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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawWill "Visa Runs" Become More Common for Retirees in Thailand?

Will "Visa Runs" Become More Common for Retirees in Thailand?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Retirement Visa status.  This has been quite a hot topic here recently.  Those who keep track of this channel have probably noticed we have been releasing a lot of videos on this. We are mostly doing this, for lack of better term, as sort of almost a public service because this really was, in terms of sort of a change with respect to regulations, it was rather a jarring jolt here at the beginning of 2019, coming off the rather jarring jolt that Income Affidavits were going to be a thing of the past as of the end of 2018.  Now we're seeing a rather more stringent approach to looking at maintenance of bank balances, a rather more stringent approach with respect to income and showing of income in bank accounts coming into Thailand and this video, it's almost kind of me speculating about how the future things is going to work. 

One thing that I was talking about with a friend of mine who is in retiree status here.  I was discussing with him “what do you do is going to happen to certain people?”, for example there were many people that used Income Affidavits and they really there wasn't anything wrong with them using those. They have the money.  It was more convenient to use Income Affidavits. They didn't do a lot of banking in the Kingdom; most of their assets were maintained for example in the United States. "I am an American so my perspective is tilted that way." I saw many people who were basically, they had been using Income Affidavits for years, and they were basing it off of pension income etc. that was coming to them in the United States and it wasn't necessarily coming into Thailand. Some of those folks I think will probably become either ”Visa runners" or they already were;  I know a large number of people that just prefer to apply for their retirement visas through either the Thai Embassy in Washington DC or through one of the Consulates in either New York, Chicago or Los Angeles and they basically just felt like visiting family once a year anyway or just returning to the US. They would head back to the US, spend a few weeks there, process their new retirement visa and come on back to Thailand. 

I think this could become a more prevalent thing because there are individuals who were using especially Income Affidavits and they simply don't wish to hassle with moving money around; they just don't want to do it, so they just go back once a year and seek a Retirement Visa in the US and return.  Again there other jurisdictions that will issue 1 year retirement visas as well so I expect there may be some people that decide to go ahead and opt to do that.  

Now that being said, Ministry of Foreign Affairs regulations vary somewhat from Immigration regulations here in the Kingdom and for that reason, there is going to be some variance with respect to you know things that one can do in one application, versus things that can be done in another application.  That being said, I don't think that this is going to be an avenue for getting away with anything. The overall policy remains the same, be it Ministry of Foreign Affairs Officials in your Consulate abroad or Immigration Officers here, in for example Chaeng Wattana or the various Immigration Offices in the Kingdom of Thailand. The overarching policy principle remains the same.  They generally want to see what amounts to about 800,000 minimum either in income or assets balance in a bank account for retirees and I think the underlying thinking is they want to make sure those folks have the resources to take care of themselves just in a general sense but also in case some unforeseen medical emergency arises. They want to make certain that people can actually support themselves here in the Kingdom.

So while I do think it might become more prevalent for certain types of expats here who just simply find it more convenient to just essentially process their visa when they return home to see family etc., I don't think that this is going to be some sort of avenue for having a workaround to sort of circumvent the underlying policy.