Bye bye 'test and go' scheme
Major travel restrictions are dropped just in time for the summer holidays.
Fantastic news for teachers and expats looking to travel abroad this summer holiday! Whether you’re planning a trip overseas or have family visiting Thailand, travel restrictions are more relaxed than ever.
Having required travelers to apply for a ‘Thailand Pass’ or a ‘Certificate of Entry’ for the past two years, the Kingdom is now dropping most of its entry requirements. I’ll get you up to speed with the latest changes in this article.
What were the requirements for the ‘Test and Go’ scheme?
Fully-vaccinated travelers were previously allowed quarantine-free travel to Thailand under the Test and Go scheme. However, for travelers, it’s a time-consuming process rife with the following requirements:
1) Secure a medical insurance plan that provides at least USD $20,000 coverage. Keep in mind that you're exempted from this if you are a Thai national or an expat enrolled in Thailand’s social security program.
2) Book a 1-night stay at a SHA+ hotel, including airport transfer to the hotel, a PCR test on Day 1, and an antigen test on Day 5
3) Apply for a Thailand Pass. This typically takes around 3 to 5 business days.
4) Take a PCR test within 72 hours of your flight. This requirement has been scrapped as of April 1st, 2022.
Those who tested negative upon their first day of arrival in Thailand were allowed to travel freely in Thailand. However, travelers who tested positive were transferred to hospitals or hospitels (i.e. hotels that were repurposed for travelers to quarantine and receive treatment).
New changes, effective immediately
The Land of Smiles’ Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) announced major changes to the Test & Go scheme, starting May 1st, 2022. With a long list of requirements and the possibility of staying at a hospital if tested positive in an unfamiliar country, no wonder travelers are worried.
For vaccinated travelers, the CCSA hopes to ease their minds by taking the 1-night stay at a SHA+ hotel off the list, as well as the accompanying antigen and PCR tests. In addition, the minimum coverage for medical insurance has been reduced from USD $20,000 to USD $10,000. That said, bear in mind that you’re still highly encouraged to monitor your health conditions and to take a test if you develop COVID-19 symptoms.
Which requirement stays the same?
You’ll still need to register for the Thailand Pass to show proof of vaccination and insurance policy to the immigration authorities, along with the necessary visas, if required. With that taken care of, you will be free to travel anywhere within Thailand.
How about unvaccinated travelers?
Prior to these new changes, unvaccinated travelers were quarantined for 7 days. Nowadays, this period has been shortened to only 5 days*. What’s more, pre-departure or on-arrival PCR tests are no longer required on Day 1.
Here’s what you need if you’re unvaccinated and planning to visit the Kingdom:
1) Secure an insurance policy with at least USD $10,000 in coverage.
2) Apply for a Thailand Pass.
3) Book a 5-night stay at a SHA+ hotel and undergo a RT-PCR test on Day 5.
Note that those with a negative PCR test result uploaded to the Thailand Pass system within 72 hours of travel will be exempted from the 5-day quarantine. I highly suggest doing so if you are unvaccinated and planning a trip to the Kingdom.
If you’d like to talk more about your health insurance options in Thailand or about securing travel insurance or individual insurance, you’re more than welcome to email me at email@example.com or contact my team at Pacific Prime Thailand - a leading health insurance brokerage catering to expats and foreigners in the country.
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