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BANGKOK 18 July 2019 09:25
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Bulldozer Dawn

Convert Tourist Visa to Non o and apply retirement extension: a working example

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I just got back from Vientiane with a fresh double entry tourist visa.

With two extensions, and an in/out border crossing in between, it will be good for 180 days and that could take me to the start of Jan 2016.

However, I turn 50 at the end of November 2015.

As I reported on another thread, dealing with the Laos immigration at the bridge on my way to Vientiane was hell on earth. So I want to avoid going back there to apply for a non O. I am also aware that Penang is another option for a non O but my preference is to not do any further visa runs (excepting the in out to activate the second entry on my current tourist visa).

And so it is my plan to convert my current tourist visa to a non O within Thailand and to then apply for a retirement extension.

I have started this thread to ask some advice, and also, hopefully, to create a step by step guide for others.

First, a little more information:

  • I will be using the 800K THB in the bank option. I already have my account set up and have deposited the funds
  • My passport only has about 6 blank pages remaining
  • I have signed a 12 month lease (in Thai with a Thai landlord) that expires mid 2016. I have an original copy of the lease. But do not have a copy of my Landlord's ID card or tabian ban
  • I met an immigration officer from my closest immigration office the other day in a restaurant (he was wearing his uniform) Between his little English and my ok Thai, I asked him if I could do the conversion of a tourist visa to a Non O at his office. His answer was yes. However, I would assume he is wrong, as Ubon Joe has reported that it is non longer possible to do this conversion anywhere other than Bangkok. I will however visit the local immigration office in the coming weeks and report back here with their response.
  • I understand that the conversion in Bangkok is a "two trip" process but I know nothing else.

And now for my initial questions:

The 800K

  1. I retired early here some five years ago and at that time opened my bank accounts up. Back then I was bouncing back and forwards between my home country and Thailand (tidying up loose ends back home). Whenever I came back to Thailand I brought 10,000 dollars worth of travellers cheques, and, when the rate was favourable I cashed these cheques and deposited them in my thai bank account (Kasikorn). Later on I opened up a mai tai dee account with Krungsri because of the high interest rate (back then it was 2.85%) and physically withdrew the funds from Kasikorn and carried the cash over to Krungsri and deposited it. At present the 800K (to qualify for the retirement visa) is sitting in a Krungsri mai tai dee account. The only record I have that the funds came from outside Thailand is receipt for when I first changed the travellers cheques (at Kasikorn). I retained these but the other day when I looked at them the ink had faded completely and so they are unreadable. I understand that when you go the 800K route you require 2 letters from your bank. One stating that you have 800k on deposit, and the other that the funds came from overseas. Is it likely that the bank will issue me this second letter even though the origin of the 800K was a cash deposit by me?
  2. My accounts were originally set up in Phuket, but I now live in another province. Will a local branch here issue me the abovementioned 2 letters even though the accounts were set up in Phuket?

Converting a tourist visa to a Non O in Bangkok

  1. Where is the immigration office in Bangkok that handles this and what is the best way to get there?
  2. How long does the application take? Can I fly up to Bangkok early morning and then back in the evening? What are the opening times of the office where you have to make the application?
  3. I understand that two visits to Bangkok are required. I imagine one is to do the application and the second to pick up your passport with the new visa inside. What documents are required to be submitted on the first visit? What are the fees?
  4. On the second visit to pick up my passport, can I also apply for the tourist extension at Bangkok or must that be done back in my home province immigration office?

Timing and remaining passport pages

  1. Noting that I turn 50 at the end of Nov this year and my tourist visa runs out at the start of Jan 2016, I assume I would have to go to Bangkok to make my application in Dec while on the last 30 day extension of my tourist visa. Is that correct? When should I go to Bangkok?
  2. As I mentioned above, my passport has only about 6 remaining blank pages. However, it is still valid for another 6 years. Given that I will burn 1 or two pages up using up my current tourist visa, would the remaining four pages be sufficient for the Non O application and then the retirement extension?

Thanks in advance for any helpful advice or input.

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I asked him if I could do the conversion of a tourist visa to a Non O at his office. His answer was yes. However, I would assume he is wrong, as Ubon Joe has reported that it is non longer possible to do this conversion anywhere other than Bangkok. I will however visit the local immigration office in the coming weeks and report back here with their response.

It depends on the office.Some regional offices can accept the application and they will forward it to Bangkok, which would save you the travel.

If it's done by you in Bangkok, you would need to make two visits about 15 days apart to leave the application and to collect the non-imm O visa entry stamp. Presumably if the application is accepted at the office you asked the immigration officer about and they forward it to Bangkok for you, the time between submitting the application and receiving the stamp will be a bit more than 15 day.

At present the 800K (to qualify for the retirement visa) is sitting in a Krungsri mai tai dee account. The only record I have that the funds came from outside Thailand is receipt for when I first changed the travellers cheques (at Kasikorn).

You won't be applying for a retirement visa. Visas are not issued in Thailand, only at embassies and consulates. You will eventually be applying for an extension of stay (not a visa) based on retirement at the immigration office that serves you residential area..

Not sure what the conditions are on the Krungsri account. You must be able to access the money at any time for the deposit to qualify as meeting the requirements for the extension. If the account will not release money before a certain date, it would generally be unacceptable. If they will allow you to withdraw money, but impose a fee or loss of interest to do so, most office would probably accept that.

The process to follow to convert has been done to death. Suggest you read through some of the existing threads.

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/768944-conversion-from-tourist-visa-to-non-imm-o-visa/

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/836641-documents-required-conversion-to-non-imm-o-in-bkk/

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/705102-tourist-visa-to-non-imm-o-visa/

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/index.php?s=d7bf7f491ea11b3f3754bb53c118f9fa&app=googlecse#gsc.tab=0&gsc.q=conversion to non imm o

Edited by Suradit69

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BD-I have recently renewed my extension based on retirement (800,000) in Phuket.I was required to submit a 3 month statement and the usual bank letter-no one asked for proof of where the funds came from but like you,I bring cash into the country every 6 months,convert it at roadside exchanges and then deposit it in the bank (Kasikorn ).Your passport will have enough pages-the retirement ext.is one stamp

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BD-I have recently renewed my extension based on retirement (800,000) in Phuket.I was required to submit a 3 month statement and the usual bank letter-no one asked for proof of where the funds came from but like you,I bring cash into the country every 6 months,convert it at roadside exchanges and then deposit it in the bank (Kasikorn ).Your passport will have enough pages-the retirement ext.is one stamp

The OP is not applying for an extension at this time. He first must get a non immigrant visa entry. To apply for a change to a non immigrant visa at immigration in Bangkok they require proof the funds came from abroad. To do the change the money only has to be in the bank on the date of application there is no seasoning needed.

When he applies for his first extension the money will only need to be in the bank for 60 days.

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Why not pay an agent, save you loads of hassle ?

Can you suggest where he might find an agent where he lives. He does live in any of the major cities where it may be easy to find one.

In reality he does not need an agent. He can easily do it himself without paying the high fees an agent would charge.

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Suradit69. I had already read through those threads and although they contain relevant information nothing specifically answering my questions listed above. The words retirement visa are a typo by me in the OP. I am well aware that the retirement provision is a 12 month extension stamp. To be clear, I am currently on a double entry tourist visa, I want to convert that to a Non O in Thailand, and then apply for a 12 month extension based on retirement.

Ubon Joe, thanks for your input. I have considered Penang. Years ago I did a minibus visa run down there with a company from Phuket. However, the week before and the week after my trip, there were fatal mini bus accidents killing foreigners. Also in the days before my trip the sister of the driver of my minibus was hospitalised after the shopping mall bombing in Hat Yai. Of course I could fly into Penang using fire fly from Phuket. But if I am flying I might as well fly to Bangkok and do the conversion of my tourist visa there. Although...from what you say, if I went to Penang for a non O I would not have to worry about the bank letter saying that the funds came from outside of Thailand. Is that also the case when applying for a non O in Vientiane?

In the coming weeks I will go to my local immigration office to do my 30 day extension on the first entry of my tourist visa. At that time I will enquire if they can do the tourist to Non O conversion. If yes, I will check what documents they require, including whether they require a bank letter stating the funds came from outside thailand. I will report back here with my findings.

Jamie2009, I have no intention of using an agent. For other posters, please note this and do not make any futher suggestions in that direction.

I would still be grateful if someone can address the specific questions in my OP. That is:

Re: Bank letters

Is it possible the bank will just issue me the two letters upon my request, without checking the origins of the funds? And will any bank branch issue these letters regardless of where the account was opened?

Re: Non O in Bangkok and timing

Can someone please give the some specific information regarding the office in Bangkok where the application from tourist visa to Non O must be made. For example, name of the office, its location on a map, its hours of business, the best way to travel there, closest BTS station etc. I also want to know if I can make the application if I am on the 30 day extension of the second entry of my double entry tourist visa.

Thanks to all for your kind input to date, if anyone can answer my specific questions I would welcome your input.

Edited by Bulldozer Dawn
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short agent do both non o and extension 32k or thereabouts, no income proof, non o agent, do retirement yourself half the mentioned fee.

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short agent do both non o and extension 32k or thereabouts, no income proof, non o agent, do retirement yourself half the mentioned fee.

Please read my post above. I am not interested in using an agent.

Edited by Bulldozer Dawn

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short agent do both non o and extension 32k or thereabouts, no income proof, non o agent, do retirement yourself half the mentioned fee.

Please read my post above. I am not interested in using an agent.

He is not suggesting using an agent, he is saying cheaper to do yourself !

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Vientiane's requirements are the same as Phuket to get a single entry non-o visa.

Bangkok immigration will want the letter confirming the funds came from abroad. No bank will issue a letter unless the funds were transferred to them. Most banks will issue the letter confirming the balance at any main branch. There may be some that will only do them where you opened the account.

You must apply for the change of visa status prior to the last 15 day of your 60 day entry or the 30 day extension of it.

Map and info on getting to Chaeng Wattana immigration. http://bangkok.immigration.go.th/en/location1.html

If you are flying into Don Mueang airport it would best to take a taxi from there to immigration.

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Bulldozer Dawn. Good luck however you decide to proceed, but I would say the conversion is more hassle than it's worth and you'd be better off getting a new Non-I from Penang or Vientiane. I know from experience that the land border from Nong Khai is a pain especially during busy times. But, if flying into Vientiane is an option, it makes the trip so much better.

At present the 800K (to qualify for the retirement visa) is sitting in a Krungsri mai tai dee account. The only record I have that the funds came from outside Thailand is receipt for when I first changed the travellers cheques (at Kasikorn).

You won't be applying for a retirement visa. Visas are not issued in Thailand, only at embassies and consulates. You will eventually be applying for an extension of stay (not a visa) based on retirement at the immigration office that serves you residential area..

It's clear from the OP that DB understands the process and terminologies.

BD will be applying for a Non-Immigrant 'O' Visa based on retirement. A Non-Immigrant Visa issued on the basis of retirement is justifiably referred to by 99.99% of expats (and many IO's) as a Retirement Visa and there is absolutely no need for you or others to correct them. In the quote by BD they shorten Non-Immigrant Visa based on Retirement to "retirement visa" which is perfectly acceptable and everyone understands exactly what they mean.

Clearly, in some circumstances, visas are issued in Thailand.

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Vientiane's requirements are the same as Phuket to get a single entry non-o visa.

Bangkok immigration will want the letter confirming the funds came from abroad. No bank will issue a letter unless the funds were transferred to them. Most banks will issue the letter confirming the balance at any main branch. There may be some that will only do them where you opened the account.

You must apply for the change of visa status prior to the last 15 day of your 60 day entry or the 30 day extension of it.

Map and info on getting to Chaeng Wattana immigration. http://bangkok.immigration.go.th/en/location1.html

If you are flying into Don Mueang airport it would best to take a taxi from there to immigration.

Thanks Joe. I assume in your post quoted above you are actually referring to Penang and not Phuket.

Any idea of the approximate cost of a taxi from Don Mueang to Chaeng Wattana immigration office?

My plan would seem to be evolving as follows:

  1. When making the extension to my current 60 day tourist entry, I will ask if my local immigration office if they will do the tourist visa to non o conversion. If yes, I will ask them what paperwork is required.
  2. If a letter proving the funds came from outside Thailand is required, I will then call a girl I know at Krungsri who speaks good English to see if she can confirm that they can provide the abovementioned letter. I will get her to speak with the manager at my local Krungsri branch.
  3. If a trip to Bangkok is required then the letter might be a deal breaker. I understand (please confirm Joe) that the letters must be issued on the same day that you apply of the tourist visa to non O conversion (or can they be a few days old?). If that is the case I would have to do them in Bangkok, and it would be unclear that they would give me the funds from outside Thailand letter. I might then make a trip to Bangkok only to be shot down by the Krungsri branch there not playing ball.
  4. And so, if my fixer at Krungsri cannot confirm that I can get the required second letter, I may be faced with a visa run for a non o. If that is the case I will probably do a minivan run from Phuket to Penang. The upside of one of those runs is that you just stay in your hotel in Georgetown and do not have to go to immigration. They are also cheap. I think the last one was 2,000 baht including the accomodation, some meals and water.

And so:

Can anyone confirm the taxi fare from Don Mueang to Chaeng Wattana immigration office?

Can anyone list the documents and fee required to make an application to convert a tourist visa to a non O at Penang?

Can anyone provide me with the name and contact details of a visa run company that they used recently to go to Penang to apply convert a tourist visa to a non O?

Edited by Bulldozer Dawn
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Yes I meant Penang.

You do not convert from a tourist visa to a non-o visa at Penang or Vientiane. You just apply for a single entry non-o visa.based upon being 50 or over. As I wrote before all you need is your passport and bank book to apply at both locations.

Taxi fare on the meter from DM to Chaeng Wattana should be less than 100 baht. But you have to add 50 baht to that for the fee they charge when getting a taxi at the airport.

3, You can do the bank letter the day before at CW but they will want a bank book update on the date you apply.

If you were in or near Bangkok and your money has been the bank for some time I would suggest trying to get the change done without the proof of the funds coming from abroad. They appear to have that rule to keep people from borrowing the money to do the application since their is no requirement for seasoning of the money for the change.

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