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Thai Immigration Updates: November 2022

12 Nov, 2022

Here’s a new selection of common questions being asked by foreigners at immigration offices this month.




  1. Why are annual retirement extensions of stay excluded from the electronic scheme for renewals recently announced?

For the moment, the electronic visa extension for expats and visitors already in Thailand is on pilot in Bangkok. Those requiring extensions of stay of tourist visas and visa exempt categories, annual extensions based on marriage or family, student visas and certain work-related groups can submit documents and payment online and collect their new permission from Chaeng Watthana immigration headquarters. The exclusion of retirement categories reflects the different rules operated by immigration offices nationwide and the specific documentation required. Examples include exact insurance requirements for O/A renewals, precise proof that income or cash in the bank has been submitted from abroad and documents to prove the address where the applicant is living in Thailand.


  1. Why has the promise to allow 10 year visa holders to purchase a small plot of land been rescinded?

It was never an absolute promise to allow foreigners with an LTR (long term residence) visa and an investment of at least 40 million baht to purchase one rai for residential purposes. A final decision on the matter was removed from Cabinet agenda this month and is unlikely to return. The proposal was unpopular with many politicians (especially with an election looming) lest it pushes up the cost of land when many. Thais are too poor to buy their own homes. The proposal was also ambiguous on the detail, for example how, when and to whom a foreign purchaser could resell his or her holding. The fear that Chinese conglomerates might buy up parts of urban areas also seems to have been an issue.


  1. Is Thailand still requiring any visitors and expats to have ongoing medical insurance to renew or extend their visas?

For most visa categories, the requirement to have medical insurance has disappeared as Thailand decided to compete with neighbors such as Cambodia and Vietnam which similarly liberalized entry rules to boost their economies. But there are Thai exceptions.  Applicants at Thai embassies abroad for a visa specifically related to retirement will require a comprehensive health policy which will need to be renewed at extension time in Thai immigration if the visa is O/A category (but not O). The other visas currently requiring ongoing medical insurance are O/X 10-year retirement visas and 10-year LTR long term residence visas. Those converting a tourist visa to non O retirement at Thai immigration do not require insurance. Nor do foreigners seeking visas or extensions based on marriage or family, nor those with the Elite visa.




The Pattaya Mail

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