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Thai O-A Visas Issued Before October 31 Used Thereafter

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the O-A visa and we are specifically discussing a situation that I think may come up here pretty quickly for folks who have an O-A Visa. That is basically those who are coming to Thailand for retirees status and basically we are talking about situation that is going to come up specifically with the deadline looming for the implementation of new rules regarding this on October 31st, 2019. 

The thing to take away from this video first of all. We are not talking about extension status. Let me be clear. I have done other videos where in one sense I do not make necessarily a distinction between an O-A and an extension. I am in this video specifically talking about O-A Visas issued abroad, outside of Thailand.  

Someone sent me an email from the United States specifically on this issue and I decided to go ahead and make a video because I think it could be useful for those who are in this same predicament. That predicament is: your O-A Visa has been issued prior to October 31,  but you as an individual are not coming to Thailand until after October 31.  What happens because the effective date of the new regulations with respect to insurance come into effect October 31?

I got an email on this specifically. I want to go ahead and read it. I am going to leave out names but I am presuming the person who sent me this email will know who they are. 

Quoting directly: "The new requirements for medical insurance go into effect October 31st, 2019. I just received my O-A visa from the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington D.C. dated October, the date, 2019. My question is: since my visa is dated before October 31st, 2019, am I required to have medical insurance in effect from 1-year in order to enter Thailand on a date, I am not quoting directly but I am going to go ahead and say on a date later than October 31st?  By the way I find your videos very informative." Thank you for that.  

Good question and it is a really pertinent question, albeit it one that won't really be pertinent at all in six months but it is really pertinent question for right now.  So for those of you who are getting your O-A Visas right about now let me go ahead and preface everything else I am going to stay with this. It is probably a good idea if you can and it may not be possible, if you get your O-A visa issued before the 31st of October, try and get into Thailand before the 31st of October. You will get your first one year status stamp at that point; you will get your 1-year stamp and from there you are pretty well okay. There are going to be folks, like the person who sent me this email, who are not going to be able to do that so I am going to try to provide as much clarity I can.  Understand that clarity in this situation is not exactly forthcoming. We have gone through this backwards and forwards. We have had multiple people read the Thai version. We have had multiple people read the English version with me. I have analysed this stuff as much as I can. I will be honest with you. It really is a little bit trying on one's patience because there is an element of vagueness on the really finer points of this, that really make it difficult to provide any foresight as to exactly how this is going to be implemented. I think that is probably purposeful. When you write regulations, you want to leave the regulatory authorities or the adjudicating officers, the line officers if you will, some leeway to deal with things with respect to their discretion but really salient points of this are vague or at least I should say more vague than I would like them to be and that is leading to some frustration in trying analyse this. 

That being stated, specifically to the point of an O-A Visa issued but used after October 31st, 2019. Quoting directly from a translation of the recent orders that change the O-A regime, it is titled: Permission for an Alien that has been granted a Non-immigrant Visa Class O-A, not Exceeding 1 Year to Temporarily stay in the Kingdom: 

Quoting directly: " An alien who has been granted Non-immigrant visa class O-A for

Single entry or multiple entry and enters the Kingdom for the first time, will be permitted to stay in the Kingdom for a coverage period of health insurance for not exceeding one year."  They specifically state health insurance coverage. An Immigration Officer shall check any remarks on a Visa issued by an overseas Royal Thai Embassy for consideration and approval.

2. "An alien who has been granted a Non-immigrant Visa Class O-A for multiple entry and enters the Kingdom from the second time onwards, will be permitted to stay in the Kingdom for the remaining coverage period of health insurance for not exceeding 1 year." So that really pertains to somebody re-entering the Kingdom.

3.  An alien who has been granted Non-immigrant Visa Class O-A for multiple entry but the coverage period of health insurance for not exceeding one year has already expired, even if the visa is still valid will not be permitted to enter the Kingdom. However the said alien can buy health insurance in Thailand in order to be permitted to enter the Kingdom for a coverage period of health insurance for not exceeding 1-year."

So I think that number 3 covers this specific question. "I was issued before the 31st and I am entering after the 31st, what do I do?" Said alien can buy a health insurance in Thailand in order to be permitted to enter the Kingdom for a coverage period of health insurance for not exceeding 1 year.  What I can't figure from that is do they admit that person and then allow them to purchase coverage? Perhaps they go back and re-investigate whether or not they went and actually purchased coverage. Difficult to know but clearly that is a little more on point than some of the other stuff.  

Finally, number 4. “In case of the permission of stay in the Kingdom exceeds the coverage period of health insurance, an Immigration Officer shall apply mutatis mutandis, the order of the Immigration Bureau number 115/2553 dated June 29 2010 concerning the amendment of an Immigration stamp in a passport and the order of an Immigration Bureau number 79/2557 dated April 1, 2014 concerning the guidelines in case of an alien's granted permission of stay in the Kingdom is not meet a visa class or visa exemption.” So what it sounds like to me is they will basically go ahead and if you have insurance coverage for less than the year that you are looking forward to, that stamp will be granted for that coverage period, only. 

So in conclusion with respect to this video, and to that specific question, "I have been issued my O-A before the 31st but I will be using it after the fact." I think the most prudent thing to do would be to go ahead and go online and get insurance coverage anyway because failure to do so I think would probably cause a high likelihood of possibly having problems with Immigration at the time of entry to the Kingdom of Thailand.