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Latest Thailand Visa Information Update

Bangkok, Tue Jan 17 2017
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Always a hot topic of discussion especially amongst expats and regular foreign visitors to Thailand, news curator website BangkokJack today release an article on the latest visa options for foreigners visiting Thailand following recent changes announced by the Thai Immigration Authorities.

The Thai government has recently approved the extension of long stay visas for foreigners 50+ years old in Thailand. The approval means visas can be valid for 10 years, instead of one year. In another positive move, the government recently waived or reduced the tourist visa fees for visitors arriving from 19 countries from December 1st 2016 to February 28th 2017 in a measure to woo more visitors to Thailand.

Are the changes a sign that the visa rules are being relaxed? That remains to be seen, but it is obvious that tourism continues to flourish despite challenges in recent years. There are some signs that the government intends to clamp down on long stayers that simply do ‘border runs’ to renew their visas. The stereotype of this kind of long stayer is that they do not provide benefits to the economy to the same degree that legitimate long stay visitors or genuine short term tourists. Stricter controls on people simply leaving the country to renew their 30-90 day tourist visas are likely, while we may also see incentives for people to invest in visas for long term stay these include;

New Thailand Ten Year Retirement Visa

The new Thailand Ten Year Retirement Visa will cost 10,000 Baht and foreign senior tourists must be 50 years old or older in order to be eligible. They are required to obtain the non-immigrant long stay visa beforehand, and also meet certain financial criteria. It is understood that the existing retirement visa will remain available, for those that are unable to meet the criteria of the enhanced ten year visa.

This is big news for retirees in Thailand looking to spend a long time here. The Ministry of Public Health reported to the cabinet on the 22nd November 2016 that the number of foreigners looking to stay and retire in Thailand is on the rise. Main areas of popularity are Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Chon Buri, and other popular resorts close to the seaside.

Keen to capitalise on this increase of wealthy foreigners staying in Thailand, the Thai government has approved this incentive – but it’s not for everyone. To qualify for the new Ten Year Retirement Visa, applicants must have a monthly income of at least 100,000 baht or a bank account with three million baht deposited. If the latter, this must be maintained as available funds for at least one year after the granting of the new visa.

In addition to the above, applicants are required to have medical insurance cover for one year, with at least $1,000 US for outpatient care and $10,000 dollars for inpatient care each time. It’s important to note that holders of the new visa must also report to a designated immigration office every 90 days although this 90 day report may be carried out with power of attorney of a local lawyer on the applicants behalf.

The new 10 year visa for retirees will be available for visitors from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.

Thailand Tourist Visa Fee Waiver Announcement

Earlier this month, in addition to the Thailand Retirement Visa changes, Thailand’s Ministry of Interior had announced it was waiving visa fees for applicants from 19 countries. However, notices posted outside the Royal Thai Embassies in Vientiane and Washington DC and at the Royal Thai Consulate in Penang suggests that ALL applicants will now be exempt from paying the 1,000 baht fee. The notice also states that during the same period, the Visa on Arrival fee will be decreased from 2,000 baht to 1,000 baht for those who are entitled to apply for the VoA.

It is likely that this is an attempt by the Thai government to boost tourism during high season. It may also be a reaction to the recent revelations from the Tourism Authority Of Thailand that arrivals from China had experienced a ‘sudden drop’ following a crackdown on ‘zero dollar tours’. Figures quoted from a variety of sources suggest anywhere between a 10-30% decrease in Chinese tourists temporarily, but the overall figures for tourism in 2016 remained healthy.

Figures released in December claimed that Thailand welcomed its 31 millionth visitor during the festive season and was on course to achieve its target of 32 million visitors in 2016 – an approximate 10% increase on the previous year. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has called for operators in businesses related to tourism to be ready for an influx of visitors in 2017, with the expectation of further increases.

Further information on Thailand Visas can be found by contacting your local Thai Embassy or you could check out the original article here:

Bangkok Jack
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