Bob & Paula in Phuket/Perth asked: We understood from the news [reported on August 28] that if we get the 60-day tourist visa in Perth, we might be able to extend for another 90 days? Also what’s the latest regulations for a retirement visa? My husband is a pensioner, but we also have a house in Australia, so still undecided if it is more practical to get a Retirement Visa or just continue to visit/stay in Thailand on tourist visas.
Phuket Immigration Lt Col Napat Noosen answered: For Australian citizens visiting the Kingdom of Thailand, there are two visas that I suggest: Tourist and Non-immigrant. For the Tourist, the maximum length of stay you will be given at arrival is 60 days but you can extend this at an immigration office in Thailand for another 30 days. So the maximum stay without having to leave would be 90 days. For non-immigrant visas, you will be admitted for 90 days, and there are no in-country extensions.
The other option, as an Australian, is to arrive without a visa. You will be given 30 days (if you came via airplane) plus the option to do one 30-day extension before your initial 30 days is up, for a maximum stay of 60 days without having to leave.
There are no limits for the amount of times Australian tourists can enter the country by plane without a visa. However, please note that the immigration officer may refuse you entry to the country on/after your second consecutive time arriving without visa. This is up to the discretion of the immigration officer at the airport. So, if you want to fly out of the country and return to Thailand, I recommend you apply for a visa at a Thai embassy first, guaranteeing entry into the country.
The Retirement Visa/Stay Permit is your other option. To obtain this permit in Thailand, first you have to obtain a Non-Immigrant visa for three months (from a Thai embassy in your home country) and, then upon arriving to Thailand, apply for a stay permit at a Thai Immigration office, which would be for one year. Alternatively, you can get a one-year (multiple entry) non-immigrant visa from the Thai embassy in your home country
As for the requirements for a retirement stay permit at an Immigration Office in Thailand, you must be at least 50 years old, provide your passport (signed copies of each page), have a Non-Immigrant visa, Departure Card TM.6, proof of meeting the financial requirements, Thai bank book (original), a letter from your Thai bank and three 4×5 cm photos taken with full face.
To meet the financial requirements, you need B800,000 in your bank account or monthly income of at least B65,000 or a combination of both (the accumulative balance and income during a 12-month period is equal or more than B800,000).
If you need to leave the country before your stay permit has expired, you must obtain a re-entry permit. The permit’s validity is subject to the validity of your permit to/extension of stay. However, leaving Thailand without a re-entry permit automatically invalidates your stay permit.
Moreover, you are required to report to the nearest Immigration Office every 90 days if you are on a long-term stay. Persons holding a multiple entry visa will simply depart Thailand and renew their extension of stay after each 90 day entry. If you are unable to obtain your stay extension inside Thailand, you will have to get a new non-immigrant visa from a Thai Embassy or Consulate abroad, advisably from your home country.
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