Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Retirement Visa Thailand’

25th October 2018

It recently came to this blogger’s attention, via a press release from the US Embassy in Bangkok, that the Embassy seems to be in the process of discontinuing issuance of income affidavits pertaining to verification of finances in the context of application for certain types of Thai visa extension. To quote directly from the press release:

As of January 1, 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok and the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai will cease to provide the income affidavit for the purpose of applying for Thai retirement and family visas and will not notarize previous versions of the income affidavit.  The Royal Thai Government requires actual verification of income to certify visa applicants meet financial requirements for long-stay visas.  The U.S. government cannot provide this verification and will no longer issue the affidavits.

Those unaware of the importance of these documents should take note of the fact that in the past notarized income affidavits were used in connection with applications for either a Thai retirement visa or a Thai marriage visa. Such documents were utilized in lieu of presenting evidence of a lump sum in a Thai bank account (800,000 THB for a retirement visa, and 400,000 THB for a marriage visa) or proof of a prolonged history of income in a Thai bank account (65,000 THB per month for a retirement visa and 40,000 per month for a marriage visa). These documents were generally issued by the American Citizen Services (ACS) Section of the US Embassy. In the past, a notarized income affidavit from the US Embassy which was legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was sufficient to meet the evidentiary requirements of the Thai Immigration officers adjudicating financial documentation in connection with applications for visa extensions. As seems to be the case in matters pertaining to British income letters, American officials appear to be unwilling to continue issuance these instruments in light of the recent official Thai requests that the veracity of the information in the affidavit be verified rather than merely the authenticity of the signature on the document. It seems that although the Embassy is unable to continue issuing such documentation as it was issued in the past, they will continue to notarize other documentation.

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30th September 2014

The Thailand Retirement Visa

Posted by : admin

With recent changes to Thai Immigration regulations, it has become clear that many long term travelers or prospective expatriates should get their status regularized either in the Kingdom or prior to arrival. While in the past it was possible to remain in Thailand in what were otherwise ostensibly short term Thai tourist visas or thirty day exemption stamps, now it seems that obtaining a long term visa extension is going to be necessary. For those under 50 years of age, this would mean obtaining a Thai marriage visa, a Thai business visa, or a Thai Education visa. However, for those over 50, the Thai retirement visa (often referred to as the O-A visa) could prove to be an effective way of remaining in the Kingdom. One reason this is the case, a retiree in Thailand does not need (and legally cannot get) a work permit in Thailand. The work permit process can be difficult and document-intensive. Meanwhile, a retirement visa, unlike and education visa, does not require that the visa holder attend any type of schooling. Also, for those not married to a Thai the retirement visa is generally a good option since such a visa does not require marriage to a Thai unlike a marriage visa. Retirement visa extensions are issued in one-year intervals and so long as the visa holder has the requisite pension or savings, then the process of obtaining such a visa is rather straightforward. Like any other type of Thai visa, it is expected that the retirement visa holder continually check in ever 90 days to inform immigration of their place of residence. However, for those who leave prior to 90 days, this is not necessary. However, it should be noted that in order to maintain visa status while outside of Thailand, the visa holder would need to obtain a reentry permit.

For those over 50 who work in industries such as the offshore oil business, which only requires the employee to work in given intervals, the retirement could prove to be a substantially better visa option compared to other types of temporary Thai visas as a retirement visa allows the bearer to remain in the Kingdom for a year as well as enter and exit as necessary provided the reentry permits are in order. Those looking at this as an option should bear in mind that the retirement visa holder cannot work in Thailand, but if working outside of Thailand there would really not be any issue as to immigration status in the Kingdom.

When dealing with Thai business visas, the holder of such an extension generally needs to have corporate sponsorship as well as a Thai work permit. Meanwhile, those remaining in Thailand on a marriage visa must be married to a Thai national. Finally, those staying in the Kingdom on an Education visa must be attending a course of study approved by the Ministry of Education. For many, the retirement visa is a much less difficult type of visa to obtain and also does not require a great deal of supporting documentation other than proving the financial ability to support oneself long term while present in the Kingdom.

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1st December 2009

There are many who dream of retiring in beautiful Thailand with its sunny skies, temperate climate and beautiful beaches. For many, retirement in Thailand is akin to retirement in paradise, but under Thai immigration rules, “retirement,” does not begin until an individual reaches fifty years of age. Recently, this author has been questioned by many regarding the age requirement of the Thai retirement visa. In many western countries “early retirement,” is a common occurrence. In Thailand, this is not so common and the Thai Immigration regulations reflect this cultural difference. Fortunately, there are alternatives to the retirement visa that can be used in a similar manner.

Many people in their late forties go into retirement or semi-retirement in Thailand. The benefit of a retirement visa from the standpoint of some is the fact that this visa does not require regular “border runs” or “visa runs.” This is mostly due to the fact that Thai retirement visas are similar to Thai visa extensions. When one is granted a visa extension in Thailand, the person is allowed to remain in the Kingdom for the uninterrupted period noted in their passport. Therefore, if one is granted a 1 year extension, then that individual may remain in Thailand for an entire year without leaving. The visa holder must check in with Royal Thai Immigration once every 90 days, but otherwise there are no further requirements.

For those under 50 wishing to remain in Thailand, obtaining a visa extension can be very difficult. For the Business visa holder, one must have a valid work permit as well as a sponsoring company in order to be granted a visa extension. An O visa holder must have a bona fide reason for extending the underlying visa. In many cases, showing kinship with a Thai national is enough to get a Thai visa extension. However, this does not guarantee extension application approval. As extensions can be difficult, many look to the retirement visa as a way of remaining in the Kingdom. However, there are no exceptions to the age requirement and therefore pursuing such a visa would be futile for someone under 50.

In many ways, a Thai business visa is a superior travel document as it is more flexible than the retirement visa because it does not “pigeon hole” the visa holder into only one activity. There is no prohibition on Business visa recipient’s remaining in the Kingdom unemployed. Instead, the visa holder need simply maintain lawful status and avoid becoming a ward of the state. If these requirements are met, then the business visa holder can remain in the Kingdom long term.

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