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returning to thailand when covid panic calms down


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I will give you my history and status. I understand I should pay an expert for advice, but suspect some people on this site could point me in the correct direction.

I am 65 years Old... I am uk citizen, I am married (20 years) to Thai lady. My income comes from renting out 4 apts in south Ireland. I have 200,000 euro in savings, and next year I should qualify for uk state pension

From 2007-2017 I lived in Thailand on a retirement visa. In 2017 both me and my wife moved to Ireland in order to manage 6 apts we had in ireland. We have sold 2 of the apts and intend to pass management of other 4 apts to a property manager.

  Our idea is to move back to chiang mai next nov (cool season) but not to buy a house or rent one on a yearly basis. Instead we want to wander around se asia renting condos one month at a time from airbnb, and going on cruises. Then when I hit 70 we will buy a house in chiang mai and just move out march till june

   ideas please on visa   health ins  tax ect ect  

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40 minutes ago, Science workshop said:

Since money is not an issue for you, I guess Elite Visa would be your best option? 

 

The Thai Elite Visa is not as strong as a Non-Immigrant Visa under the current Emergency Decree restrictions. 

Additionally, The Non-Immigrant O visa (and extensions based on retirement) were also ‘late comers’ to the ‘you can get into Thailand Party’.

 

Non-Immigrant B Visas (extensions based on and work permit) were the amongst the first types of visa holders permitted entry to Thailand while was under Emergency Decree.

 

The second group of people allowed entry were those with Non-Immigrant O visas based on Marriage to a Thai national (or parent of a Thai national).

 

---------

 

Back in July I was unable to enter Thailand with my Thai Elite SE Visa. I had to get a Non-Immigrant Type O visa based on Marriage and enter on That (with certificate of Entry). 

 

 

The visa situation has since opened up and there is allowance for Thai Elite Visa holders and Retiree’s on Non-Imm O visas and those on Tourist Visa’s to enter (also visa exempt I believe). 

 

But, while applying for my extensions of stay Immigration advised me to remain on the Non-Immigrant type O Visa (based on Marriage) as this is more ‘powerful’ than the Thai Elite visa.

 

We don’t know how the situation will change, if the entry requirements will relax further, if the Emergency Decree will be lifted, or if due to further outbreaks, new virus strains etc whether or not lockdowns will once again become more stringent and entry requirements will one again become limited. 

 

Thus: The recommendation I have is that as you have a Thai Wife, you can apply for a Non-Immigrant Type O Visa, Single Entry, 90 days based on Marriage to a Thai National.

Once in Thailand you can apply for an Extension of stay based on Marriage.

When leaving Thailand apply for a Multiple re-entry permit (at the airport upon departure). 

 

The only complexity I see in this may be that you will need to show an ‘Affirmation of Residence’ document. 

 

There is a lot of time between now and November ’21... things may change a lot in that time. 

 

 

Edited by richard_smith237
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OP, not sure what your asking about. Having lived here for 10 years on extensions based on retirement you would be well aware of that simple process. Your plans sound like you will have a fixed pattern of being in Thailand during certain months every year, so you could continue using extensions based on retirement with a reentry permit. 

Alternatively you could obtain a non O-A every 2 years as you will be returning to Ireland every year. 

Your renting plan is sensible as shown by the many folk currently doing exactly what you suggest. 

Obviously an PE (elite visa) is also an option. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, richard_smith237 said:

 

The Thai Elite Visa is not as strong as a Non-Immigrant Visa under the current Emergency Decree restrictions. 

Additionally, The Non-Immigrant O visa (and extensions based on retirement) were also ‘late comers’ to the ‘you can get into Thailand Party’.

 

Non-Immigrant B Visas (extensions based on and work permit) were the amongst the first types of visa holders permitted entry to Thailand while was under Emergency Decree.

 

The second group of people allowed entry were those with Non-Immigrant O visas based on Marriage to a Thai national (or parent of a Thai national).

 

---------

 

Back in July I was unable to enter Thailand with my Thai Elite SE Visa. I had to get a Non-Immigrant Type O visa based on Marriage and enter on That (with certificate of Entry). 

 

 

The visa situation has since opened up and there is allowance for Thai Elite Visa holders and Retiree’s on Non-Imm O visas and those on Tourist Visa’s to enter (also visa exempt I believe). 

 

But, while applying for my extensions of stay Immigration advised me to remain on the Non-Immigrant type O Visa (based on Marriage) as this is more ‘powerful’ than the Thai Elite visa.

 

We don’t know how the situation will change, if the entry requirements will relax further, if the Emergency Decree will be lifted, or if due to further outbreaks, new virus strains etc whether or not lockdowns will once again become more stringent and entry requirements will one again become limited. 

 

Thus: The recommendation I have is that as you have a Thai Wife, you can apply for a Non-Immigrant Type O Visa, Single Entry, 90 days based on Marriage to a Thai National.

Once in Thailand you can apply for an Extension of stay based on Marriage.

When leaving Thailand apply for a Multiple re-entry permit (at the airport upon departure). 

 

The only complexity I see in this may be that you will need to show an ‘Affirmation of Residence’ document. 

 

There is a lot of time between now and November ’21... things may change a lot in that time. 

 

 

When I planned my return, first time entries of Elite visa holders weren't permitted and Elite kept delaying/extending their visa start date.

 

As a back up plan I obtained a Non-o married to a Thai and entered under that visa. I've since contacted Elite about changing over to my Elite visa.

 

Elite informed me immigration require me to complete 60 days before they will allow me to change visas. This will be done at CW.

 

The information on the Elite site stating you are responsible to cancel your Non-o in the morning then the Elite agent will meet you in the afternoon to place the Elite visa in your passport is outdated. You no longer need to do that yourself.

 

Elite now send you a short document for you to add your details and sign stating you want to cancel the Non-o visa. You hand that form to the Elite agent and the cancellation of the Non-o and commencement of the Elite visa are done at the same time by the agent.

 

Hope this helps.

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4 minutes ago, Farma said:

When I planned my return, first time entries of Elite visa holders weren't permitted and Elite kept delaying/extending their visa start date.

 

As a back up plan I obtained a Non-o married to a Thai and entered under that visa. I've since contacted Elite about changing over to my Elite visa.

 

Elite informed me immigration require me to complete 60 days before they will allow me to change visas. This will be done at CW.

 

The information on the Elite site stating you are responsible to cancel your Non-o in the morning then the Elite agent will meet you in the afternoon to place the Elite visa in your passport is outdated. You no longer need to do that yourself.

 

Elite now send you a short document for you to add your details and sign stating you want to cancel the Non-o visa. You hand that form to the Elite agent and the cancellation of the Non-o and commencement of the Elite visa are done at the same time by the agent.

 

Hope this helps.

 

I now have the Multiple entry extension of Stay (Based on Marriage)...  No need to use my Elite Visa at the moment (not for this year anyway - I’ll see how things calm down next year).

 

 

When returning I nearly ended up in quite a mess: 

I’d initially applied for my CoE with a Thai Elite Visa (in July). 

The Thai Embassy UK were unaware that only those with Non-Immigrant Visa’s were permitted entry under the condiments of the Emergency Decree at the time and issued my CoE.

 

I had previously written to Thai Elite asking about entry to Thailand. I was informed that I could enter with my Thai Elite Visa. 

 

While the Thai Embassy in London made a huge mistake by providing me with a CoE with an Elite Visa they rectified the issue and issued me with a Non-Imm O Visa (on the day of my flight nonetheless).

 

After finding out the day before travel that Thai Elite Visa holders were not permitted entry into Thailand at that time I e-mailed Thai Elite who again re-confirmed I could enter Thailand on my Thai Elite Visa with a CoE - this contradicted the information I had received from another reliable source. 

 

 

The information provided by Thai Elite was incorrect on two separate occasions and would have cost me my entry to Thailand and a lot of money in lost ASQ booking and a forced flight back to the UK after being rejected at Immigration.

 

Thai Elite have never answered my e-mail of complaint other than ’they will let their management know’.

 

I have also been informed by Thai Elite that someone can purchase a Thai Elite Visa from within Thailand and make the visa switch from a Non-Imm with out leaving Thailand. But, I am unable to switch to from a Non-Imm O to Elite Visa if I’m already holding an Elite Visa unless I fly out and in again - All very strange and questionable. 

 

This is not the first time Thai Elite has given me incorrect information - whenever colouring slightly outside the lines they seem to struggle for the correct answer, as if those in Management don’t know and leave those in junior positions struggling to answer correctly - thus some will guess, others will simply not provide any answer at all. 

 

In sort - The Elite Visa is an excellent option to remain in Thailand under normal conditions, but at the time while the situation is fluid Thai Elite are unable to remain on top of the regulations and have provided inaccurate advice which nearly proved costly - I don’t trust their answers and will no long rely on them for any information. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You have a choice of one year extensions of stay based upon marriage or retirement applied for at immigration.

For marriage you need 400k baht in a Thai bank for 2 months on the day your happy  or for retirement 800k baht for 2 months, then for 3 months after the day you apply and then 400k baht until you top up your account to 800k baht for the next extension.

It does not matter which extension you choose you still will need a home base to your 90 day reports to immigration unless you change your address to a different office every time you move around the country. By having a home base you could do your extensions at the same office every year and do the reports online or by mail.

To make your next trip to here you can apply for a single entry non-o visa based upon marriage with need 40/400k baht of insurance that retirement requires. Then apply for either extension of stay after getting here.

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3 hours ago, DrJack54 said:

OP, not sure what your asking about. Having lived here for 10 years on extensions based on retirement you would be well aware of that simple process. Your plans sound like you will have a fixed pattern of being in Thailand during certain months every year, so you could continue using extensions based on retirement with a reentry permit. 

Alternatively you could obtain a non O-A every 2 years as you will be returning to Ireland every year. 

Your renting plan is sensible as shown by the many folk currently doing exactly what you suggest. 

Obviously an PE (elite visa) is also an option. 

 

 

the biggest problem will be where you get ur 1 year extension if you go that route,  You need a residence somewhere ( TM30) 

also ur 90 day reports

 

Easy to make it work with just renting a small 1 bedroom condo in CM and keep that as ur primary residence. and do ur 90 day reports when due onlne

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18 hours ago, beaufoy said:

ideas please on visa   health ins  tax ect ect

Talking from my experience and my own view as retired expat...

 

Visa and stay

A non-immigrant O-visa and yearly extensions of stay based on retirement might be the most easy way to handle it. It however requires an 800k baht deposit in a Thai bank. Just leave the funds in a long-term fixed account, and don't worry about balance, and about when to top up.

 

If you are going to do any work, i.e. need a Work Permit, you could however choose extension of stay based on marriage to a Thai. It's little more paperwork for documentation, but only 400k baht in bank deposit.

 

Travelling around

It's very wise to get around before deciding where to settle. Even you now focus on Chiang Mai, you might find alternatives. I also once seriously considered Chiang Mai as an excellent place for retirement, but travelling around combined with long stay in Thailand changed my view, and today I'm very happy that I decided for another location to live.

 

Income

With a (probably small) government pension and additional income you should be Okay, but it's of course a question of the length of the usual rubber string. It depends of total income, expectations, and living-style; i.e. some can live happily for next to nothing, often materialized around 40k baht a month, others can easily spend a minor (or larger) fortune in no time. The around 65k baht a month is often a realistic figure to mention, when talking about budget.

 

Savings

  • €200,000 is equivalent to about 7 million baht.
  • Expect 1 million for bank deposit for extension of stay and initial costs.
  • Set aside an easy access lump sum for "rainy days" or emergency cases, even you might have insurances you might be in a situation where instant cash is needed, or there might be cases that are not covered by an insurance. The amount is relative to whatever other insurances you have, and what you can afford. I made a couple of "Rainy Day"-accounts shared with my girlfriend – it's of course a question of trust, but after 20 years marriage in your case... – so in case something happens to me, somebody else has access to the funds. I have 3 accounts, a normal savings account with ATM-card; a fixed account for better interest, funds can be withdrawn on bank days by lost of last interest period; and a Fund Book that is mutual funds in bonds and cash, which gives a slightly higher interest as accumulating gain, and can be sold in bank days with remittance from 1 to 3 bank days to the ATM-account.
  • You might consider to buy a car, or other kind of transportation. A nice small new car costs from around 500k baht.
  • That might leave you somewhere up to around 5-6 million baht for "investment" in a permanent home . You could speculate in currency exchange rate and interest rates, if it's best to keep the funds in Ireland or UK, or to move the funds into Thailand and deposit it in a fixed account (might be two, to be within guaranties) or mutual fund(s). If you transfer a larger sum (equivalent to $50,000 or more), you shall have and keep a receipt from Bank of Thailand that makes you eligible to transfer out of Thailand a similar amount.

 

Insurance

Health insurance is an often discussed subject, especially as it raise in costs when one gets older, and it's difficult to get a new insurance if one is of age. Could be that self-insurance is a possibility (for some), or a combination of a smaller insured sum and some level of self-insurance (i.e. more funds in a Rainy Day-account). I would as a start budget with 5k baht a month in average health insurance costs, and if less set the difference aside in the Rainy Day-account. Expect the average monthly rate to increase by age.

 

Tax

You need to check the Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) between UK and Thailand. You are in principle fully tax-resident of Thailand when staying 183 days a year, but depending of the DTA some income might be taxed in UK, whilst other income might be taxed in Thailand, the latter can have benefits if correctly planned. Thailand seems to begin with checking on retirees for income tax registration (TIN), starting already with the Nordic countries (Scandinavia + Finland).

🙂

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