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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawIs A Bank Account Needed For A Retirement Visa In Thailand?

Is A Bank Account Needed For A Retirement Visa In Thailand?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing retirement visas; specifically the issue of bank accounts associated therewith. 

In recent days I have received correspondence from various people throughout the Kingdom that since the beginning of 2019, certain aspects of the retirement visa extension and application process are changing. For those of you who are unaware, we have done a number of videos on this channel where we discussed the discontinuation of issuance of so-called Income Affidavits by the various Embassies of various countries located here in Bangkok. Basically, to sum that up, in the past it was possible that for example in a US case involving a US citizen seeking for example of a retirement here in the Kingdom, it was possible to go down to the US Embassy and get an Income Affidavit. One simply filled out what ones income was, had that notarized by the Consulate here in Thailand and then that notarized document would be translated and legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That translation and legalization of that document would then act as the primary evidence of income in association with for example a Thai Retirement Visa. That scheme has ended.  It is no longer how one gets a retirement visa extension here in the Kingdom.  So from 2019 onward, Income Affidavits are no longer considered valid evidence. 

So where does that leave individuals with respect to extending or applying for a retirement visa?  Well it makes a bank account in my opinion practically an absolute necessity and this can prove somewhat problematic because one can end up in what I call a Catch-22 situation especially if it's their first time applying for a retirement visa and they have come into the Kingdom and they are looking to get a retirement visa conversion off of a 30-day entry stamp. This can prove somewhat problematic because some banks won't open a bank account for those that are not in proper visa status. Some banks even require work permits although with a retirement visa that's not necessarily an issue because one cannot have a work permit on a retirement visa

So the thing to take away from this video, I have received correspondence from various individuals who have stated that they have gone in and tried to do their retirement visa using evidence of income and assets in accounts located abroad, outside of Thailand, and that Immigration Officials have considered this insufficient for purposes of extension of stay based on retiree status. I liken this to for example financial affidavits that are associated with American visas, for example the I-864 Affidavit of Support. That document requires the individual who's acting as a sponsor for an immigrant usually in the cases we deal with, an Immigrant Spouse Visa to the United States, they be able to show a certain amount of assets and income being derived in the US and the important part there is they want to see that that money is, and that income is actually in the United States. They don't really much care about assets outside of the United States because the issue there is one of sponsorship and they want to see that that sponsor is going to be sponsoring that Immigrant in the US much the same as the situation with respect to Thailand  in this case.  Basically Thai Immigration Officials want to go ahead and see that that individual applying for a retirement visa application or a retirement visa or applying for an extension has their assets and has their income actually here in the Kingdom. I think in their eyes, anything other than that is not going to be considered valid because those financial resources are not in the Kingdom of Thailand; they are simply not usable for purposes of maintaining status here. 

I will keep you updated with respect to this but one thing to keep in mind is as I said bank accounts are going to become practically a necessity I think for everybody that is looking to renew their visa and retiree status here in the Kingdom. That being said there is also going to be a requirement that the money, especially with respect to income, actually comes into Thailand. It doesn't look like you are going to be able to use financial instruments and accounts outside of the Kingdom as proof in a basis for extension of stay in retiree status.