Thailand has made a positive change to its troublesome-yet-mandatory Thailand Pass requirement, extending the validity of entry approval to +/- 7 days from the original entry date. This gives travellers a 15-day window to enter the country
The change takes effect from 18 April 2022 onwards, and applies to all new and existing Thailand Passes, whether for Test & Go, Sandbox or Alternative Quarantine.
Thailand Pass validity extended to 15-day window
Previously, Thailand Passes had a very narrow entry validity. Approved Thailand Passes could be used for entry up to 72 hours after the original registered flight time. For emphasis: this was not +/- 72 hours; it was +72 hours. The intention was to accommodate individuals with flight delays, not those who wanted to move their travel plans forward.
If you wanted to bring forward your entry date, or delay it by more than 72 hours, you’d need to apply for a brand new Thailand Pass and go through the approval cycle again.
From 18 April 2022, Thailand Passes become much more flexible, with entry validity extended to a +/- 7 day window before and after the approved entry date. For example:
- If your approval date is 30 April 2022, you may enter from 23 April to 7 May 2022
- If your entry approval date is 15 May 2022, you may enter from 8 to 22 May 2022
This basically gives you a 15-day window in which to enter Thailand.
If you’re intending to enter on a different date within this 15-day window, you must change the following to coincide with the new period:
- SHA Extra+ hotel booking
- Airport transfer
- Travel insurance coverage
However, you do not need to submit a new application, nor upload any new documents to the Thailand Pass portal. Simply show your existing Thailand Pass QR code and revised documents at check-in, and on arrival to the airport authorities.
The extended flexibility applies to all new and existing Thailand Passes. In other words, even if your Thailand Pass was approved before 18 April 2022, you will enjoy the additional entry flexibility as well.
What’s the future of the Thailand Pass?
The much-maligned Thailand Pass has been beset with phishing scams and security leaks since day one, and although scrapping it remains high on many travellers’ wishlists, that may not be happening as soon as hoped.
While there were rumours that 1 May would see the demise of the Thailand Pass, the always knowledgeable Richard Barrow suggests we’re stuck with the scheme for at least another month.
For what it’s worth, scrapping the Thailand Pass is on the cards, and it’s simply a question of when. Thailand’s endemic COVID roadmap calls for all testing for vaccinated travellers to be scrapped by June, which would make the Thailand Pass practically irrelevant (since there’d be no need to book a SHA Extra+ hotel). Hopefully, it’d then evolve into a simpler online health declaration, or disappear entirely.
If it’s any consolation, the turnaround time for Thailand Passes has notably decreased. When I applied in January, approval took around three days. More recent data points suggest approvals now take <24 hours, though it’s a classic case of YMMV.
Applications for Thailand Passes can be submitted within 2-60 days of departure, and are free-of-charge (beware of lookalike websites that try to levy a fee!). Each Thailand Pass is valid for a single entry.
For a full walkthrough of the application process, refer to the post below.
Travel process to Thailand
|✈️ Test & Go Requirements|
|TAT: Test & Go|
To enter Thailand under the quarantine-free Test & Go scheme, travellers must be fully vaccinated (exemptions apply for those aged 17 and below), purchase travel insurance with COVID-19 medical coverage, book an AQ/SHA Extra+ hotel for at least one night, and apply for a Thailand Pass.
There is no need to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test, but travellers will need to take a PCR test on arrival either en route to the hotel or at the hotel, and isolate until a negative result is received. This typically takes 6-8 hours, though some travellers have reported waits of up to a day.
A further self-administered ART must be done on Day 5 (the day of arrival is Day 1), and the results reported in the MorChana app. This test is not required if you are departing before Day 5.
To learn more about what you can expect on arrival, refer to my Bangkok trip report series below. This trip took place in late February, but the arrival experience at BKK airport will be largely the same for travellers still.
|♻️ Test & Go & Come Back & Test & Go Again|
Singapore-Thailand travel: Total testing costs
|⚕️ Testing: Singapore-Thailand Travel|
|🇹🇭 Thailand||Day 5|
|Free or ~S$5|
|🇹🇭 Thailand||2 days before departure (ART)*||From S$9|
|*Children aged 2 and under exempt. ARTs and ATKs are the same thing.|
Thailand is likely to switch to on-arrival ARTs from May, but until then, you’ll pay about ~S$80 per on-arrival PCR test (this may be included with your Test & Go rate, or added on to a non-Test & Go package/points reservation separately).
The Day 5 test kit will be provided by your Test & Go hotel, or you misplace it you can always use one of your own from Singapore.
Returning to Singapore is significantly simpler now under the Vaccinated Travel Framework, although pre-departure testing is still required. That may also be dropped soon, but in the meantime, Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long Term Passholders are permitted to take a remotely-supervised tele-ART as their pre-departure test.
Travellers to Thailand will now have additional flexibility in terms of their arrival, with Thailand Pass entry approvals now valid for +/- 7 days from their original date. It means you can make minor changes to your plans without having to go through the hassle of reapplying for a new pass, though you will obviously need to change your hotel bookings, airport transfers and insurance to align with the new travel period.
We can also look forward to a further relaxation of requirements from 1 May 2022, with on-arrival ARTs replacing PCRs and the isolation period. The Thailand Pass might be on the chopping board too, but we’ll need to wait for official news after the CCSA meets on 22 April 2022.