Over the past few months, Expats from around the world have voiced their concern over the requirements needed in applications for ‘Retirement’ and ‘Marriage’ Visas especially the financial requirements as well as proof of income so they can remain in the Kingdom. Several Embassies last year began instituting a policy that they will no longer be issuing a ‘proof of income statement’ for the purpose of Visa applications in Thailand.

“Foreigners now need to keep 800k in Thai bank for three months AFTER their retirement extension is granted.”

The Thai immigration Division has announced a major change regarding the financial requirements needed when applying for an extension of stay based on retirement, often referred to as a “retirement visa”.

“In police order No. 35/2561, foreigners who apply for a retirement extension using the 800k baht in the bank, or the combination of income method, now need to keep 800k baht in the bank for three months after the extension and 400k baht in the bank after that and this order has been verified.”

Foreigners must still be able to show the 800k baht in a Thai bank two months before the application and three months following for the initial extension and with the base of 400,000 for the retirement visa to stay relevant and active at this time.

The Guidelines for this matter are as follows:

(1) Must have been granted a non-immigrant visa (Non-Im)

(2) Must be 50 years of age or over

(3)  Must have evidence of having income of no less than THB 65,000 or;

(4) At least 2 months prior to filing date, and at least 3 months after being granted permission, the alien must have fund deposited in a bank in Thailand of no less than THB 800,000. The alien can withdraw the fund 3 months after being granted permission and the remaining balance must be no less than THB 400,00 or;

(5) Must have and annual earning and fund deposited with a commercial bank in Thailand totaling of no less than THB 800,000 until the filing date. The said fund must remain in the account prior to and after the permission is granted and the alien can make a withdrawal under the same conditions as stated in (4).

The new requirements to keep 400k baht in the bank after the retirement visa is granted will be active and initiated as of 1st March 2019.As seen daily on the national and international news, these steps are part of a comprehensive overhaul to all areas within the Immigration Division. In the past, illegal practices such as falsifying income for visas have plagued the Immigration Division. Now such areas are being dealt with in a quick and precise manner. Since his appointment as the Chief of Immigration, Pol.Lt.Gen. Surachet Hakparn, has moved quickly in the attempt to put an end to the practice of Visa Agents falsifying bank statements for foreigners who do not have enough money to meet the financial requirements needed for a retirement extension.

In October 2018, the then newly appointed Head of Immigration vowed to crackdown on Visa Agents who falsify documents for foreigners applying for visas and extensions of stay. With that crackdown, Immigration officials began to apply the requirements to the dismay of many applicants over the past five months as the everchanging rules and regulations for visas and work permits have made it challenging for those applying for extension.

In the most recent article posted last week, the Thai Immigration Police Chief noted that he had recommended local Immigration officers be ‘lenient’ in relation to the latest enforcement of income requirements but noted that the leniency would only be for the remainder of 2019. As seen over the course of the past five months, sweeping changes have occurred and arrests made to visa overstays, clearing the long lines at arrivals at the airport, and the purge of personnel in various areas of Thai Immigration. Clarifying areas where corruption may occur has been quickly and proactively dealt with by Pol.Lt.Gen. Surachet Hakparn, the Thai Immigration Police Chief continues to overhaul this critical Division within the government. With the amount of tourism continuing to rise to record levels in 2019, there will continue to be greater scrutiny for those seeking a warm and sunny place to retire as well as for marriage and extensions of stay.

As always, if you need assistance in any of your Immigration needs, please contact us at info@rwtlaw.co.th .