While Thailand will be simplifying its entry procedures from 1 May 2022 by scrapping on-arrival testing and mandatory hotel isolation for fully vaccinated travellers, the highly-unpopular Thailand Pass survived the cut.
But perhaps not for long. According to a report in the Bangkok Post, Thailand has decided to scrap the Thailand Pass requirement altogether from 1 June 2022, pending approval by the CCSA.
Current Thailand Pass requirements
All travellers to Thailand are currently required to apply for a Thailand Pass, which for the moment is only processing applications for arrival dates up till 30 April 2022.
Registration on Thailand Pass for travelers entering Thailand from 1 May 2022 under new entry measures will be opened from 29 April 2022 onwards (00.01 hrs Thailand time).
-Thailand Pass portal
Applications for arrivals from 1 May 2022 onwards will reopen from 29 April 2022, at 12.01 a.m Thailand time (1.01 a.m Singapore time), and the new simplified form will require:
- Registration of trip details (flight number, port of arrival, date of arrival, estimated date of departure, purpose of trip)
- Passport copy
- Certificate of vaccination
- Proof of insurance (with min. US$10,000 coverage for COVID-19 medical expenses)
While Thailand Pass applications previously required up to 7 days for approval, the simplified version now promises a 2 day turnaround time.
From 29 April 2022, Thailand Pass consideration will take no more than 48 hours (2 days)
-Thailand Pass portal
Thailand Pass entry approval validity was recently extended to +/- 7 days from the original entry date. For example, if your approved entry date is 15 May 2022, you may enter from 8 to 22 May 2022.
Despite these improvements, the fact remains that filling up a Thailand Pass application is a headache and a half. The portal doesn’t have a “come back and finish” option, refuses to accept PDF files, and the travel insurance requirement is finicky to say the least (good luck if your underwriter doesn’t give you a clear, unambiguous one pager stating the amount of COVID coverage).
Thailand Pass to be scrapped?
Well, hopefully by June all this will be at thing of the past. As per The Bangkok Post:
The cancellation of Thailand Pass registration is expected to take place on June 1, with tourists using their TM6 immigration form for vaccine declaration, says the Tourism and Sports Ministry.
After the Test and Go scheme is scrapped from May 1, the removal of Thailand Pass will create a more seamless travel experience and stimulate more travel to the country, said Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.
He said Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul already agreed to terminate the Thailand Pass scheme.
That sounds pretty unambiguous to me, though nothing’s set in stone until the CCSA meets in May, and the Royal Gazette is updated.
Should the Thailand Pass be scrapped, tourists may be required to show proof of vaccination on the standard TM6 immigration form upon arrival (I’m not sure how this would work, since there’s barely any space on the form as it is).
I’m actually fine if the travel insurance requirement remains, since I think no traveller should be without it. However, I’d prefer if the checks were done randomly, or at least at check-in where it’s easier to point out the clause in your policy wording that covers COVID.
THB 300 tourism tax incoming?
In less positive news, Thailand’s plan to collect a THB 300 (S$12) “tourism fee” from international travellers will be submitted for approval within the next two weeks, with a possible introduction by the second half of this year.
This has been mulled since 2019, with THB 34 of the fee going towards providing some basic form of insurance coverage (THB 500,000 for medical expenses is what’s been quoted). Implementation was delayed several times due to COVID, and while the Thai Hotels Association is lobbying to have the fee delayed until at least 2023, it seems like it’ll happen sooner rather than later.
The current taxes on a one-way award redemption from Singapore to Bangkok cost ~S$54, so this fee, if approved, represents a 22% hike in the cash component.
However, airlines will need to bake this fee into their total price when selling cash tickets, so some sharing of the burden might happen.
Recap: Travel to Thailand
Here’s a reminder of how the travel process to Thailand will change from 1 May 2022, under the simplified entry scheme.
|🇹🇭 Thailand Quarantine-Free Entry Requirements|
(from 1 May 2022)
No testing is required for fully vaccinated travellers, which coupled with Singapore’s scrapping of pre-departure testing, makes round-trip travel to Thailand entirely test free.
For those having difficulty keeping up with all the changes, here’s how the process has evolved since the start of this year.
|🇹🇭 Changelog: Travel to Thailand|
|1 Feb 2022|
|1 Mar 2022|
|1 Apr 2022|
|1 May 2022|
Thailand looks likely to scrap its Thailand Pass requirement from 1 June 2022, though we’ll only get official confirmation later in May when the CCSA meets.
If you’re planning to travel to Thailand in June, there’s no harm applying still if you’re kiasu, but given the shorter turnaround time of 48 hours, it might be worth waiting for further updates.