Phuket Immigration today confirmed that foreigners applying for a 12-month permit to stay on a Non-Immigrant O-A visa – often referred to as the “retirement visa” – can still use the option of combining a bank balance with a monthly income in order to satisfy the financial requirement for the application.
The news follows complaints to The Phuket News that foreigners presenting themselves Phuket Immigration were being told that the “combo” option was no longer available.
Maj Direk Yasanop, the officer at the Phuket Immigration Office in Phuket Town responsible for processing receiving such “visa extension” applications, told The Phuket News today (Oct 18), “The combination of the two main financial categories for O-A applicants is still allowed. I am sure that other two officials who work in same department (in receiving “retirement visa extension applications”) understand the same thing. I will speak with them again about this to make sure.”
Maj Direk re-confirmed that the financial requirements for being approved a Non-Immigrant O-A 12-month permit to stay were the same as those already in effect, and re-issued in the Immigration Bureau announcing the new mandatory health insurance requirement for O-A applicants, which will come into effect on Oct 31. (See story here.)
Under the requirements, a foreigner must have a monthly income of B65,000 or have B800,000 in a commercial Thai bank account. The balance in the bank account must be B800,000 for at least two months before the application to renew the permit to stay is filed, and must remain in the account for at least three months after the application has been approved.
However, the third option allows foreigners to combine the bank balance and the monthly income as evidence of meeting the B800,000 per year minimum financial requirement.
Maj Direk offered that the complaints may have stemmed from nothing other than confusion among foreigners applying for O-A permits to stay.
“We even have posters set up in front of our room here clearly explaining this,” he said. “They can apply using the combination option. We just need more documents to prove their income.”
Maj Direk cited as example that presenting bankbooks or photocopies of bankbook pages were not good enough to be accepted.
“We had one foreigner here this morning who was confused about the combination option, so we explained to him that we needed to see bank statements to prove he was receiving the money.
“Under our internal regulation stipulating what will be accepted as evidence, we need to see full bank statements for the past 12 months to prove the foreigner is receiving the income,” Maj Direk said.
The internal regulation, presented to The Phuket News in Thai, also orders officers to confirm the money is arriving in a Thai bank account – and that the income arrives from outside the country.
“Any foreigners coming to Phuket Immigration to apply for O-A permits to stay need to come to Room 103, where there are three officers who take care of these applications,” Maj Direk said.
“There are only three of us who take care of these applications,” he repeated.
“We don’t have the right to refuse an application that uses the combination of the main financial categories,’ Maj Direk said.
“Foreigners are welcome to come and talk with me about this at Room 103. I am ready to answer any questions,” he added.
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