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Greetings all - My name is Jerry. I am an engineer working in the southern US. This is a VERY helpful forum. Likely will be my "go-to" forum from now on! 

I am planning on retiring at the end of next year - VERY interested in a long stay (6 months to a year or two) in Thailand, but am thinking of spending a few months in Europe before we travel there. Some of the specifics of the O-A visa are confusing the heck out of me!

The following are some questions I am having difficulty finding consistent info on. I realize it is at least partly because the Thailand Visa rules have been changing quite a bit in recent years.

 

1 - Can a full year O-A visa be obtained before we travel, or can you only apply for the 90 day one in advance? Would be nice to avoid the Thai bank account issues for the first month or two, until we are settled in. I am worried about getting into problems opening a Thai bank account in time to get the 1 year extension.

2- If we can apply and get the 1 year O-A before we leave, how long is it valid for before we travel to Thailand?

3- If we decide to apply for the visa (90 or 365 day) after we leave the states, do we need a permanent address in the states? We are planning on selling our house before we leave, and putting the money in a separate account for purchasing another house later on. Don't want to deal with renting, and the market in our area is pretty hot right now.

4- From what I have read, I need to have sufficient funds 800K or 65K/month for each of us, or 1600K or 130K/month total (in two separate accounts) is this correct? I guess "two can live as cheaply as one" has no meaning in Thailand. Nearly 4200 USD a month will be more than we spend now while we are working in the US! Conversely, I am not excited about having to have 50,000+ USD sitting in a Thai bank earning very little interest for the duration of our stay.

5- Is the 65000 THB option only for the second year? I cannot see another way to have the money in a Thai bank for 12 months in the first year...

6- Is the 65000 THB option gross or net? My meager pension will be over that much gross, but not net. I am 57, and will not be getting SS for 5 years. By the time we retire, we should have 150-200K USD in our savings/liquid, and quite a bit in our 401K, although we don't want to start withdrawing that for a few years, as we shouldn't need it-planning to live off savings/pension.

 

I was on a Trip Advisor forum, and ubonjoe was highly recommended for Visa advice. And I found him here!

Edited by projectorguy1
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I am surprised no one has an answer for any of these questions...I sincerely hope I haven't broken decorum here by asking 100 questions right out of the gate - if so, I am sincerely sorry.

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1/2. When the OA visa it is valid for entry for one year from the date of issue. When you enter the country you will get a one year entry unless your insurance expires before the one year. If less than a year remaining they will stamp you into the country to that day.

You can get almost 2 years of total stay from a OA visa by getting a new one year entry just before it expires.

3. You can only apply for the OA visa while your are in the states.

You do not have to have a permanent residence to apply for it.

4/5. If married both of you do not need to get OA visa. One can apply for it and the other one can get a non-o visa that will be valid for 3 months and will allow a 90 day entry and then they can apply for  a extension that will issued to the day the entry ends for the other person with the OA visa.

The equivalent of 800k baht only has to be in the bank on the day your apply for the OA visa. Or can proof of 65k baht of income.

6. You can combine your income and money in the bank to reach a total of 800k baht. Gross income can be used.

Info about the OA visa can be found here. https://www.thaicgny.com/ภาษาอ-งกฤษ-english-version/visa-service/doc-non-im-oa/  I would normally post info the from the embassy website but they have taken it down to the covid 19 situation.

 

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Thank you for the great info! I feel that you are so far ahead of me on this that I am like a third grader sitting in a college course!

 

1/2 - I am assuming you mean getting the OA visa in the states, then getting a bank account at a Thai bank, and making the deposit ASAP after arriving (to meet the 60 day requirement), then apply for the full year? Then to get the second year, just apply for an extension, and we are free to use/move the money after it is granted? 

 

4 - I had read that this could only be done if my wife was under 50...  https://www.thaiembassy.com/faq/retirement-requirements-with-a-wife.php

This seems very odd to me - if my wife is under 50, she is a dependent REGARDLESS of my age/situation...but as soon as she hits 50, all the sudden she has to qualify as if I weren't there??

 

6- I was aware that you could do this (although I have read that if you catch an immigration rep on a bad day, they have been known to require all one, or all the other. My gross and net will be close, since I won't be drawing 401k or social security yet (federal/state taxes in US will be zero); The only thing coming out will be my health insurance (~400/month). Still, it'll only be ~1400. I thought you had to have the pension coming in for a full year to use the 65k/month option, or combination.

 

I don't mind locking up the 800000 baht in the Thai bank (wouldn't mind avoiding having to do that though!), but I definitely wanted to avoid locking up/moving $50000 for the two of us...

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6 hours ago, projectorguy1 said:

1/2 - I am assuming you mean getting the OA visa in the states, then getting a bank account at a Thai bank, and making the deposit ASAP after arriving (to meet the 60 day requirement), then apply for the full year? Then to get the second year, just apply for an extension, and we are free to use/move the money after it is granted? 

No need to put any money in a Thai bank if you have a OA visa issued by an embassy or consulate. It only has to be in bank in the states.

 

6 hours ago, projectorguy1 said:

This seems very odd to me - if my wife is under 50, she is a dependent REGARDLESS of my age/situation...but as soon as she hits 50, all the sudden she has to qualify as if I weren't there??

Just little misleading info. She can apply for the non-o if she is 50 or over. There is no maximum age to qualify for it.

 

6 hours ago, projectorguy1 said:

I don't mind locking up the 800000 baht in the Thai bank (wouldn't mind avoiding having to do that though!), but I definitely wanted to avoid locking up/moving $50000 for the two of us...

No need for 800k baht in a Thai bank if you apply for a OA visa until your last one year entry expires and you do not apply for a new OA visa in the states.

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@projectorguy1Whilst the OA Visa from your home country is a good option, it does require Health Insurance that is approved by Thailand with a cover of 400,000 inpatient & 40,000 outpatient...   https://www.thaiembassy.com/travel/health-insurance-thailand-new-requirement-for-retirees.php

 

Getting the cover is generally not a problem (Unless you're > 75 and/or have pre-existing conditions) but unless you can get a signed certificate from the company stating it meets the requirements, you're stuck to buying Health Insurance from the approved Thai list. 

  

If this is going to be a problem for you, I would suggest you look at getting a 90 day Non-O, if these are not available in your country then you can get one from a nearby (to Thailand) country like Laos, Malaysia, Vietnam etc... 

 

I wouldn't worry about opening a bank account as this can be done in minutes, I did mine in Bangkok with a 30 day Visa Exempt stamp (Though I did use Siam Legal to help me, cost of 3,000 THB, as I only had the day to get it open before returning back to Singapore for work) & money can be transferred in a couple of hours using Transferwise (suggest you set-up an account beforehand as there is some too-ing & fro-ing around proof of address etc...) As you're in the US I would also suggest you set-up a Charles Schwab account so you get ATM fee free withdrawals on any cash you take out of your US account. 

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Thank you all for such GREAT information!!! This is by FAR the best expat forum I have found! You will never get rid if me now! 😄

 

Yes, my wife is non Thai... for some reason she wants to go with me 🙂 Of course so do I! 

 

The health insurance is no problem - I am very fortunate to work for the DoD, and have the FEP Blue Cross insurance. It works anywhere in the world, and I can keep it instead of enrolling in Medicare when I turn 65. Applying at the Thai consulate would be PERFECT - and the news that I can renew it for a year in Thailand is GREAT. I am REALLY excited for the world to rid itself of this awful virus, so we can go!! I am also glad to know that if we intend to stay past 2 years, all I need to transfer would be the 800000 ve 1.6 million...

I definitely will use Schwab, and are planning to look into transferwise. I need to compare the services with my Federal Credit Union... They offer fee free ATM use, and even reimburse me for fees from other banks. My credit card offers fee free cash advances also...The banking stuff REALLY confuses me sometimes...I will be doing a LOT of reading on the subject in the coming months. Mike Teavee - Great idea using an agent - That might be money well spent for a newby like me.

 

You guys are GREAT - A HUGE THANK YOU!!

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Peter Denis - Thank you for the great insurance information - After reading your attachment, I am concerned that it may be very difficult to meet the Thai requirements for insurance verification, even though I am, and will be fully insured. When I retire, my insurance premiums are paid off the top of each pension payment I receive, which will be for the rest of my life.

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After looking at the policy cost, it might be better just to pay for one year coverage commencing from the year my insurance cert ends (even though my coverage doesn't end) for me, even though I don't need it, to get the two year O-A visa. The cost would be under 200 USD. In this case, my wife would do the O visa...

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10 hours ago, projectorguy1 said:

After looking at the policy cost, it might be better just to pay for one year coverage commencing from the year my insurance cert ends (even though my coverage doesn't end) for me, even though I don't need it, to get the two year O-A visa. The cost would be under 200 USD. In this case, my wife would do the O visa...

Hi Projectorguy1,

As mentioned earlier, in your situation applying for the 1-year Non Imm O-A Visa would be without any doubt your best option (cheapest, easiest and no IO hassle once in Thailand).

Even if you are not able to persuade your FEP Blue Cross insurer to fill in and sign the Foreign Insurance Certificate, there is still the option of subscribing to the cheap throw-away Plan 1 policy offered by LMG Insurance, to meet the health-insurance requirement for your Non Imm O-A Visa application.

I would even advise that both yourself as well as your wife apply for the Non Imm O-A Visa.

Yes, she can apply for a spouse Visa with lower financials to be proven and no need for the Embassy approved health-insurance.

But doing so, she would have to deal with Immigration once in Thailand, and be a.o. confronted with the requirement to park money or transfer money to a personal thai bank-account.

Imo it would be far easier if both of you applied for the Non Imm O-A Visa, so that both of you will be able to enjoy almost 2 full years in Thailand without any IO-hassle.

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22 minutes ago, Peter Denis said:

I would even advise that both yourself as well as your wife apply for the Non Imm O-A Visa.

Yes, she can apply for a spouse Visa with lower financials to be proven and no need for the Embassy approved health-insurance.

His wife can get a single entry non-o visa when he applies for his OA and then apply for an extension of stay for being a member of his family without any financial proof. Her extension will valid to the day his most recent entry using the OA visa ends.

Her extension is done under clause 20 of immigration order 327/2557.

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15 minutes ago, ubonjoe said:

His wife can get a single entry non-o visa when he applies for his OA and then apply for an extension of stay for being a member of his family without any financial proof. Her extension will valid to the day his most recent entry using the OA visa ends.

Her extension is done under clause 20 of immigration order 327/2557.

Thanks!

Wasn't aware that once in Thailand his wife would not need to provide financial proof when using that option, and obviously that would be her best choice.

 

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8 hours ago, Peter Denis said:

Hi Projectorguy1,

As mentioned earlier, in your situation applying for the 1-year Non Imm O-A Visa would be without any doubt your best option (cheapest, easiest and no IO hassle once in Thailand).

Even if you are not able to persuade your FEP Blue Cross insurer to fill in and sign the Foreign Insurance Certificate, there is still the option of subscribing to the cheap throw-away Plan 1 policy offered by LMG Insurance, to meet the health-insurance requirement for your Non Imm O-A Visa application.

I would even advise that both yourself as well as your wife apply for the Non Imm O-A Visa.

Yes, she can apply for a spouse Visa with lower financials to be proven and no need for the Embassy approved health-insurance.

But doing so, she would have to deal with Immigration once in Thailand, and be a.o. confronted with the requirement to park money or transfer money to a personal thai bank-account.

Imo it would be far easier if both of you applied for the Non Imm O-A Visa, so that both of you will be able to enjoy almost 2 full years in Thailand without any IO-hassle.

I think you and ubonjoe are 100% correct, and have REALLY provided some relief for me in this process! The O-A visa for me is definitely my best option...If we get there and plan to stay beyond 2 years, then obviously, the retirement visa should be easier to execute after being there for almost two years!

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7 hours ago, ubonjoe said:

His wife can get a single entry non-o visa when he applies for his OA and then apply for an extension of stay for being a member of his family without any financial proof. Her extension will valid to the day his most recent entry using the OA visa ends.

Her extension is done under clause 20 of immigration order 327/2557.

That is what we will do - thanks for your help! So if I have the full two years (almost), she will be given the same? That would be SUCH a relief, and way less hassle than I was expecting. Thank you SO MUCH for your advice!

 

Just one more thing - As I read the O-A information, it looks like I would have to leave the country and return just before the end of the first year - what in addition (if that is required) is needed to activete the second year?

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