Thai Government Announces 10-Year Visa – Creates Mass Confusion

On 22 November, 2016, Khaosod English online news media reported that the Thai Government announced the approval of a 10-year visa and immediately everyone on ThaiVisa went berserk.

Why? Well, Khaosod reported that this 10-year visa, which in reality is a 5-year visa, replaces the current 1-year Non-Immigrant O-A visa for retirees.

Thailand 10 Year Visa

Whether that is true or not is to be determined.

First off, this is a provisional approval:

Intended to promote Thailand as a hub for medical services, the policy was approved by the interim cabinet on Tuesday, according to spokesman Athisit Chainuwat.

This is typical for the Thai Government – announce a major change and then wait for the public’s reaction and modify or cancel it accordingly – like the SIM cards or ankle bracelets for tourists.

Next up is calling it a 10-year visa when it is only good for five years and then has to be renewed. More confusion.

The main reason for the wailing and gnashing of teeth is the income requirement and only because most think that this new visa replaces the old (I think it will be in addition to).

Income required for the 10-year visa is either 3 million baht in the bank for one year or a 100,000 baht monthly income/pension. This would force many expats to depart Thailand so I doubt if this will be the only retiree visa.

The other item that pissed everyone off is the silly requirement to check in every 90 days like we do on the one-year visa. Yes, is is available online – if you can get it to work. I have yet to accomplish that.

The Bangkok Post also added to the confusion with their article on the 10-year visa since they did not use the word “replaces”. However, they did mention the fee of 10,000 baht but failed to stipulate if that is for 10 years or 5. Currently the one-year Non-Immi O-A is 1,900 baht.

Additional confusion because of a new medical requirement:

they must have health insurance coverage for at least US$1,000 for outpatient care and $10,000 or more for inpatient care per policy per year.

This becomes an issue for me. I have medical coverage since I am a retired US soldier. My coverage is through TRICARE – but – I don’t pay a monthly premium. If I have to see a doctor or go to a hospital, I pay first and file a claim with TRICARE and get about 50% reimbursed after a deductible. My wife and daughter are also covered under this since they are military dependents. I have no way to prove this other than a US Military retiree ID card.

Another issue for the “10-year” visa that I did not see addressed is that most passports expire after 10 years and have to be renewed. Will the visa carry over to the new passport, and, if so, will it be a pain in the ass to do so?

A 10-year visa or a 5 -year visa for me is a good thing. I have no issue with the financial requirement, though many will. My concern is with the medical and the 90-day check-ins. If they could make it available online for any browser and actually have it work for everyone that would be great.

If the price is 10,000 baht for 10 years that would be even better as it would be about a 50% discount. If it is for 5 years it is just a little more expensive than it is now – so no big deal.

Thailand and its government need to learn that expats and expat retirees contribute a great deal to the Thai economy and should not be treated like shit.

I am sure that the initial claims of replacement by Khaosod will either be retracted or ignored in the future as more confusion is sure to reign on this 10-year/5-year visa.

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Categories:   Khon Kaen Retirement, Thailand



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