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Retirement Visa Questions


stillakid
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I have a few questions about a retirement visa. I live in the USA and want to spend most of the year in Thailand. I am over 50 years old but I am not yet old enough to get social security retirement benefits ($$$) and do not want to start taking 65,000 baht per month from my investments. So if I go the retirement visa route, I will have to do the 800,000 baht in Thai bank option.

 

1. Do I have to apply for the retirement visa from my home country (USA)?

 

2. For first application for retirement visa, I have to have the 800,000 baht in Thai bank only month before I make the application?

 

3. After I am granted the retirement visa, can I use the 800,000 baht to live on? Or do I have to just leave it sit in a Thai bank?

 

4. When I renew the retirement visa after one year, do I have to have the full 800,000 baht in the bank for 3 three months previous to the renewal?

 

5. With a retirement visa, I think I will have to report to an immigration center or police station to report my presence in the country.

 

6. When staying in LOS on a retirement visa, can I exit the country as often as I wish and return simply with a re-entry permit?

 

7. If I have a retirement visa, can I keep it but still return to the USA for 1 to 6 months at a time per year?

 

Thanks for input in advance

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I have a few questions about a retirement visa. I live in the USA and want to spend most of the year in Thailand. I am over 50 years old but I am not yet old enough to get social security retirement benefits ($$$) and do not want to start taking 65,000 baht per month from my investments. So if I go the retirement visa route, I will have to do the 800,000 baht in Thai bank option.

 

1. Do I have to apply for the retirement visa from my home country (USA)?

 

NO - that is a Retirement Visa and more trouble than it's worth. Come in on a Tourist Visa and then apply for an Extension of Stay (Retirement).

 

2. For first application for retirement visa, I have to have the 800,000 baht in Thai bank only month before I make the application?

 

Some exceptions are made, but the regulations say 2 months first time.

 

3. After I am granted the retirement visa, can I use the 800,000 baht to live on? Or do I have to just leave it sit in a Thai bank?

 

Yes you can and some say they look for proof in that account that you did use it for living expenses.

 

4. When I renew the retirement visa after one year, do I have to have the full 800,000 baht in the bank for 3 three months previous to the renewal?

 

Correct.

 

5. With a retirement visa, I think I will have to report to an immigration center or police station to report my presence in the country.

 

If you do not exit within each 90 days (don't forget Re-entry Permit) you must do address reporting every 90 days at Immigration (not police station). If you exit the clock starts again at re-entry.

 

6. When staying in LOS on a retirement visa, can I exit the country as often as I wish and return simply with a re-entry permit?

 

Yes. Single Permit 1000, Multi Re-entry Permit 3800

 

7. If I have a retirement visa, can I keep it but still return to the USA for 1 to 6 months at a time per year?

 

Yes, provided it doesn't expire while you're away.

Each application is a new process and you can only do it in Thailand.

 

Thanks for input in advance

 

Answers above in Blue.

 

.

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Usually easier to get the visa in Thailand if you have an address here, money in Thai bank 2 months before then 3 months on further years, you can do what you want with the money when you get your visa, can get multi re entry permit I think 3800bht/year or single 1000bht, report every 90 days to immigration if in the country

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Thanks Edge and MCH for helping to make things more clear to me

 

Stillakid

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here it is stillakid ... I just collected my first retirement visa on Thursday … as you, I am an American and similarly chose to deposit a minimum THB 800,000 in a Thai bank as evidence of financial means.

 

To be clear ... the formal Retirement Visa must be initiated from your home country … alternatively, from here in Thailand, you can secure a 1-year extension to a Non-Imm "O" Visa for the purpose of retirement. … essentially, the same identical privileges as a Retirement Visa.

 

I cannot speak to the formal Retirement Visa process, as that option was unavailable to me (I did not intend to return to the States to apply).

 

90-DAY NON-IMM "O" VISA

 

Check the Thai Consulate in the States … you might be able to secure a 90-day Non-Imm "O" Visa in the States before arriving Thailand and avoid this step … it seems problematic, but I am unaware of what Thai Consulates might be willing to do … my guess is that they will simply instruct you to apply for the formal Retirement Visa.

 

I suggest you start with a 90-day Tourist Visa, which you can easily get from the States before arriving Thailand ... this will give you enough time to season your bank account for the minimum 60-days required before applying for the Non-Imm "O" Visa (see below), and give you enough time to apply for the Non-Imm "O" Visa itself.

 

Already here, I initiated the process in Thailand starting with a 60-day Tourist Visa … the Tourist Visa needed to be changed to a 90-day Non-Imm "O" Visa … but, the application for upgrading the Tourist Visa to 90-day Non-Imm "O" Visa must have at least 15-days remaining when you apply for the conversion.

 

At the time you apply for the 90-day Non-Imm "O" Visa, you must have deposited in a Thai bank a minimum of THB 800,000 for a minimum of 60-days …(the 60-day period applies only for the first year you apply for the retirement visa … 90-days is required for subsequent years) … during that 60-day seasoning period, the account balance must never go below THB 800,000.

 

The application:

  • Application form TM86
  • Passport
  • Copies of passport pages - front page, last arrival stamp, visa stamp, TM6 departure card (stapled into your passport)
  • Evidence of residence in Thailand (copy of lease agreement with your name on it)
  • One 4cm x 6cm photo
  • Application fee THB 2,000
  • Original bank book (updated … I never got how current is minimum… I have the sense it needed to be current within days, not weeks … mine was current that day)
  • Copies of bank book – front page, current balance page
  • Letter from bank attesting to the minimum bank balance for the minimum 60-day period (a form letter all banks issue for about THB 100)
  • Letter from bank evidencing foreign remittance source (again, a standard form letter the bank issues identifying from what international source the money was deposited)

Took about 3 hours to get through the queue. After submission, I returned to Immigration one week later to collect my 90-day Non-Imm "O" Visa.

 

1-YEAR EXTENSION TO 90-DAY NON-IMM "O" VISA

 

The 1-Year Extension may not be applied for until your 90-Day Non-Imm "O" Visa is within 30 days of expiration.

 

The application:

  • Application form TM7
  • Passport
  • Copies of passport pages - front page, last arrival stamp, visa stamp, TM6 departure card (stapled into your passport)
  • One 4cm x 6cm photo
  • Application fee THB 1,900
  • Original bank book (updated)
  • Copies of bank book – front page, current balance page
  • Letter from bank attesting to the minimum bank balance for the minimum 60-day period (a form letter all banks issue for about THB 100)

Took about 2 hours to get through the queue. After submission, Immigration stamped my approved 1-Year Extension into my visa right then and there.

 

MULTIPLE RE-ENTRY STAMP

 

After receiving my 1-Year Extension, I immediately went to another counter and submitted my application for Multiple Re-Entry Stamp.

 

I did not keep instructions for the Multiple Re-Entry Stamp, but the application attachments were a small subset of the 1-Year Extension application attachments.

 

Took about 30-minutes to get through the queue. The cost was THB 3,800 and the stamp was entered right then and there.

 

FINAL COMMENTS

 

Note that at the end of this process, your money will have been in stasis in a Thai bank for 120 days … minimum 60-days of seasoning before applying for the 90-day Non-Imm "O" Visa, and then another 60-days while waiting to get within 30-days of 90-day Non-Imm "O" Visa expiration before you can apply for the 1-Year Extension.

 

Needless to say, if you follow the process above, the first thing you should do upon arriving Thailand is to open a bank account and deposit the THB 800,000 … you can open a bank account (foreign currency, or THB) on a Tourist Visa, no problem.

 

I processed mine at the Immigration office in Bangkok. You will have to submit your applications to the Immigration office in the jurisdiction in which you are resident. Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Phuket have Immigration offices … I am uncertain of others.

 

There are an awful lot of visa consultants running around promising short-cuts for this, expedited that and special approvals capabilities for this other stuff … sadly, these are mostly farang who have "connections" in the Immigration Departments … I suggest avoiding such services ... no short-cuts … just plan ahead and follow the procedures … if you run into problems, there is usually someone on one of the major Thai forums who has just been through it and can help.

 

Other than the international legal counsel I used for our corporate work (expensive, and they don’t really like doing it), I found but one visa consultant I felt was competent, direct and very responsive … a retired Italian military officer.

 

Granted, the procedures seem arbitrary and interpreted differently by each Immigration officer … that is more likely the reality of Thai bureaucracy, than anything sinister.

 

Some old web sites (even Thai government) still cite that a criminal background check and a medical check must be completed for this process ... neither are required ... unsure, however, about the formal Retirement Visa process you would initiate from the States.

 

The BKK Immigration Office has a help desk where they gave me a relatively easy to follow guideline, though with a few voids (again, Thai bureaucratic efficiency) … after reading through it, I asked questions and had a clear picture when I walked out.

Edited by brutox

 

Hunter S. Thompson Insert.jpg

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brutox

You have to be aware that some immigration officers require slightly different things to the norm. couple of weeks ago at Udon Thani my letter from the bank was not accepted, it was the same as the prior 4yrs, 800,000bht in my account etc, the letter now has to confirm the money was in the account for the 3 months before & these months have to be named in the letter. I was handed a list of requirements for the visa everything I had was spot on but at the bottom of the list was "Any other information the immigration officer might request"

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Another alternative to putting 800k in a Thai bank is to go to the U.S. Embassy and get them to notarize a form that you fill out stating that you have X U.S. dollars in income per month. You do not need to provide any evidence to support the statement. Big thing to remember before you go to the Embassy is to make an appointment online. They are not accepting "walk in" traffic anymore. Take this form to immigration with the other things mentioned above (except no bank book) and you will be able to pick up your passport the next day. Be sure you have at least 7 days on your tourist visa when you take in the package. If less than 7 days you are going to need to do a visa run to Cambodia. They will not allow you to "buy" additional days on your tourist visa to convert it to the "retirement".

 

 

Do not try to get the Visa in the U.S.! Do it here.

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brutox

You have to be aware that some immigration officers require slightly different things to the norm. couple of weeks ago at Udon Thani my letter from the bank was not accepted, it was the same as the prior 4yrs, 800,000bht in my account etc, the letter now has to confirm the money was in the account for the 3 months before & these months have to be named in the letter. I was handed a list of requirements for the visa everything I had was spot on but at the bottom of the list was "Any other information the immigration officer might request"

.

... yeah, M.C.H., that's the arbitrary part I mentioned ... there is no accounting for how each Immigration officer might view requirements ... the devil in the detail and all that.

 

... in some Thai government agencies, it is deliberately done to elicit tea money, but I do not think Immigration is as totally corrupt as other Ministries ... while tea money is still gratefully received by Immigration officials to solve unusual situations, this is nothing as I understand the Thai Customs officials at the Thai ports to be.

 

... generally, whenever I have any interchange with the Royal Thai [fill in the blank], I plan to make two trips for what we would reasonably expect in a more modern country to take but one ... especially so with the Department of Immigration.

 

... they are not hopeless, but it is the best they can do ... you just have to slow down to half speed and cut expectations commensurately ... in the world, we are only along for the ride ... if your needs are not truely urgent, just sit back ... drink a cup of tea ... read a lot ... solve sudoku puzzles ... you'll probably meet some interesting people along the way.

 

... it takes awhile to be able to turn on-and-off our ex-Thailand expectations.

Edited by brutox

 

Hunter S. Thompson Insert.jpg

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