Thailand Allows Entry for Selected International Travelers

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  • Thailand began allowing selected international arrivals from July 1, 2020, as the country began easing its lockdown measures.
  • Diplomats, work permit holders, international students, and family members of Thai nationals are some of the categories of travelers being permitted to enter.
  • All travelers, however, will need to have a negative COVID-19 health certificate prior to arrival and must be willing to undergo a 14-day quarantine at a government-designated hotel.

From July 1, 2020, Thailand began allowing the entry of selected international travelers for the first time in three months since the country entered a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Foreigners who have Thai spouses, and those with work permits or residency in Thailand, have been permitted to enter the country. The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT)  laid out the criteria and protocol for which international travelers must adhere by.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has forecasted that the number of foreign visitors will plunge by 80 percent in 2020 to between 14-16 million arrivals, compared to the 39 million international visitors in 2019. Tourism plays a vital role in Thailand’s economy as it contributes to 20 percent of GDP annually, contributing some US$64 billion to the economy and consumes more than 10 percent of the total workforce.

The government recently issued several stimulus packages to help boost domestic tourism by subsidizing hotel accommodation, airline tickets, and facilities in tourist destinations around the country.

Who can enter Thailand?

Foreigners can now apply for a Certificate of Entry to be permitted into Thailand. The CAAT, however, has only allowed the following categories of travelers into the country. All Thai nationals are permitted to return.

Work permit holders

Work permit holders and their family members, as well as foreigners traveling for business, can return to Thailand.

If the work permit has expired, the employer should contact the Ministry of Labor to apply for a pre-work permit approval letter (WP3) or a copy of an official letter from a government agency (such as the Board of Investments, Ministry of Labor, or Ministry of Education, among others) that grants the applicant permission to work in Thailand.

Diplomats and officials of international organizations and their families

Diplomats or officials of international organizations can apply for the Certificate of Entry at their nearest Thai embassy.

Applicants will need to state their positions and scope of work when they apply, and they need to certify that they consent to the 14-day self-quarantine under the supervision of the embassy/international organization.

Furthermore, applicants would need a letter from their respective embassy/international organization affirming their responsibilities for their own healthcare expenses, including for COVID-19 treatment.

Family members of Thai nationals (parent/spouse/children)

The spouses, parents, or children of Thai nationals can apply for a Certificate of Entry to enter Thailand.

Applicants will need to show a copy of their visa, and if expired, will need to apply for a new one. Immigration authorities may ask for more supporting documents, such as evidence of property ownership in the country.

Medical tourism applicants

Foreigners seeking non-COVID-19 medical treatment will be permitted into the country. The applicant can travel with up to three accompanying persons.

They will need a letter from the hospital of their country of departure stating that they are unable to be treated there and require treatment in Thailand. The applicant will need to arrange for their own transport from the airport to the hospital and must adhere to the 14-day quarantine rule at the hospital.

Additionally, the patient must show evidence they are capable of funding their medical treatment.

Foreign students

Foreign students and their parents/guardians have now been permitted back into Thailand.

They would still need to show evidence of their enrollment from the school or university as well as an approval letter from the concerned authority under the Ministry of Education.

Foreigners who have a certificate of residence

Foreigners who have the certificate of residence and entry permit can apply for the Certificate of Entry.

Travelers must show evidence when doing their application.

Health checks apply

All the aforementioned travelers are required to have a ‘Fit to Fly’ health certificate in addition to a negative COVID-19 test result, conducted by the RT-PCR method, at least 72 hours before their scheduled flight.  These two documents must be presented upon check-in and on arrival in Thailand.

Lastly, all foreign nationals will be subject to the 14-day quarantine at a government-designated hotel. The traveler will bear all costs. The list of hotels can be found here.


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ASEAN Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia and maintains offices throughout ASEAN, including in SingaporeHanoiHo Chi Minh City and Jakarta. Please contact us at asia@dezshira.com or visit our website at www.dezshira.com

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