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Applying for Non-Immigrant OA Visa from Australia - requirements confusion & concerns

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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.  

 

DOCUMENT REQUIREMENTS: 

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: 

 

Instruction:
 When you have prepared all the original documents as required, you must then make 2 copies of
each document.
 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.

 

ISSUES:  

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.  

 

FEE HIKE:

 

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.  

 

HELPFUL NEWS: 

 

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.  

Thanks.  

retirement-long-stay-visa-application-o-a-visa - Aug 2019.pdf

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1 hour ago, Tanoshi said:

And of course there is the question of the mandatory Health Insurance for the Non O-A that may soon be enforced.

Any idea when, because there has been little mention of it? I suggest the OP doesn't worry about this, unlikely to be implemented without sufficient notice. 

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6 hours ago, aussienam said:

So, I am not sure whether Sydney sends the documents down there but does the vetting process for them beforehand.  

Sydney is official Thai consulate. They can process and issue the OA visa.

Brisbane and the others in Australia are honorary consulates.

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17 minutes ago, jacko45k said:

Any idea when, because there has been little mention of it? I suggest the OP doesn't worry about this, unlikely to be implemented without sufficient notice. 

Announcement to be made on 22nd August.

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Posted (edited)

Just be aware,my father came on an O-A from Aus this year.

Once arrived very important to get your TM30 done and stapled in your passport to help with your 90 day report.

His immigration office of Khon Kaen will not not issue him a certificate of residence for a minimum of 90/180 days on an O-A visa so he can open a bank account here.

Then there is the issue of finding a bank that will open an account without a work permit.

I think i saw mentioned somewhere,make sure your passport is valid for at least 2 years after visa approval to take advantage of the extra year.  

Edited by farmerjo
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I might be wrong but if you get retirement visa in Thailand then you have to renew in Thailand in which case you will have to have 800,000thb in a Thai bank account of which 400,000 will be tied up for 12 months so you will have to put up with Thai interest rates, the other 400,000 will have to be tied up in Thai bank account for 5 months 

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20 minutes ago, a977 said:

I might be wrong but if you get retirement visa in Thailand then you have to renew in Thailand in which case you will have to have 800,000thb in a Thai bank account of which 400,000 will be tied up for 12 months so you will have to put up with Thai interest rates, the other 400,000 will have to be tied up in Thai bank account for 5 months 

Yes, but more accurately an Extension of Permission to Stay, based on retirement. 

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1 hour ago, farmerjo said:

Just be aware,my father came on an O-A from Aus this year.

Once arrived very important to get your TM30 done and stapled in your passport to help with your 90 day report.

His immigration office of Khon Kaen will not not issue him a certificate of residence for a minimum of 90/180 days on an O-A visa so he can open a bank account here.

Then there is the issue of finding a bank that will open an account without a work permit.

I think i saw mentioned somewhere,make sure your passport is valid for at least 2 years after visa approval to take advantage of the extra year.  

Thanks Farmer Joe! Good advice.  Been coming and going over the last few years but on METVs but now hit the 50 age mark.  Done the TM30s thanks.  

Thankfully opened a bank account in 2013 in Thailand when it seems things were a bit easier.  

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23 minutes ago, a977 said:

I might be wrong but if you get retirement visa in Thailand then you have to renew in Thailand in which case you will have to have 800,000thb in a Thai bank account of which 400,000 will be tied up for 12 months so you will have to put up with Thai interest rates, the other 400,000 will have to be tied up in Thai bank account for 5 months 

Hardly the only option and at least 2 years away for the OP,why confuse him. I mailed my paperwork  from TSV to Canberra ,back in five days,JP signed documents,Local libraries have JP services ,no need for binding.Bank statements from online should be ok but call embassy first I suggest. The insurance question will be answered this week.Bank accounts are not hard to open and in relation to flight and accom bookings leave blank. 

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Posted (edited)

I recoiled at the amount of documents and steps to obtain a Non - OA in Australia. I went down a different route which turned to be much easier.

 

I obtained TR from the Brisbane Consulate and then converted it to  Non - O here. This will also work in some cases if you use a 30 day exempt entry.  After 90 days I applied for a Retirement Extension based on money in the bank.

 

If you are going to apply for Retirement Extension you must have the 800k in Thai Bank and show it came from overseas.  Actually you must have the money in the bank when you apply for the Non - O. Some Immigration offices allow you to put in a term deposit, however you should check with you local office if they allow it.

 

Edited by lujanit
missed some info

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UPDATE - VERY GOOD NEWS

 

I just had a very nice Thai Embassy official call me this morning to reply to my email.  My experience with the people there has been fantastic.  Very helpful and friendly.  

 

BANK STATEMENTS:  

 

The lady informed me that if I can only obtain printout statements in lieu of originals from my bank then that is fine.  Huge relief since everything is becoming increasingly electronic and snail mail is now old hat.  

 

So, if you cannot get ones sent in the mail on time - don't stress.  Electronically printed statements will suffice.  

 

NOTARY PUBLIC OR JP - BINDING AND NOTARIZING:

 

The lady informed me that there is no need to go to that extent to have the documents notarized and bound by a Notary Public - telling me that this would be very expensive to do (We are talking a few grand here $$$$).  she said that a JP would suffice and the documents stapled together and put into registered mail is sufficient.  

So, I can head down to the local shopping mall here in the Gold Coast where they have a free JP service daily.  Massive relief.  

 

I hope that for those in Oz about to embark on all of this, I have cleared up several issues.  The instructions that are included with the Long term stay visa application form are not set in stone for every situation.  

 

REMOVAL OF THE 5 YEAR VISA OPTION

 

The 5 year retirement visa option has been removed from the new forms.  The lady informed me that because of the lack of applications for the 5 Year retirement visa, it can no longer be applied for in Australia.  Thailand is the only place for that now and of course meaning you will need to lodge the required funds into a Thai bank account.  

 

Good luck to all.  

 

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OP, good detailed post. Ta for the info. As mentioned above you actually get 2yrs out of an O-A and your money can remain in oz. I cannot advise on your no bankbook accounts. 

The O-A is certainly worth the effort. Its also multi entry for first yr and you can obtain reentry permit if wish to travel outside los in second yr. 

Personally I found Canberra very helpful. They answer the phone. Few good reports re same topic regarding good dealing with Sydney. Quick issue of visa.

As for medical, just take the form available online and go to medical centre. Explain what its for. Some quacks will require blood tests. Just leave and find a sensible one.

My application was rejected at Canberra because I used a JP. They told me I needed a Notary. Apparently this not the case now. I had mine bound at officeworks.

That also is not required. Do the police clearance online. Does not take long for issue certificate. 

If your in Sydney use them as they can have a look at your docs and advise if something more required.

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