I am currently residing in Queensland and in the process of being about to submit documents to apply for a Non-Immigrant OA 'retirement' Visa Multiple Entry - 1 year.
As I have ascertained, there are only two places where you can personally lodge the applications - The Royal Thai Embassy in Canberra or the Royal Thai Consulate in Sydney. Brisbane consulate stipulate on their website that the only way to apply for a Non-Immigrant OA Visa is via the Embassy in Canberra. They will not process them there. So, I am not sure whether Sydney sends the documents down there but does the vetting process for them beforehand.
As stated in the instruction sheet issued by the Thai Embassy Canberra you need to do the following with your documents before they are posted to them:
When you have prepared all the original documents as required, you must then make 2 copies of
Afterward, you must separate the documents into 3 sets. Within these sets, you should arrange
the documents in the order given above. All together you will have 1 set of the original
documents and 2 sets of copies.
You must take all 3 sets to a Notary Public to bind and notarize each set. The binding and
notarization of documents must only be done by a Notary Public or Justice of the Peace.
Bank Statements. Damned banks. I have my funds spread across various financial institutions and the two banks that hold funds that qualify the show the equivalent of 800,000 THB in AUD are both online banks.
One, I can request a statement be mailed to me, but their processing and delivery times take ages and my concerns are that by the time I get an original document it will not be recent enough for the Embassy to accept it.
The instructions do not stipulate the acceptable length of time that can elapse before a bank statement date of issue is deemed too old to be acceptable.
The other institution is an online trading account in which I hold my cash and shares. The problem is that they only issue 'bank' statements twice a year and they replied by email to direct me to print out a cash transaction report instead via the online option. Hence, it will just be an electronic printout with no watermarking etc to show it is an original document.
So, I am in a dilemma as to whether or not they will accept printouts as being originals.
There is also no mention of the cash equivalent of 800,000 THB being held in an Australian bank account needing to be held for several months beforehand like as is stipulated for those applying for the retirement visa equivalent in Thailand. Not that this is an issue for me. But it is not clear.
NOTARY PUBLIC OR JUSTICE OF THE PEACE - BINDING AND NOTARIZING:
From what I know of Notary Public services, they charge an absolute fortune to notarize individual documents. Then to have those documents bound as well will cost an arm and a leg as well. The whole exercise would be creeping up into the few thousand bucks from what I have read on what they charge per page and the amount of pages I have.
I have read previous posts going back a while on this forum where one Aussie opted to go to Sydney to lodge his application in lieu of Canberra, being less strict it seems on documents.
Another poster claims he went to a local court house where a Justice of the Peace notarized the lot for him, stapled them together and sent them off in the registered post. From my understanding, a Notary Public applies a special seal that is placed on top of the bind - such as binding ribbon to indicate no tampering of the documents. I did not know Justices of the Peace provided such a service.
The poster who went to the court house states that the documents were just stapled together and put into the registered mail envelope.
So, I am wondering that if the JP did that and perhaps stamped and signed across the envelope seal that was taped over as well and resigned across that this would suffice as an acceptable form of binding?
I do not know how pedantic and strict the Embassy is but they do stipulate binding and notarization of documents.
The other issue is notarizing originals. From what I have read, a JP will only stamp copies of originals to verify that they are true and correct copies of the originals. So they will not notarize the originals.
The cost of the 1 year multiple entry Non-Immigrant OA Visa has also just increased from $275 per year to $300. Some parts of the website still show the $275 fee but the forms you download have all just changed.
I emailed the Thai Canberra Embassy several questions before and received very helpful advice for those who are in a similar position as me:
if you are like me, you are adverse to begin booking flights and accommodation before you even have any form of confirmation that you will get a Visa in the first place. A Visa rejection may be the cause for you to choose an alternative country to reside or postpone your journey.
Accommodation: In the Visa application form there is a field to enter in relation to your proposed address in Thailand. I was advised that since I was applying for a retirement visa, that this stage accommodation is optional This allows me therefore to book a hotel/guesthouse after a Visa is issued and hence not potentially lose a deposit or a full down-payment. Ultimately like most retirees, we are looking for long term leases.
Flight details: Since I am applying for a long term visa, again the flight details are optional. Hence I do not risk having to book a flight and lose part or full payment if a Visa application is rejected. Thankfully it seems that this reserved for the short term stayers.
References in Thailand: I indicated that I could not provide anyone at this time to be a reference. I have been informed that the purpose of this is for emergency purposes only and therefore if I do not know anyone in Thailand I can leave it blank.
Medical Certificate: In the Medical Certificate, there are two sections that are declared. One is that you are free of Leprosy, Tuberculosis, Elephantiasis, Drug Addiction and third stage Syphilis.
The next section is a declaration that you are in good physical and mental health free from any defect.
it is the second section that may cause concern for many aspiring expat retirees because for probably most of us we have some sort of 'defect' that requires medication. The response was that as long as you do not have any of the prohibited diseases and other illnesses are controlled by medication, then it is fine.
APPLYING FOR RETIREMENT VISA IN OZ OR THE EXTENSION OF STAY IN THAILAND?
The main reason I wanted to apply for the Non-Immigrant OA Visa in Australia is that I prefer not to have to lump 800,000 Thai Baht into a Thai bank account with their terribly low interest rates. I can do much more with my money here. And currently the exchange rate for 1 AUD is 20.96 THB online so at the exchange booth we are looking at closer to 20 Baht. Terrible exchange rate currently. So, 800,000 Baht is creeping up to the $40,000 AUD mark now which is crazy.
Others here have different views. Of course applying here in Oz means I need to return to Oz each time the Visa expires and go through the same process to re-apply for the Visa, but for me, a short trip back to see family once or twice year and get my medical things covered by Medicare while I am back is worth it.
I will send through further questions to the Embassy with the hope I get some more clarification on what are the acceptable forms of notarization and binding. Since they are not foreign sent documents I am hoping that there is less stringency. By signing declarations and swearing an oath before a JP in Australia you are legally accountable anyway and subject to prosecution for false declarations.
Other feedback from those who have been through this would be appreciated.
retirement-long-stay-visa-application-o-a-visa - Aug 2019.pdf