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Has anyone got any experience of getting an agent to do all the paperwork for an O-A visa as opposed to doing everything themselves? I've searched and although I see posts saying it's easy to do oneself I haven't found any start to finish step by step guides. Agent costs I've seen of 20k - 30k baht seem expensive, but I'd rather pay to get it done right than try to save money and screw it up myself.

Thanks in advance for any advice

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Like others, I am assuming you are asking about extensions of stay on the basis of retirement, not O-A visas. Make sure you understand the difference. Whether to use an agent to facilitate an extension of stay depends on various factors, including personal circumstances you probably do not want to discuss on a public forum.

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17 minutes ago, PhotoJeremy said:

Thanks, but the replies illustrate the problem: this is one of those things that appears easy to people who've done it before, but not to people who haven't. I've searched the forum using the obvious keywords and drawn a blank. The only form I can find that seems applicable is the visa form at the Thai embassy website. But although it looks straightforward there are a couple of questions on it that could be answered in different ways, and that could affect the outcome of the application.

 

In that case, please post the questions you are not sure about, and see if you can get the answers here for free.

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32 minutes ago, PhotoJeremy said:

Thanks, but the replies illustrate the problem: this is one of those things that appears easy to people who've done it before, but not to people who haven't. I've searched the forum using the obvious keywords and drawn a blank. The only form I can find that seems applicable is the visa form at the Thai embassy website. But although it looks straightforward there are a couple of questions on it that could be answered in different ways, and that could affect the outcome of the application.

What do you have now? Do you have a non-o visa or a tourist visa or a visa exempt entry?

Where are you living? Need to know which office you will be going to.

What method of financial proof will you be using?

That info will allow me to give you a list of forms and required documents.

 

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51 minutes ago, PhotoJeremy said:

Thanks, but the replies illustrate the problem: this is one of those things that appears easy to people who've done it before, but not to people who haven't. I've searched the forum using the obvious keywords and drawn a blank. The only form I can find that seems applicable is the visa form at the Thai embassy website. But although it looks straightforward there are a couple of questions on it that could be answered in different ways, and that could affect the outcome of the application.


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The first thing to understand is the difference between a "visa" and an "extension of stay". The visa is applied for outside Thailand. The extension of stay is applied for inside Thailand. They have somewhat different requirements and confer different rights.

 

The O-A long stay visa is applied for in your home country. You probably will need to apply for it yourself, though you may be able to get assistance with the preparation of the documents you must include with the application. It is great once you have it. It allows unlimited entries into Thailand for a year, and (in practice) can actually allow two years stay in Thailand very simply. The website of your consulate in home country will usually outline the requirements.

 

You can use an agent for the extension of stay. Search for information on "extension of stay in Thailand on the basis of retirement" for initial research and post your questions here on what you do not understand.

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All that's really needed for a one year extension is the proof of financials (income/pension statement or/plus funds in a Thai bank account).

The rest is paperwork, forms, copies ...

 

If you have the money, then the "25k" agents are a big waste of money.

They serve the "difficult" cases where proof of money is a problem.

 

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9 minutes ago, KhunBENQ said:

All that's really needed for a one year extension is the proof of financials (income/pension statement or/plus funds in a Thai bank account).

The rest is paperwork, forms, copies ...

I have asked him what he has now. He may need to apply for a 90 day non immigrant visa entry first unless he already has a non-o visa before applying for the extension.

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True.

My remark should be "essentially needed" or the like.

And sure paperwork (converting visa status) varies.

Details needed.

 

If entering without visa/exempt or wrong visa then things/paperwork get more complicated.

Just yesterday was another thread with such a complicated story.

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/963351-non-o-visa-issue/

 

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The visa form questions I'm unsure about are the following:
"Purpose of Current Visit"
and
"Evidence Substantiating your purpose of visit FOR IMMIGRATION OR LONG STAY ONLY"
The second especially puzzles me. What evidence could you have, unless you had family in Thailand, which I don't.

Some details that may help:

British and Irish passport holder: I haven't seen any indication that it matters which I use for this.

I don't currently have a Thai visa. I was last there in November, but that was under a visa waiver. I expect to be back in Thailand late February.

Initially at least I'd expect to be living in Chiang Mai.

Financial proof would be 800k baht in Thai bank account. I'm self employed and monthly income varies wildly, so a lump sum is by far the easiest.

Since I'm starting from scratch I'm just trying to find the best way to proceed. If that's going to be through the London Thai embassy that's fine; but I'll be in Thailand before the UK, so perhaps it's best to start there. One other thing I'm still unclear about is opening the Thai bank account. Since I would need to be in Thailand for that it makes sense to do it in February. But can I open a Thai acct without the long term visa?

Thanks again for all the replies.


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16 minutes ago, PhotoJeremy said:

Financial proof would be 800k baht in Thai bank account. I'm self employed and monthly income varies wildly, so a lump sum is by far the easiest.

Since I'm starting from scratch I'm just trying to find the best way to proceed. If that's going to be through the London Thai embassy that's fine; but I'll be in Thailand before the UK, so perhaps it's best to start there. One other thing I'm still unclear about is opening the Thai bank account. Since I would need to be in Thailand for that it makes sense to do it in February. But can I open a Thai acct without the long term visa?

You can open a bank account with any visa entry. You just have to try different banks.

If possible it would be best if you were able to get a single entry non-o visa or at least a single entry tourist visa before arriving. Where will you  be before arriving here?

If you were to enter on a tourist visa you would need to do a change of visa status at immigration to get a 90 day non immigrant visa (category O) entry at a immigration office. In Chiang Mai you would need at least 21 day remaining on your entry which would make it difficult to do with 30 day visa exempt entry.

For a tourist visa entry you would use a TM86 form for visa exempt entry a TM87 form. The 800k baht would need to be in the bank on the date you apply for the visa (no need for it to be there for 60 days).

If you had a non-o visa when you arrive could apply for a one year extension of stay during the last 30 days of the 90 day entry from it using a TM7 form. The 800k baht would need to be in the bank for 60 days on the date you apply. Same if you apply for a visa at immigration here you would do it during the last 30 day of entry you will get from it.

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Thanks for the bank acct info: that's very encouraging.

I can see why it would be best to travel there on an O visa, but I'm in Cambodia at the moment and then in Vietnam before Thailand. I suspect I will only be able to get tourist visas at Thai embassies there.

None of this is urgent, I'm just trying to forward plan to make the process easier rather than do it in a rush. Assuming I can only get a tourist visa in Cambodia/Vietnam it seems the best path for me is:
1. Go to Thailand on tourist visa, open bank account and transfer 800k so it has time to season.
2. Return to U.K. and get O-A visa there once the 800k has been sitting for 60 days, then return to Thailand and register my address. My reading is that I need an O-A visa, since although I am over 50 I'm not drawing a U.K. state pension, which the O visa requires.


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20 minutes ago, PhotoJeremy said:


Thanks for the bank acct info: that's very encouraging.

I can see why it would be best to travel there on an O visa, but I'm in Cambodia at the moment and then in Vietnam before Thailand. I suspect I will only be able to get tourist visas at Thai embassies there.

None of this is urgent, I'm just trying to forward plan to make the process easier rather than do it in a rush. Assuming I can only get a tourist visa in Cambodia/Vietnam it seems the best path for me is:
1. Go to Thailand on tourist visa, open bank account and transfer 800k so it has time to season.
2. Return to U.K. and get O-A visa there once the 800k has been sitting for 60 days, then return to Thailand and register my address. My reading is that I need an O-A visa, since although I am over 50 I'm not drawing a U.K. state pension, which the O visa requires.


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The nearby embassies and consulates would want to see the money in the bank to get a single entry non-o visa.

1. Ok But the funds do not need to be seasoned if you want to apply for the visa at immigration. It only needs to be in the bank for 60 days when you apply for the extension of stay.

2. The money can be in a bank in the UK to apply for the OA visa. I am not even sure they will accept the funds being in a Thai bank account.

OA visa reqirements are here on the London embassy website. http://new.thaiembassyuk.org.uk/en/types-of-visa#section8

I think your best option may be to to apply for the 90 day non immigrant visa entry at immigration here. If you wanted to travel during that 90 days you could get a re-entry permit to keep the remainder of it valid when you return. Then apply for the one year extension at immigration.

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Absolutely no need to pay crazy fees to agents. The immigration staff will explain everything to you, of course that would mean an extra visit to understand the exact requirements, that's all. In my experience the staff at Chaeng Watthana in Bkk are ready to explain everything if you smile and are sweet and polite.

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55 minutes ago, captpkapoor said:

Absolutely no need to pay crazy fees to agents. The immigration staff will explain everything to you, of course that would mean an extra visit to understand the exact requirements, that's all. In my experience the staff at Chaeng Watthana in Bkk are ready to explain everything if you smile and are sweet and polite.

 

I absolutely agree with you for people intending to live in Bangkok. Unfortunately, the OP will be living in Chiang Mai. Needing to attend there once for a retirement extension is already a nightmare. Actually, I would probably bite the bullet and use an agent if needing to deal with the Chiang Mai immigration hell.

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It would seem to be easiest if you get a single-entry Non-O in Cambodia or Vietnam prior to coming to Thailand.  Your money does not need to be in a Thai Bank for this.  When you get to Thailand, transfer in the funds, wait 60-days, then you can apply for a 1-year extension.  If you plan to travel in and out, you should also get a multi-re-entry permit for your 1-year extension.  Finding a willing-bank will be easier with a Non-O (though still possible with a Tourist, but may require visiting more of them).  Some folks travel from Thailand to neighboring consulates to apply for Non-O single-entries there, just to avoid the "tourist to non-o" conversion process.  You are already there, so would be an easier option.

 

The downside with the in-country 1-year extension, as BritTim points out, is dealing with the understaffed Chang Mai immigration office.  Many report getting there well before dawn to get a spot in the queue for that day.  An agent (or "fixer" as they called them in The Philippines, before they were outlawed there) will walk you right past that queue.

 

The O-A visa is another kettle of fish; it avoids needing to deal with Thai Immigration offices entirely, and includes multi-entry (you get a 1-year permitted-stay stamp on each entry), but has its own set of particular requirements to qualify (health and police record checks, plus consulate-specific requirements). 

 

As to the ""Evidence Substantiating your purpose of visit FOR IMMIGRATION OR LONG STAY ONLY" question ("long stay" in your case): Maybe, "I enjoy spending time in Thailand and wish to retire there." ??

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10 hours ago, JackThompson said:

It would seem to be easiest if you get a single-entry Non-O in Cambodia or Vietnam prior to coming to Thailand.  Your money does not need to be in a Thai Bank for this. 

That is incorrect info. They do want to see financial proof to try to get one there.

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32 minutes ago, ubonjoe said:

That is incorrect info. They do want to see financial proof to try to get one there.

 

UJ, I think Jack was implying that proof of funds in an overseas account was acceptable for the single Non O visa application, no need for it to yet be in a Thai account. Is this incorrect?

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36 minutes ago, ubonjoe said:

That is incorrect info. They do want to see financial proof to try to get one there.

 

2 minutes ago, BritTim said:

 

UJ, I think Jack was implying that proof of funds in an overseas account was acceptable for the single Non O visa application, no need for it to yet be in a Thai account. Is this incorrect?

 

Yes, exactly.  Proof is needed, but the money can be somewhere other than Thailand.  After entering Thailand on that Non-O, then transfer the money, then apply for the extension.

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3 minutes ago, BritTim said:

 

UJ, I think Jack was implying that proof of funds in an overseas account was acceptable for the single Non O visa application, no need for it to yet be in a Thai account. Is this incorrect?

They might accept funds in a non Thai bank but other locations want it to be in a Thai bank. They issue visa based upon qualifying for an extension and the requirement to do that is funds in a Thai bank.

There was a recent report by member trying to get a non-o visa in Vietnam but his application was not accepted.

The last report for Cambodia the member that got one had to wait 2 or 3 hours to have his application accepted because it had to approved by the head of the consular section.

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IMO, Embassy's, consulates and Honorary consulates world wide but particularly in the region are starting to apply the rules across the board.
Yes it takes time like everything here but people now need to be prepared for worst case scenarios when submitting applications for visas and extensions and have the paperwork ready the way the rules state, even if it isn't needed today. Tomorrow is a different day and we all know how quickly things can change here overnight.
Jomtien immigration is now an efficient, quick place to deal with but if your paperwork isn't how it needs to be then they will not process it.

Edited by Lovethailandelite
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Most things I have done myself and found it surprisingly easy but I do have a person living near me in Bang Saray (Thai) that is going into the business of doing this stuff for people who are daunted by the prospect of getting the necessary paperwork together. Her fee is 5000 Baht. ....20 to 30 Baht seems a bit rich.

     I have used her a few times when buying or selling a vehicle (change of ownership) because these forms are in Thai....she charges 3000 Baht.

   PM me if want more information.

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I think it's important to distinguish between the agencies that do charge 20k baht, possibly providing assistance of a somewhat illegal nature with the financial requirements and those agencies that provide a ethical, convenient service in dealing with immigration at a reasonable price.

 

Personally,  I am happy to to pay the equivalent of a couple hundred dollars to an agent that completes all the paperwork with me providing an income letter from my embassy when we meet at Immigration once a year. She arrives early,  gets in the queue, gets the number, and calls me at the coffee shop downstairs when our number is called. I then sit there for some 10 minutes while stamps are put into my passport and I leave. She then goes and gets the reentry permit and a courier returns my passport later that day. 

 

I guess it comes down to, as these things often do, to how much is your time worth. The last thing I want to be doing is filling out government forms, making copies, and standing in line at Chang Wattana immigration waiting for door to open and the mad rush to get a number. I will sit downstairs in the coffee shop and I'm happy to pay somebody to do all that. My choice and I certainly wouldn't criticize some one that does all at themselves. 

 

If you go my route, you do need to use a reputable agent that is not going to overcharge you. 15k or 20k is way over.

TH 

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23 hours ago, KittenKong said:

...For anyone who takes the (minimal) trouble to have the necessary documents and fulfil all the requirements on time I see absolutely no point in using an agent. DIY is the only way for me. I have better things to do with x000B than give it to Thai agents.

The fee for doing all paperwork and getting an appointment for an "extension of stay" with a Thai wife shouldn't be more than about 7,000 baht from an experienced agent.

 

I have done it both ways by myself (first 5 years) and with help from an agent.

 

The biggest obstacle for me is not paperwork - I am calm and organized - but I am working and have children taht need to eb picked up at school so don't have the free time to sit for hours in an immigration office.

 

My agent does everything by the book with my paperwork - my bank account etc.. they offer two areas of help -one is a quick summary of any rule changes and most important they can make an appointment - they do this by turning in my documents one day ahead and then my visit to immigration is just to smile take a photo and then be on my way very little time spent there.

 

So retired folk and/or those who don't have small children do have the option of doing it all themselves for others the option does not exist as a practical matter.

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