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Phuket retirees refused visa renewal for failing bank balance asked to apply for COVID visa

Phuket retirees refused visa renewal for failing bank balance asked to apply for COVID visa

PHUKET: Phuket Immigration is urging all expats staying on retirement visas whose applications to renew their one-year permit to stay have been refused due to financial reasons to apply for a 60-day “COVID visa” so they can continue to stay in the country.

By The Phuket News

Wednesday 24 February 2021, 08:54AM

A foreigner has an application processed at the Phuket Immigration Office in Phuket Town. Photo: The Phuket News / file

A foreigner has an application processed at the Phuket Immigration Office in Phuket Town. Photo: The Phuket News / file

The issue came to the fore after a retired expat who has been living in Phuket on a retirement visa for nigh on 10 years informed The Phuket News that his application to renew his permit-to-stay for another year had been refused.

The reason given for refusing his application was that he had failed to maintain the B400,000 minimum bank balance in a Thai bank account as required by the conditions of being approved a one-year ‘extension” to his visa.

Phuket Immigration Deputy Chief Lt Col Nareuwat Putthawiro confirmed to The Phuket News that the requirements for a one-year permit-to-stay for people on retirement visas have not changed, despite the ongoing crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, he added, “Foreigners who have financial problems and are unable to meet the requirements [for renewing their permit-to-stay], please apply for the ‘COVID visa’, which allows them to stay in the country for 60 days.

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“This type of visa is aimed at helping all foreigners staying in Thailand during tough situations like this, both those staying here permanently or just traveling through,” Lt Col Nareuwat said. 

“Additionally, they can extend the visa many times,” he added.

“To apply for the COVID visa, foreigners only have to present their passport and pay the B1,900 fee. Then the officer will have a one-page document for them to fill out their information,” Lt Col Nareuwat explained.

“They can also contact the Immigration office to discuss their situation to see what other options there are,” he added.

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Christy Sweet | 25 February 2021 - 20:35:32

Would someone please inform immigration "contact" means to call or email,  whereas if they want you to  to go there in  person they should use the term "visit." Often when you call they tell you contact them and then hang up.

tamvong | 25 February 2021 - 09:43:18

agogohome: Only one "ill informed" person originally and now you have joined him. If you rely on the bank balance method it must not fall below 800k for the 5 months I described.

agogohome | 24 February 2021 - 18:23:59

So many ill informed people, posting here! The immigration department require an 800K bank balance, that does NOT fall below 400K during the 12 months extension period. What The Phuket News has stated is quite correct.  

Foot | 24 February 2021 - 15:49:56

@JohnC.  You are so wrong for many reasons.  tamvong is correct, but, there are many other ways to get things done.  It's because of bad information like this that messes up most people.  They tend to believe what they read.

tamvong | 24 February 2021 - 13:13:25

JohnC, you need to get your facts straight. The 800K is required only for the 2 month before and the 3 months after renewal, the balance of the years is 400K.

Kurt | 24 February 2021 - 09:31:15

Immigration Dept is very very reasonable with alternative visa offer what can even be extended many times. Chapeau.

JohnC | 24 February 2021 - 09:15:33

Retirement visa requires 800,000 Baht in a bank account, NOT 400,000. Can't Phuket News even get their facts right before publishing?


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