Fact Check: Is Thailand open to all international tourists starting from August?

Thailand-

The following is a fact check article released due to a large number of e-mails and messages sent primarily from readers based in the UK after some print media reported that Thailand is open for international tourists as of August First. The intention of this article is to provide clear and accurate information for potential travelers to Thailand without any bias.

Q: Is Thailand open to all international tourists as of August, 2020?

A. No. Thailand remains for the most part closed, especially to tourists. Land, sea and air borders remain closed to those who do not have proper permission to enter the Kingdom of Thailand from their local embassy or consulate (Certificate of Entry).

Q. But I read in an major English newspaper that it was open!

A. Unfortunately, it appears that this is incorrect. A photo shot of the article in question is below. We have chosen not to name the media that published this article.

Q. But airlines are selling tickets, I can buy a ticket right now!

A. Just because an airline is selling a ticket does not guarantee that one can enter the country, this is based on Thai immigration and having the proper paperwork-see further below. People entering the country are arriving on repatriation flights, cargo, transit stops, etc.

Q. So when will Thailand open to tourists with no quarantines, restrictions or other things?

A. It is impossible to know. This is asked nearly daily to us and is on many social media groups and forums. It is important to note that officially Thailand has had zero locally spread cases of Covid-19 in roughly 70 days. Thailand is pursuing an “elimination strategy” of the virus, not a “suppression strategy” like many Western countries. This means even one case, like in the case of an imported person who broke quarantine several weeks ago in Rayong, has shown to cause large scale closures and panic. Additionally, despite required testing before and after arrival imported cases are still arriving to the country which leaves the country concerned with opening borders without proper precautions. It is, unfortunately, likely to be a significant period of time before we see short term tourists allowed in without any precautions.

Q. What about this travel bubble program I heard about. When does that start?

A. The travel bubble program has been postponed, with no date of resumption. Officials with the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration have stated that with the situation with the virus still escalating worldwide and countries that previously were basically clear of the virus once again having problems like Hong Kong, Australia and Vietnam, the proposed program is essentially suspended. The idea of the travel bubble was to let in visitors from low risk countries that had no confirmed locally spread cases of the virus for extended periods of time to visit without quarantines or major restrictions.

Q. Who can enter Thailand right now?

A. The following for the most part, we left out a few non foreigner related items like air crews:

-Repatriated Thai nationals (Still do quarantine, although it is currently free for them and paid for all foreigner groups. For migrant workers, their company pays for a special organizational group quarantine)

-Foreigners with work permits approved on a case by case basis by your local embassy or consulate

-Foreigners with a legal marriage/family/dependent visa or proof, case by case basis by local embassy or consulate

-Diplomats and guests of the Thai Government (Still have to do quarantine)

-Foreigners with a Thai Elite Visa (still have to do quarantine, Note this has not been finalized by the Thai Government despite being announced several times and as of August 5th, 2020, still cannot enter.)

-Foreigners with permanent residency in Thailand (This does not mean if you have an apartment or condo etc. in the country. It means you must actually be a legal permanent resident, complete with all the paperwork and embassy approval)

-Foreigners coming for specific, pre-approved medical operations with embassy approval.

-Migrant workers from border countries. (This is just starting, a foreign tourist in Laos or Cambodia say from the UK could not be considered in this group)

-International film crews, with proper company, embassy permission etc.

-A select, limited number of business people with pre approval from the embassy and/or consulate and with quarantine.

Q. When will retirement visas, education, volunteer, long stay tourists with three to six months stay, etc be allowed in?

A. There is no answer to this. Likely after the vast majority of the previous groups get in. Due to limited number of quarantine rooms the Thai Government is working through this list as quickly as they can. It is highly possible before the end of the year.

Q. I qualify to enter the country. How can I find out more?

A. We suggest to take a look at several Facebook Groups such as here. They are a significant source of information and full of people who have already completed the process. Additionally, contact your local embassy or consulate.

Q. Do I HAVE to pay for my quarantine and can I self quarantine at home?

A. Yes, you have to pay for quarantine as a foreigner unless your company on a work permit decides to do so, etc. There is no self quarantine available, not even for Thai nationals or VIP’s anymore. This is because there have been multiple cases of people breaking quarantine and once again Thailand is going for an elimination strategy and NOT a suppression strategy in terms of the virus.

Q. What other requirements are there to enter the country?

A. Requirements might differ slightly depending on country and embassy. In general, you need to have an embassy certificate of entry, insurance of at least 100,000 USD against Covid-19, a Covid-19 test in your country, a fit to fly certificate, a pre-arranged and self financed Alternative State Quarantine booked and you will also pay for your repatriation flight. The Embassy will tell you when these flights are, they differ country to country. As mentioned earlier there are no commercial flights back. You will also need your paperwork for your Visa or other category as stated above.

Q. This is too much. I think this is insane. I want to come back to Thailand.

A. We know. Everyone is frustrated, and it is also why stress and anger is common these days all over the world. The current situation is difficult but Thailand is, once again, determined to pursue an elimination strategy against the virus vs. a suppression and has shown no signs of changing this in the near future. We know the answers above are not what most people want to hear but is the reality of the situation. A pretty much guaranteed route to enter the country in the somewhat near future is to purchase a Thai Elite visa, however, they can be considered quite expensive for many.

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