CityNews – Foreign residents of Thailand may in the future be able to do their 90-day reports at 7-Eleven stores, the chief of Chiang Mai’s Immigration office said today.
Members of Chiang Mai Expats Club attended this morning’s meeting.
Police Colonel Rutjapong Saravanangkool said officials had mooted plans that would allow foreigners to use a keycard or something similar when checking in at convenience stores. He would push this idea over the next year and hoped to make it a reality, he added.
He was speaking at a meeting organised by the Chiang Mai Expats Club at Le Meridien hotel this morning. A panel of immigration officers answered questions about the new visa rules that came into effect at the end of August. The new rules focus on retirement visas and 90 day check-in protocols.
Retirement O-A visas
Visas are still valid for a maximum of one year and are restricted to people aged 50 and over. Police Colonel Rutjapong hinted at an attempt to extend the maximum retirement visa length to three or five years, but this is still uncertain.
Applicants must have an income of 65,000 baht per month or have more than 800,000 baht in a single bank account over three months prior to application.
Joint bank accounts are no longer accepted. Retirement visas are now issued solely on an individual basis, and the earnings or other assets of a spouse or family member cannot be taken into account. Health certificates no more than six months old are required upon application.
Retirees can receive a one-year stamp while dependents receive three months that must then be extended at the Immigration office. Children are considered dependents up to the age of 20, or older if they have disabilities.
The panel also listed some key points in the new regulations:
1. If a change in the reason for residency occurs, the original permit is invalidated immediately. People on retirement visas are not allowed to work or volunteer, as these require a work permit issued on a business visa.
2. If the retiree dies, any dependents must immediately leave the country and apply for a personal visa such as a retirement or business visa.
3. Re-entry permits are still available, at a cost of 1,000 baht for single entry and 3,800 baht for multiple entry.
All foreigners in Thailand must check-in with Immigration every 90 days. They can do so in person at the Immigration office, or submit the forms by registered mail or via a third party. Police Colonel Rutjapong said the Chiang Mai Immigration office is almost at capacity, and encouraged people not to report there in person if possible.
Changing visa status
Under the new rules, changing one’s visa status – for example, from a tourist visa to a retirement visa – can no longer be done in one day. The process will now take up to 21 days.
Immigration officers encourage people who wish to change their visas to apply as soon as possible. If someone enters the country on a 30-day tourist visa, for example, they should apply for a new visa within nine days to ensure they can remain in the country legally.
Police Colonel Rutjapong also said that Thai immigration authorities can no longer issue ‘Life Certificates’ for foreigners to use when applying for pensions. Any foreigner who requires one must now visit their respective embassy.