Last update: March 1, 2021
Q: I am a permanent resident permit holder in Thailand. What happens if I cannot return to Thailand due to COVID travel-related restrictions?
A: For an alien who has been permitted to take up residency in the Kingdom in accordance with Section 48 of the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979) and has made evidence of notification to leave the Kingdom in order to re-enter within one year in accordance with Section 50 of the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979), the period for re-entry shall be extended beyond one year. Once the COVID-19 situation is resolved, the alien shall promptly re-enter Thailand within the period of time specified by the Immigration Bureau.
Permanent residence permit holders – who have already obtained an endorsement before leaving Thailand but are unable to return to Thailand before the expiration date of the one-year period for their return (a requirement to retain their residence status) – have been granted an automatic extension.
Q: What is the status on the Royal Thai Government’s visa amnesty?
A: On September 30, 2020, the Royal Thai Government officially approved a grace period until October 31, 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.
According to verbal communication from the Royal Thai Government’s Immigration Bureau, non-Thai nationals can visit any Thai Immigration office to request a 60-day extension of stay. Thai Immigration will not require a letter from the Embassy as part of the extension request, so the U.S. Embassy and Consulate General Chiang Mai will no longer provide letters of support for Thai visa extensions. For more information about applying for Thai visa extensions, please visit www.immigration.go.th or contact the Thai Immigration Bureau.
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 in Bangkok or Consulate General in Chiang Mai 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: Yes. The Royal Thai Government recently issued the following guidance. “As one of the countries listed for Visa Exemption and Visa on Arrival, U.S. Passport Holders are not required to obtain a visa when entering Thailand for tourism purposes and will be permitted to stay in Thailand for a period not exceeding 30 days on each visit (in process of being extended to 45 days by the government of Thailand) or 15-day stays if arriving by land-crossing and the period of stay may not be extended after that. However please note that with the visa exemption scheme, travelers still need to obtain the Certificate of Entry (COE) in order to enter Thailand. Please check here for more information.”
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 have resumed normal operations.
If you have a question about appointments for passport, CRBA, and notarial services, please review our scheduling website here for more information.
Q: Are there flights out of Thailand?
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. 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.
The few remaining flight routes are subject to cancellation without notice. 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 repay to be eligible for another U.S. passport. If you need financial assistance in order to return immediately to the United States, please email the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok at email@example.com or the Consulate General in Chiang Mai at ACSCHN@state.gov.
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/.
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. 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.