Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘property’

28th July 2022

The Thai Immigration system remains in something of a state of flux, although the overall trend is positive. Many of the travel restrictions which had previously been imposed in Thailand have now been lifted. For example, Thailand Pass has been totally mothballed. However, there are presently a number of changes to Thai retirement visas which appear imminent. Notably, the Thai O-A retirement visa‘s insurance requirements appear likely to increase substantially in coming weeks. to quote directly from a entry of Legal.co.th regarding Thai retirement visa insurance:

[I]t was announced that O-A Retirement visas are going to see the insurance coverage requirement go up to 100,000 US Dollars or self-insurance thereof, so roughly the equivalent of 3 million Baht basically shown in a Thai bank account in order to maintain O-A Retirement Visa status.

Meanwhile, insurance seems to be a rather nettlesome issue as a proposed “Tourism Fee” has proven difficult to implement while many question the need for such a measure especially as the tourism sector in Thailand is tenuously recovering. Although it now appears this initiative has been suspended. Another issue recently in the news, seemingly unconnected to immigration policy, pertains to Thai real estate law. It seems proposed “Long Term Residence Visas” (albeit something of a misnomer as these travel documents do not confer permanent residence in Thailand) may allow foreigners to own Thai real estate under limited restrictions. However, even this proposal seems to be under serious scrutiny. To quote directly from a recent article in the Bangkok Post:

A property executive who requested anonymity said many Thais might disagree with the government’s attempt to attract affluent foreigners by granting them full land ownership of one rai for residential use. “It’s good that the government wants to boost the economy by attracting foreign investment,” said the executive. “Thailand is very attractive among foreigners. They want to stay here as our medical services are good, the cost of living is low, the food is superb, and we have a lot of international schools for their children.” However, some locals think it is unfair to them, as many still cannot afford to buy property.

Clearly, the notion of foreign nationals being able to acquire residential real estate in Thailand is not a settled issue. Furthermore, based upon prior announcements from the Thai Land Office it seems that land ownership in Thailand associated with LTR visa status may never be a reality in Thailand.

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5th November 2020

For those unaware, our firm maintains a Youtube channel in order to provide daily updates regarding Thai, American, and international immigration matters as well as information of a general nature regarding Thai legal issues and legal news for expats.

In the aftermath of the 2020 election in the USA, there has been a question posed: how will the outcome impact American Immigration? As noted in a video on our aforementioned YouTube Channel, it appears that the ultimate result of the election is unlikely to have a dramatic impact upon American visa processing, at least in the near term. As noted in prior postings to this blog, the US government’s response to COVID-19 has resulted in a slowing of case processing at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the National Visa Center (NVC), and US Embassies and Consulates abroad (including the American Embassy in Bangkok). It seems unlikely that even if the government’s administration changes due to the election that we will see faster processing times for immigration cases in the near term. That stated, the situation remains fluid and unforeseen developments could see cases such as K-1 visa applications move with more speed compared to the past months.

The Thai Immigration situation remains fluid as well. Recently, the government terminated the Thai visa amnesty. Concurrently, it appears that some tourists are beginning to return to Thailand using the special tourist visa (STV) scheme. However, the tourist numbers are small compared to numbers in the years leading up to 2020. Thai Immigration and officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seem increasingly keen to allow the return of expats from abroad. The O-A retirement visa category has been prioritized for issuance of certificates of entry (COE) for prospective travelers to Thailand. This is happening as foreign nationals traveling to Thailand in business visa status appear to be on the rise. Those who have a Thai spouse or other family in Thailand can also avail themselves of an O visa in order to enter the Kingdom.

There has been some conjecture that the Thai government may promulgate rules allowing property purchasers to travel to Thailand. This proposal seems to be geared toward increasing the demand for Thai condos. However, these proposals have yet to be taken up by relevant authorities and therefore it remains to be seen whether Thai property ownership will be deemed a sufficient reason for sponsoring a visa and/or certificate of entry for the Kingdom of Thailand.

The entire process for traveling to Thailand remains cumbersome compared to routine protocols. As noted above, a certificate of entry, in addition to a Thai visa, is necessary for one to travel to Thailand. Prospective entrants are also required to obtain fit to fly documentation and remain in alternative state quarantine (ASQ) for 14 days (although there is speculation this may be reduced to 10 days) before being permitted unfettered access to the Kingdom.

 

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