Civil Aviation Authority confirms new entry rules to Thailand – effective Jan 9

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UPDATE as of Jan 9, 16:00 – Thailand makes major U-turn on COVID vaccination rule for foreign visitors

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has informed airlines worldwide of new arrival rules which are effective from Monday (Jan 9).

The CAAT has announced that from Monday all inbound foreign passengers to Thailand age 18 and over must show proof of at least two COVID-19 vaccinations.

*If they are unable to show proof of two vaccinations, the passenger will be subject to a COVID-19 test at the port of arrival in Thailand.

Alternatively, passengers can show a letter from their doctor that certifies they have recovered from COVID-19 from the last seven days and no more than 180 days or that they have been unable to have a COVID-19 vaccination on medical grounds.

Vaccines must have been administered at least 14 days prior to departure. However, there is no end limit, which suggests that a person who was vaccinated over one year ago or even longer could still travel, providing their most recent vaccination was at least 14 days ago.

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Those who are arriving from a country where they are required to prove they are not infected with COVID-19 upon their return must have insurance which covers treatment for COVID-19 for the duration of their stay in Thailand, as well as an additional seven days (which would cover treatment in Thailand should they become infected and are unable to return). Expats with Thai social security are exempt.

The CAAT also confirms that it is the responsibility of the airlines to check required documents and that airline staff have the authority to refuse passengers who fail to meet the requirements.

Airlines are also required to request that passengers flying to Thailand must wear face masks during the flight, except during meal times.

Any passenger with suspected COVID-19 symptoms may be required to undergo a COVID-19 test upon landing.

Exemptions from the new entry rules to Thailand

  • Thai passport holders
  • Transit only passengers
  • Under 18s

The CAAT says the ​​new rules are effective from January 9, 2023 at 1:00 a.m. to January 31, 2023 at 4:59 p.m.

The rules issued by the CAAT apply to air passengers only. The rules for foreigners arriving by land or sea were not available at the time of publishing.

The new rules are being implemented ahead of an expected influx of tourists to Thailand from China.

From Sunday, China will reopen its borders and abandon quarantine measures for arrivals from abroad, as well as resuming outbound travel.

On Monday, a flight from Xiamen in southern China carrying 200 Chinese tourists will touch down at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) estimates around 60,000 Chinese nationals will visit Thailand in January and that there will be 300,000 Chinese arrivals in the first quarter of 2023.

“About 60,000 Chinese tourists will visit Thailand in January, with another 90,000 in February and 150,000 in March,” said Thanes Phetsuwan, TAT deputy governor of marketing for Asia-Pacific.

By the end of the year, TAT says 5 million Chinese tourists will have visited Thailand.

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*post updated to clarify ‘age 18 and over’, added new requirement for unvaccinated tourists to take test on arrival.

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