Saturday, 11 June 2011

Thai Immigration tightens requirements for retirement visa extensions

BANGKOK: The Immigration Bureau has tightened the requirements for retirement extensions.

"It has been reported that along with the statement the applicant has made at their embassy stating their monthly income, for the past month the Immigration Bureau has asked to see proof of at least two months of pension income. This requirement is not just for new applications but renewals as well", says Sunn Justubavornchai, legal advisor at Sunbelt Asia Co., Ltd.

It has always been the case that Immigration can ask to see supporting evidence behind the income letter issued by an embassy, but previously has rarely been enforced. That position now seems to have changed. For some nationals it won't make any real difference, as they already have to provide supporting evidence to their embassies to obtain the income letter. Notable exception are citizens of US, Canada and Australia where no evidence of income is required for issue of embassy income letter, just sworn declaration of income required. It looks like The Immigration Bureau has closed the loophole on citizens providing false (unsupported) declarations to obtain income letter.

The financial requirement for obtaining an extension of stay based on retirement is 800,000 Baht in a Thai bank for qualifying period, or an income of not less than 65,000 Baht per month, or a combination of bank balance and monthly income to arrive at 800,000 baht.

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