Ten-year retirement visa doesn’t stand up to scrutiny 

your say June 20, 2017 01:00

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It is difficult to see who would rush to buy the new 10-year “retirement” visa announced on social media. It is actually a five-year visa renewable once, but the requirement to report every 90 days remains.

You now need to show Bt3 million, mostly or all in a Thai bank, and must have police clearance from your home country. The latter is difficult to obtain in some countries and virtually impossible if you happen to be American. 

Medical insurance is compulsory, but must be bought only from a Thai company with the document written in Thai. This suggests that many farang will need to have two insurance policies, since the cover required for the 10-year visa is too low to cover many surgical procedures. Of course, many older foreigners can’t buy any kind of medical insurance as they are at higher risk of serious hospitalisation.

In fact there are alternatives to the complex medical insurance scenario, such as leaving a sizeable deposit in a Thai hospital to help cover future contingencies. But that would require a government initiative. If you speak to bursars in Thai private sector hospitals, they will tell you that many non-insured aliens are rich enough to pay all their bills. Not all are on the breadline or are basket cases.

It is a foregone conclusion that retirees will continue to opt for the one-year extension, which is 

familiar and relatively straightforward.  But that assumes that new 10-year visa will indefinitely remain an alternative rather than a compulsory feature of the immigration menu! To be successful, the 10-year visa would need some perq such as the right to work part-time (as in Malaysia) or extended right to buy property (Indonesia) or hassle-free bureaucracy (Cambodia upcoming).

Barry Kenyon