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Retirement visas


Laawman
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Just a quick heads up on this for those that are interested. I went into a well known agent on soi post office (should I mention them?) and was quoted B25k plus another B1k for a single  re-entry if I wanted it. This will actually give you 15 months as it includes I believe the 3 months Non-O which is initially required. Annual renewals come in at B12.5k, or B8k if you supply your own funds, shall we say. To do all this however, you will need a bank account which is opened for B3,700, which includes the B500 for admin + card and some sort of accident insurance which might even come in handy one day (though hopefully not). Also you will need 4 passport sized photos (shop across the street at B120) and a rental 'contract' which can just be a hotel or guesthouse booking receipt for the duration. Another B200 is needed for the taxi guy who will whisk you off to soi 5 for your official photo and queue jumping exercise. 90 day reporting is free, but they most likely will do it online anyway if you don't fancy doing it yourself. Then that's it - job done! 

I initially came in on a 30 day exempt, but they will require 20 days to sort all this out for you, so speed is of the essence. There are many agents in town these days, but I'm pretty certain that they all have the same contact(s) at soi 5 so it's up to you how much you want to pay.

Have fun!

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9 hours ago, Laawman said:

Just a quick heads up on this for those that are interested. I went into a well known agent on soi post office (should I mention them?) and was quoted B25k plus another B1k for a single  re-entry if I wanted it. This will actually give you 15 months as it includes I believe the 3 months Non-O which is initially required. Annual renewals come in at B12.5k, or B8k if you supply your own funds, shall we say. To do all this however, you will need a bank account which is opened for B3,700, which includes the B500 for admin + card and some sort of accident insurance which might even come in handy one day (though hopefully not). Also you will need 4 passport sized photos (shop across the street at B120) and a rental 'contract' which can just be a hotel or guesthouse booking receipt for the duration. Another B200 is needed for the taxi guy who will whisk you off to soi 5 for your official photo and queue jumping exercise. 90 day reporting is free, but they most likely will do it online anyway if you don't fancy doing it yourself. Then that's it - job done! 

I initially came in on a 30 day exempt, but they will require 20 days to sort all this out for you, so speed is of the essence. There are many agents in town these days, but I'm pretty certain that they all have the same contact(s) at soi 5 so it's up to you how much you want to pay.

Have fun!

Excellent info. Thanks!

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9 hours ago, Laawman said:

Just a quick heads up on this for those that are interested. I went into a well known agent on soi post office (should I mention them?) and was quoted B25k plus another B1k for a single  re-entry if I wanted it. This will actually give you 15 months as it includes I believe the 3 months Non-O which is initially required. Annual renewals come in at B12.5k, or B8k if you supply your own funds, shall we say. To do all this however, you will need a bank account which is opened for B3,700, which includes the B500 for admin + card and some sort of accident insurance which might even come in handy one day (though hopefully not). Also you will need 4 passport sized photos (shop across the street at B120) and a rental 'contract' which can just be a hotel or guesthouse booking receipt for the duration. Another B200 is needed for the taxi guy who will whisk you off to soi 5 for your official photo and queue jumping exercise. 90 day reporting is free, but they most likely will do it online anyway if you don't fancy doing it yourself. Then that's it - job done! 

I initially came in on a 30 day exempt, but they will require 20 days to sort all this out for you, so speed is of the essence. There are many agents in town these days, but I'm pretty certain that they all have the same contact(s) at soi 5 so it's up to you how much you want to pay.

Have fun!

Does this skip the visits to the Soi 5 immigration office in the "nice attire"?

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15 hours ago, Laawman said:

I initially came in on a 30 day exempt, but they will require 20 days to sort all this out for you, so speed is of the essence. There are many agents in town these days, but I'm pretty certain that they all have the same contact(s) at soi 5 so it's up to you how much you want to pay.

Thats what I did when I first relocated to Bangkok in 2003. 

1.) First they convert the 30 day exempt to a Non O 90 day visa.

2.) They then convert that to an "Extension of stay due to Retirement"

I had to return to the USA 2011 ish to care for the parents and stayed loner than I had expected so my Extension expired. I got a 90 day ) from the Seattle Thai Consulate and converted that to an Extension of stay due to Retirement.

Starting the process with a 90 day visa eliminated the first step.

Didn't use an agent either time.

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9 hours ago, Ashoka said:

Does this skip the visits to the Soi 5 immigration office in the "nice attire"?

Pretty much so unless you do the report in person. As for the initial photo it's probably best not to arrive looking like Steptoe's dad!

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4 minutes ago, Laawman said:

Pretty much so unless you do the report in person. As for the initial photo it's probably best not to arrive looking like Steptoe's dad!

Well I don't generally go to thailand with my work attire. Most of the time I don't even pack pants unless travelling in the winter.

But this is good to know. Thanks.

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3 hours ago, lance2546 said:

Thats what I did when I first relocated to Bangkok in 2003. 

1.) First they convert the 30 day exempt to a Non O 90 day visa.

2.) They then convert that to an "Extension of stay due to Retirement"

I had to return to the USA 2011 ish to care for the parents and stayed loner than I had expected so my Extension expired. I got a 90 day ) from the Seattle Thai Consulate and converted that to an Extension of stay due to Retirement.

Starting the process with a 90 day visa eliminated the first step.

Didn't use an agent either time.

For me, the B800k is the biggest issue so I'd prefer to leave that invested. It's also quite legal to do the B65k per month 'recycling' method where you simply send the excess back home periodically to be returned at a later date. Some even do a mix of both, e.g. B400k + B32.5k monthly which does make more sense if you're bringing it over on a regular basis.

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one thing to remember is that if you do arrive in thailand on a 30 day visitor visa from the airport, and then want to change to a retirement visa. it is officially not possible to get the 90 day Non-0 within thailand. Although this unofficially can be done via big money and an agent, if you do this route your passport will be sent to Bangkok immigration office as they are the only one that will do the non-0. it can take the passport up to a month to get back to you.

it is much more sensible [and cheaper] to have the initial none-0 done at a thai embassy before coming to Thailand..

do that and the retirement visa is much easier. 2000 baht to do it yourself or around 12000 as Laawman said in the OP via an agent.

My agent did the whole thing for me for if i recall correctly 22000 baht some years ago when i flew to Cambodia for a couple of days holiday, losing my Thai retirement visa because i forgot to get a re-entry permit! The agent said that she will never do it again because of the hassles she had with Bangkok.

By the way Laawman, i note that you wear a Stetson... are you a cowpoke too?

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20 hours ago, Laawman said:

For me, the B800k is the biggest issue so I'd prefer to leave that invested.

I understand. I transferred 800k to Bangkok Bank at 44 THB to the USD, so that worked out ok, because the THB began to strengthen significantly after 2003. I only transferred 800k one time in 10 years living in Thailand. 

After that I would go to the US Embassy and get an Affidavit of Income; Immigration accepted that in place of the 800k lump sum. I think that loop hole may have been closed.

I've heard of guys "renting" an 800k, aged deposit; however, I assume a visa agent is needed for that.

My experience with Thai immigration is dated, my last retirement visa was 2013, so I'm sure things have changed.

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Shrewd move at 44THB - gotta strike whilst the iron is hot! Indeed, a visa agent is required for the 800k, though it is a very grey area as far as legality is concerned. I recently heard a story where a guy had been using one for years, then deciding to go it alone with his own deposit and efforts. The officer took one look at his bank book and then asked him where was last years money. Application denied! Clearly then they are bribed to look the other way during the processing period so continued use of an agent is highly recommended! 

"Just when I thought I was out - they pull me back in."

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OK, so today I ended up doing the dirty deed. With a bunch of filthy lucre clutched in my hand I headed down to the agent's office and handed over the necessary. I wasn't really expecting to get it all done right away, but it was quickly off to Jompters with the taxi guy. Breezed through the queues of frustrated looking plebs, a quick snap with the digicam and it was back to Patters to open the bank account. Must have took the best part of an hour and a serious case of writer's cramp with all the forms I had to sign. Walked away with a debit card and an online account which is pretty crucial these day for topping up phones etc. Checking my account book I noticed the 800k already was put in and then immediately taken out again before I had a chance to scarper with the proceeds. The bank hangs on to your passport, but the agent already gives you a receipt for it.

Sorted.

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2 hours ago, Laawman said:

The bank hangs on to your passport, but the agent already gives you a receipt for it.

Thats interesting. I thought a passport was owned by the government that issued it. If that is so, how can the bank hold on to it?.

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On 8/29/2022 at 8:18 PM, lance2546 said:

Thats what I did when I first relocated to Bangkok in 2003. 

1.) First they convert the 30 day exempt to a Non O 90 day visa.

2.) They then convert that to an "Extension of stay due to Retirement"

I had to return to the USA 2011 ish to care for the parents and stayed loner than I had expected so my Extension expired. I got a 90 day ) from the Seattle Thai Consulate and converted that to an Extension of stay due to Retirement.

Starting the process with a 90 day visa eliminated the first step.

Didn't use an agent either time.

Hey thanks for telling us about that.

Some real good info. Helps a lot!

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14 hours ago, Laawman said:

OK, so today I ended up doing the dirty deed. With a bunch of filthy lucre clutched in my hand I headed down to the agent's office and handed over the necessary. I wasn't really expecting to get it all done right away, but it was quickly off to Jompters with the taxi guy. Breezed through the queues of frustrated looking plebs, a quick snap with the digicam and it was back to Patters to open the bank account. Must have took the best part of an hour and a serious case of writer's cramp with all the forms I had to sign. Walked away with a debit card and an online account which is pretty crucial these day for topping up phones etc. Checking my account book I noticed the 800k already was put in and then immediately taken out again before I had a chance to scarper with the proceeds. The bank hangs on to your passport, but the agent already gives you a receipt for it.

Sorted.

So you have to keep the SAME checking account open to reuse next year or its a simple open and close thing after they have the receipt?

If you decide not to use the agent, is it way more cumbersome?

And is there a website or something with the description of what they do or its hush hush under the table?

Also how much did the whole agent thing cost?

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2 hours ago, Ashoka said:

So you have to keep the SAME checking account open to reuse next year or its a simple open and close thing after they have the receipt?

no, it's a legit bank account, better to keep it open to save going through the hassle again next year. since i opened mine and the agent put the 800k in [for five minutes 5 years back]] i kept the account open ever since for use. Since the initial 800k,  it has never happened again. Doesn't seem to be needed annually. Maybe just an agreement the agent has with her mate in immigration. all immi have needed is my account book as proof i have a bank account. all i need every year is the account book, and a photo .

i guess the agent insisted on Bangkok bank Laawman?

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8 hours ago, blind boy grunt said:

 

i guess the agent insisted on Bangkok bank Laawman?

She did indeed! I needed a bank account anyway but was kind of surprised when they gave me everything back right away. Very handy though as now I can use Wise to move some more cash over.

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10 hours ago, Ashoka said:

If you decide not to use the agent, is it way more cumbersome?

And is there a website or something with the description of what they do or its hush hush under the table?

Also how much did the whole agent thing cost?

I don't believe it's difficult to do, certainly cheaper if you can meet the financial requirements and have more than a modicum of patience. It's a bit hush hush I guess, but then in Asia a bit of baksheesh is always going to be for payment in advance of services. I don't believe there is a website detailing the whole process - that really would be taking the mickey! 

The whole thing costs (currently) 25k + 3,700 + 200 = 28,900 and that gives you 15 months in country. 90 day reporting is free.

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Thai banks are good at times. It seems the main problem with them, especially out in the sticks is actually opening an account. Some banks can be difficult especially if there's a lack of English speaking. In Pattaya though, rarely a problem.

The great thing is if you lose your card, which is easy in Thai ATMs because they process arse ways on compared to England anyway [, i.e the card comes out after the money] just go into any same bank branch with your passport and bank book and they'll give you a replacement immediately.

Dunno what happens in England now but it used to be that you had to wait for a replacement to come through the post, followed by a new pin number sometime later.

 

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11 hours ago, Ashoka said:

Hey thanks for telling us about that.

Some real good info. Helps a lot!

My pleasure buddy.

I some times gripe about Thai bureaucracy, but in 10 years dealing with it I was never asked for a bribe or denied a visa or motorcycle registration if my documents were in order. A buddy wanted to apply for a Thai Retirement visa and I offered to help. He told me it was extremely complicated and impossible to do with out an agent. 

So I shut up.

Couple of years later he admitted it wasn't that complicated and he could have saved himself 20k Thai baht.

The visa agent did well:biggrin:

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3 hours ago, Laawman said:

I needed a bank account anyway

Sometimes it is not easy to open a bank account with a tourist visa.  In Pattaya, if you want someone to cut through the red tape Mot can do it for you for 3500 baht.  This includes picking you up in her car and making it easy.  According to her website there will also be a fee to the bank for an ATM card, perhaps a high cost ATM card which includes the dreaded insurance that you don't need but banks push.  Think she deals with Bangkok Bank.  She also deals with visas and driver's licenses.  

https://www.mots-services.com/mots-services1

If you are DIY guy, the Krungsri branch at Central Festival is pretty good.  A friend had a tourist visa or entry stamp that he was going to convert to a Non-O (commonly referred to as a retirement visa) and he just needed one simple form from Immigration to open the account.  Another Krungsri branch said cannot.  Kasikorn at Central Festiva said cannot.  Bangkok Bank on 2nd Road by Soi VC was all smiles and had some scheme that involved getting a visa and also would only do it if you bought the dreaded insurance.

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