Traveling abroad has been a challenge since the Covid pandemic started. For a long time, people were isolated to their own countries. Over time, traveling overseas was possible, but there were many hurdles to jump through.
Thailand has always been a favorite destination for US holiday goers. Delicious food, diverse culture, and stunning beaches have drawn people year after year. It’s no secret that Thailand introduced strict travel restrictions, and was slow in reducing entry requirements.
But things have changed since the start of 2022, and American citizens will find that from July 1, travel to Thailand is almost as easy as it was before Covid.
Travel to Thailand has become even easier from June 1 with the latest entry requirement updates.
Required Documents for Travel to Thailand
Please have the following documents ready.
- Visa (if required)
- Buy Thailand Travel Insurance
- Flight Itinerary
- Hotel booking confirmation
- Vaccination record (if vaccinated)
- COVID-19 test result (if unvaccinated)
Incorrect documents will delay the entry screening to Thailand.
If you are an American citizen who is ready to get away, these are the major changes that will affect travelers:
- Foreigners do not need to show proof of Covid Insurance.
- All mandatory hotel quarantine has been removed.
- Thailand Pass is no longer required for foreign travelers entering Thailand.
- Vaccinated travelers do not need to provide proof of vaccination before arriving.
- Unvaccinated travelers (including children traveling with unvaccinated parents) will need to complete an RT-PCR or Professional Antigen Test (Pro-ATK) test 72 hours before departing for Thailand. Proof does not need to be uploaded before traveling.
- Airlines and Thai Immigration will do random checks to confirm travelers meet Covid prevention requirements (vaccination certificate or Covid test).
- Wearing masks is no longer compulsory.
- The TM6 arrival card has been temporarily removed when entering Thailand.
Things are easier, but remember travelers still need to be responsible when abroad. Read on to learn how you can enjoy a worry-free holiday in Thailand.
Visas for US Citizens
America – a Visa Exempt country
If you ask people about traveling to Thailand, you will hear the word VISA a lot. US citizens are lucky because America is included in Thailand’s Visa Exemption list.
American citizens can enter Thailand as a tourist for up to 30 days without needing a pre-approved visa. Visitors from the USA can organize a 30-day period of stay when landing at one of Thailand’s international airports. This 30-day stay is often referred to as a “Visa on arrival”.
If 30 days is not long enough after two years of isolation There are many options for American citizens to visit (or move to) Thailand on a longer-term basis.
Long Term Visas for Americans
Tourist Visa and Special Tourist Visa (STV)
Foreigners can apply for a Tourist Visa from the Thai embassy or consulate. There is the normal 60-day tourist visa that can be extended for additional 30 days, and the 90-day Special Tourist Visa (STV), which can be extended for two 90-day visa extensions at the local immigration office. There are certain requirements needed for the STV, but it allows a visitor to stay in Thailand for a potential 9 months. The STV will be available until September 2022.
Thai Elite Visa
If you wish to make Thailand easily accessible for many years to come or are perhaps thinking of relocating permanently, it is worth having a look at the Thai Elite Visa.
The Thai Elite Visa allows American citizens to live in Thailand for 5, 10, or even 20 years. Thai Elite members do not need to worry about some of the eligibility criteria that are needed when applying for other long-term visas.
The Thai Elite visa is exclusive and offers a host of benefits to holders. If you want to enjoy “Thai life” for the long term, you can read more about the Thai Elite Visa.
Foreigners may also apply for a wide range of non-immigrant visas:
- Non-immigrant B Visa – for conducting business or employment
- Non-immigrant O visa – for visiting Thai spouse and family
- Non-immigrant ED visa – for students of recognized institutions in Thailand and their Parents or Legal guardian
- Non-immigrant O retirement visa – for those who wish to retire in Thailand
- Non-immigrant OA and OX visa – for those who wish to obtain a Thailand retirement visa for long stay (it differs from type O visa)
The above visas can be organized with a local Thai Embassy or Consulate in the USA. The paperwork can be quite involved, but there are companies that can help.
Siam Legal International is a reputable company in Thailand that has offered visa assistance to Americans for years. They are well versed in Thai immigration policies and processes.
Whether you are looking to study, conduct business, volunteer, or even retire to Thailand, Siam Legal can help streamline your application process for a long-term stay in Thailand. You can reach Siam Legal at www.siam-legal.com.
How to get to Thailand in 2022
Entering Thailand from July 1
Thailand Pass is no longer required from July 1. Americans do not need to register in systems, provide documents, or seek pre-approval before traveling to Thailand.
When American citizens visit Thailand, they need to look at their vaccination status and plan accordingly.
Vaccinated Travelers – Vaccinated travelers from the US do not need to complete any Covid tests before leaving America. They will need to have a copy of their vaccination certificate on hand before boarding a flight and on arrival. Children under 18 who are traveling with vaccinated parents do not need to complete any RT-PCR or Pro-ATK test before departing.
Unvaccinated Travelers – Before coming to Thailand, unvaccinated travelers need to complete an RT-PCR or Professional Antigen (Pro-ATK) test through a clinic or medical professional. The test result must be issued within 72 hours before departing America.
An ATK (RAT) home test is not acceptable. Children under 18 who are traveling with unvaccinated parents also need to complete a test.
With the removal of Thailand Pass, airlines, and Immigration Officers will conduct random checks of passengers to confirm Covid requirements are met. It is best to have your Vaccination or Covid Test certificate available to show.
Airlines and Booking Flights
Flights from the United States to Thailand are available from many airlines. The following airlines are operating and are available for travelers to book flights from the United States to Thailand:
- EVA Air
- All Nippon Airlines
- Cathay Pacific
- Qatar Airways
- Etihad Airways
- Japan Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
All mandatory quarantine has been removed from July 1. On social media, you may hear the term “sealed flights”. These are no longer required, so US citizens are free to enter Thailand at any international airport and then transit domestically anywhere in Thailand.
Though Thailand Pass is removed, airlines will do random checks of passengers before boarding. It is best to have your vaccination certificate or Covid test result available, in case you are asked. If you do not meet the Covid prevention requirements, airlines may refuse to let you board your flight.
Organize some Travel Insurance
Since the change of July 1, the common question asked about travel is,
“Do I need Travel Insurance?”
The fact is that from July 1, Thailand does not require foreign visitors to have insurance with Covid cover. Travelers do not need to provide any proof of insurance in order to enter Thailand.
Before Covid, seasoned travelers understood the benefits of comprehensive travel insurance. Covid has not changed this. Though travel restrictions have eased, Covid is still a problem, and if diagnosed with Covid while traveling, an American citizen will still be required to isolate in a hotel or quarantine in a medical facility. This can ruin any holiday, especially if you need to budget for potential medical expenses.
The important thing to know about insurance and Thailand is that foreigners are not eligible for any form of free medical care. No matter the circumstance, if an American needs medical attention, they need to pay for it. Depending on the severity, this could amount to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs.
Travel Insurance is something that is better to have and not need, then need and not have. Your travel insurance doesn’t just cover Covid. Comprehensive travel insurance will also cover:
- Medical emergencies
- Personal injury & accidents
- Missed or delayed flights
- Damage to belongings
- Loss of luggage
There are multiple reasons to protect yourself when traveling. Many visitors to Thailand choose AXA Insurance Thailand. It is a trusted company that offers comprehensive insurance to travelers from around the world. Their policies are straightforward with good coverage.
Some advantages to AXA Insurance are:
- Recognized and trusted by Thai authorities and medical facilities.
- Easy to apply online and approved in minutes.
- Competitive pricing and cover.
- Has no 14 day waiting period and covers Covid-related incidents, including asymptomatic cases.
- Provides customers with a convenient 1-Page Certificate of insurance. This certificate contains all relevant information needed by medical professionals or if making a claim.
To see the cover offered and organize your insurance to Thailand in minutes. Visit AXA Thailand.
Finding Accommodation in Thailand
Thailand is popular as a holiday destination because of its diverse geography. People can visit and lounge of a beach, go diving on the islands, or visit the mountains and lose themselves in nature.
There is accommodation everywhere, and American travelers can spend a night somewhere beautiful for less than a meal back home.
After July 1st, visitors are welcome to book any accommodation. There is no need to book SHA+ hotels or quarantine packages. SHA+ quarantine packages have been removed from most booking sites. If you see a “Quarantine Package” listed, you do not need to choose it.
Now that Thailand Pass is removed, visitors don’t need to provide any proof of a hotel booking before entering Thailand. But after a long flight, it’s nice to have at least your first night’s accommodation organized. It is good to see what is around in your travel area, and if you are a “planner”, you can use hotels to help decide places to visit.
To find and compare the best hotels available in Thailand, visit Agoda. They allow free booking and cancellation, confirm bookings with hotels and their web page is easy to navigate and compare hotels. You can book any accommodation in Thailand, and many hotels are offering competitive prices to welcome holiday makers back.
Arriving in Thailand – Best Practices
So what can you expect when landing in Thailand? Besides needing to present a vaccination certificate or RT-PCR/Pro-ATK test, travel to Thailand is back to normal. Americans are again being welcomed by Thai locals and post-Covid experiences are being created.
Here are a few things that will help you enjoy your trip and show respect to local Thai people.
From July 1st, masks are no longer compulsory, but still recommended when in public places. You see that many Thai people (and visitors) still wear masks when out and about. It is recommended to wear a mask when visiting restaurants or public venues. You will not get in trouble for not wearing a mask. It’s a case of “do as the locals do”. It is about respect and consideration.
TM6 Arrival Cards
The Thai government has temporarily removed the need for visitors to complete the blue arrival card known as TM6. Their aim is to ease congestion at airports and remove another form that holiday makers need to complete. This initiative is in a testing phase, but it is hoped that the removal of TM6 will be successful and the change will become permanent.
Paperwork to Prepare
Though Thailand Pass is removed, and travelers do not need to provide proof before entry, it is best to prepare a few documents before arriving.
- Certificate of Insurance
- Vaccination certificate (vaccinated travelers)
- 72 hour RT-PCR or Pro-ATK test result (unvaccinated)
- Covid-19 recovery certificate (if previously tested positive)
This will speed up your processing time before leaving your country, or if asked to provide vaccination or testing proof in a random check.These documents can be presented in digital form, but airlines, Immigration and Health Officers will appreciate the extra effort if you print them.