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My Experience -- Applying for a Non-Immigrant O-A Experience at the Thai Embassy in Washington, DC


G Baht

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I’m sure there are other BMs going through a similar process, so I thought it might be helpful to share my experience.

 

Prior to applying for my non-immigrant O-A (“retirement”) visa, everyone I talked to told me to wait until I got to the LOS because it’s so much easier to obtain in country. However, I decided to go ahead and get my “retirement visa” prior to moving to Thailand, and I was surprised how easy the process was despite the recommendations I had been given.  I realize that everyone’s situation is different, so there may be very valid reasons for not trying to obtain a “retirement visa” in your home country before re-locating to the LOS (e.g., previous criminal offense or health issues).

 

I started the process by reviewing the info posted on the Thai Embassy in DC’s website…I found it to be very straight forward.  There was a US$200 processing fee (cashiers check or money order only), visa application form, additional application form (very similar info to the visa application form), passport photos, medical certificate completed by a doctor, criminal records check and in my case, a monthly income verification letter.  You also provide the consular officer with your actual passport, which must be valid for at least six more months and have one completely blank visa page.  All the documents had to be no more than 90 days old, except for the passport photos…those must have been taken within 6 months.  Note that none of the documents were required to be notarized.

 

The visa and additional application forms asked for very basic info…name, address, passport info, etc.

 

I got the passport photos taken at Fedex Kinkos for a few bucks.

 

The criminal records check was obtained from my local police office…cost US$5 and they gave it to me on the spot.

 

Since I'm fortunate enough to have a retirement pension, I asked my finance office to draft a letter stating that I had monthly income totaling more than 65,000 baht…I was not required to submit a pay statement to the embassy.  I did have some questions about whether or not this letter would meet the requirement, so I emailed the embassy.  They promptly replied and I even scanned and sent them a copy of the letter to review.  I was told the letter would suffice.

 

The medical certificate can be downloaded from the embassy’s website.  Thy want know that you do not have any of the four prohibitive diseases in accordance with a Thai ministerial regulation…syphilis, tuberculosis, elephantitis, and leprosy.  My doctor laughed when he saw the form.  He did give me a TB test, took my blood and gave me a complete physical exam.  I came back to his office a few days later after the TB test and blood work was analyzed and he signed the form.

 

One other item not listed on the DC Embassy’s website was mention of the all important plane ticket.  Again, I emailed the consular office and they told me to provide a copy of the e-ticket. They also said a one-way ticket was ok, as long as I had the visa.

 

I made two copies of everything and arrived at the Thai Embassy at about 1100 on a Tuesday.  There were two other people waiting in the room.  I walked up to the window and gave them my documentation, cashiers check and passport.  They separated everything into three piles, underscored my name on each page with a yellow marker, stapled it together, gave me a receipt and told me to come back in two days to pick up my “retirement visa.”  I was literally in the embassy for less than two minutes. 

 

Two days later I picked up the “retirement visa,” which included a multi re-entry stamp.  I was told I had one year to enter the Kingdom and upon entering the LOS, the visa would be valid for 365 days and I would have to report my address to the local Immigration Office every 90 days thereafter.

 

All in all, I found the process to be very straight forward.  I was pleasantly surprised by the efficiency of the consular office at the Thai Embassy in DC.  As I said up front, everyone is in a different situation, but I found applying for the “retirement visa” in my home country to be very easy. 

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There is nothing like a challenge and there are many people on O-A visas in Thailand, they are mainly done by people who have the time.

 

At present there are over 19,000 retirement visa holders obtained in Thailand, I think people go for the ease of it as they only have to concentrate on being 50 and over and the financial requirement.

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One question. If you have one year to enter the country, why do you need a ticket? Understand it may be just another TIT, but just curious.

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Khun Ron -- good point....they told me I needed to show my "intent" to travel to Thailand in order to be issued the visa

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There is nothing like a challenge and there are many people on O-A visas in Thailand, they are mainly done by people who have the time.

 

At present there are over 19,000 retirement visa holders obtained in Thailand, I think people go for the ease of it as they only have to concentrate on being 50 and over and the financial requirement.

Agree with you 100%.  I had the time and wanted the "piece of mind," so I went ahead and got the O-A visa up front.  I found it useful to go through the process in order to better prepare me for when it comes time to apply for my extension.  That said, I'm sure the experience at Jomtien Immigration will not be as easy/timely as I found at the Thai Embassy in DC.   I may even hire you to do it for me, considering you also provide PA BMs with free 90-day reporting as part of your O-A visa package (assuming that offer is still valid). 

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Congrats on getting your visa and extension of stay. Well done. The process in country does not require a medical or criminal check but otherwise is an easy process as long as you have all your docs in order and financial requirements met.

Getting annual extensions is a no brainer, again as long as you have your paperwork in order. I applied in country and have done two extensions. Easy DIY project.

Growing Old Disgracefully

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At present there are over 19,000 retirement visa holders obtained in Thailand

I doubt about that...

1- there is no "Retirement Visa"

2- you can't obtain a Visa in Thailand (except a very few very specific cases)

 

So what is this 19,000 number about ?

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I just looked at my passport and under Visas is one from Thai Immigration stamped {"RETIREMENT"} and stated as "EXTENSION OF STAY PERMITTED UP TO (DATE)".

 

This is commonly called a visa and a permitt to stay in a country is a Visa. I got this at SriRacha immigration.

 

visa |ˈvēzə|
noun
an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in a country.

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Confused,

 

if your over 50 and have money in the bank or proof of income you can just go down to Immigration at Jomtein and get a retirement visa for a couple of thosand baht. If your unsure you could just pay a visa company like Key Visa a few baht to do it for you. Even if you enter on a tourist visa, this can be changed and a retirement visa obtained.

 

You seem to have paid a lot of money and jumped through hoops for no real reason

 

Why is someone saying you cannot get a visa in Thailand and there is no such thing as a retirement visa. The stamp in my passport obtained AT Jomtein says Retirement also have a multi entry non immigation visa. And think there must be thousands of expats with retirement visas( in soi Buakhao alone 555)

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visa : an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in a country.

Not true for Thailand. Here a Visa is just an authorisation to enter. You need an authorisation of stay to... Stay :) and a Visa allows you one (or more) when you enter.

 

What you got in Thailand is an Authorisation of Stay, not a Visa.

Most retired people here have expired visa for a long time.

It's no problem... as long as the Authorisation of Stay is still valid.

 

Not everyone as a "Retirement" stamp near his Visa.

Not even every retired people has a non-Imm O or OA visa.

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Why is someone saying you cannot get a visa in Thailand

Because a Visa is something you get outside Thailand to be allowed to enter Thailand.

 

You cannot and don't need to get one when you are already inside Thailand. ;)

(Yes, you can "change" here from a type of visa to another. Different)

 

and there is no such thing as a retirement visa.

Because there are tourist visa, non-Imm O, OA, ED,...visa, but no "Retirement Visa" exists.

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It is a little confusing. When you are in country on a tourist entry, say 30 days, if you are over 50, and meet the financial requirements you can apply for a Non Immigrant O Visa good for 1 year based on retirement - called an Extension of Stay based on retirement. You have to check into immigration every 90 days to confirm your residency during the one year. You have to renew annually.

Growing Old Disgracefully

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Although its called a Non Immigrant O Visa it is actually the method by which you change your status from a tourist permission to enter TH for typically 30 days to the one year. Not a true visa but that's what it's called. Never heard of anyone not getting a retirement extension of stay without the O visa when already in TH as a tourist.

Actually no such thing as a tourist visa as far as I am aware.

Growing Old Disgracefully

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It is a little confusing. When you are in country on a tourist entry, say 30 days, if you are over 50, and meet the financial requirements you can apply for a Non Immigrant O Visa good for 1 year based on retirement - called an Extension of Stay based on retirement. You have to check into immigration every 90 days to confirm your residency during the one year. You have to renew annually.

 

I think that Oukiva is technically correct in that what you get in country is not in itself a Visa, it is an 'Extension of Stay (Retirement)' and the extension is based on the original O Visa, which can be extended each following year.

There must be an actual Visa to extend and in the OP's case I assume that the Visa he can extend when it expires is the Retirement Visa he just got.

 

The problem is that retirees with extensions, visa agents and even immigration staff refer to the extension as a 'Retirement Visa'.

It's incorrect, but I decided a while back that it was :DeadHorse2:  pointing it out.

 

..................................

Actually no such thing as a tourist visa as far as I am aware.

Obviously there is, so I don't get what that means?

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Because a Visa is something you get outside Thailand to be allowed to enter Thailand.

 

You cannot and don't need to get one when you are already inside Thailand. ;)

(Yes, you can "change" here from a type of visa to another. Different)

 

 

Because there are tourist visa, non-Imm O, OA, ED,...visa, but no "Retirement Visa" exists.

Probably correct but pedantic, it may be permission to stay rather than a visa but people genrally call it a retirement visa :7of10Score:

 

Main point being you can get a permission to stay"retirement visa" in Thailand for a few thosand baht as long as you have money in bank or proof of income. op seemed to spend two or three times getting the visa in America, plus criminal record check and medical information.( a lot of running about) Cannot remember having to provide this in Thailand( though did in the Philippines)

 

But up to him

 

:Bye5:

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I doubt about that...

1- there is no "Retirement Visa"

2- you can't obtain a Visa in Thailand (except a very few very specific cases)

 

So what is this 19,000 number about ?

If there is no retirement visa why is it stamped next to the 1 year extension of stay 'RETIREMENT VISA"

 

You cant obtain a visa in Thailand " SO WHAT ARE WE ON THEN ARE THE INK STAMPS NOT VISA STAMPS"

 

If you look at a long stay visa in your passport given by the Thai Immigration here you will see a number above it wrote in pen lets say for arguments sake 12000/56 that is how many visas had been issued up to the date somebody got there's, today got a retirement babck 20216/ 56   which is the amount of applications and the year 2556

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If there is no retirement visa why is it stamped next to the 1 year extension of stay 'RETIREMENT VISA"

........................................

 

Mine doesn't say "VISA".

 

It says "Extension of Stay..Permitted Up To......"

 

Top left, the reason for the Extension is stamped "Retirement" - presumably others will say "Marriage" or whatever.

 

In conjunction with the actual Visa which has been extended, it does denote one's Visa status of course, but you can't get an Extension without a Visa, so an Extension isn't, in its own right, a Visa.

 

As I said above, since even Immigration call the Extension a Retirement Visa, being pedantic about it is  :DeadHorse2:

Oukiva is technically correct though IMO.

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Just checked all my immigration docs.
I misspoke regarding a tourist visa. I applied for and received a three entry, 90 day Tourist Visa in LA from the TH Consulate before going to TH.
When in TH, I applied to change my Tourist Visa to a Non Immigration O Visa with a one year Extension of Stay based on retirement.

I agree the terminology is butchered by everyone including the immigration dudes. 

If you fly into the country as a tourist without a visa, you will get a 30 day tourist admission. However, same process, apply for the Non Imm O visa, etc.

Bottom line, the process at my local Phuket Immigration office was a no brainer but just make sure you have all your docs in order. If you do, a 1900 B fee and you're in.

Am I being pedantic? Sorry.

Growing Old Disgracefully

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........................... when it comes time to apply for my extension.  ...........................

 

I'm just reading  HERE  that provided you exit and re-enter while your O-A (not O) Visa is still valid you can get about 2 years out of it.

 

As it's a One Year multi -entry, it seems that your permission to stay is extended by one year every time you re-enter before expiry.

 

I hope I read that right - it's the first I heard of it.

.

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Mine doesn't say "VISA".

 

It says "Extension of Stay..Permitted Up To......"

 

Top left, the reason for the Extension is stamped "Retirement"

+1

 

And that's exactly what my stamps have said for the last six years. I remember your educational post a few years back: the content still stands IMO.

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I’m sure there are other BMs going through a similar process, so I thought it might be helpful to share my experience.

 

Prior to applying for my non-immigrant O-A (“retirement”) visa, everyone I talked to told me to wait until I got to the LOS because it’s so much easier to obtain in country. However, I decided to go ahead and get my “retirement visa” prior to moving to Thailand, and I was surprised how easy the process was despite the recommendations I had been given.  I realize that everyone’s situation is different, so there may be very valid reasons for not trying to obtain a “retirement visa” in your home country before re-locating to the LOS (e.g., previous criminal offense or health issues).

 

I started the process by reviewing the info posted on the Thai Embassy in DC’s website…I found it to be very straight forward.  There was a US$200 processing fee (cashiers check or money order only), visa application form, additional application form (very similar info to the visa application form), passport photos, medical certificate completed by a doctor, criminal records check and in my case, a monthly income verification letter.  You also provide the consular officer with your actual passport, which must be valid for at least six more months and have one completely blank visa page.  All the documents had to be no more than 90 days old, except for the passport photos…those must have been taken within 6 months.  Note that none of the documents were required to be notarized.

 

The visa and additional application forms asked for very basic info…name, address, passport info, etc.

 

I got the passport photos taken at Fedex Kinkos for a few bucks.

 

The criminal records check was obtained from my local police office…cost US$5 and they gave it to me on the spot.

 

Since I'm fortunate enough to have a retirement pension, I asked my finance office to draft a letter stating that I had monthly income totaling more than 65,000 baht…I was not required to submit a pay statement to the embassy.  I did have some questions about whether or not this letter would meet the requirement, so I emailed the embassy.  They promptly replied and I even scanned and sent them a copy of the letter to review.  I was told the letter would suffice.

 

The medical certificate can be downloaded from the embassy’s website.  Thy want know that you do not have any of the four prohibitive diseases in accordance with a Thai ministerial regulation…syphilis, tuberculosis, elephantitis, and leprosy.  My doctor laughed when he saw the form.  He did give me a TB test, took my blood and gave me a complete physical exam.  I came back to his office a few days later after the TB test and blood work was analyzed and he signed the form.

 

One other item not listed on the DC Embassy’s website was mention of the all important plane ticket.  Again, I emailed the consular office and they told me to provide a copy of the e-ticket. They also said a one-way ticket was ok, as long as I had the visa.

 

I made two copies of everything and arrived at the Thai Embassy at about 1100 on a Tuesday.  There were two other people waiting in the room.  I walked up to the window and gave them my documentation, cashiers check and passport.  They separated everything into three piles, underscored my name on each page with a yellow marker, stapled it together, gave me a receipt and told me to come back in two days to pick up my “retirement visa.”  I was literally in the embassy for less than two minutes. 

 

Two days later I picked up the “retirement visa,” which included a multi re-entry stamp.  I was told I had one year to enter the Kingdom and upon entering the LOS, the visa would be valid for 365 days and I would have to report my address to the local Immigration Office every 90 days thereafter.

 

All in all, I found the process to be very straight forward.  I was pleasantly surprised by the efficiency of the consular office at the Thai Embassy in DC.  As I said up front, everyone is in a different situation, but I found applying for the “retirement visa” in my home country to be very easy. 

How much was the medical report?

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The medical certificate was "free"...it was covered by my medical insurance

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This is the most informative thread that I have ever read on the PA website and I have read every single one. Every fooking one!!!

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How much was the medical report?

I’m sure there are other BMs going through a similar process, so I thought it might be helpful to share my experience.

 

Prior to applying for my non-immigrant O-A (“retirement”) visa, everyone I talked to told me to wait until I got to the LOS because it’s so much easier to obtain in country. However, I decided to go ahead and get my “retirement visa” prior to moving to Thailand, and I was surprised how easy the process was despite the recommendations I had been given.  I realize that everyone’s situation is different, so there may be very valid reasons for not trying to obtain a “retirement visa” in your home country before re-locating to the LOS (e.g., previous criminal offense or health issues).

 

I started the process by reviewing the info posted on the Thai Embassy in DC’s website…I found it to be very straight forward.  There was a US$200 processing fee (cashiers check or money order only), visa application form, additional application form (very similar info to the visa application form), passport photos, medical certificate completed by a doctor, criminal records check and in my case, a monthly income verification letter.  You also provide the consular officer with your actual passport, which must be valid for at least six more months and have one completely blank visa page.  All the documents had to be no more than 90 days old, except for the passport photos…those must have been taken within 6 months.  Note that none of the documents were required to be notarized.

 

The visa and additional application forms asked for very basic info…name, address, passport info, etc.

 

I got the passport photos taken at Fedex Kinkos for a few bucks.

 

The criminal records check was obtained from my local police office…cost US$5 and they gave it to me on the spot.

 

Since I'm fortunate enough to have a retirement pension, I asked my finance office to draft a letter stating that I had monthly income totaling more than 65,000 baht…I was not required to submit a pay statement to the embassy.  I did have some questions about whether or not this letter would meet the requirement, so I emailed the embassy.  They promptly replied and I even scanned and sent them a copy of the letter to review.  I was told the letter would suffice.

 

The medical certificate can be downloaded from the embassy’s website.  Thy want know that you do not have any of the four prohibitive diseases in accordance with a Thai ministerial regulation…syphilis, tuberculosis, elephantitis, and leprosy.  My doctor laughed when he saw the form.  He did give me a TB test, took my blood and gave me a complete physical exam.  I came back to his office a few days later after the TB test and blood work was analyzed and he signed the form.

 

One other item not listed on the DC Embassy’s website was mention of the all important plane ticket.  Again, I emailed the consular office and they told me to provide a copy of the e-ticket. They also said a one-way ticket was ok, as long as I had the visa.

 

I made two copies of everything and arrived at the Thai Embassy at about 1100 on a Tuesday.  There were two other people waiting in the room.  I walked up to the window and gave them my documentation, cashiers check and passport.  They separated everything into three piles, underscored my name on each page with a yellow marker, stapled it together, gave me a receipt and told me to come back in two days to pick up my “retirement visa.”  I was literally in the embassy for less than two minutes. 

 

Two days later I picked up the “retirement visa,” which included a multi re-entry stamp.  I was told I had one year to enter the Kingdom and upon entering the LOS, the visa would be valid for 365 days and I would have to report my address to the local Immigration Office every 90 days thereafter.

 

All in all, I found the process to be very straight forward.  I was pleasantly surprised by the efficiency of the consular office at the Thai Embassy in DC.  As I said up front, everyone is in a different situation, but I found applying for the “retirement visa” in my home country to be very easy. 

I had to get Docs Notarized i.e.Police report. Other than that the process was easy. I found it better to arrange all paperwork and retirement visa in advance.
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Bertik -- I felt the same way...one less thing to worry about and I didn't feel like I had to jump through any hoops to get the visa here in the States.  Also, I believe it was actually less expensive to obtain the visa in the USA...I only paid US$200 +US$5 for the criminal record check = total cost of US$205.  If I had arrive in the LOS on a 30-day visa-exempt entry, I would have paid:  2000 baht for the Non-Immigrant O-A Visa application fee + 1900 baht for the Application for Extension of Temporary Stay in the Kingdom fee + 3800 baht for the multiple re-entry permit + US$50 for the notarized income verification letter from the US Embassy = total cost of ~US$298 at the current exchange rate of US$1/31 baht.

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