What We Know About Thailand’s Updated Entry Rules

Authorities in Bangkok have backtracked on a hastily introduced ban on unvaccinated holidaymakers.

A longtail boat on Railay Beach in Ao Nang, Krabi province. (Photo: Preto_perola/iStock)

Entry restrictions scrapped last October have just been brought back in Thailand as China reopens its borders and resumes quarantine-free travel. Late last week, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to all airlines, reimposing a vaccination requirement on all foreign arrivals at short notice. This has sparked a major outcry from local tourism operators and a wave of canceled bookings, but it still went into force at 1 a.m. Bangkok time this morning.

Travelers aged 18 or older must either be fully vaccinated or show evidence that they have recovered from Covid-19 within the previous six months. Those unable to take the vaccine will need to present an explanatory doctor’s letter. Thai citizens and transit passengers are exempt from these rules.

Instead of being denied boarding outright, a last-minute change to the NOTAM will allow holidaymakers without proof of vaccination or recovery to enter Thailand, provided they are tested upon arrival. Airlines are obliged to ask for the extra documents at check-in, and anyone with suspected coronavirus symptoms will undergo on-arrival rapid antigen test at their own cost.

Passengers flying in from mainland China and India must also have health insurance covering at least US$10,000 in case of medical treatment for Covid-19, valid for an additional seven days following the duration of their stay in Thailand. Chinese and Indian travelers who get a positive result in a PCR test before returning home may need to be hospitalized; the insurance requirement does not apply to visitors from Hong Kong. Thailand’s revived vaccine mandate for foreign nationals will remain in effect at least until the end of January.


UPDATE January 9, 3 p.m. GMT+8: Thailand’s health minister Anutin Charnvirakul has formally rescinded the vaccination requirement placed on international visitors. Unvaccinated travelers will be granted entry without restrictions and screening measures such as on-arrival testing.

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