By Uglobal Staff
Thailand has taken key steps to ease up COVID-related visa restrictions on foreign travelers this month, including forwarding the deadline for short term visa extensions as well as allowing vaccinated travelers from dozens of countries unquarantined access to the country.
Starting from July 1, Thailand has begun implementing its "No Quarantine" Phuket Sandbox program, which allows vaccinated foreign travelers from 69 countries, including the U.S., the UK, Turkey, China, almost every EU and gulf states to arrive directly in Phuket Island without the need for going into a 14-day long quarantine at designated, and unpaid for, accommodations.
Such foreign travelers would, however, need to stay on the island for at least 14 days before being allowed to visit other parts of the Southeast Asian country. They would also need to undergo COVID tests, pre-arrival and post arrival.
Travelers from such exempted list of countries could either come in on short-term tourist visas, which are valid for up to 90 days, or via the Thai Elite visa program, which allows long-term stays of up to 20 years.
Thailand earlier this month also announced that visas of foreigners in the country who were unable to return to their countries of origin because of the pandemic would have until Sept. 27 this year to apply for a 60-day renewal of their visas; previously, Thai authorities had set July 27 as the deadline for extending these short-term visas.
Unvaccinated foreign travelers are also allowed in the country via Phuket, but they would have to quarantine themselves inside their rooms at designated hotels for 14-days on top of all the other COVID-related measures; they would also have to pay for the entire duration of the quarantine.
In any case, all foreign travelers are also required to a show two more things on top of their COVID-related tests and vaccination proof: a special document titled as Certificate of Entry, which is issued by Thai embassies and consulates certifying that all requirements were met before boarding of flight from abroad; and a health insurance coverage that states that it is worth at least $100,000 and would cover complications occurring from COVID-19.
Thailand’s latest measures should be seen as part of a worldwide emerging trend that has seen several countries, including Turkey, the UK, and several EU states such as Portugal, Spain, Italy etc. come up with unique solutions to attract foreigners, particularly tourists and digital nomads in order to give a boost to their COVID-hit economies. The EU launched its unique COVID Digital Certificate just before the peak summer month of July in order to make the countries more attractive and safer for travel during the pandemic.
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