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Thailand Retirement Visas: UK Embassy to Stop Certifying Income

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests we are discussing Thai retirement visas. I usually do not particularly sort of wander over to issues involving specifically UK citizens here in the Kingdom but recent news came to my attention that I think is of particular import as it is going to have a possible massive impact on a lot of expats here in the Kingdom and I just wanted to get into it now.

There was a recent announcement from the British Embassy in Bangkok; I got this from www.gov.uk. The title of this is British Embassy, Bangkok to Stop Certification of Income Letters. “From January 1st 2019, the British Embassy, Bangkok will no longer be providing British Nationals with letters confirming their income.” This was published 8th October, 2018 and from the British Embassy, Bangkok and I'm going to quote directly. “This letter has previously served as a supporting document for obtaining a Thai retirement or marriage visa. The British Embassy, Bangkok is stopping the certification of income letters because it is unable to fulfill the Thai Authorities requirements to verify the income of British Nationals. British Nationals should now demonstrate that they have an amount of at least 800,000 Thai baht in an account in Thailand for no less than 3 months prior to the visa application or a monthly income of at least 65,000 Thai baht transferred into an account in Thailand for a retirement visa. For a marriage visa, the amounts are 400,000 Thai baht in an account in Thailand for no less than 3 months prior to the visa application or a monthly income of at least 40,000 Thai baht transferred into an account in Thailand. A Bank statement should be used as a supporting document for obtaining a Thai retirement or marriage visa. British Nationals concerned should note that the last date for income letter applications is 12 December, 2018. So red letter day there. 12 December, 2018 for any British Nationals watching this video. 

So what does this mean? Well a couple of things that are notable here. First of all, there has always been something of a bit of a disconnect between the way in which the so-called common law jurisdictions deal with notarized documents versus Civil Law jurisdictions and Thailand is a Civil Law jurisdiction. Common Law jurisdictions such as the UK, generally speaking a notarization is simply that, well not simply that. A notarization is simply the authentication of a signature. So they're basically saying that the person this was signed by was in fact the person that signed this document. Often times they are not attesting to the veracity of the underlying document, they are simply authenticating that the signature is made by the person indicated on the document. So this is of import because essentially the Thai Authorities, especially at Immigration, often took the notarized document to mean that the veracity of the contents were in fact authenticated as well. Now this disconnect always sort of operated in a limbo and for a very long period of time this limbo seem to be acceptable to all parties concerned but apparently now, and it should be noted, I'm going to reread this from this press release, "The British Embassy, Bangkok is stopping the certification of income letters because it is unable to fulfill the Thai authorities requirement to verify the income of British Nationals."  Basically the British authorities cannot basically become an investigative body to ascertain whether or not the individual in question really has the assets or the income that they say that they have. They don't have the resources for that. I suspect if they did, these notarizations would probably cost possibly over a hundred thousand to obtain here at the Embassy because it would take that many resources to verify the accuracy of the claims within a given letter.

What this means as a practical matter for expats here in the Kingdom is probably pretty substantial. There are many people that do not necessarily have income coming into the Kingdom of Thailand. They have pensions and things but they maintain them in offshore jurisdictions or they may not actually keep a large balance of cash in the Kingdom but they for years relied upon using these income affidavit letters that are issued by the British Embassy to go ahead and maintain their Thai Visa status or in some cases, Thai marriage visa status. We did another video specifically on that topic on this channel. But that being said, the thing to take away from this is that is going to be a thing of the past come mid-December of 2018 and so I think that those who have been using those in the past need to go ahead and find alternative means and methodologies maintaining their financial requirements to go ahead and obtain the retirement Visa in order to maintain status here in the Kingdom of Thailand.