Can U.S. Citizens Travel to Thailand Now?

Can US Citizens travel to Thailand

Can US Citizens travel to Thailand
Thailand is one of the most visited countries in Southeast Asia. Before the Covid-19 struck the world, the number of travelers in Thailand grew every year but in the year 2020, because of travel restrictions, the numbers decreased to as low as 6.7 million travelers only. The economy of Thailand has been greatly affected but in the year 2021, it will be the year to get their numbers back up. Thailand has opened its top tourist/traveler vacation spots, Phuket and Koh Samui, where blue waters, sandy beaches, and delicious cuisines are a hit. 

One of the top travelers in Thailand is U.S. citizens, they are one of the major contributors to the Thai tourism industry. Now, with the number of restrictions imposed, is it possible for U.S. citizens to travel to Thailand?

What visa do I need?

U.S. citizens are allowed to enter the Kingdom of Thailand without a visa as the U.S. is included in the Visa Exemption List. However, with the visa exemption list, U.S. citizens are only allowed to stay for 30 days.

If the U.S. citizen intends to stay for more than 30 days, it is recommended by the Thai Embassy for U.S. Citizens to obtain a visa before planning a trip to Thailand, entry will depend on the decision of the airline or immigration personnel.

  • Tourist Visa
    For U.S. citizens who wish to enter Thailand for no other purpose but to enjoy and relax for enough amount of time, a Tourist Visa is for you. This visa allows U.S. citizens to stay in Thailand for not more than 60 days.
  • Work Visa 
    For U.S. citizens who wish to enter Thailand with a purpose for employment, they must obtain a Thai Work Permit and a Thai Work Visa which will be valid for a year. Before obtaining a Work Visa, one will need to receive a Work Permit from a company or an organization from Thailand.

There are other visas one can apply for depending on the purpose of your travel to Thailand, like a Retirement Visa or Student Visa but Tourist Visa is the most common one obtained. 

It is important to apply for a visa in accordance with your purpose to not cause any violation. It is also important to note the number of days allowed for you to stay in the country to avoid overstays.

Which consulate to apply for the Certificate of Entry (COE)?

To apply for the Certificate of Entry visit the COE registration system. Fill out the needed information and provide the needed documents for one to be approved. 

Here are the documents that you need upon registering:

  1. Copy of Passport
  2. Copy of Travel Health Insurance Policy or COVID-19 Insurance that will cover the expenses COVID-19 related emergencies
  3. Copy of flight confirmation/reservation
  4. Copy of ASQ Hotel Confirmation or SHA+ Hotel Confirmation

Also, note that it is suggested that one must apply for a COE 15 working days before the intended travel.

Flights to BKK and Phuket

With the easing travel restrictions, there are already available flights from the U.S. to Thailand. Here are some of the airlines available from the U.S. to Thailand:

For the success of traveling from the U.S. to Bangkok or Phuket, make sure to have all the requirements and documents needed to avoid trouble and have an easier process upon entry to the country. 

If traveling to Phuket, make sure to choose a flight that has no transit flight in Bangkok.

ASQ vs Sandbox

Knowing that there are numerous people entering Thailand, Thai or Non-Thai Nationals, the government had to make sure that those individuals who entered Thailand were Covid-19 free.

For them to make sure that they are Covid-19 free, it is mandatory for them to stay in a secured area before having the chance to travel around different places in Thailand. 

There are two options given by the Thai Government for you to choose: Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) or Sandbox Scheme

ASQ or Quarantine

ASQ is the type of quarantine where you get to stay for 7 days (if you are a fully vaccinated traveler), 10 days (if unvaccinated) in a nice and comfortable accredited quarantine hotel.

The hotel will take care of the accommodations that include transfer from the airport to the hotel, 3 meals a day, Covid-19 tests, 24/7 on-call nurse, and other accommodations given depending on the hotel that one has chosen. 

Once in an ASQ hotel, one is not allowed to go out if the required days of stay is not done

Sandbox Program

Sandbox is considered a quarantine-free program and is available only for fully vaccinated travelers. Instead of staying in a hotel for 7 whole days, they have the privilege to roam around within the location of the Sandbox program.

There are currently 4 locations of Sandbox programs you can choose from:

  • Phuket Sandbox
  • Krabi Sandbox
  • Samui Sandbox
  • Phang Nga Sandbox 

Note that both of these options are at your own expense. Depending on what you are comfortable staying at or what your purpose of entry is, you can choose from either of the options given. Home quarantine is not allowed.

Steps to Enter Thailand

U.S citizens are allowed to enter the Kingdom of Thailand and can enter without a visa as long as they are included on the Visa Exemption List, along with different people from different countries. Here are the steps to enter the country:

  • Book Flights. You need to book your flight. By now major airlines are permitted to operate semi-commercial flights. Make sure that the schedule of your flight gives time for you to gather the requirements needed before the flight.
  • Book ASQ Hotel. It is mandatory for unvaccinated travelers to be quarantined for 10 days upon arrival so one needs to book for convenience. For you to have a place to stay instantly if one already arrived from the trip.
  • Book SHA+ Hotel. It is mandatory for fully vaccinated travelers to stay in a sandbox hotel for at least 7 nights upon arrival. This is required for travelers who are entering Thailand under the Sandbox Programs.
  • Purchase COVID-19 Insurance. The purchased insurance must cover at least $100,000 for Covid-19 treatment in case you get infected within the country.
  • Apply for a Certificate of Entry (COE). It is a letter issued by the Embassy that states you are allowed to travel in the country. You must apply for a COE from the Thai Embassy or Consulate in your home country at least 5 to 15 working days before your scheduled travel date.
  • Obtain COVID-19 Test Result. One must obtain a medical certificate that shows the negative result of the Covid-19 test. The COVID test must be by the RT-PCR method and must be conducted within 72 hours before departure.
  • Download ThailandPlus App. Which will help find your location through GPS and Bluetooth. This is to help them monitor your locations while in your stay.
  • Prepare Documents. Listed below are the documents needed for you to prepare and for you to show to personnel:
    • One must have a passport with at least 6 months validity 
    • Visa or Re-Entry permit (if needed)
    • Certificate of Entry (COE
    • Proof of Vaccination. One must already be vaccinated with a vaccine approved by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) or World Health Organization (WHO)
    • One must have booked and purchased return air travel
    • Booked and paid accommodation and required RT-PCR tests at ASQ/SHA+ hotels
    • Purchased travel health insurance with COVID-19 treatment coverage of at least $100,000 
    • Medical Certificate Document. One must have been tested negative for COVID-19 not more than 72 hours before travel
    • T8 Health Form
    • Downloaded and registered ThailandPlus App

Health Declaration Form or T8 Health Form

A health declaration, also known as a T8 Form, is a required document that all passengers must show to authorities upon arrival in Thailand. This can only be used once. 

You will be required to provide personal information such as your name, nationality, passport number, mobile phone number, and email address, as well as any symptoms you have experienced in the previous two weeks. 

The personal information you supply will mostly be utilized by Thai health officials for contact tracing if a COVID-19 case occurs on your flight or in your close area. After the arrival date, your data will only be kept for 7 days. 

This applies to all travelers from any country, regardless of nationality or visa status. According to Section 12 of the immigration law, anyone who refuses to comply with the new regulation shall be denied from going through immigration checkpoints and prevented from going into Thailand. 

In order for you to apply for a Health Declaration Form, all you need are:

  • Passport valid for at least 6 months. Your passport scan image must be in PNG, JPG, or JPEG format.
  • Payment can be made with a credit/debit card or a PayPal account. You can pay online.

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