Southeast Asian countries have lagged behind much of the world in easing entry rules for tourists and expatriates for vaccinated travellers. However, as of July 1, there is a large gap between countries. Here we look at the details of the health insurance, if any, that you absolutely must have to survive immigration checks.
The rule requiring 10,000 USD of anti-Covid insurance for at least one month via Thailand Pass is gone. Most foreigners can enter the country and extend their visa without presenting an insurance certificate. However, those applying at a Thai embassy for any visa that specifies the word “retirement”, or for the special 9-month tourist visa, are in a category reserved for full hospital coverage, as often debated on social media. As of September 2022, applicants for the latest 10-year Long Term (LTR) visas, intended for high net worth individuals of all ages, will require full coverage with an optional self-insurance provision. The ballpark figure is US$100,000 per year, or 3 million baht and up.
The government website proclaims that insurance is no longer required to enter. The 30-day online tourist e-visa (from e-visa.gov.kh) has a box to fill in for insurance but can be skipped without a problem. However, other types of visas (for business, etc.) require an international or local global policy. It is no longer necessary to book with the insurance company Forte which lost its monopoly in November 2021.
There is no longer an automatic insistence on medical coverage for entry, as the old requirement of US$35,000 “to include Covid” for length of stay disappeared from government websites last May. However, if you are unvaccinated or in a semi-state condition, you will still need to purchase a $35,000 policy in advance from a “reputable insurer”. Most current visitors to the Philippines are returning Filipinos or long-term expatriates rather than tourists.
Malaysia and Laos
Government websites have dropped mandatory insurance requirements, but may ask for proof that you have the financial resources for your stay. Some websites suggest otherwise, but they may be linked to insurance companies that are not officially government-sponsored. Laos has a health declaration form indicating that you are responsible for health coverage.
Vietnam and Burma
Vietnam still requires a minimum coverage of USD 10,000 “including Covid” for the duration of stay. Myanmar, now technically open to tourists via an online portal, requires proof of insurance and directs applicants to a choice of recommended companies. To date, the number of requests has not been overwhelming.