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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawIs the Thai Special Tourist Visa Replacing the Retirement Visa?

Is the Thai Special Tourist Visa Replacing the Retirement Visa?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the Special Tourist Visa. I have had a lot of folks ask me the question recently, especially retirees, truly you retirees that are trapped outside of Thailand right now, I do sympathize with you. I understand your situation is not ideal by a long shot. I have had a lot of them ask "Well is this special tourism meant to replace the retirement visa?" and no I do not think that that is the case at all. In fact Thai Immigration Officials nor anybody at a policy making level above Thai Immigration, none that I have seen have made any comments that a Special Tourist Visa is there to act as any sort of replacement for the Retirement Visa. In point of fact, the way I am looking at it, it is kind of a precursor visa. It is being implemented I would almost say being beta tested; "sticking one's toe in the water" if you will to use a metaphor, to getting some tourism, getting some Immigration opened back up to Thailand and basically I think they are kind of testing the waters a little bit to see how this works. 

Now how that exactly plays out remains to be seen, but to view this as a replacement for a Retirement Visa, I don't think that is the case. Basically you would have to upend a great deal of Thai regulatory provisions to replace the Retirement Visa. I mean there is a whole body regulation out there regarding Retirement Visas both issued at Ministry of Foreign Affairs abroad as well as internally here by the Thai Immigration Bureau. 

So do I think that the Special Tourist Visa is being rolled out to replace the Retirement Visa? Definitely not. It is basically being used to try to bring in some tourism on a limited scale while they try and figure out how best to reopen the country in the aftermath of these COVID restrictions.