RichLB wrote:Add these to the questions that, as yet, have no answers.
1. How does one verify that the 800K has remained in the bank 3 months after the visa extension is granted? Will this require an additional trip to Thai Immigration and the bank to present a letter testifying this?
2. And how about verifying that after the 3 month period has passed, how is one to prove the account has never fallen below 400K?
3. Since this "rule" doesn't take effect until March 1, will these requirements only apply to visa extensions issued after that date or will they be retroactive and apply to those of us who have visa extensions issued before March 1?
Very good points.
The bank book will show if amounts ever fall below the required minimum limits, but I have yet to see an Immigration officer spend any time checking bank books other that a cursory glance. The letter from the bank is their primary concern, I believe. Looks like the bank will have to confirm a lot more information in Thai in future.
I renew my visa next week. If I find out anything, I will post it.
fountainhall wrote:Is there a possibility that the new rules will apply ONLY to initial applications?
The immigration statement doesn't say that. Any answers at this point would be only guesses. In the meantime I suggest making sure you have 800,000 baht in a Thai bank account for 3 months if you're going to use that method. Then you won't have a problem.
Right now, the only thing I can see that has really changed is the part about having to keep the 800,000 baht in the account for 3 months after being granted the visa and then having to maintain 400,000 baht in that account. While some may not like that, the rule itself seems clear to me.
The only serious question in my mind is what immigration will require for proof that people indeed kept the full 800,000 in place for 3 months after being granted the visa and then have been maintaining the 400,000 baht in the account thereafter.
While I realize many people have complications and can't do it that way, the simplest thing to do will be proving the minimum 65,000 baht per month income.
Unfortunately for some, with regard to dealing with unanswered questions and uncertainty, it's right back to square one. Again, we'll post answers once we have them.
I met with my Immigration lawyer this afternoon since I renew at the beginning of next week. She confirmed that she had spoken to a senior official at Chaeng Wattana earlier this week. The new regulations are fact, although they have not yet been circulated to all Immigration offices around the country - hence the I March starting date. The new regulations only affect renewals from 1 March onwards. They will not be retroactive. So they will only start to affect me from near the end of this year.
I was also told that the law firm had already received several complaints from other retirees who use them (this is a top law firm in the city). They plan to draw up a list of the issues resulting from the new regulations and circulate them to other law firms with Immigration Departments. They then hope jointly to meet with the Immigration Department to see if any of the issues can be refined or changed. She also encouraged me to raise the issues with my Embassy.
Based on the latest confusion going on, if you can show proof of the 65,000 baht per month minimum, that seems like the simplest way to handle getting the retirement visa.
What's going on with the 800,000 baht method seems to me to make no sense. The underlying purpose of either method is to make sure retired foreigners living in Thailand have the financial means to support themselves. Using the 65,000 baht per month method, once that money has been deposited into your Thai bank account, now you're at liberty to withdraw every baht of it and spend it however you wish, making sure a minimum of 65,000 baht is deposited from a foreign source every month.
On the other hand, using the 800,000 baht method, with the amount of time it has to already be in the Thai bank account prior to applying for the visa, and now the amount of time it still has to sit there after the visa is approved, that money is untouchable for 5 months. That's nearly half a year. And when the 5 months is over, you still have to leave 400,000 baht sitting untouched in the account, apparently for the entire year until it's time to renew your visa.
Where's the sense in that? If the money is supposed to be the money with which you support yourself, how does it make sense to put rules in place that makes it virtually impossible to access it? The purpose of the money is to prove your ability to support yourself and be eligible for the visa, but if you withdraw and use the money to support yourself, now you lose the visa. The 800,000 proves you've got the money to live on, but if you live on it you're out? What is that? Catch 22.
If you're going to go the 800,000 baht route, I suggest making sure you actually have 1,600,000. 800,000 to live on and 800,000 for window dressing for immigration. What's wrong with this picture?
In other words, there are aspects of the current set of rules that definitely make it to my "I Don't Get It" list.
Here's the latest:
New Retiree Visa Rules Bewilder Thai Immigration: Source
By Teeranai Charuvastra, Staff Reporter
February 1, 2019
BANGKOK — Days after new rules changed how visas are processed for foreign retirees, immigration officials are already pushing back against them, according to sources inside the bureau.
Starting March 1, foreign retirees must either show a monthly income of at least 65,000 baht or hold a minimum of 800,000 baht in Thai banks. They must maintain that amount for three months after a visa or extension is granted, after which they can only take out half. The new rules also make unclear how long applicants must wait to learn whether their visas or extensions have been approved.
“We are discussing with the legal department what these new policies mean,” an immigration official involved in approving such applications said in an interview. “Right now we are all scrambling to find out what the procedures are.”
The source also said some operatives who oversee visa affairs will file memos to their commanders declaring that they are no longer sure how to process requests under the new regulations published Monday.
“We will ask them to reconsider,” said the official, who declined to give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Another official at the Immigration Bureau said the changes were ordered from the top after four embassies in Thailand – Britain, the United States, Denmark and Australia – stopped issuing affidavits certifying the monthly incomes of applicants from their respective countries.
“Therefore, the Immigration Bureau has to come up with its own methods of verifying the applicants’ financial status,” the source said on the same condition of anonymity.
Col. Nitipan Kanokvejyan, the officer who signed the new regulations, could not be reached for comment as of publication time.
Under the new rules, applicants for retirement visas must be 50 and up. They must either show evidence of monthly salaries of at least 65,000 baht transferred to a Thai bank account or balances of at least 800,000 baht in their Thai bank accounts.
The accounts have to bear the same names as the applicants. Spouses’ bank accounts are not eligible.
And the minimum amount of 800,000 baht must have been deposited two months before any visa application is filed, making that the mandatory balance for at least five months, plus application processing time.
The applicants (“aliens”) must continue to maintain at least 400,000 baht at all times, and the visa must be renewed yearly.
The change departed from previous rules which only required either an affidavits declaring a 65,000 baht salary or a one-time deposit of 800,000 baht at the time of application.
Reactions on Thaivisa, a webforum frequented by expats in Thailand, was overwhelmingly negative, with many commentators saying the regulations undercut claims from Thai officials that the deposit is to ensure they have sufficient resources to get by.
“Then why keep up the charade that this money is to cover living expenses if it can only be used six months out of the year,” user Connda wrote. “So…what’s next? What’s the next hammer to drop?”
“And I thought the 800,000 baht was for living expenses, not as an interest earner for the Thai banks!” user Madmitch vented.
My lawyer confirmed that the reason for the new Bt. 800,000/400,000 regulations is to put an end to the scams that are apparently quite common up country. A loan shark lends the Bt. 800,000 and then gets it returned with a hefty commission after the three months and the visa renewal. Thereafter the retiree goes on living on Bt. 30,000 or so a month. The new "rule" is intended to get the loan sharks out of the business and the cheating retirees out of the country.
The problem is it is a one-for-all policy that is massively unfair to those who have played by the rules - especially those owning an apartment. If a retiree has more than Bt. 800,000 tied up in a property, why penalise him a second time? For various reasons, I cannot go the monthly remittance route. I have to go with the larger amount. But the renewal early next week may be my last. I for one refuse to tie up US$13,000 with no access to it for as long as I live and a further $13,000 for an additional 5 months annually. It's nuts! I'll just sell up and move to Taipei.
fountainhall wrote:the renewal early next week may be my last.
I hope it doesn't come to that. I can understand why Thailand wants to get rid of the scammers and cheaters, but I hope they'll come up with a way to do it so that it doesn't cause unnecessary problems for honest people such as yourself who find themselves in that position. This latest twist doesn't seem to be well thought through. I hope Thailand doesn't take a position that is essentially punish the innocent to catch the guilty.
One way some may be able to go with the 65,000 baht per month method - maybe it can be done with a credit or debit card rather then bringing money over in a lump. If you go to your Thai bank branch once a month and have the bank withdraw money from your home country account using your credit or debit card and then placing that money into your Thai account, that is money coming into your account via a foreign source, isn't it? And it's your own money, so you wouldn't be cheating, scamming, or circumventing the system.
Maybe something similar can be done via TransferWise. When I receive money via TransferWise, it does show that the money comes from a foreign source. Looking at my online banking with Bangkok Bank, my latest transfer into my account via TransferWise, the record shows as "31 Jan 2019 14:08 International Transfer" and also shows the amount that was transferred in.
fountainhall wrote:Thereafter the retiree goes on living on Bt. 30,000 or so a month. The new "rule" is intended to get the loan sharks out of the business and the cheating retirees out of the country.
Why so much animosity toward visa agents, and so called cheating retirees? What's the difference if someone goes on living on Bt. 30,000/month? Are these retirees hurting someone? They may be poor but so what??
windwalker wrote:What's the difference if someone goes on living on Bt. 30,000/month?
Retired aging farang living in violation of Thai immigration law with comparatively very little money. That doesn't bother you? As people age, do you really need to be told about the kinds of health problems that become more and more likely to arise? Who pays the hospital bills, especially when they can easily run to the hundreds of thousands of baht?
To most of us the amount of money other farangs might be living on is not the issue. I doubt anyone gives a damn about how much money I'm living on and I don't care how much someone else is living on. That's not the problem.
The problem is the people whose lying and cheating caused these problems for everybody else who doesn't lie and cheat. Because of that, now those who have to use the 800,000 baht requirement in order to get the retirement visa are stuck with having to keep 800,000 baht untouchable for 5 months when before it was 3. That was bad enough. And unless something changes, after the end of the 5 month "money quarantine" period they are required to keep 400,000 baht, untouched, in a Thai bank account - apparently always.
In my opinion you are sympathizing with the wrong people. Instead of sympathizing with the people who caused these immigration problems in the first place, instead how about sympathizing with the people who have been doing nothing wrong, have been truthful with immigration, fully comply with Thai immigration law, but end up suffering or put in difficult financial positions because of the actions of the liars and cheaters. My sympathies are with the people who are not lying and cheating.