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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawRetirement Visa in Thailand: What is the Meaning of "Non-immigrant"?

Retirement Visa in Thailand: What is the Meaning of "Non-immigrant"?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Thai Retirement visas and specifically the nature of the "non-immigrant" categorization of Thai retirement visas.  

I have had a lot of correspondence in the past few weeks especially since the recent announcements with respect to law enforcement or enforcement mechanism changes as well as evidentiary requirements which have changed with respect to Thai Retirement Visa most notably the discontinuation of issuance of the Income Affidavit associated with the Retirement Visa and the recent commentary made by various Immigration Officers with respect to the fact that moving forward from 2019 onward, it is going to be required that money in the bank be proven, financial assets be proven if seeking a Retirement Visa from abroad or if in country using income, going ahead and using income of 65,000 baht per month and proving that up. Basically, at the end of the day, what it is resulting in is direct evidence, especially for Retirement Visa extensions, direct evidence of either the 800,000 baht for two months prior to the application day and three months following the application date or 65,000 baht incoming in terms of income coming on a monthly basis into a Thai Bank account. 

I have had some recent questions, mostly based on some videos I did here recently, with respect to the fact that there seems to be a major policy shift especially with respect to Retirement Visas mostly because they are worried about retirees who can't afford to cover their medical expenses here in the Kingdom becoming a drain on the resources in the Kingdom and those folks being foreigners and the Kingdom having to deal with those resource drains.  I have had questions especially from not a few people, basically to the tune of, "what happens if my medical expenses result in me going below the 800,000 about threshold or the 400,000 baht a year long threshold. What happens then?" Well the long and the short of it is probably will result in maybe not a revocation of a Retirement Visa, and I am doing another video on that specifically on this channel, so it is either coming out before or slightly after this video depending on when we put it up so check out that video with respect to revocation of a Thai Visa with respect to deficiency of a bank account: specifically revocation of a Thai Retirement Visa. That being said the point I am trying to get out with this video nature is the nature of "non-immigrant" status and quite plainly within the nature of the word itself a person in "non-immigrant" visa status is not an immigrant; they are not a landed immigrant. They are not a Permanent Resident. An immigrant is what is colloquially often referred to in Thailand at least as a Thai Permanent Resident; Thai Permanent Resident status, Thai PR status. Those individuals are immigrants. They have immigrated into Thailand and they have certain rights associated with their immigrant status. Namely they can't just have their immigrant status taken away without at least some minimal due process being undertaken.  Moreover they never need to go ahead and renew a visa.  Now in order to travel out of the country, there are certain requirements for Permanent Residents in the Kingdom to go ahead and make sure that their status is preserved when traveling but that being said, if one is just in Permanent Resident status and just remains in the Kingdom forever, they don't really need to do anything to maintain their status once they have gotten that status sorted out. A non-immigrant Visa on the other hand as the name implies is not an immigrant and that's the reason for renewals generally speaking in extension status on a yearly basis and I know that this is something of bitter medicine to take but that is the nature of the status and being deficient in any of the requirements of one's non-immigrant status can result, probably not in revocation necessarily, but can result in a decision by a subsequent Immigration Officer not to renew or not to extend one’s status after one has fallen below a certain threshold or has failed to meet an evidentiary requirement.

So the thing to take away from this video is although again it's not something I really want to be discussing because it is unfortunate, people get into unfortunate circumstances. They have health issues, they have family emergencies, they have financial problems that can result in their status being called into question but the very nature of "non-immigrant" status is as the name implies; non-immigrant. So basically one is simply given a visa you know not exactly on an ad-hoc basis but definitely not for a permanent unending duration of time. 

The thing to take away from this video also for younger folks and folks that maybe have a business here in the Kingdom,  if you have thought about Permanent Residence and you have done a cost-benefit and didn't feel like it was something you wanted to do, maybe rethink it.  If you meet the requirements, especially for those who their long-term goal is to remain in Thailand through retirement and perhaps through the whole of the rest of their life, it might be a good idea to seriously consider PR while one is eligible because once you are in PR status and you're considered an immigrant that's a different story. That status can’t be pulled away for lack of better term on a whim and one's financial status and things of this nature are not necessarily going to have a detrimental impact on a PR in the same way that they would have on a retiree who is in Thailand on a Retirement Visa.