Don't know if this is just for Phuket or if it applies to all Immigration offices
Posted December 3, 2013 10:00:35 from Phuket Gazette
BANGKOK: -- The Thai Immigration Bureau has announced that the foreign wives of expats with a one-year
retirement visa will in future need their own separate pension income or cash in a Thai bank.
In the past, these wives have been able to “join” their husband’s visa by simply showing a marriage certificate and a
current non-immigrant visa in their passport. It was not necessary for both partners to show their own income or cash.
Under the revised guidelines, both foreign partners in a marriage will separately need to demonstrate yearly income
in the first country of at least 800,000 baht equivalent or maintain separate bank accounts of the same minimum
amount, or provide a combination of both.
Letters from an embassy are still required as proof of the income whilst the 800,000 baht in a Thai bank must have
been there for three months prior to the application (2 months 1st application) and be supported by a letter from that
The toughening up of the rules on retirement visas is believed to have been caused by concerns that some farang-
farang marriages are not genuine or may have broken up.
The requirement for each partner to show evidence of 800,000 baht in cash or income, or a combination of both, is
seen as the best guarantee from an Immigration Bureau viewpoint. Nor is it possible for a married couple to present a
joint bank account. Each partner is now treated as a separate entity.
Some visa specialists say that the move is aimed at strengthening immigration regulations ahead of the onset of the
ASEAN Economic Community in two years’ time which is likely, in the medium term, to lead to more migration across
the regional 10-member block.
There has been concern in the Immigration Bureau for some time that mere possession of a marriage certificate is
not proof of the ongoing relationship and could be used simply to gain a long-term visa. The new ruling also applies
to same-sex marriages or civil partnerships now performed in some countries, though not yet in Thailand.
Separately, the British Embassy has confirmed that none of its provincial staff is empowered any longer to provide
notarial services. Those Brits requiring income letters for the Immigration Bureau must now deal with the main
embassy in Bangkok or find another local consulate willing to provide the service.
The German honorary consul in Phuket stated recently he believes that his office could provide some such services
for Brits but that he was seeking formal permission from Berlin. It may take some time before European Union
consulates in places such as Pattaya, Koh Samui and Phuket feel confident enough to fill the gap left by the retreat
of the British Embassy from provincial Thailand.
Source: Immigration Bureau
Posted Today, Dec 5, 2013
PHUKET: -- Phuket Immigration has vowed to become stricter in its enforcement of retirement visas for married
couples by upholding a law that came into effect in November 2008.
The law states that foreign retired couples must each show evidence of 800,000 baht in their bank accounts in order
to apply for or renew retirement visas, Phuket Immigration Inspector Napat Nusen confirmed for the Phuket Gazette
“This regulation has actually been in effect since November 2008, but has sometimes been misinterpreted by
applicants and by our staff,” Lt Col Napat said. “We will start to enforce the requirements more strictly from now on.”
The misunderstandings may stem from the way the regulation is worded, Lt Col Napat said.
“The rule uses the phrase ‘50 per cent per person’ to refer to the amount in the bank account, and this may have led
people to believe that each person needed only 400,000 baht,” Lt Col Napat said.
“In fact, they must each show evidence of 800,000 baht in the bank. That means that if they have a joint account, it
must show a balance of at least 1.6 million baht,” he explained.
An alternative is to show a regular pension or investment income of at least 65,000 baht a month, he said. Applicants
must show proof of this income for the three months prior to submitting the application.
Lt Col Napat noted that foreign retirees who are married to Thais may opt to apply for a marriage visa instead of a
retirement visa. For this visa, the applicant must show evidence of 400,000 baht in a Thai bank account.
-- Phuket Gazette 2013-12-05
|Immigration vows strictness on retirement visa requirements
New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
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