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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Thai Immigration Policy Update

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Thai Immigration Policy. 

This is an overview video. We have been trying to keep up-to-date with as much information as we possibly can for our viewers so people are as aware as they can be on what is going on with respect to the evolution of Thai Immigration Policy in reaction to this Coronavirus pandemic. 

In a recent article from the Bangkok post,that is, the article is dated March 20, 2020, the article is titled: More Border Closures in Fight Against Virus. 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 of a Medical Certificate stating that the person is free of COVID-19, another name for the Coronavirus.” Now I don't know that I necessarily would have used quite the language that they used; they got a little bit dramatic there. I will say that folks are a little bit bewildered by these new policy guidelines and these new rules coming down the pike.

Governments across the world are having a hard time dealing with this and implementing policy and implementing protocols to deal with this; this is not a Thailand specific thing. That being stated, yes this is pretty radically changing the Visa apparatus at least for the foreseeable future. Now it might only be for the immediately foreseeable future. I don't think that this is going to be the case for a prolonged period of time, but time will tell. 

So the thing to take away from this video, yes things are changing; there is a new medical examination requirement. We are going to make another video on this channel shortly that will come up here as soon as we can get it up but I am going to go ahead and put this up for people. This is the medical certificate for general passengers. Now to be clear, this is being required by the airline so just to get on a flight one needs to have a medical exam to show that they are COVID-19 free and by “one”, I mean a foreign national trying to come to Thailand needs to be able to show that show a certificate that they are COVID-19 free and there is also an insurance requirement that needs to show that an individual has coverage for up to $100,000 in the event of being infected with COVID-19. So, there are some rather large requirements, substantial requirements, associated with this COVID-19 outbreak. I do not suspect that the Immigration apparatus is going to require this forever; this is just temporary I think as we are dealing with this matter as it has just come up.

Now some other things. These checks seem to be required so airlines are going to require the certifications so you can get on the plane and the insurance requirement as well as they are going to want to see a certificate by Immigration as well. The insurance requirement seems to be more of an immigration issue that an airline related issue but there are other issues associated with the borders. We are going to make other videos on this channel specific to border runs but a few things that I thought were interesting were some headlines. Just Bangkok Post:  Immigration Denies Rumors of Border Closures with Cambodia. That was published March 19th. This is from The headline is Laos Suspends all Type of Visas For Foreign Tourists. Again March 20, More Border Closures in Fight Against Virus. We already quoted from that article. The borders are effectively being sealed up. Now they are not being sealed per se. It is not a hard border where no one can cross at all. There are going to be border crossings but it appears there is only going to be limited border crossings and limited numbers of people who are even going to be allowed to cross. It looks to me as though local nationals from the neighboring country and Thailand will be able to cross I don't think it is safe to presume that Farang are going to be able to cross the land borders at least for the immediately foreseeable future although who is to say but I doubt it. 

So the thing to take away from this video getting in is getting more difficult and by the time this video is up I think it will have gotten more difficult. These rules have yet to actually fully be implemented but it looks like this is what is going to be happening. I don't think this is going to be the case forever and in fact I think that many ,especially in the tourist industry in Thailand, are hoping that this has a very short duration but these restrictions are being put in place to deal with this Coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully, I believe it is everyone's hope that this will stem the spread of this virus and we will be able to get on with our lives after we have gotten this thing under control.

One final thing, and we have already done a video on this, Thai Immigration is making some provisions for providing some amnesty for people who are overstaying in Thailand. That being means stated if you have the ability to extend your status in Thailand lawfully, it will be a good idea to do so. I think it is a very good idea for those who are already in Thailand who can, they have some sort of ability to extend their status try to avail yourself of that option. If you don't have any other options, it looks like Thailand is going to least provide some sort of the amnesty with respect to blacklisting and detention regarding overstay because certain people just aren't going to have any choice. They are going to be stuck in overstay at least for a short period of time. I don't know exactly how they are going to deal with you overstay issue but it seems like blacklisting would be pretty Draconian, especially for those who had no choice in being stuck in Thailand. Those who are already on overstay as these rules come into place, well they may be treated differently but folks who went in to overstay as a direct result of this Coronavirus issue, I don't think you need to worry. The situation will get resolved probably by Thai Immigration Authorities after the dust settles on this Coronavirus pandemic and its effect on Thailand.