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Nightmare scenarios continue in wake of Thailand Pass launch

Nightmare scenarios continue in wake of Thailand Pass launch

PHUKET: While officials are boasting the high number of successful registrations through the Thailand Pass website in order to enter the country, many people are still finding themselves confounded by the lack of information being made available to successfully register for their Thailand Pass permit.

By The Phuket News

Friday 5 November 2021, 02:01PM

Image: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Image: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Thai Department of Consular Affairs was inundated with complaints on Monday by Thais and foreigners unable to register through the web portal,  https://tp.consular.go.th/. The main complaint was the registrants receiving an “API Error”, and not even receiving recognition that their registration had been accepted.

Anucha Nakasai, the Minister attached to the Office of the Prime Minister, on Tuesday announced that “some issues” with people registering through the Thailand Pass website, in order to be issued a permit to enter Thailand as a tourist, had been noticed.

He also said those issues had already been addressed.

Tanee Sangrat, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General of the Department of Information and Spokesman, yesterday (Nov 4) boasted that 65,338 Thailand Pass applications had been received since Monday, with 12,607 applications approved within the same period.

Mr Tanee also acknowledged “some issues” with the system, which he said was mostly due to “external interferences”.

The MFA is now working with the Digital Government Development Agency to constantly improve the system, with the latest feature being the official support on mobile devices, noted a report by state news agency NNT.

However, the slew of complaints are continuing with people still unable to register.

One Phuket expat explained to The Phuket News that he was stuck in London, where he has returned to attend his daughter’s wedding.

“I was not coming here initially as Thailand was a red area for the UK and once this changed so did the requirement for 2 weeks quarantine on arrival. So I immediately booked my flight, then contacted Thai Elite on 8 October to start the process for a COE,” the expat wrote.

“I departed Phuket 3 weeks later on 29 October with the intention of staying 10 days and then returning arriving 9 November. I was double vaxed [sic] with AstraZeneca on 28 June and again 27 August ‒ so well past my 14 day requirement.

“I booked and paid for a Sandbox SHA+ hotel, COVID tests on arrival and day 6 as well as travel insurance. Simple and I thought all OK,” he explained.

“Then the Thai Government announced that the COE would be replaced by a Travel Pass [the Thailand Pass] and declared that those arriving after 8 November would need a Thailand Pass but the registration system would not start until 9:00 am on 1 November. I then received an email rejecting my COE application.

“So I got up at 2:00am in London on Monday (9am Bangkok time) to register for a Thailand Pass. I was concerned with the rules changed, that as I was leaving on 8 November, in just 7 days’ time, I needed maximum time to get the Thailand Pass,” he noted.

“I spent over 9 hours on a keyboard, chat sessions and chatting to people trying to get an application received by MFA. To cut a long story short, the lessons I learnt were"

  • You had to use Google Chrome - other browsers didn’t work
  • Whilst you got an error message “error in API server” you could get around that by downloading the CORS extension for Google Chrome
  • Next it rejected the passport number with the message, ‘Passport number already used’. It seems the field was looking for 12 characters. The solution was adding spaces to get to 12 digits.
  • You have to upload 5 documents into your application in JPEG format only:

a) copy of photo page of passport
b) copy of vaccination certificate for each vax jab
c) the QR code for each vax jab - need to copy and trim just the QR code image
d) evidence of SHA+ accommodation confirmation
e) copy of travel insurance

“Finally I had problems with email. The system responds best to Gmail.com email addresses. I gather it doesn’t respond at all to Hotmail,” he added.

“All up, I have spent almost 15 hours researching and inputting on my laptop. I have made 3 calls and 5 emails to Thai Elite - they can’t help. Apart from having a Thai Elite visa, I also have an APEC card,” he added.

“I visited the Thai Embassy in London and chatted and explained in seeking help. The staff were nice and all I heard was, ‘We know, we know but can’t help as it is managed by MFA in Bangkok.’

Sinea Phuket

“He [the embassy official] confirmed hundreds or thousands globally were having this problem. Those returning so far were the last of those with a COE,” he said.

“If I fail to get a Thailand Pass in time then I have to delay my flight, change the hotel booking and COVID tests, book extra days in a hotel, BUT if I change the date then I have to put in a new application. The application needs definite dates for flight arrivals and hotel bookings ‒ so how long do you allow?” he posed.

“Having started the process a month before my return travel date, I am essentially faced with ever-increasing hurdles. Essentially I picked a date of November 9 a month ago not knowing how crucial one day is.

“I need to be back in Phuket, but if I were a tourist, I would have given up,” he said plainly.

One American who contacted The Phuket News was unable to register, despite the “fixes” given by other travellers, as no official advice has been issued.

“It also looks like their system does not work with Microsoft email systems (Hotmail & outlook),” he noted.

“No submission receipt and no QR code received,” the American confirmed.

One woman who has been trying to register since Monday explained to The Phuket News this morning (Nov 5), “We are a family of 5 people. We are coming from Paris and we are supposed to fly on Sunday [Nov 7].

“When I wanted to apply for the COE at the end of October I was told to wait for Nov 1st and the Thailand Pass. I have submitted my application since Nov 1. I have tried several times. In the end, we managed to get my husband and my eldest daughter a QR code. I still haven’t heard anything for me, because I am submitting my request including dependent children. And it simply doesn’t work!” she wrote.

“They amended their website between yesterday and today, I submitted each time but still no QR code. It is a total nightmare. Any suggestions on where to call, reach? I am desperate to find a solution,” the woman pleaded.

The woman, whose children attend school in Phuket, confirmed she first submitted my application on Monday using a hotmail address. “First I got the API error and then at the end of the day it worked and got the successful green tick screen but never received a confirmation email,” she said.

“Then I read on Facebook that we should use a Gmail address and not a hotmail. So I did it again. It then worked for my daughter, who is older than 12, and my husband. The QR code was received immediately,” she confirmed.

“Then I did mine which includes two children under 12. There was nowhere to input their insurance and got the API error. The next day, about 7 hours later, they had amended the website and I did it again and was able to input the insurance for the kids, but there is still nowhere to include their booking number for the hotel,” she noted.

“Anyhow, it worked and I received the confirmation email. It has been 24 hours since my last successful attempt and I haven’t heard anything from Thailand Pass.

“It is Friday morning here in Paris and we fly Sunday morning, Nov 7, arriving on Nov 8. I am very worried. We need to do our PCR test but still don’t know if I will receive the approval or not.  Are they working 24 hours a day even on weekends? Are they considering the requests depending on the departure date? I hope so,” she added.

UPDATE: Since this story was posted another foreigner unable to register contacted The Phuket News.

“I submitted my pass on the 2/11/2021 after they fixed the site. I got a response after 6 pm on Friday saying rejected due to not enough insurance. I had US$100,000 cover, more than enough. They are obviously not checking correctly.

“Now i submit again with no one to be able to talk to. Very unlikely to get approved intime for my next week holiday. So i will end up losing my flight money and hotel and other expenses i paid for. Because there is no way to chase it up. Very poor system. Very annoyed. They need to fix this."

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Mroc691 | 28 December 2021 - 13:47:40

I've had the exact same problem being rejected after I paid for my hotel my flight my PCR test my confirmation on the hotel absolutely ridiculous the way the Thai government is treating us

christysweet | 07 November 2021 - 17:14:29

I don't have to explain my  perfectly valid opinions- which a perusal through numerous  forums would confirm are actually widely shared.  My reasons for where I reside are  not open  for discussion, but I will say I'm not exploiting locals for sex or any other services. Can you say the same?  Aren't guilt and shame really what trigger the insults? 

Kurt | 07 November 2021 - 17:00:55

@ Fascinated, it is not right to blame foreigners who want to visit Thailand and experience constant a Thai Government failure in establishing a normal logic functional entry procedure. The fascination of Officialdom to ask more than 'just' a insurance, a PCR test, a International QR code, before flying to Thailand + PCR test on arrival, it is bureaucratic idiotism..  

nomad1959 | 07 November 2021 - 12:36:52

@Ash.  My situation was exactly the same as yours.  Having just received my TP approval this morning on Hotmail, check your Hotmail junk folder as that was where my approval was this morning.

nomad1959 | 07 November 2021 - 10:42:07

I just received my Thailand Pass this morning - sent to my “hotmail” email address.
This is probably to the 1st application I made on Tuesday - and now it will be interesting to see if I receive approval to the 2nd attempt I made on Friday using “hotmail” and then the 3rd attempt I made yesterday using a “gmail” address after reading the system had problems accepting “hotmail” ema

Fascinated | 07 November 2021 - 09:59:17

Its an extremely sad reader who can't make the choice between accepting faults in a country they choose to live in or constantly complaining- you know where the airport is. Is there ANYTHING about this country you like?

christysweet | 06 November 2021 - 20:03:51

It is an extremely poor reader who cannot make the correlation between Thailand's incompetence re using a web app for getting into the country  and trying to book a room with a specific feature. It's just indicative of a lazy and poorly trained populace.  

Kurt | 06 November 2021 - 11:24:32

@mr Volkert Laan. The very best and most what you can do is visiting the Thai Embassy in The Hague asap. Also contact the airline you fly with and explain them. That are the two who have to put pressure on 'BKK cyber kindergarten'.

Kamala Pete | 06 November 2021 - 10:31:33

Like PJ I've also enjoyed a "quiet" Phuket - but watching Thai friends lose businesses they worked hard to build has been heartbreaking. Most will not be able to afford a rebuild as leases have been abandoned and equipment sold or lost.

JohnC | 06 November 2021 - 10:14:51

Got to agree with PJ. Last year and this one have been the best years in Phuket for a long time. Thank you Covid. Almost enjoyable to go for a drive nowadays and the beaches are empty, far less bad behaviour from bogan tourists, which Thailand seems to delight in inviting if they have any money to spend. at all Another year of peace and quiet will be something to look forward to.

JohnC | 06 November 2021 - 10:08:23

@Fascinated. I wish you hadn't said that. I have no desire to have an image of ms sweet in a bath stuck in my head either....

nomad1959 | 06 November 2021 - 10:06:42

Many thanks for this report.
I tried to submit my application all day Monday but couldn’t because of the “API server problem”.
Got it submitted on Tuesday but never got an email confirmation.
Same again yesterday.
I’ve just submitted for the 3rd time using “gmail” email and got a confirmation email a few minutes later.
Let’s see how long it takes now for approval.

PJ | 06 November 2021 - 00:44:00

Personally I have loved being in Phuket thru Covid.   Cheaper prices, less traffic jams. Less crowds of retail tourists.   So I’m glad the Thai authorities are doing everything possible now to deter foreign visitors by using pathetic IT systems, silly insurance requirements etc.  Long may incompetence reign.  I like Phuket half empty.

Kurt | 05 November 2021 - 21:10:38

With the admission mess Thailand creates time after time they can forget the flow of tourists TAT predicted. Well, TAT is not real in their works, And the admission policy of Thailand this moment is also not reality based. Good luck to all foreign retainers.

Kurt | 05 November 2021 - 21:07:14

It's a bloody shame how a country what is so desperate to catch tourists is handling a  actually very simple admission procedure so bad by making it unneeded complicated and due to that their system not working. It is really a shame. Unbelievable, but true.

Fonslaan | 05 November 2021 - 19:26:05

my name is Volkert Laan; greetings from the Netherlands! After many difficulties I manages to apply on the 1st of November. I bought a ticket, I bought an insurance and I booked and payed a hotel. I start flying next tuesday. And up to now I did not here anyting. If I do not have a permission, I can not come and lose quit a lot of money..... Doet anybody in your country have a button to let work?

Fascinated | 05 November 2021 - 19:13:41

I'm struggling to see what Ms Sweet's bathing habits have to do with entry to Thailand. Well- to be honest I'm trying to keep that image out of my head.

Fascinated | 05 November 2021 - 19:11:57

An  untested online system failing in Thailand- who'd a thunk it! Typical denial from officials- many trying to use this system are NOT tourists.

Ash | 05 November 2021 - 18:57:26

I have submitted unsuccessfully two times, however since reading guidance received from this article, not using a hotmail email address (gmail instead) I have now at least received confirmation that the system has received my application for TP. Lots of confusion over this new system I hope they sort soon.

TSS | 05 November 2021 - 17:48:20

not their fault- the few glitches caused by "external interferences " they're working on it 24/7

Nasa12 | 05 November 2021 - 16:18:03

This it’s not a big surprise, looks at the 90 days report on Immigration, the last 5 years ++ a can only registered 5 times. 

christysweet | 05 November 2021 - 15:06:42

Truly the most incompetent culture EVER. I was trying to book a room at a Bang-Tao hotel complex- with a bathtub.  I know they have single rooms  with such but  no one could actually  confirm it- turns out  the tubs are 'sunken' therefore the  term 'bathtub' was confusing the reservation staff. 6 days on, no room booked and still  waiting for a response from a manager.


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