Although the initial query from The Phuket News this afternoon (Nov 25) was received with confusion, the call was finally handed over to one official who agreed to give comment, but declined to be named.
“It is true that the Cabinet has approved this new visa and has also temporarily waived for three months the fees for single-entry tourist visas for certain countries (see story here),” the officer said.
“Both will take effect on December 1, but our office has yet to receive any official notice (about these), so I cannot give any more details on this,” he added.
Col Apisit Chaiyanuwat, Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, announced that the new 10-year visa had been approved following the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (Nov 22).
The visa will be valid initially for five years and could be renewed for another five, he said.
In addition to the age requirement, the visa requires eligible foreigners to have a monthly income of at least B100,000 or a bank deposit of at least B3 million, to be maintained for at least one year after receiving the visa.
Eligible applicants must also have health insurance coverage for at least US$1,000 (about B35,590) for outpatient care and $10,000 (about B 355,900) or more for inpatient care per policy per year.
They must also report to immigration police every 90 days, he added.
The visa would be made available to citizens of Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States, Col Apisit said.
However, it has still yet to be made clear whether the 10-year “long-stay” visa will replace the existing one-year visa option, or become an additional visa option for people wanting to stay in the country long-term.
It also has yet to be made clear whether foreigners already staying in the country on the existing one-year “retirement O-A” visa would be able to apply to stay in the Kingdom under the new visa rules without leaving the country.