Thailand Pass or Certificate of Entry: Clearing confusion for travelers
When Thailand opened its doors to vaccinated travelers from 63 nations this month, it also launched a new system for them to gain entry.
From November 1, tourists flying into Thailand are required to carry a Thailand Pass instead of a Certificate of Entry (COE). And as of November 4, more than 65,000 people had applied for the pass and 12,607 had been approved.
What is Thailand Pass?
This document is required for both Thai nationals and foreigners who are flying into Thailand, regardless of the scheme they are traveling under. At present, people can land in the country under three schemes – Test & Go (Quarantine-Free Entry), Sandbox (Relaxed Quarantine Rules for the fully vaccinated), or the Alternative Quarantine System.
The Thailand Pass only applies to people arriving by air. Those entering via land or sea need to present a COE.
Confusion for COE holders
News about Thailand Pass replacing the COE was circulated widely before its official launch, much to the confusion of many planning trips to Thailand. Some tourists were so confused that they aired their frustration on web boards, asking what it is they really need – a Thailand Pass or a COE.
“I am planning a trip to Thailand on November 4 but have some confusion regarding visas/COE/Thailand Pass,” wrote one foreigner, who had applied for a COE in late October but did not receive one. “Should I be applying for a Thailand Pass instead?”
What the Foreign Ministry says
Those who have already applied for and received a COE can still use it to enter Thailand, according to the Foreign Ministry. However, if their application for a COE has not yet been approved, they must seek a Thailand Pass instead.
COE applicants at the pre-approval stage must submit the remaining documents by November 7 to get an approved COE that can be used in place of Thailand Pass.
How to get Thailand Pass
To get a Thailand Pass, visit http://tp.consular.go.th and follow the instructions provided. Beware of phishing websites like www.thailandpass.org. It looks credible but is in no way connected to the government. Cyber-thieves are reportedly using these websites to steal information from Thailand Pass applicants.
Those registering for a Thailand Pass are required to provide several documents, though the types required depend on the entry scheme they have opted for.
So far, people from 63 territories – including China, Hong Kong, Germany, Myanmar, Singapore, the UK and the US – can enter Thailand without undergoing 14-day quarantine. This is provided they have had their second shot of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before flying and tested negative using the RT-PCR method no more than 72 hours before boarding the flight. This scheme is called Test & Go.
Those arriving under Test & Go are required to submit a copy of their passport, vaccination certificate, minimum insurance coverage of US$50,000, proof of hotel reservation for the first night, and Thai visa if applicable.
Documents required for travelers under the Sandbox Program are largely the same. This scheme offers relaxed quarantine rules for those visiting Thailand’s 17 “blue zone” areas, including Bangkok, Krabi, Pattaya, Phuket and Phang Nga. The only difference is that they need to show a hotel reservation for at least seven days.
Those who haven’t been vaccinated can arrive under the Alternative Quarantine scheme, provided they have booked at least 10 days in an alternative quarantine hotel.
What about passengers in transit?
Air passengers who need to change flights in Thailand are not required to hold a Thailand Pass. However, they are required to produce a negative RT-PCR test result taken no more than 72 hours ago and insurance coverage of at least $50,000.
By Thai PBS World’s General Desk