Travelling to Thailand during Corona and current restrictions

This experience is based on Mr. Jonas Lindholm from Business in Siam Company Limited personal experience travelling from Sweden to Thailand in August 2020.

Please be noted that the procedures may be different in each country, so always consult the Royal Thai Embassy in your country to get the proper and updated information.

1. Pre-conditions

First, understand that all commercial flights are banned from landing in Thailand at present. If you search for flights on the internet, you will find available flights in the near future but those will be cancelled as long as the flight ban remains. If you book your own flight you will end up with a lot of hazzle to get your money back.

So, the only way to get on a flight is to get a “Certificate of Entrance” issued by the Royal Thai Embassy in the country where you are. In Sweden, you can contact the Thai embassy in Stockholm or the consular in Gothenburg.

You must have some of the below mentioned visa and requirements to apply;

  1. Business visa & Work permit
  2. O-Visa (family visa)
  3. Permanent resident status
  4. Elite Visa

If you have any of the above, you can apply for a “Certificate of Entrance” (CoE) to Thailand and a seat on a repatriation flight.

If you don’t, just forget it. You simply have to wait until Thailand opens up their borders again.

2) How to apply

Contact the embassy, they are often very busy on the phone and do not always reply through email, so the best way is to visit the embassy and talk to them during their business hours.

They will check that you fulfill the pre-conditions mentioned above and let you fill in a declaration form.

Thereafter they will request more documentation as I will describe further on.

**Keep a copy of the declaration form, you will need it onwards.**

3) Supplementary documents

In my case, having Business Visa & Work permit, the embassy later requested more supporting documents such as;

  • Employment contract
  • Company registration of the employer

4) Visa extension

In my case, my Visa was close to expiring so I had to apply for a new Business Visa. This required more documents such as;

  • The application form can be downloaded from the embassy’s homepage: http://thaiembassy.se/en/visa/visa-application-form/
  • Invitation letter from the employer
  • Copy of my work permit
  • Tax declarations and receipt
  • New taken photographs
  • Paid application fee to the embassy
  • My passport in original
  • Postage fee to return my passport

In my case, I was in the south of Sweden, 700 km away from the embassy but I did not have to visit the embassy, even though it required some work to prepare all documents.

The application form, Passport, and photos had to be posted in original to the embassy. All other documents were emailed to the embassy.

5) Alternative State Quarantine Hotel (ASQ)

All people Thai or Non-Thai nationals are required to first stay 14 days in strict quarantine when arriving in Thailand and during the quarantine period pass two negative Corona tests and daily temperature checks. These 14 days are counted only as full days which means you will stay 15 nights.

Thai nationals can stay in a state quarantine while Non-Thais have the only option to stay at one of the roughly 40 licensed “Alternative State Quarantine hotels” or ASQ. You must book and pay for the ASQ yourself and present a booking confirmation to the embassy.

This was one of the trickiest parts of the process, mainly because the embassy could not confirm the flight date but anyhow required a booking confirmation. So, I did a booking based on my own guessing and made sure that the hotel accepted to change the date or refund if they didn’t have available room at the new date.

Most of the listed ASQs were fully occupied so that took days of phone calls, emailing, and LINE conversations before I finally could make a booking. In my case price was 35,000 baht for 2 weeks of quarantine including food, airport transportation, and corona tests. This is in the lower price range, there are more exclusive alternatives for 100,000 baht and more.

Later when my flight date was confirmed I asked the ASQ to change my date but they didn’t have any rooms available that date. So, I had to start searching again for another available ASQ hotel. At this time, it was even more occupied and started to get stressed that I now had a flight but not a room for quarantine.

Below the official Facebook page lists all available ASQ hotels and notifies when newly licensed hotels are listed, this helped me a lot. I decided to monitor this Facebook page for basically 24 hours per day and as soon as a new hotel popped up, I called them directly, so I was probably their first guest booking with them.

The Alternative State Quarantine Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Alternative-State-Quarantine-105755234490444/

**Send the ASQ booking confirmation to the embassy.**

6) Insurance

Another requirement to get the Certificate of Entrance is to have Travel-/Health insurance that covers Covid-19 up to at least 100.000 US dollars. This insurance shall be valid for at least the same periods as your visa.

Depending on your situation there are different alternatives;

  • If you have an employment agency that provides you with health insurance, ask your existing insurance company to issue a confirmation letter saying that you are insured under a policy that covers Covid-19 up to 100.000 USD.
  • If you need to buy separate insurance you may contact a Travel insurance broker in your home country. In Sweden, I was in contact with https://www.gouda-rf.se. However, they could not help me because I do not have my registered residence in Sweden
  • If you cannot get Covid-19 insurance in your home country your option is to get one from an insurance broker in Thailand.

**Send the insurance certificate to the Embassy.**

7) Flight ticket

In my case, I was booked on a repatriation flight with Thai Airways departing from Kastrup Airport Copenhagen/Denmark. The repatriation flights are all one-way-tickets, you cannot buy a return ticket. The cost was 7,400 DKK, roughly 10,000 SEK.

I received payment instructions from the embassy for how to do the transfer to Thai Airways Denmark. A few days after I received a confirmation of the payment and the ticket was issued. Print the flight ticket.

8) Covid-19 test & “Fit to fly certificate”

There are two doctor’s certificate you need to prepare yourself without the embassy’s support and involvement;

  1. Fit to fly certificate
  2. Covid-19 certificate

Both above certificates must be a maximum of 72 hours old at departure. I was informed that those 72 hours are counted from the time stamp when the Covid-19 sample is taken (not time stamp for the lab test or when the certificate is issued).

This became an issue for me because I was flying out on a Sunday and the clinics normally don’t work on weekends. And above that, the clinics in southern Sweden could not guarantee an answer within 24 hours. So, I found out that there where two possible clinics I could use;

Of course, the Airport doctor was the most convenient for me who was flying from Copenhagen, even though expensive, 4.000 SEK for the two certificates together.

9. Certificate of Entrance – CoE

When you have supplied the embassy with all documents (except the doctor’s certificates), the embassy will issue your Certificate of Entrance and send it to you by e-mail. You must prepare a color print the CoE certificate

10. Documents to prepare before the flight

  • Color print all documents you have received by e-mail
  • Scan all documents you have in original
  • I was recommended to have 3 sets of all documents prepared before the flight (in case they keep documents both at check-in and arrival) but that showed not to be needed. The only document they kept was the CoE which the authorities kept at arrival in Bangkok.

You shall have the following documents prepared as above before check-in;

  1. Flight ticket
  2. Certificate of entry CoE
  3. Insurance certificate
  4. Doctor’s Covid-19 certificate
  5. Doctor’s Fit to Fly certificate
  6. Declaration form
  7. ASQ Booking

At the check-in counter at the airport you need to bring and present all the listed documents above, if not complete, they will not let you on board.

11. Conclusion

All together I spent roughly 30.000 SEK/110.000 THB to get myself back to Thailand, and then I must spend 2 weeks here in strict quarantine. The two weeks before the flight, I spent lots of time on investigation, information search, travels to Stockholm, phone calls, e-mails, etc.

All documents I received had to be reviewed in detail and I found many errors that had to be corrected several times.

The quarantine stays here means I spend 23 hours per day in my room. Luckily there is Wi-Fi so Facebook and Netflix are heavily used. Phone calls with friends is also a common activity. I have at present done half-time so starting to count down soon.

In my case, I had business reasons to go back, if not, and with the experience, I have made today, I doubt, I had done it.

12. Other useful links & tips

Make sure you have;

  • a well-working color printer available at home
  • a Skype phone number or similar so you can make cheap phone calls to Thailand
  • or a Thai assistant who can support you with the ASQ booking or needed documents from Thailand

Essential links:

Click as below for listed hotels in English:

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