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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawCan I Change from a Thai Medical Visa to a Retirement Visa?

Can I Change from a Thai Medical Visa to a Retirement Visa?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Medical Visas and we are discussing conversion from a Medical Visa into a Retirement Visa here in Thailand. 

I made another video contemporaneously with this one that discusses Medical Visa conversion to Business Visa and I want to reiterate what I said in that video which was, "you need to be careful with this because under routine circumstances, Thai Immigration Authorities do not like for lack of a better term to see people convert from one Non-immigrant category to another Non-immigrant category in the Kingdom". The reason for this and I have gotten into this at length in another video, is it is a Non-immigrant status so Thai Immigration presumes that you are not living here. For that reason, if you wish to convert category the presumption is you need to leave, get a new Visa, come back in. 

Now obviously, the response to COVID-19 and the restrictions associated therewith, it is very preclusive of being able to do that. It is not really possible to affect a "border run" at this time so Thai Immigration has been sympathetic to that. They have used their discretion to deal with that on a case-by-case basis and we have seen them make an exception to this overriding principle with respect to in country Non-immigrant conversion. That stated, if you convert into one category and then you try to leapfrog into another category, for example if during the Amnesty or as Amnesty was ending, someone gets into a Medical Visa and then later tries to sort of for lack of a better term, leapfrog again into a Retirement Visa, well that might not be viewed with so much sympathy. 

Another thing to keep in mind is it has been our experience that with Medical Visas, Thai Immigration Authorities take a very strict scrutiny application approach with respect to folks who come in to Thailand specifically for medical treatment. Those folks were highly prioritized from the get-go. When the travel restrictions came down, Medical Visa, medical entrants, were top on the list of folks that could get in and early on Thai Immigration made arrangements for folks especially in countries in the region that need medical treatment to allow those folks in. However they made it clear and they made it clear to many of us here in the firm, that this was not an avenue by which to gain entrance to Thailand via subterfuge; by just pretextually or pretensively undertaking medical treatment in order to get a Visa. So if you come in in a medical Visa it may be very difficult to get converted. If you ended up in a Medical Visa while you were here in Thailand due to whatever circumstances arose and you got trapped prior to the lockdown and then maybe you are trying to move out of Medical into another category, I would still say that is going to be relatively difficult or perhaps I should say that is going to be something of a tall order. That stated, it may not be impossible or it may not be as difficult as it would be under other circumstances.