Yesterday we reported on the great news that Thailand is removing all COVID-19 testing for international travellers who are fully vaccinated from 1st May 2022, also scrapping a one-night mandatory hotel booking and isolation period for travellers and returning residents.
That will make this popular holiday destination one of the most straightforward trips in the region, and for our Singapore readers there’s also the happy news that no pre-departure testing will apply when returning home even sooner than that – from 26th April 2022.
Thailand’s new entry protocols
From 1st May 2022 Thailand will change its current entry channels:
- Test & Go
- Alternative Quarantine
into two simple categories:
For most of our readers the vaccinated process is the one of interest.
This will require you to:
- have an approved Thailand Pass
- be fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine at least 14 days before departure
- hold travel insurance including COVID-19 treatment with a coverage of at least US$10,000.
No testing or quarantine applies.
Children aged 17 or under can travel with fully vaccinated parents and follow the same protocol (no tests, no quarantine), even if they are not fully vaccinated.
Thailand Pass changes
Unfortunately one complication of the travel experience for those heading to Thailand is that an entry approval will still be required, using the country’s Thailand Pass system.
The Thailand Pass team has now announced that those seeking entry under the simplified rules from 1st May 2022 will be able to apply for their Thailand Pass from 29th April 2022.
For our readers in Singapore, that’s Friday 29th April 2022 at 1.01am local time (SGT). That should allow sufficient time for your application to be approved, even if you are arriving on 1st May 2022, since the simpler application form should also mean a faster approval turnaround time.
Nonetheless, if you’re planning to arrive on 1st May itself, it might be a good idea to stay up late on Thursday night and get your application submitted as one of the first at 1am on Friday!
At the time of writing, the Thailand Pass system for Test & Go arrivals is no longer accepting applications beyond 30th April 2022, the final day of the scheme.
The form will be simpler
The good news is the long-winded form, which currently requires a range of details including personal information, vaccination doses, accommodation booking, test booking and insurance, will be simplified for those entering from 1st May 2022.
The new form will only require details of:
- Your passport
- Your certificate of vaccination
- Your proof of insurance (now reduced US$10,000 requirement, for non-Thai travellers only)
COVID-19 testing both before travelling and on-arrival in Thailand is no longer required, nor is a confirmed SHA Extra+ hotel booking for your first night.
Thailand Pass approvals are valid for a 15-day entry window, comprising your intended date of arrival +/- seven days either side, though clearly those issued for arrival on or after 1st May 2022 will not be valid for arrival on or before 30th April 2022, since the current requirements would still be in force, not the new test-free programme.
Importantly, if you already have a Thailand Pass approval for entry on or after 1st May 2022 (e.g. via Test & Go), you do not need to register for a new Thailand Pass.
Your existing QR code can be used to enter Thailand.
However, you will likely wish to apply for a refund of your on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test and possibly your accommodation booking in due course. Once the new entry rules are published in the Royal Gazette, your options here will become clearer.
Stick with your current entry approval, and worry about that later.
We strongly recommend not cancelling any existing hotel bookings for your Day 1 isolation, even fully refundable ones for trips in May, until the new rules have made it into the Royal Gazette next week.
Under the current rules, your hotel will be obliged to inform Thailand Pass that you have cancelled the SHA+ Day 1 reservation, and this could lead to complications.
Singapore will also be test-free
In case you missed the news, Singapore is also relaxing its COVID-19 entry requirements for fully vaccinated travellers a few days ahead of Thailand, by dropping the need for a pre-departure COVID-19 test from 26th April 2022.
This excellent news means round-trips to and from Thailand will be completely test-free and quarantine-free for fully vaccinated travellers, leaving the (simplified) Thailand Pass one of the only complications involved in the process.
Even short weekend trips to Thailand (or to Singapore for Thai residents) will now be feasible for most travellers from 1st May.
The latest process for entering Thailand as a tourist or short-term visitor is set to be almost a completely pre-COVID experience, with no more on-arrival PCR test or Day 5 ART test for fully vaccinated travellers arriving from 1st May 2022.
Unfortunately the Thailand Pass requirement remains, and applications under the new test-free, quarantine-free system will go live in the early hours of 29th April 2022.
- If you’re arriving on or after 1st May 2022 and you already have a Thailand Pass approval (e.g. under Test & Go), there is no need to reapply. You can enter using your existing QR code.
- If you’re arriving on or after 1st May 2022 but you haven’t yet applied for a Thailand Pass, you can do so from 29th April 2022 at 1am Singapore Time.
- The new form will be simplified.
- Approval turnaround times should be shorter.
If you already have an SHA Extra+ hotel booking for Day 1 isolation and a PCR test booking in May, you’ll be able to explore your refund options once the new regulations are published in Thailand’s Royal Gazette, but our advice is don’t cancel anything just yet.
Fingers crossed that by June or July this year Thailand will also remove the Thailand Pass requirement, for a practically pre-COVID travel experience.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)