Written by Sebastian H. Brousseau in cooperation with the group "Expats in Isaan" on Facebook and help of some of Thaivisa members.
Extension of visa based on retirement in Thailand
Written by Sebastian H. Brousseau in cooperation with the group "Expats in Isaan" on Facebook. Helped by Thaivisa members.
Updated 6 January 2020. (Many rules were changed in 2019 and we invite you to read this article to be familiar with these new rules))
For many visitors to Thailand, a short holiday simply isn’t enough to enjoy all the country has to offer. If you wish to stay longer than 3 months, and you can meet the requirements set out by the Royal Thai Immigration, then extending your visa based on retirement may be the answer for you. It doesn’t mean that you have to permanently up and move to Thailand, but extending your visa annually does allow you to stay in the Kingdom for years. Here’s how to do it. You also do not need to be officially retired in your country but you must be 50 years-old or older.
THE RIGHT VISA
There are several ways to apply for a retirement visa. This text wish to guide you as confusion and even rules can be contradictory from an immigration office to another.
1. Applying for Non-Immigrant O-A (long stay) your home-country
From your home country (or official country of residence), you can apply for a Non-Immigrant O-A visa (long-stay duration) which will enable you to stay in Thailand for 1 year. Again, you need proof that you are 50 years of age or older and meet the criteria for financial eligibility.
The requirements and conditions for an extension of an OA Visa for reason of retirement or an O – retirement Visa are EXACTLY the same with the sole exception of the new health-insurance requirement.
An OA Visa is valid for a full year (Visa validity date). When you enter Thailand on an OA Visa you will be stamped in for a full year.Andeach time you re-enter Thailand before your Visa validity date expires, you will be stamped in again for a full year (permission to stay).It is therefore recommended to exit and re-enter Thailand just before your Visa validity expires.During that second year after your Visa validity has expired, you will need a re-entry permit when exiting and re-entering Thailand in order to keep that permission to stay valid until your current date. And it is only at the end of the permission to stay, that you need to apply for an extension of stay.
What is mentioned below is typically required, but requirements differ dependent on country of application. The following documents are required:
1) Passport with at least 18 months’ validity
2) 3 copies of the completed visa application form
3) 3 passport-sized photos (4x6cm) taken within the past 6 months
4) Personal information form (Curriculum Vitea or resume)
5) Copy of your bank statement showing an amount of 800,000THB or more, OR a certificate proving that you have a monthly income (ex. a pension) of 65,000THB or more, OR certification showing a combination of bank deposit and monthly income that totals not less than 800,000THB. Certain consulates or embassies can ask to notarize your bank account.
6) Letter of guarantee from your bank (to guarantee bank statement accuracy)
IMPORTANT: The letter of guarantee for the funds deposited and relevant bank statements must be certified by a commercial bank in Thailand and should be recent (normally few days old only) This is not necessary everywhere, and would actually be difficult when applying from abroad for the OA Visa.
7) Notarized letter from your home country (or official country of residence) stating that you have no criminal record.
8 ) Medical certificate from a hospital in the country where you submit your application showing that you have no prohibitive diseases. The certificate should be recent (valid for not more than 3 months) and might have to be notarized. A letter or statement signed by your doctor is also acceptable in some countries.
9) Purchase a health insurance policy from one of the participating companies via the website:
This ONLY applies to those who have already been granted a 1-year Non-Immigrant O-A visa and applies to those who have received a visa from an overseas consulate or embassy.You will be permitted to stay only for the length of the insurance coverage and not exceeding one year.
Overseas insurance can be accepted, but your insurer needs to provide you with a filled-in and signed Foreign Insurance Certificate will need to complete the form at this link:
Be sure to check with your Thai Consulate or Thai Embassy for the exact documents that are required before you apply. Each office can have its own rules and rules CHANGE OFTEN. So, verify if the above list meets their requirements and contact your Thai embassy or consulate.This visa is granted for 1 year.
2. Non-Immigrant O for reason of retirement (if available in your country)
The second option is to apply for a Non-Immigrant ‘O’ visa at a Royal Thai Consulate in a nearby country or your local immigration office. There are different reasons to apply for a non-O visa, like married to a Thai and this will change the financial obligations and documents to submit.
Some consulate or embassy around Thailand includes:
Vientiane or Savannakhet in Laos; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Penang, Malaysia, etc. For 2000 THB, you receive a 90-day visa which you can later extend to a full year. You’ll need to be over 50 years of age and have bank statements showing an income of over 65,000THB / month or 800,000THB as the total account balance at the time of the application. Certain consulates or embassies can ask to notarize your bank account.
If you’re in Thailand already and don’t want to exit, you can apply to change your 30-day visa exemption entry or 60-day Tourist Visa at the Immigration Center in Bangkok. This can be done at any local immigration office in Thailand that provides the service.
The same requirements will apply. When applying in Thailand, you also need to prove that the funds on your Thai bank-account originated from abroad >
Be careful, changing a visa is not easy and must be done at least 15 days before your visa expires.
Verify directly with the embassy or the local immigration office which documents are necessary as it can vary from a place to another.
3. Extending Your Visa
It is advisable to apply for an extension one month before your visa expires. Again, you will need to check with your local immigration office about when exactly you should apply for an extension. Some offices (e.g. Chiang Wattana – government complex in Bangkok) allow up to 45 days.
However, you can apply up to actual permission to stay expiry date.It is however recommended to do it a couple of days before that expiry date, in case your application is incomplete and you need to provide additional documents.
To do this, you need to file a TM7 Extension of Stay form just like you would for the Non-Immigrant O visa above. This time, you have to show 800,000THB in a Thai bank account (or in your country when you apply in your own country of residence), 65,000THB/month income, or a combination of the two equaling 800,000THB or more.
You need to submit:
1) TM7 application form
2) Application fee of 1,900 THB
3) Original passport with signed photocopies of each page (2 copies outside of Bangkok)
4) 1 passport-sized photo (2 outside Bangkok)
5) Map to your residence (must be hand-drawn)
6) Financial proof (as discussed above)
Furthermore, when showing 800,000THB in a Thai bank account the funds must be deposited 2 months prior to the application filing and remain in the account for 3 months after being granted permission to stay in Thailand.
After 3 months money can be withdrawn to no less than 400,000THB which must be maintained throughout the duration of permitted stay.
For a monthly income of 65,000THB, you must obtain a Letter for Proof of Income. Unfortunately, the embassies of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and several other countries no longer provide this service. You will need to obtain Proof of Income from your home country. Please consult your embassy as to whether or not they can provide you with a Proof of Income letter.
There are 3 ways of proving that you meet the financial requirements:
-Money-in-bank method (800K/400K as described)
-Monthly deposits (minimum 65.000 THB every single month with proof that it originated from abroad)
-Income statement (with no need to prove money on thai bank)
On top of that there is the combination method (money at bank + incomes)
Additionally, the bank statement should show deposits for the last 12 months. While this is not strictly outlined in a recent Order of Royal Thai Police, the combined 12-month amount is basically the same as the 800,000THB requirement.
For a combined income and deposit bank statement, the same requirements and criteria for the 800,000THB deposit apply.
7) Purchase a health insurance policy (Only for Non-OA visa) to cover your extension of stay for up to one year from one of the participating companies via the website:
4. Applying for a retirement visa when already in Thailand
4.1 You can applying for a Non Imm O – retirement Visa in a neighboring country. Non-O visa can be delivered for different reasons and you can extend on retirement
4.2You canapply for a Non Imm O – retirement Visa at the local IO of the place where you want to stay if you still have at least 15 days valid for your visa and respect the requirements.
Please look at the document attached called CHANGE OF VISA.
The non-O visa does not have the insurance requirement contrary to the Non-OA visa but most of the other requirements are the same. So if you do not wish to meet the requirement for insurance, you should switch your Non-OA visa for Non-O.
5. Staying in Thailand on a valid Visa or permission to stay
5.1 90-day reporting requirement
With any visa or extension in Thailand, you must report to Immigration every 90 days (unless you leave Thailand before 90 days) and file a TM47 form showing that you’re still in Thailand and at the same address.
There is no fee for these check-ins, and you’re also given leeway to file the TM47 form within a week before or after the arranged date for your 90-day reporting. However, if you’re late you will be fined. There are several options to report your 90 days notice, and the Thai immigration website described them
5.2Need for re-entry permits
If you want to leave and plan to re-enter Thailand after the validity date of your visa has expired, or you are on a one entry visa, or while on extension of stay, It is necessary to purchase for those going with an extension to buy a single re-entry permit for the price of 1000 THB or a multiple re-entry permit should cost you 3800 THB. This can be done at any local IO or in the departure halls of the main Thai airports, and it has to be done before exiting Thailand. The single and multiple re-entry permits are done with the TM8 form. When re-entering Thailand after the original Visa validity date (as printed on the Visa sticker) has expired, you need a re-entry permit to keep the permission to stay which that Visa provided you ‘the same deadline’.
Furthermore, if you are staying longer than 90 consecutive days you will need to report your residence.
Technically, the owner of the house, hotel, or rental property where you are staying must file the initial report.This is known as the TM 30 form. It must be submitted in person by the property owner to the Immigration Office in the province where you reside in Thailand.
After the property owner submits the form they will receive a receipt regarding your residence. This receipt must be kept safe with you. You can easily staple it into your passport.
This receipt is very IMPORTANT. DO NOT LOSE IT. You will need it for re-entering the kingdom or for when you need another Non-Immigrant O-A visa extension.
Do note that local immigration office do not follow the same rules for TM30. Some will only ask a TM30 when you leave the country while others will request TM30 each time you get out of your province for 24 hours.
In addition to the 1-year Non-Immigrant O-A visa based on retirement, there is a 5-year option as well.
6. FIVE YEARS NON-IMMIGRANT O-X VISA
The 5-year Non-Immigrant O-X visa based on retirement has the same requirements as the 1-year O-A visa, but with different financial obligations.
They are as follows:
1) 3,000,000THB deposited in a Thai bank account at least 3 months prior to your application submission, or proof of a 100,000THB monthly income for the past 12 months
2) Health insurance that provides you with $10,000 (roughly 300,000THB) in coverage
An additional requirement is that you must obtain a re-entry permit after the visa has been approved.
Likewise, you may need to provide a police clearance/background check and/or a medical certificate as well.
This is a new class of Non-Immigrant visa and not much is currently well-understood about the entire process.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that each Royal Thai Immigration office can set their own particular policies and guidelines. Some local immigration office allow you to re-apply for an extension up to 45 days before your permission to stay expires, while others might have other rules. Consult your locatl immigration office.
Some offices may require you submit a copy of your passport that has been legalized by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, others may not. So, before you submit any paperwork be sure to get a current list of requirements from your local immigration office.
Also, remember that foreigners are only allowed to stay in the Kingdom of Thailand for 90 days without exiting or reporting to immigration (except if you have permanent residency). Don’t miss your 90-day reports or you will be fined!
Employment is prohibited on the retirement visa and retirement extension.
For over-50s, the retirement visa and extensions based on retirement are great options to help you stay in Thailand long-term and enjoy this beautiful country. As long as you have the finances and keep your paperwork organized and in order, then you can use the extension based on retirement to build a great post-work life in Thailand.