New ‘geezer visa’ rules come into effect
PHUKET: The Immigration Department has recently started applying changes in the regulations covering retired foreigners residing in Thailand. In particular, the department is strictly applying the rules on how much a retiree must have in his or her Thai bank account. The changes were brought into law in October 1998 but it has taken more than two years for them to be applied locally. Retirees living in Thailand now fall, effectively, into three categories: 1. Those who received a permit to stay (from the Immigration Department) before October 1998, and who have maintained an unbroken record of annual extensions with Immigration since then. They must – as previously – be able to show that they have 200,000 baht in a Thai bank when they apply for an extension. 2. Those over 55 years old arriving now on a Non-Immigrant O-A visa, and applying to Immigration for a permit to stay. They must show that they have either 800,000 baht in a Thai bank or an assured income of at least 65,000 baht a month. 3. Those who arrived in October, 1998 or thereafter, and who have already obtained a permit to stay on the basis of having 200,000 baht in a Thai bank. They must increase that amount to 800,000 baht before applying for the next annual extension. The new rules sweep away the two-tier system based on age that used to apply to foreign retirees wishing to live in Thailand. Pol Capt Worachan Sumaporn of the Phuket Immigration Office in Patong told the Gazette, “The government approved this policy because it wants foreign currency to help Thailand’s economy.” For further information, call the Immigration Department at 221905.
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