received, hopefully by 22nd April.
Travel to Thailand via the Test & Go scheme so far has meant committing to a specific arrival date, but this new relaxation effective for those arriving from 18th April 2022 means your pass can be used within +/- 7 days of your intended entry date, without the need to reapply.
You will still need to change your SHA Extra+ hotel booking dates, transfers and travel insurance details to match your new travel plans, however you will no longer need to upload these revised details to the Thailand Pass site.
This news comes ahead of a possible further relaxation of arrival requirements from 1st May 2022, where the Thailand Pass is potentially no longer going to be required for any arriving travellers, and on-arrival antigen rapid testing at the airport will replace PCR tests and a mandatory isolation period.
Do bear in mind though that none of this is confirmed, and the latest ‘rumours’ seem to suggest not all these wishes may come true at once!
Whatever happens though, further developments will no doubt bring Thailand travel closer to the pre-COVID travel experience than it has been since the pandemic took hold in early 2020. Fingers crossed, and stay tuned!
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)