COVID-19 Test Requirement for Travel to the United States
Effective January 26, 2021, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expanding the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test to all air passengers entering the United States. Air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the three calendar days before their flight to the United States departs and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. This applies to all air passengers, two years of age or older, traveling into the United States, including U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. For further information, please refer to the CDC’s website of frequently asked questions regarding the order.
CDC does not recommend getting tested again in the three months after a positive viral test, as long as you do not have symptoms of COVID-19. If you have had a positive viral test in the past three months, and you have met the criteria to end isolation, you may travel instead with documentation of your positive viral test results and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official that states you have been cleared for travel. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.”
Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger. For more information on test results, please refer to the CDC’s guide on Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States.
COVID-19 tests are available at many public and private hospitals throughout Thailand. The Ministry of Public Health has a provided a list of 44 laboratories that conduct COVID-19 testing. U.S. citizens can contact the Thai Department of Disease Control hotline for information on COVID-19 testing facilities by dialing 1422 from within Thailand. A list of medical establishments, laboratories, and professionals in Bangkok, central Thailand, southern Thailand, and northeastern Thailand can be found here. You can find a list for Chiang Mai and northern Thailand here. The U.S. Embassy cannot provide this testing.
U.S. citizens will be required to pay for COVID-19 testing and any COVID-19 care. The COVID-19 test can cost between 2,500 and 10,000 Thai baht. It is often more expensive to be tested at a private hospital. In the event of a positive COVID-19 test result, there are reports of treatment costing over 100,000 Thai baht. The Thai government requires individuals who test positive for COVID-19 in Thailand to be quarantined at specific hospitals and patients will be responsible for related expenses.
Domestic Travel Restrictions in Thailand
Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, the Thai government and provincial governments have enacted a variety of emergency disease control measures. The Thai government has extended its emergency decree until February 28, 2021. A growing number of provinces are categorized by the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) as “red zones” and subject to disease control prevention measures, including the closure of some businesses. Many provinces have begun to tighten entry requirements for people traveling between provinces in Thailand and there are reports of health checkpoints being established at some provincial border crossings.
The Thai government has discouraged interprovincial travel. Travel out of some provinces requires special documentation, including Chantaburi, Chonburi, Trat, Rayong, and Samut Sakhon. Other provinces are requiring arriving travelers from other provinces to quarantine for 14 days. Some airlines and bus lines have announced reductions in service.
Restrictions may be implemented with little or no advance notice and can include a thorough inspection of travelers, mandatory quarantines, or outright prohibition on entry for non-residents. These restrictions will make domestic travel between provinces increasingly difficult.
U.S. citizens are advised to consult relevant Thai government resources and media outlets to understand fully the requirements for entering the province(s) on a travel itinerary. Local restrictions related to COVID-19 are changing quickly, so proactive planning is imperative.
Resources for information on local COVID-19 restrictions include:
- Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT): Updates available on their website (https://www.tatnews.org/category/thailand-tourism-updates/) or by calling the TAT Call Center at +66 2 250 5500 or 1672 from within Thailand.
- Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Updates in English available on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/mfathailand).
- Thai Government Public Relations Department: Updates on their website (https://thailand.prd.go.th/main.php?filename=index) and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/thailandprd/).
- Chiang Mai Province COVID-19 updates: https://www.facebook.com/Chiangmaidatacenter
- Local media.
Actions to Take:
- Research relevant travel restrictions and requirements before embarking on any domestic and international travel;
- Monitor local media and our Embassy website for updates;
- Check your email regularly for further alerts;
- Continue COVID-19 precautions, including mask use and social distancing;
- Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information; and,
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts.
- U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Thailand
American Citizens Services
Telephone: +66 2 205 4049
+66 2 205 4000 (after hours)
Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts.
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- 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