Last update: 10 September 2020
Q: What is the status on the Royal Thai Government’s visa amnesty?
A: On July 29, the Royal Thai Government officially approved a grace period until September 26, 2020 for persons in Thailand in temporary visa status (of all visa types) to depart the country. The measure was published on that date in the Royal Thai Gazette. The grace period further extends the automatic visa extension that was first announced in late March due to Covid-related travel difficulties. In light of this decision by the Royal Thai Government, visa extension letters from the U.S. Embassy are not required to remain in Thailand between now and September 26. After that date, normal thirty-day extensions may be available for individuals who can demonstrate compelling reasons for not being able to depart Thailand. Those decisions will be made by Royal Thai Immigration officers on a case-by-case basis. You should make plans to leave Thailand before the September 26 deadline or risk being in violation of Thai immigration law. If you wish to request a letter from the U.S. Embassy to accompany your application for a 30-day extension past the September 26 extension, please click on this link to complete this form to request a letter. Please note the Royal Thai government is under no obligation to extend short-term visas and may end the practice at any time. If your request is denied or you do not wish to change to an appropriate long-term visa category, you should begin making plans to depart Thailand as soon as possible. Please contact the U.S. Embassy if you need financial assistance to depart Thailand.
Q: Where can I find information about traveling to neighboring countries, then returning to Thailand, during the COVID-19 crisis?
A: At this time, entry into neighboring countries and back into Thailand remains extremely restricted. For verified information about the COVID-19 situation in other countries, please visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html
Q: Can I enter Thailand?
A: Most foreign nationals remain barred from entering Thailand. The Royal Thai Government has also extended its ban on inbound international passenger flights until further notice. The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) announced on June 29, 2020 flights carrying the following types of passengers will be allowed into Thailand:
- Thai nationals.
- Persons with exemption or persons being considered, permitted, or invited by the Prime Minister, or the head of responsible persons accountable for resolving state of emergency issues to enter the Kingdom, as necessary. Such consideration, permission or invitation may be subject to specified conditions and time limits.
- Non-Thai nationals who are a spouse, parent, or child of a Thai national.
- Non-Thai nationals who hold a valid certificate of residence, or permission to reside in the Kingdom.
- Non-Thai nationals who hold a valid work permit or allowed to work in the Kingdom, including their spouse or children.
- Carriers of necessary goods subject to immediate return after completion.
- Crew members who are required to travel into the Kingdom as part of their duties and have a specified date and time for return.
- Non-Thai nationals who are students of educational institutions approved by Thai authorities, including the parents or guardians of the students.
- Non-Thai nationals in need of medical treatment in Thailand, and their attendants. However, this shall not include medical treatment for COVID–19.
- Individuals in diplomatic missions, consular affairs, international organizations, government representatives, foreign government agencies working in Thailand, or individual in other international agencies as permitted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including their spouse, parents, or children.
- Non-Thai nationals who are permitted to enter the Kingdom under a special arrangement with a foreign country.
The Royal Thai Government has not yet clarified how non-Thai travelers approved for entry can travel to Thailand. Those seeking to enter Thailand must request a Certificate of Entry from the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate. All arrivals are subject to a 14-day quarantine which can be spent at a government quarantine facility, alternative state quarantine, or self-quarantine at home depending on the traveler’s status. The only aircraft approved to enter the Kingdom of Thailand include the following:
- State or military aircraft
- Emergency landing flights
- Technical landing flights without disembarkation
- Humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights
- Repatriation flights
- Cargo flights
U.S. citizens seeking entry into the Kingdom of Thailand who meet the established criteria should contact the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate closest to their current location for more information on gaining entry to Thailand. Please note that more emergency measures further restricting movements and activities in Thailand may be announced at any time.
Q: When will the American Citizen Services (ACS) unit re-open for non-emergency passport, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, and notarial services?
A: The ACS units in Bangkok and Chiang Mai are accepting mail-in passport applications and are now open for appointments for passport, notary, and Certificate of Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) services. Please review the Make an Appointment webpage for more information.
Q: Are there still flights out of Thailand even though there is a ban on incoming international flights?
A: The following airlines are currently offering outbound flights from Bangkok with connections to the United States: Korean Air, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Japan Airlines, and Air Asiana. Japan Airlines announced further reductions in service from Bangkok to Tokyo effective immediately. All Nippon Airways (ANA) offers flights from Bangkok to Tokyo, but connecting flights to the United States require you to change airports in Japan, which is not allowed under Japan’s current travel restrictions. There are currently no international flights departing from Chiang Mai International Airport or Phuket International Airport. U.S. citizens should also consider the need to travel from their current location in Thailand to Bangkok in order to catch an international flight.
There is no requirement for quarantine, COVID testing, or other documentation to depart Thailand and arrive in the United States. Check with individual states for state-specific requirements. The few remaining flight routes are subject to cancellation without notice, and many flights are heavily booked. For verified information about the COVID-19 situation in other countries, please visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html.
Q: What do I do if I need assistance to depart Thailand?
A: If you are a U.S. citizen who does not have access to funding, you may be eligible for a repatriation loan. A repatriation loan is only for immediate travel to the United States and cannot be used to remain in Thailand. The Embassy can use the repatriation loan to purchase a ticket to the United States on the next available flight. The loan can also be used to pay for lodging and food associated with the impending travel. This is a U.S. Government loan program which you will have to pay back in order to be eligible for another U.S. passport. If you need financial assistance in order to return immediately to the United States, please fill out the form here to begin the process.
Q: I am a U.S. citizen or U.S. legal permanent resident. Will I be allowed into the United States?
A: U.S. citizens are allowed entry into the United States. The presidential proclamations restricting entry to the United States for certain foreign nationals do not apply to U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. U.S. passengers that have been in certain countries, not including Thailand, must travel through select airports where the U.S. Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures. See the DHS website for further details: https://www.dhs.gov/.
You may be screened when you arrive in the United States. Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the latest health recommendations for travelers returning to the United States. For more information please refer to the following websites:
Q: How do I get my medications into Thailand?
A: We are unable to assist you with obtaining medications in Thailand or arranging for importation of medications only available in the United States. Due to the unreliability of flights we recommend you obtain your medication locally if possible. Many medications are available through reputable pharmacies such as Boots or Watsons. Some may need to change to a reliable alternative medication available in Thailand as recommended by their physician.
If the medication you need is not available locally and is critical to your health and well-being, then we recommend you return to the United States immediately as we have no way of determining when this crisis will be over or normal flight schedules will resume. There are currently outbound commercial flights available with connections to U.S. cities.
Q: Thailand seems to be reopening, is there still a state of emergency?
A: Yes, Thailand is still under a national state of emergency, and a nation-wide curfew between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. remains in place. Thai law controlling emergency situations gives the Prime Minister’s Office broad authorities, and more emergency measures that further restrict movements and activities in Thailand could be announced at any time. Under the state of emergency, provincial governments are also empowered to institute any legal measure they determine necessary to combat the spread of the virus.
Q: Where do I find the latest information on COVID-19?
A: U.S. citizens in Thailand should refer to Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health and the U.S. CDC for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 response. U.S. citizens can contact the Thai Department of Disease Control directly at 1422 for information on COVID-19 testing facilities and treatment locations. They have English-language staff. All public hospitals will take COVID-19 patients. Private hospitals have been asked to treat COVID-19 patients as well, but it is up to the hospital. In both cases, payment must be made prior to treatment. The U.S. Embassy is unable to pay for medical treatment.