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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawComparing Thai O and O-A Retirement Visas

Comparing Thai O and O-A Retirement Visas

Transcript of the above video: 

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing O and O-A Retirement Visas. I have discussed this topic before; circumstances are sort of compelling me to discuss it again. I have taken a lot of grief on discussing this topic in sort of the comment sections of a lot of these videos.

I discussed this at length about a year ago. In fact it is getting to be right at the one year point, October of 2019, when we were discussing O-A visas and the insurance category and I stated back then and it looks like it is somewhat coming to pass that I thought there would be circumstances wherein insurance would start to, let's start from the beginning. O-A Visas and O Retirement Visas, they both can be issued for retirement but there is this sort of cosmetic difference between an O-A Visa which is issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then can possibly be renewed and extended here in Thailand, and then an O Retirement Visa which is generally speaking is an extension status here in Thailand issued under the auspices of Thai Immigration. It is O status for purposes of retirement. 

For those who are unaware, and I have gotten into this at length in other videos on this channel, the Immigration Act of 79, O Visas are not explicitly mentioned. There is simply a catch-all category under the listing of Visa types that just says basically "or other reasons as deemed necessary by Ministerial regulations".  So the O Retirement Visa or the O-A Retirement Visa or for that matter the O-X Retirement Visa, are sort of a product of regulation, not a product of law directly. They are a product of law sort of indirectly in that they are created by Ministerial regulations which is enacted pursuant to the "catch-all" category under the Immigration Act. So that is where we need to start.

Within the Immigration apparatus, comparing Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Ministry of interior specifically and then Immigration which sits under Ministry of Interior, there is sort of this cosmetic difference. O-A is issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and it can be extended by Immigration here but Immigration can also issue an O Visa for retirees. As we have gotten into in other videos on this channel, this is becoming something of a concern for folks because folks that have been trapped abroad in O Retirement Visa status may not be able to return directly to Thailand in O Retirement Visa status because only O-A is currently being explicitly allowed to get a Certificate of Entry to the Kingdom of Thailand. 

So the reason for this analysis is sort of comparing these two things and whether or not I think in the future this differentiation is going to continue. I think is a practical matter it likely will but it should be noted that as long as Certificates of Entry are required to enter Thailand, I think it is highly likely that the O-A may be the only way to return to Thailand if you are abroad because of the insurance requirement.