The Coronavirus has made it virtually impossible to travel to everyone's favorite South-East-Asian country - Thailand. Here's a quick guide to find out if you're eligible to travel back to Thailand again - and when.
We'll keep this guide updated as new changes happen on the ground.
UPDATE - October 6, 2020 Thailand has introduced the Special Tourist Visa. This allows you to stay in Thailand for up to 9 months continuously.
Yes! Tourism in Thailand accounts for about 18% of GDP as of 2019, so it's in the interest of the people to welcome back tourism. Many businesses that are tourist related have closed over the past few months. At some point, Covid-19 will end and travellers will be able to enter again.
If openings happen before the end of the year, expect there to be a 7-14 day quarantine, depending on the country of origin. Add to that a negative Covid-19 test and some kind of "fit to fly" certificate to be issues by your local Thai Consulate or Embassy.
As of now, persons with a valid work permit, permanent residents, the elite visa, Thai nationals and persons with family in Thailand are allowed to enter, provided they have a valid "fit-to-fly" certification from their local Thai embassy.
As of now there are no countries with preferential treatment. Of course negotiations are constantly happening, but they are also never ending. The United States is negotiating preferential treatment as well as nearby ASEAN countries.
As of August 23, 2020, the government has said they have a target to open the borders to some locations such a Phuket first, but this comes with a steep 14 day quarantine requirement in a local hotel near to the beach.
Quarantine in a hotel next to the beach is not really a hardship, if you're the kind of traveller who likes to stay on the hotel grounds. But some travelers like to visit the local towns and eat the street food, which is an important part of the Thai Experience.
But Phuket makes a lot of sense, since its an island that can be easily isolated from the rest of the mainland if something goes wrong.
Yes, there is some talk of allowing tourists back in the country as early as October with GPS Tracking bracelets AND the added requirement of the hotel quarantine. According to the tourism minister, this most likely will be tested in Phuket before being rolled out nationwide.
Only countries with limited infections will be allowed.
With the robust and world-renowned medical facilities in Thailand, there is a medical visa available for those wishing to get procedures or treatment in Thailand.
Business Visas are also eligible at this time as well.
If you're attending a school in Thailand you can also enter. This is good for those attending Thai Language, University or Self-Defense schools in the country.
Thailand has introduced a special tourist visa recently. It allows people from some countries to enter Thailand who intend to stay for a minimum of 90 days. With this visa you do have to go through the 14 day quarantine. But when completed, you are free to go all over thailand and you can renew that visa for up to 2 more 90 day sessions for a grand total of 270 days or roughly 9 months!
For the person wishing to just have a vacation in Thailand, more than likely nothing will be happening until the earliest October. It's best to seek a visa under one of the qualifying categories.
This guide is brought to you by Smile Clean - one of Cleaning Services in Bangkok. They have a lot of customers from both Thailand and foreigners and are attuned to the needs of persons wishing to travel in and out of Thailand.