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.
“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.