Great news for those planning Thailand trips in the coming weeks and months, with the country’s Centre of COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) today approving the proposal to ditch the unpopular Thailand Pass process for foreign visitors.
For arrivals into the country from 1st July 2022, the entry approval will no longer be required.
This will remove the last major restrictions of all:
- the requirement to have an approved pass QR code to enter the country, and
- the requirement to hold adequate travel insurance covering COVID-19.
Arrival health checks (temperature screening) will also be cancelled.
Thailand already removed all testing requirements for fully vaccinated visitors in May 2022, but insisted on retaining its Thailand Pass process, which has only recently offered an instant(-ish) approval guarantee.
Since June 2022, unvaccinated tourists and visitors have also been able enter Thailand quarantine-free, with a negative PCR or ART test administered by a medical professional within 72 hours of departure.
This will continue to be the case after 1st July 2022.
These entry policy relaxations have also now been confirmed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Travel process from 1st July 2022 (fully vaccinated)
For those arriving in Thailand from 1st July 2022, only evidence of full vaccination at least 14 days before departure will be required, for those aged 18 or over.
Thailand recognises the 12 vaccines listed here. That page also outlines some exemptions to the vaccination requirement for those previously infected or recently infected with COVID-19.
When arriving by air, your vaccination (or recovery) status will be verified by your airline at the check-in desk, and subsequently may also be checked on arrival.
A booster dose is not currently required when travelling to Thailand.
As usual, the latest change in process is not 100% official until it is included in Thailand’s Royal Gazette, a formal legal process which should be completed in the coming days.
The quarantine-free arrival process for fully vaccinated travellers also extends to unvaccinated children aged 17 or below, when travelling with fully vaccinated parents.
Thailand is also doing away with its TM6 immigration forms in the coming days, at least temporarily, which is a welcome improvement for foreign visitors. Hopefully the forms won’t be returning.
What about unvaccinated travellers?
Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers aged 12 or over can also continue to travel quarantine-free to Thailand, with proof of a negative PCR or ART test administered by a medical professional taken at most 72 hours of departure, instead of producing a vaccination certificate.
You can refer to our continually updated list of the cheapest pre-departure options available in Singapore if you require a PDT to travel to Thailand, now starting at only S$50 for a PCR test, S$18 for a clinic ART test or S$9 for a Tele-ART.
Negative test results will be checked by your operating airline at check-in, with random checks also conducted on arrival.
Travel in June 2022
If you are arriving in Thailand on or before 30th June 2022, you will still be subject to the current requirements including having a valid Thailand Pass in order to check-in for your flight, unless you are a Thai Citizen.
Applications for the Thailand Pass are free of charge. You can apply up to 60 days in advance of your trip (no longer necessary, of course) and the approval QR code is valid for a 7-day window, comprising your intended date of entry +/- 3 days either side, without the need to upload new supporting documents.
A Thailand Pass QR code is generated within 1 to 2 hours of application.
You will also need to hold (and upload evidence of) a travel insurance policy covering COVID-19 with a coverage of no less than US$10,000, unless you are a Thai Citizen, if you are arriving on or before 30th June 2022.
Mask and entertainment relaxations
Thailand will also relax its mask-wearing policy as part of these changes, removing the requirement to wear masks outdoors.
Mask-wearing will only be “recommended” in enclosed and crowded areas, under a new policy set to take effect once the Royal Gazette update is published.
Along with recent relaxations over the operation of entertainment venues in the country, including pubs, bars and karaoke venues, these will now be able to open until 2am.
Only hotels will be allowed to serve alcoholic drinks between 2am and 5am, as they were pre-COVID.
These changes will hopefully bring your experience on a Thailand trip even closer to pre-pandemic norms, with the entertainment industry seen as a key draw for many of the country’s 40 million tourists arriving annually pre-pandemic.
The Thailand Pass was the final inconvenience putting some travellers off a trip to Thailand, and finally it’s becoming a thing of the past for foreign visitors to the popular country, meaning almost completely pre-COVID travel when heading to the likes of Bangkok and Phuket, if you’re fully vaccinated.
For arrivals from 1st July 2022, the pass is no longer required, which also removes the requirement to hold travel insurance covering COVID-19 treatment.
Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers heading to Thailand will still need to undergo a COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours before departure, though this requirement won’t apply to most of our Singapore-based readers, since the vast majority of residents here have had at least two vaccine shots.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)