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Retiremenet Visa Vs Marriage Visa


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I am writing this in the hope that it may help others to avoid the nightmare that I have just experienced.

I originally obtained a retirement visa from the immigration dept in Bangkok, and renewed it without a problem for two succeeding years.

Last year, I got married to a Thai lady.

The person who helped me with my visa, and a number of farangs in Pattaya advised me that if I showed immigration in Pattaya my marriage papers, I would only need to have 400, 000 Baht in the bank when I went to renew my retirement visa. This seemed like a good idea, as the interest rates here are very low, and I don't want to have any more cash here than is necessary for my expenses.

So back in January, I went along to immigration with all my forms, and the bank book and letter showing 400k in the bank and applied for the renewal. The 'retirement' desk moved me over to the 'marriage' visa desk. The man at the marriage visa desk told me that as I only had 400k I would have to apply for the marriage visa, rather than the retirement visa. (Up to this point I hadn't realised there was any difference). As I still had a week or so to run on the old visa, I said in that case Ill transfer another 400k into my bank and re-apply next week. the guy said, never mind, we'll just do the marriage visa. Stamped me up for a month and told me to reurn next month.

A month later I returned and was asked to produce my bank book. I didn't realise they would need it again, and most of the money had since been transferred to another account. I told him this, and he said I must put money back in and return that day with the book updated. I told him I had spent some of it and only had about 250k in the country, and he said that would be ok. I rushed to the bank, put the money back in the target account and rushed back to immigration. Ater some deliberation, they stamped me for another month and he told me next time to make sure there is a bit more than 250 k in the account.

This morning I returned with some 560K in the account, and was informed my visa had been rejected because last month I had gone below the 400K. I said no one had told me that I had to maintain 400K, and he just smiled and shrugged his shoulders, I asked if I had to leave the country, and he said he would give me a 7 days extension, and the only thing I could do is re-apply for a retirement visa. I told him there wouldn't be time to transfer another 240k into Thailand, whereupon my dearest wife said she could lend me 300K. He said that would be fine. My passport was stamped for 7 days, but it was also stamped that my visa applicaton had been rejected due to lack of money in my account!!!!

Rushed to the bank took the 300k out of my dearest's 8 month deposit, and then to the doctors for a medical certificate and back to immigration with a new bank letter.

The 'retirement' visa processed my papers in about 10 minutes and he told my wife she could take her money back out tomorrow. He said that many people just borrow the money, as it only has to be there for one day!

Over to the captain's desk, where she reviewed the whole sorry mess and asked why I didn't maintain the 400k in the first place? I said nobody told me that I had to. She said everyone is informed to maintain the 400k for at least 3 months until the visa is approved. Well I speak reasonable Thai, and I know I wasn't told, and my wife was with me throughout and she confirmed that we were not told.

The Capatin then stamped me up for year; told me that retirement visas are much less hassle than Marriage visas. So all's well that ends well. Took about 1 hour - all told.

So if anyone is still having problems maintaining the 400k, and they are over 50, I really recommend that they try to switch to retirement visas, and just try to find 800K for one day. It's not impossible - a mate of mine did it in Bkk through a Thai lawyer, who accompanied him to immigration and charged him a small fee for the one day loan.

I know that after all the years I have lived in thailand, I should never have been caught out on this, and a lesson has been well and truly leanned - never believe anything a farang in Pattaya tells you!

and check , check and double check everything to do with visas and permission to stay in the country. I was so close to being put on a plane to God knows where.

For the avoidance of doubt - the stupidity and incompetence wre all mine.

Edited by Mobi D'Ark
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I had a similar story...I went to my lawyer/accountant and told him that I had retired from my Thai job which had a visa and work permit with it...I told him that I wanted to get the marriage visa...

Thankfully, he told me that it was much better and easier to get the retirement visa. So after a quick doctor visit, a "monthly income letter" validated by the embassy and my bank book, I got my 1 year retirement visa...Just renewed it for the second year...less than an hour to complete...

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I had a similar story...I went to my lawyer/accountant and told him that I had retired from my Thai job which had a visa and work permit with it...I told him that I wanted to get the marriage visa...

Thankfully, he told me that it was much better and easier to get the retirement visa. So after a quick doctor visit, a "monthly income letter" validated by the embassy and my bank book, I got my 1 year retirement visa...Just renewed it for the second year...less than an hour to complete...

Mobi,the entire 400K (marriage) or 800K (retirement) must be in the bank only if you dont (and it seems you dont)have a monthly pension/income,validated by the home country embassy,as Stoneman points out, to use in combo with the bank acct. to meet the needed total amount come extension time. I mention this because some people,reading your OP,may not realize this and think one must always have 400 or 800K in the bank when applying for their 1 yr extensions based on either marriage or retirement. Ive also seen posters say they prefer the marriage extension because of its less stringent financial requirement. Anyway I found your post most interesting because I will be eligible to extend(come Jan. 2007) either by marriage,or retirement(which my original OA was based on). Only time will tell which route I end up taking.. Cheers,the Harpman

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I had a similar story...I went to my lawyer/accountant and told him that I had retired from my Thai job which had a visa and work permit with it...I told him that I wanted to get the marriage visa...

Thankfully, he told me that it was much better and easier to get the retirement visa. So after a quick doctor visit, a "monthly income letter" validated by the embassy and my bank book, I got my 1 year retirement visa...Just renewed it for the second year...less than an hour to complete...

Mobi,the entire 400K (marriage) or 800K (retirement) must be in the bank only if you dont (and it seems you dont)have a monthly pension/income,validated by the home country embassy,as Stoneman points out, to use in combo with the bank acct. to meet the needed total amount come extension time. I mention this because some people,reading your OP,may not realize this and think one must always have 400 or 800K in the bank when applying for their 1 yr extensions based on either marriage or retirement. Ive also seen posters say they prefer the marriage extension because of its less stringent financial requirement. Anyway I found your post most interesting because I will be eligible to extend(come Jan. 2007) either by marriage,or retirement(which my original OA was based on). Only time will tell which route I end up taking.. Cheers,the Harpman

I should add a couple of points that I omitted from my OP.

I didn't mention that applications for 'marriage' visas made in Pattaya have to be sent to Bangkok for approval, but retirement visas can be issued by Pattaya immigration - as they did for me in less than an hour. I don't know about other provincial immigration offices, but this may be worth checking.

I read about members having trouble maintaining the 400k the other day. I have a feeling, based on the 'marriage 'visa guy's behaviour, that they are starting to get much stricter in interpreting the the requirements for these visas. (even a month ago, he didn't indicate I would have a problem as long as I didn't have less than 250k in the bank - and suddenly - visa rejected.)

They told me that retirement visas are much easier to get - don't have to visit the house to check if the marriage is genuine etc ,and they told the wife, that in Pattaya especially, there are a lot of farangs with little or no money and they want them out of the country.

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I had a similar story...I went to my lawyer/accountant and told him that I had retired from my Thai job which had a visa and work permit with it...I told him that I wanted to get the marriage visa...

Thankfully, he told me that it was much better and easier to get the retirement visa. So after a quick doctor visit, a "monthly income letter" validated by the embassy and my bank book, I got my 1 year retirement visa...Just renewed it for the second year...less than an hour to complete...

Mobi,the entire 400K (marriage) or 800K (retirement) must be in the bank only if you dont (and it seems you dont)have a monthly pension/income,validated by the home country embassy,as Stoneman points out, to use in combo with the bank acct. to meet the needed total amount come extension time. I mention this because some people,reading your OP,may not realize this and think one must always have 400 or 800K in the bank when applying for their 1 yr extensions based on either marriage or retirement. Ive also seen posters say they prefer the marriage extension because of its less stringent financial requirement. Anyway I found your post most interesting because I will be eligible to extend(come Jan. 2007) either by marriage,or retirement(which my original OA was based on). Only time will tell which route I end up taking.. Cheers,the Harpman

I should add a couple of points that I omitted from my OP.

I didn't mention that applications for 'marriage' visas made in Pattaya have to be sent to Bangkok for approval, but retirement visas can be issued by Pattaya immigration - as they did for me in less than an hour. I don't know about other provincial immigration offices, but this may be worth checking.

I read about members having trouble maintaining the 400k the other day. I have a feeling, based on the 'marriage 'visa guy's behaviour, that they are starting to get much stricter in interpreting the the requirements for these visas. (even a month ago, he didn't indicate I would have a problem as long as I didn't have less than 250k in the bank - and suddenly - visa rejected.)

They told me that retirement visas are much easier to get - don't have to visit the house to check if the marriage is genuine etc ,and they told the wife, that in Pattaya especially, there are a lot of farangs with little or no money and they want them out of the country.

i'm sorry MOBI for your bad experience,i'm not over 50 years,but still have thai wife visa extension 1 year,and anytime show 400k only the first time when applyng for extension,never ask to me after 1 month that he want to see again book bank with 400k,only one time when applying for extension

i'm sorry again for your experience

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I went through all this, 'Retirement/Marriage' a few months ago and after asking here I was a advised by Lopburi3, 'go for the retirement if you have the cash. its easier and no problems for the missus' so that is what I am doing, I go for my third year this June and don't expect any difficulties.

Get good advice and then follow it!!

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Yes Mobi, they do seem to much prefer the Retirement option. Just my guess, but perhaps

they see marriage visa folks as being less well funded than retirement visa applicants ?

Oh ! and this is not in the spirit of the law. That's why they want photocopies

of your bank book pages, to see what's going in and out. Them folks ain't daft you know, and these sort of shenanigans could land you in further trouble. There should be no need for all this

"Ducking and Diving" with genuine retirees. And if they do, then they should not have

retired in the first place. :o

Quote :-

So if anyone is still having problems maintaining the 400k, and they are over 50, I really recommend that they try to switch to retirement visas, and just try to find 800K for one day. It's not impossible - a mate of mine did it in Bkk through a Thai lawyer, who accompanied him to immigration and charged him a small fee for the one day loan.

Naka.

Edited by naka
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. There should be no need for all this

"Ducking and Diving" with genuine retirees. And if they do, then they should not have

retired in the first place. :o

Quote :-

Naka.

I couldn't agree more.

But it was the immigration officers themselves who said that the best way is to borrow the money and then pay it back the next day. They don't seem to care, when its a retirement visa - but they do when its a marriage visa. They even told me that on marriage visas, they have the power to go to the bank and inspect the account, and if they are suspicious they often do this. But not for retirement visas. Weird...crazy!

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. There should be no need for all this

"Ducking and Diving" with genuine retirees. And if they do, then they should not have

retired in the first place. :o

Quote :-

Naka.

I couldn't agree more.

But it was the immigration officers themselves who said that the best way is to borrow the money and then pay it back the next day. They don't seem to care, when its a retirement visa - but they do when its a marriage visa. They even told me that on marriage visas, they have the power to go to the bank and inspect the account, and if they are suspicious they often do this. But not for retirement visas. Weird...crazy!

Yes Mobi ... And they have even been known to turn up at the visaholders residence

to see if he really is living in a married type situation. I understand they will not issue a marriage visa if you are living apart from your wife.

Bottom line, Immigration do not seem to like the marriage visa option. I have a number

of married mates here who continue with a retirement visa since it is much less

of a hassle.

Naka.

Edited by naka
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The light goes on.

Now I understand why they rejected my request for marriage visa 2 times and gave me a retirement visa.

Immigration really do not seem to like the marriage visa option.

First time Suan Plu rejected with the excuse you are over 55 , no marriage visa. Thats the new law.

Second time you have already a retirement, we can not change anymore and by the way you had more than 800 k on the bank when you applied the first time, thats why we gave you a retirement

and Sir, you have to leave the country and start the whole procedure all over again if you want a marriage type visa.

Stupid me having more than 800 k on the bank at time of application, wanted to build a house and just transferded money from abroad before the application.

Stupid me :o

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. There should be no need for all this

"Ducking and Diving" with genuine retirees. And if they do, then they should not have

retired in the first place. :o

Quote :-

Naka.

I couldn't agree more.

But it was the immigration officers themselves who said that the best way is to borrow the money and then pay it back the next day. They don't seem to care, when its a retirement visa - but they do when its a marriage visa. They even told me that on marriage visas, they have the power to go to the bank and inspect the account, and if they are suspicious they often do this. But not for retirement visas. Weird...crazy!

Yes Mobi ... And they have even been known to turn up at the visaholders residence

to see if he really is living in a married type situation. I understand they will not issue a marriage visa if you are living apart from your wife.

Bottom line, Immigration do not seem to like the marriage visa option. I have a number

of married mates here who continue with a retirement visa since it is much less

of a hassle.

Naka.

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He said that many people just borrow the money, as it only has to be there for one day!

True, the going rate is 1% (per day), some will do the standard .66% per day.

It's not impossible - a mate of mine did it in Bkk through a Thai lawyer, who accompanied him to immigration and charged him a small fee for the one day loan.

Curiously, would you happen to know what the lawyer is charging as the "fee" for the one day loan (per 800,000 I assume)?

:o

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He said that many people just borrow the money, as it only has to be there for one day!

True, the going rate is 1% (per day), some will do the standard .66% per day.

It's not impossible - a mate of mine did it in Bkk through a Thai lawyer, who accompanied him to immigration and charged him a small fee for the one day loan.

Curiously, would you happen to know what the lawyer is charging as the "fee" for the one day loan (per 800,000 I assume)?

:o

No, but I can find out. Don't forget that the loan was only a top up, as the guy already had some cash - maybe 300- 400k Otherwise, how could he live? No, don't answer that.

I think the actual loan came from a gentleman of Indian extraction, and the lawyer was a gentleman of Burmese extraction.

A regular United Nations. :D

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I told him there wouldn't be time to transfer another 240k into Thailand, whereupon my dearest wife said she could lend me 300K. He said that would be fine. My passport was stamped for 7 days, but it was also stamped that my visa applicaton had been rejected due to lack of money in my account!!!!

Rushed to the bank took the 300k out of my dearest's 8 month deposit, and then to the doctors for a medical certificate and back to immigration with a new bank letter.

Sounds like you were actually given a break, as the money really should have been transferred from abroad.

Sophon

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