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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawCan I Convert a Thai Tourist Visa to an O Retirement Visa in Thailand?

Can I Convert a Thai Tourist Visa to an O Retirement Visa in Thailand?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Thai Tourist Visas. We are also discussing them in the context of conversion or change of status into an O Retirement Visa.

I want to be clear we are talking about the O Retirement Visa. As I have noted a number of comments on this channel, a lot of correspondence that has come our way via many different methods have basically stated to me "Oh it is no problem. I am just going to get a Thai Tourist Visa, come to Thailand and convert status in the country." Well in my opinion that is a very bad way to do this and I will tell you why. That is, it is not a foregone conclusion that you can convert from a Tourist Visa over to an O Retirement Visa. Yes, I know it has happened in the past. It may be possible in the future but we are coming into something of a new paradigm wherein I think Immigration is going to take it very seriously, the category you came into Thailand on. They are going to sort of presume that that is the category you should stick with.

As noted in other videos on this channel, it has always been a presumption in Thailand that a Non-immigrant or a Tourist Visa holder needs to leave the country in order to convert their status to another Visa category. Now extenuating circumstances may create a situation where you may be able to convert your status in country but again it is not a foregone conclusion. It is not guaranteed you are going to be able to do this. In this sort of immediately post-COVID response era, and this sort of slightly easing phase we are going through presently as of the time of this video, I think this is a really bad idea to think that you can come to Thailand on a Tourist Visa and then convert it to another category including the O Retirement Visa. I think that will be viewed in a number of ways in the negative by Thai Immigration officials most notably you are not stating your actual intent. The other thing is there is already a Retirement Visa option available abroad and again I think Thai Immigration officials, I think they are going to view these two categories as mutually exclusive. You come in on a Tourist Visa, you are a tourist; you are in tourist status. If you come in on a Retirement Visa, you are a retiree; you are in retirement status. But to believe that as in times past that you can just come in on a Thai Tourist Visa and convert, I think that is a really, really bad presumption to make under the current circumstances. Just think about it even in the best case scenario, let's say you pull it off, it is it is entirely dependent on the discretion of the adjudicating officer. Do you really want to go through all the time and effort and there is a lot of time and effort currently associated with getting into Thailand, in order to come here and then base your entire plan on getting into retirement status on the whim, if you will, of an adjudicating officer. I don't think that is a good idea. It is not good long-term thinking. The best idea is, if you are looking to retire in Thailand, seek a Retirement Visa abroad, come in on retiree status and maintain your status once here in the Kingdom of Thailand.