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First steps to retirement visa from UK


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Hi

I've been reading and re-reading lots of info on-line about getting a retirement visa and the wording is confusing me.  I will soon have the £20k in a bank account in the UK.  I believe that needs to be there for 2 months?  I am over 50 and single and not sure what visa I need to get to enable me to get to Thailand and open a bank account so that I can transfer this money in to it and then get a retirement visa (O-A ??)  I will have an income from renting out my UK apartment, but a modest one (below the 65k baht) but as long as I don't touch the £20k when I get it here no problem, yes?  From what I read in some places, to get an O visa I have to be a state pensioner, which I'm not, so does that mean I need a tourist visa to start with?  I read about a 90 day visa, but how do I get one of them?   I'm well confused :-/   If anyone has done this recently, or knows the process that would get me to Thailand and, ultimately on a retirement visa, I would really appreciate the advice.

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Thank you so much OJAS, that has made things a lot clearer for me, and I'll hopefully be able to get things moving quicker now I know I don't need to wait for the 2 months before applying for the visa.

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I'll start in reverse order.

Once in Thailand your objective is to obtain an 'extension based on retirement' from your local Immigration office located in the Province where you intend to stay. These are 'permits' not Visas and are renewed annually. (1,900 baht pa).

The conditions to obtain an extension;

You must be 50 or over.

You must have a 'Non Immigrant' type Visa.

You must have funds of 800,000 baht deposited in a Thai bank for 60 days on the date of the very first application (3 months thereafter). OR

A monthly income of 65,000 baht (proved by letter from the British Embassy), OR

A combination of monthly income and funds deposited in a Thai bank totalling 800,000 baht per annum.

Read section 2.22.

Immigration Bureau order 327-2557 (2014) - extension criteria & conditions en.pdf

 

The Thai Embassy in the UK though will only issue either a single or multiple Non Imm O type Visa to those who are either 65 and in receipt of the State Pension, or married to a Thai.

That leaves you two options: The Non Imm O-A Visa which OJAS suggested, which in my opinion is time consuming, expensive and a PITA.

The second option is to obtain a Tourist Visa from your local Thai Consulate. This can be extended by 30 days at your local Immigration office, giving a total stay of 90 days from entry. (Time to transfer funds).

You can apply for a 'Non Imm' Visa at your local Immigration office as part of a 'conversation process' to obtaining an 'extension' based on retirement.

It's a two step process converting your TV to a 'Non Imm' Visa, then subsequently to the extension.

The process is here:

https://www.immigration.go.th/content/service_80 (Click EN top right hand corner).

DOCUMENTS TO BE SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT OF THE APPLICATION FOR VISA OR VISA STATUS ALTERATION (NON-O): FOR RETIREMENT PURPOSES.
  1. The application must be submitted more than 15 days before visa expiration and, in case of overstaying in Thailand, application could not be submitted.
  2. 1.1 Form TM.86 for the foreigner, who has Tourist and Transit Visa and applies for Visa Status Alteration and applies for non-immigrant visa; or
    1.2 Form TM.87 for the foreigner, who enters into Thailand without visa, but is allowed to stay in Thailand with a permit of stay for a period of 15 day, 30 days, 90 days and applies for non-immigrant visa.
  3. A copy of passport pages (for example, personal information page, last entries stamp, visa sticker and extension stamp (if any) and departure card (Form TM.6))
  4. Either one 4x6 cm photograph or one 2 inch size photograph
  5. Application fee of Baht 2,000
  6. 5.1 A guarantee letter from the bank in Thailand in Thai language (Attention: Immigration Commissioner)*
    5.2 A copy  of all entries of the applicant’s passbook showing that the applicant has a savings or fixed deposit account  of not less than Baht 800,000* (all documents must be in the Applicant’s name).
    5.3 Evidence of foreign currency fund transferred to Thailand*
    *(Documents under 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 must be issued and updated to be the same date of the Application and all documents must be in the Applicant’s name.)or
  7. A guarantee letter from the local or overseas Embassy or Consulate, proving the monthly pension of the Applicant not less than Baht 65,000 per month (together with reference documents showing the source of said monthly pension); or
  8. Evidence of deposited money under Clause 5 and evidence of income under Clause 6  (for one year) showing the total amount not less than Baht 800,000
Remarks
1. The Applicant must appear in person every time.

2. The Applicant must sign to certify on every page of the Applicant’s documents.
3. To be convenient and for speedy service, the Applicant for visa or visa status alteration must arrange and submit a complete set of documents in proper order and must prepare the originals as proof.

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1 hour ago, OJAS said:

Forget about trying to obtain a non-immigrant O visa on the grounds of being aged 50 or over since, as you state, this is only issued by the Royal Thai Embassy in London to those in receipt of the State Pension. I would also strongly advise you to steer clear of a tourist visa initially since you will then need to devote time and energy in converting this to a non-immigrant O visa at your local immigration office in Thailand prior to applying for extensions of stay. A non-immigrant OA visa is definitely the way for you to go IMHO.

I disagree. Obtaining Police criminal record checks and a medical is time consuming and expensive.

Obtaining a TV and doing the conversion within Thailand is cheaper and less time consuming.

The OP won't be able to apply for an 'extension' for almost 12 months, or even longer, if he enters on an O-A.

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1 minute ago, Tanoshi said:

I disagree. Obtaining Police criminal record checks and a medical is time consuming and expensive.

Obtaining a TV and doing the conversion within Thailand is cheaper and less time consuming.

The OP won't be able to apply for an 'extension' for almost 12 months, or even longer, if he enters on an O-A.

Absolutely not a problem  to obtain police criminal check in the UK takes about a week, if you pay a bit extra, Medical just go to your GP again a matter of days, the biggest pain is to get everything notarized, again not insurmountable but does cost. But all this depends on your budget.

Good luck with your endevour.

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Thank guys, but as long as I can get there and get settled, I think the longer O-A visa sounds good.  Tanoshi, what do you call time consuming and expensive?  I am OK with a couple of months but do you have an idea of costs in the UK for the checks etc?  Ball park figure will do.

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https://www.acro.police.uk/Police_Certificates_Online.aspx 

45- 80 pounds depend on service ie express or otherwise.

GP depends on practice  mine cost 35 but some charge as much as 240.pounds.

notarization of every document submitted  approx 30 pounds each document.

Can all be done in one week as mine did.

You might think that is hard try bringing a dog over as well???

 

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3 minutes ago, nopsled said:

That's brilliant info folks, thanks a lot!  All the information and links I need in one place ? 

You do know how the O-A works?

It's a 'long stay' Visa only available in your home Country.

Before you make a decision, make sure it's what you want.

 

It's valid for 1 year, each entry gives 'permission to stay' for 1 year.

You can only apply for a retirement extension within the last 30 days of any 'permission to stay'.

 

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Well, I am ready, almost, to move to Thailand to live long term, so I think this is the right one for me.  On an O-A am I OK to leave for a visit back to the UK and return on the same visa?  I would imagine so but I'll ask the question. 

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35 minutes ago, nopsled said:

Well, I am ready, almost, to move to Thailand to live long term, so I think this is the right one for me.  On an O-A am I OK to leave for a visit back to the UK and return on the same visa?  I would imagine so but I'll ask the question. 

Only during the validity of the Visa (1 year).

 

The period of visa validity is different from the period of stay.  Visa validity is the period during which a visa can be used to enter Thailand.  In general, the validity of a visa is 3 months, but in some cases, visas may be issued to be valid for 6 months, 1 year or 3 years.  The validity of a visa is granted with discretion by the Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate-General and is displayed on the visa sticker. 

 

On the other hand, the period of stay is granted by an immigration officer upon arrival at the port of entry and in accordance with the type of visa.  For example, the period of stay for a transit visa is not exceeding 30 days, for a tourist visa is not exceeding 60 days and for a non-immigrant visa is not exceeding 90 days from the arrival date.  The period of stay granted by the immigration officer is displayed on the arrival stamp.

 

The Non Imm O-A Visa is valid 1 year, each entry ('permission to stay') is valid 1 year.

If your Visa was issued say 1st Nov 2018, it will be valid until 31st October 2019. (Enter before date).

During this period you can exit/re-enter Thailand as many times as you like because it's a multi entry Visa.

If you crossed the border and re-entered the day before expiry (30th October 2019) on entry you will be granted 'permission to stay' for 1 year, until 29th October 2020.

However because the Visa expired on 31st Oct 2019, you lose the multi entry condition.

During the 2nd year (30th Oct 2019 - 29th Oct 2020) you can purchase a re-entry 'permit' from your local Immigration office.

Single entry 1,000 baht, multi entry 3,800 baht.

This will keep your permission to stay valid until 29th Oct 2020, on re-entry.

 

When you stay in Thailand for 90 consecutive days you must notify your local IO. These are known as 90 day reports.

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Thanks Tanoshi.  All these things I've read about, but tying them all together to fit my specific needs has caused a bit of a helmet fire  recently.  I think the O-A is the way to go for my needs, and then I guess I will have time to settle and have time to be absolutely sure this will be me for good in Thailand, and a re-entry is still available in the second year.  The longest I've spent in Thailand at one visit is a month, so I want to have a bit of breathing space to make sure I will be happy there long term, I'm pretty sure I will though.  Page archived just in case ?  Thanks!

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In fact you can pretty much get it all done from the comfort of your armchair at home if you so wished, except for a quick trip to the Post Office. and doctor, imagine all the hassle of doing everything in Thailand ! And at a conservative 2% your 20k will earn you nearly £800 before you ever have to show it should you choose to prove your funds in that way.

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4 hours ago, nopsled said:

Thanks Tanoshi.  All these things I've read about, but tying them all together to fit my specific needs has caused a bit of a helmet fire  recently.  I think the O-A is the way to go for my needs, and then I guess I will have time to settle and have time to be absolutely sure this will be me for good in Thailand, and a re-entry is still available in the second year.  The longest I've spent in Thailand at one visit is a month, so I want to have a bit of breathing space to make sure I will be happy there long term, I'm pretty sure I will though.  Page archived just in case ?  Thanks!

As long as you are prepared to meet all the requirements for an O-A visa it is without a doubt your best option.

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Hi Nopsled,

big problem I had,every time I tried to get help I was asked for proof of retirement as I’m not yet 65, I couldn’t provide that and tried to explain I had private income to live off.

I got help on this site from  Ubonjoe who sent me this link

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-obtain-a-pensionincome-letter-for-thai-immigration

hope this helps

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17 hours ago, Selwyn said:

Hi Nopsled,

big problem I had,every time I tried to get help I was asked for proof of retirement as I’m not yet 65, I couldn’t provide that and tried to explain I had private income to live off.

I got help on this site from  Ubonjoe who sent me this link

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-obtain-a-pensionincome-letter-for-thai-immigration

hope this helps

Im not 65, you only have to prove income of 65000 thb per month, you dont have to prove retirement. So for example private rental income would provide proof.

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On 8/25/2018 at 11:35 PM, Tanoshi said:

I disagree. Obtaining Police criminal record checks and a medical is time consuming and expensive.

Obtaining a TV and doing the conversion within Thailand is cheaper and less time consuming.

The OP won't be able to apply for an 'extension' for almost 12 months, or even longer, if he enters on an O-A.

The tourist visa/non-O conversion process is not without its potentially consequential stresses and hassles either. Jomtien, for example, has been reported a number of times on here of placing major roadblocks in the way of obtaining non-O conversions in practice - and I gather that my office (Rayong) flatly refuses to process such conversions altogether.

 

So, if the OP's eventual office were to adopt a similar attitude, the only course of action which would then be open to him would to be to make a time-consuming trip to either Vientiane or Penang in order to obtain a single-entry non-O visa.

 

And, regardless of the route which he took, he would first need to open a bank account here in Thailand - which, on the basis of recent reports, is proving easier said than done in practice for retirees these days since an increasing number of branches are now flatly refusing to allow those who are not in possession of a work permit to open accounts with them.

 

And, once he had finally succeeded in opening a Thai bank account, there would then follow the little matter for him of getting the equivalent of £20,000 transferred into it from the UK before he could proceed with a non-O visa conversion or application.

 

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5 minutes ago, OJAS said:

And, regardless of the route which he took, he would first need to open a bank account here in Thailand - which, on the basis of recent reports, is proving easier said than done in practice for retirees these days since an increasing number of branches are now flatly refusing to allow those who are not in possession of a work permit to open accounts with them.

On that basis then, he'd never be able to apply for an extension at the end of his Non Imm O-A Visa.

My opinion is somewhat different regarding these reports and from personal experience some of those reporting problems couldn't tie their shoelaces without help.

 

8 minutes ago, OJAS said:

And, once he had finally succeeded in opening a Thai bank account, there would then follow the little matter for him of getting the equivalent of £20,000 transferred into it from the UK before he could proceed with a non-O visa conversion or application.

 

That takes less than 24 hours.

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OK, I think I'll first look at getting a non-imm O-A as I will soon have the £20k in a single UK account, and I think this is the most direct route to my goal, to retire in Thailand.  If I hit a road block further down the path I'll explore the other options mentioned here.  I've read that the Bangkok bank is one of the easier banks to open an account with?  More specifically, the Bangkok branch of that bank?   I have no problem with transferring the £20k to a Thai bank when I get to that point.  I guess I can always fall back on the single entry tourist visa and convert in Vientiane or Penang?  Why could I not get a single-entry non-O visa here in the UK, or am I confusing different types of visa here?  Still a little confused about what a single-entry non-O visa is.

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1 hour ago, nopsled said:

 Why could I not get a single-entry non-O visa here in the UK, or am I confusing different types of visa here?  Still a little confused about what a single-entry non-O visa is.

 

"Why could I not get a single-entry non-O visa here in the UK"

 

Basically because you are neither in receipt of the State Pension nor married to a Thai national.

 

"Still a little confused about what a single-entry non-O visa is."

 

It would gain you entry into Thailand for 90 days. Within 30 days of your permission of stay expiring you would then apply for a retirement extension of stay at your local immigration office. In effect, therefore, you would have to hit the retirement extension of stay road rather sooner with a non-O visa than with a non-OA one used to maximum effect.

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Well thanks for the reply OJAS, I have to be honest though, maybe I'm just a bit dense today, but a non-O from the UK is different to a non-O from Laos?  This is why I have been confused I think, 555.

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16 minutes ago, nopsled said:

Well thanks for the reply OJAS, I have to be honest though, maybe I'm just a bit dense today, but a non-O from the UK is different to a non-O from Laos?  This is why I have been confused I think, 555.

Non Imm O, single or multiple entries are only available to those in receipt of a state pension or married to a Thai from the Thai Embassy London. If you hit a road block obtaining the Non Imm O-A Visa and decide to enter on a Tourist Visa, you can convert it to a Non Imm O within Thailand as I explained in post no. 4.

 

 

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OK, thanks, I get it now I think.  It just seems strange to me that the requirements change if I am in Thailand on a tourist visa.  Anyway, I'm sure I'll be back here for more advice before I'm done with all this ?  Thanks to everyone who commented here though. ?

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10 minutes ago, nopsled said:

It just seems strange to me that the requirements change if I am in Thailand on a tourist visa.

Welcome to the wonderful world of inconsistency in Thailand! ?

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16 minutes ago, nopsled said:

OK, thanks, I get it now I think.  It just seems strange to me that the requirements change if I am in Thailand on a tourist visa.  Anyway, I'm sure I'll be back here for more advice before I'm done with all this ?  Thanks to everyone who commented here though. ?

To get an extension based on marriage or retirement, (your ultimate goal), one of the conditions is that you have a Non Imm type Visa.

Immigration are aware that Embassies set conditions making it impossible for certain nationalities to obtain a Non Imm type Visa from your home Country, so they offer a 'conversion' process where they will change the TV status you entered on to issue a Non Imm type Visa, but they will only do this if it's part of eventually applying for the extension.

 

The Visas run concurrent after each other so you don't lose any time.

Basically you'd enter on a Tourist Visa and be given permission to stay for 60 days.

When you have 30 days left to stay you make an application to change your Visa status to a Non Imm type.

That will give you another 90 days and starts when your TV expires.

Within the last 30 days of that Visa you apply for the extension, so you'll have been in Thailand at least 4 months before you make the extension application.

 

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On 8/25/2018 at 4:22 PM, OJAS said:

I think that you are muddling up the initial process of obtaining a visa in UK with the eventual subsequent process of obtaining retirement extensions in Thailand.

 

Your first step should be a trip to the Royal Thai Embassy in London in order to submit an application for a non-immigrant OA visa, once you have obtained all necessary documents required by the Embassy in support of such an application, as set out on their website at:

 

http://www.thaiembassy.org/london/en/services/7742/84508-Non-Immigrant-visas.html#7

 

As you will see, these documents include a bank statement showing the equivalent of 800,000 THB in your UK account - which, on the basis of present exchange rates, actually equals rather closer to the £20,000 you refer to than the £18,000 stated on the Embassy's website. Please note that this balance does NOT need to be seasoned for the purposes of applying for an OA visa.

 

Once you have been issued with an OA visa which will be valid for 12 months, you will then have the green light to up sticks and move to Thailand. You will initially be issued in your passport with a permission of stay lasting 12 months from the date you enter Thailand. And, if you did a border run a day before the visa expires, you would receive a further 12-month permission of stay, meaning that you will, in effect, be able to get almost 2 years out of your OA visa before you need to start applying for annual extensions of stay from your local immigration office here in Thailand. This is where the seaoning requirement comes into play if you are planning to prove finances on the basis of a minimum balance of 800,000 THB in a Thai bank account. This needs to be seasoned for 2 months in the case of your first extension of stay applications and then for 3 months in the case of each subsequent application.

 

Forget about trying to obtain a non-immigrant O visa on the grounds of being aged 50 or over since, as you state, this is only issued by the Royal Thai Embassy in London to those in receipt of the State Pension. I would also strongly advise you to steer clear of a tourist visa initially since you will then need to devote time and energy in converting this to a non-immigrant O visa at your local immigration office in Thailand prior to applying for extensions of stay. A non-immigrant OA visa is definitely the way for you to go IMHO.

 

Best "how to" I have read so far.

 

Hope everything is the same in a few years time for anyone doing it in the UK.

 

 

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