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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawAre Thai Borders Effectively Sealed Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Are Thai Borders Effectively Sealed Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the question of the sealing up of the Thai borders. Is Thailand sealing up its borders? 

Well there are various articles that I have read that have various things to say about this. A recent article titled: More Border Closures in Fight Against Virus. “Interior Ministry has ordered most border provinces to leave only one international checkpoint open as the country tries to block arrivals to contain the Coronavirus outbreak that has caused a sharp jump in cases this week”.  Quoting further: "General Anupong has given the Governor's full authority, and I want to be clear on this,  has given the Governors,  that is the Governors of the provinces that directly border these international boundaries, full authority to seal off their premises by shutting all checkpoints if they consider the COVID-19 situation has worsened in their areas." So that is actually a pretty big deal.  So we could see where one checkpoint was open and then it suddenly closed because the local Governor feels that there are exigent circumstances and it just needs to be done.

A further article from the Bangkok Post, March 19. Article is titled: Immigration Denies Rumours of Border Closures with Cambodia.  I didn't necessarily need to quote anything specifically in here. It is a good article. All these articles I quote, please read them. There is much more information in there. I am just sort of dealing with one specific strand that is in these. 

One thing I noted on here is it appears that they are going to be going down to one checkpoint at each border and it looks like local nationals, so Thai and Khmer at the Cambodian border, Thailand and Laos at the Laos border, Thai and Myanmar citizens at that border, and Thais and Malaysians may have a little bit of access to being able to go over and back across that border but I think foreign nationals specifically from for example the Western countries or what we would call expats, Farang, tourists, those folks probably are going to be treated differently under the circumstances so I don't think it is particularly prudent to believe that one can just go to one of these borders and sort of negotiate oneself across and back or simply across. For example Cambodia has made restrictions on foreign nationals entering their country for example Americans are currently being barred from entering Cambodia. I believe UK nationals are also being barred as well as a lot of other nationalities. Laos seems to have put up some restrictions and it remains to be seen when these restrictions are going to be pulled. 

So the thing to take away from this video is it is not sealed. I don't think that is the correct term but is it practically feasible to travel over one of the land borders under one of these situations if one comes from a Western country and is using a Western passport? I think as a practical matter, “no it is not going to be feasible” and so folks should plan accordingly. On top of that, it is going to get rather more difficult to get into Thailand than it has been in the past via air at least again for the immediately foreseeable future. Quoting from the article: More Border Closures in Fight Against Virus. That is March 20th, 2020 from the Bangkok Post,  Quoting directly:  "The country has already imposed a de facto ban on most international flights by issuing regulations that are deliberately bewildering and almost impossible for a normal traveler to fulfill. They include a requirement for a medical certificate stating that the person is free of COVID-19. I put a version of that up before. I will put that up again real quick here so you can see that. This is actually from the Thai Airways website. That is their example medical certificate. I would urge those who are interested in this to read these articles further. Effectively, with the new rules put on for medical certification as well as certain insurance requirements, getting into Thailand through an air border security checkpoint,  even boarding a plane is going to prove difficult if you don't have the documentation, if not impossible. It is going to need to be presented again at Thai Immigration. In short, Thai Immigration is taking this stuff really seriously and this is actually happening also my understanding under the Civil Aeronautics Law as well as Immigration protocol. 

So this is happening on many multiple levels, many different governmental authorities are cooperating in this endeavor here in Thailand and as a practical matter, getting into Thailand at least for the moment is going to be rather difficult. I do think this is going to be lifted. I don't know exactly when; it remains to be seen. we will certainly update you on this channel when it does and we will make periodic updates as the overall situation evolves.