Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Thailand (April 8, 2020)
Event: Automatic Extension of Tourist Visas; Transportation Out of Thailand; Flight Options from Phuket; Suspension of All Passport Services, Except Emergency Passports
Tourist Visas Expiring on/after March 26 Extended
The Ministry of Interior announced today that tourists (including U.S. citizens) who hold visas expiring on or after March 26 will benefit from an automatic 30-day extension. There is no need to apply for the extension at a local immigration office.
Transportation Out of Thailand
We strongly advise temporary visitors in Thailand to arrange for immediate return to the United States while there is still an opportunity.
U.S. citizens who wish to return to the United States should make commercial arrangements as soon as possible unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. The U.S. government does not anticipate arranging repatriation flights from Thailand at this time. Such flights are a last resort, only considered after all commercial flight options are exhausted. U.S. citizens are charged the fair market value for the transportation (normally at least the cost of a full-fare economy ticket.)
If you are having difficulty booking a flight back to the United States for any reason, including financial, please contact U.S. Embassy Bangkok immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org OR U.S. Consulate General Chiang Mai at email@example.com.
All flight routes are subject to cancellation without notice, and many flights are heavily booked. Hub countries with connections to the United States are also imposing increasingly strict requirements. 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.
There are currently no government restrictions or requirements for U.S. citizens departing Thailand or entering the United States.
U.S. citizens who are considering returning to the United States are urged to work with airlines to make travel arrangements while flights are still available. U.S. citizens should consider booking flights to major points of entry into the United States and then arrange for further domestic travel upon arrival.
There are no longer international flights departing from Chiang Mai International Airport. Due to additional airlines canceling domestic flight operations, this week there is an average of two flights per day from Chiang Mai International Airport to Bangkok.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has country-specific airport information available here.
Thai Domestic Travel Restrictions
Travelers should be prepared for domestic travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice that may make travel to the airport in Thailand difficult. Some provinces have established checkpoints where authorities many conduct health inspections or require travelers to have a valid reason to enter or pass through the province. Chiang Mai province requires all foreign travelers entering the province to submit to a mandatory 14-day quarantine at their residence or other accommodation chosen by the provincial government. Local authorities are implementing new restrictions with little or no advance notice. Today, U.S. citizens reported difficulty leaving Phuket province by road.
Options for forms of domestic travel (including airplanes, buses, public vans, and trains) are also decreasing throughout Thailand. In Chiang Mai, all inter-provincial bus and train services are cancelled until April 30. Some private car services are still offering transportation between provinces of from Chiang Mai to Bangkok.
Phuket International Airport Closure
The Provincial Government of Phuket confirmed the closure of the Phuket International Airport from 12:01 a.m. on April 10 to 11:59 p.m. on April 30, 2020. There are two domestic flights per day and one international flight from Phuket.
International: The only remaining option is Qatar Airways today, Wednesday, April 8. Book directly with them at https://www.qatarairways.com/en-us/homepage.html .
Domestic (to Bangkok only): Travelers should contact NokAir (+66 02 088 8955) or Thai VietJet Air (+66 02 089 1909) directly for information on ticket availability or visit the respective ticket counters at the Phuket International Airport. They can also contact the Phuket Airport Information Desk at +66 76 351 122.
Discontinuation of Mail-In Passport Renewal
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Passport centers have suspended processing and shipping overseas photo-digitized full validity tourist passports to all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. As a result, adult passport renewal by mail service has been suspended until further notice. Please be aware we will not be able to process any mail-in passport applications. We do still have the ability to produce an emergency photo digitized passport which is valid for one year. If you have previously applied for a passport or citizenship service, you should expect significant delays receiving your passport and your citizenship evidence documents. If you have an emergency request, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (Bangkok) OR email@example.com (Chiang Mai).
A nation-wide curfew is currently in effect from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.. Except for emergency medical care and travel to and from the airport, U.S. citizens should remain in their residences and hotel rooms during those hours.
Hotels Suspend Operations
Many hotels in Thailand have announced that they are suspending operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many major hotels in Chiang Mai are closed. Hotels that suspend operations may ask guests to leave immediately or guests will be transferred to government-sponsored accommodation at their own expense. Travelers should be prepared for further hotel closures throughout Thailand with little or no advance notice.
Royal Thai Government COVID Information
Please visit the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s website for updated information. Additional information about restrictions across Thailand can be found at the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Disease Control COVID-19 website.
Key Points on COVID-19:
- Widespread ongoing transmission of a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring globally.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential international travel.
- Older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions are at increased risk for severe disease.
- There may be limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas of Thailand.
- In the future, U.S. residents may have difficulty returning to the United States.
- Travelers should avoid contact with sick people and wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Thai regulations now require the wearing of face masks in public.
- All international travelers should stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing.
For more the most up-to-date information visit the CDC page on Novel Coronavirus and the CDC Travelers Health Page for travelers to Thailand. Information is also available through the World Health Organization.
Actions to Take:
- Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.
- For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, please see the CDC’s latest recommendations.
- Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.
- Check with your airlines, cruise lines, or travel operators regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
- Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in Thailand.
- Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.
- Visit the Kingdom of Thailand’s Ministry of Public’s Health English-language COVID-19 page for updates on the situation in Thailand.
- U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Thailand
Telephone: +66 2 205 4049
+66 2 205 4000 (after hours)
American Citizens Services
- U.S. Consulate General Chiang Mai, Thailand (serving U.S. citizens in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kamphaengphet, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Petchabun, Phayao, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phrae, Sukhothai, Tak, and Uttaradit provinces)
Telephone: +66 053 107 700
+66 2 205 4000 (after hours)
- State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
- Thailand Country Information
- Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts.
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