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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a little confused by the information I'm getting.
I wrote the Thai embassy in Washington, but got a response that made no sense at all. Anyone who wants to kick in something is more than welcome.

I intend to get an O-A visa. I'm over 60, have transferred funds into a special account to have the 800K THB deposit required and my fingerprints are with the FBI.
I also have US monthly income which I intend to use for living expenses.

Now, here's the rub. I can find no way to open a Thai bank account without being in the country. I also am informed I will not be allowed to enter the country without a return or forwarding airline ticket. I don't want to bear the expense of that, and refunds on discount tickets are always a losing proposition.

I appreciate any input. There has to be something I'm missing here.
 

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I'm a little confused by the information I'm getting.
I wrote the Thai embassy in Washington, but got a response that made no sense at all. Anyone who wants to kick in something is more than welcome.

I intend to get an O-A visa. I'm over 60, have transferred funds into a special account to have the 800K THB deposit required and my fingerprints are with the FBI.
I also have US monthly income which I intend to use for living expenses.

Now, here's the rub. I can find no way to open a Thai bank account without being in the country. I also am informed I will not be allowed to enter the country without a return or forwarding airline ticket. I don't want to bear the expense of that, and refunds on discount tickets are always a losing proposition.

I appreciate any input. There has to be something I'm missing here.

anselpixel,

I'm not sure if I can help you but I was told by the Thai Consulate that you just need proof of the money - at least for the first year. It does not need to be in a Thai bank until you commit to retiring there which I would assume to be on your renewal of your OA visa. As for a return ticket, I've visited Thailand many times [although not for a few years now] and they've always had that requirement but I've never been asked for my ticket - just my passport. Hey, if they don't want you better to know early and make other plans. When you arrive you're automatically given a 30 day "visa" but it would be easier to have the OA or at least a Tourist Visa - good for 90 days I understand.

Serendipity2
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
anselpixel,

I'm not sure if I can help you but I was told by the Thai Consulate that you just need proof of the money - at least for the first year. It does not need to be in a Thai bank until you commit to retiring there which I would assume to be on your renewal of your OA visa. As for a return ticket, I've visited Thailand many times [although not for a few years now] and they've always had that requirement but I've never been asked for my ticket - just my passport. Hey, if they don't want you better to know early and make other plans. When you arrive you're automatically given a 30 day "visa" but it would be easier to have the OA or at least a Tourist Visa - good for 90 days I understand.

Serendipity2
Thanks. Perhaps that's what is meant when I'm told to have a "letter of recommendation" sent through SWIFT. I'll ask my bank about that. If that works, I should be able to meet the O-A requirements before I leave.
It's good to know about the relaxed attitude toward one-way passengers. It just seems odd they would adhere to that when Thailand is the jumping-off spot for all of SE Asia.
 
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Consulates tend to vary in their strictness. I've not had them insist on a return ticket before, but if really necessary you can get around this by buying a cheap one way ticket with the likes of Air Asia from Bkk to say Phnom Penh at some future date - it won't cost much and you can either use it or bin it.

As for the retirement visa, not sure how it works first time out as I had a tourist visa (2 months extendable to 3) when I came to Thailand at the start. During that time I opened a bank account, deposited the 800,000 baht, and arranged permanent accommodation. So when I went back to Europe for a planned trip it was a simple matter to sort out a multi entry non-immigrant O visa.

Someone told me that it was possible to convert to the retirement visa even when already in Thailand, but I've no idea if that's legal or involved a bung of some kind. The guy concerned was very pally with a retired police general!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Consulates tend to vary in their strictness. I've not had them insist on a return ticket before, but if really necessary you can get around this by buying a cheap one way ticket with the likes of Air Asia from Bkk to say Phnom Penh at some future date - it won't cost much and you can either use it or bin it.

As for the retirement visa, not sure how it works first time out as I had a tourist visa (2 months extendable to 3) when I came to Thailand at the start. During that time I opened a bank account, deposited the 800,000 baht, and arranged permanent accommodation. So when I went back to Europe for a planned trip it was a simple matter to sort out a multi entry non-immigrant O visa.

Someone told me that it was possible to convert to the retirement visa even when already in Thailand, but I've no idea if that's legal or involved a bung of some kind. The guy concerned was very pally with a retired police general!

Well, there's a certain web operation offering retirement advice and an O-A visa conversion within a week after arriving as a tourist in Thailand, so there is a mechanism of some sort. Whether shady or not I don't know.
Good idea about the forwarding flight to a nearby city.
Who knows? I may need to shop around after reading through some of these reports concerning CM air quality. I had no idea CM experienced such poor air quality until the past weekend. I do have asthma, and was assuming this would be a positive move. Now, I'm not so sure. Any sense things are getting better, or that they will in future?
 

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Hi
With an O-A visa you do not have to have a return ticket nor money in a Thai bank.
You have to show that you have funds in a bank in your own country to cover your expenses.

I believe now things have changed so that an O-A is now for 90 days(when I got mine 4 years ago it was for 1 year).

If you get a multy entry O-A you can leave and re-enter the country I understand 4 times before you must renew the visa (in TL) on the basis of either retirement or marriage. This effectivly gives you 15 months before you have to renew but only 12 months before you have to bring money here.

For retirement you need either 800kb in a thai bank or a proven income think it is 60kb per month but not sure as I havent used that option. The 800k must be in the TL bank 3 months before you apply for a renewal.

Hope that helps, for more info look on the Thai immigration web site.
 

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Hi
With an O-A visa you do not have to have a return ticket nor money in a Thai bank.
You have to show that you have funds in a bank in your own country to cover your expenses.

I believe now things have changed so that an O-A is now for 90 days(when I got mine 4 years ago it was for 1 year).

If you get a multy entry O-A you can leave and re-enter the country I understand 4 times before you must renew the visa (in TL) on the basis of either retirement or marriage. This effectivly gives you 15 months before you have to renew but only 12 months before you have to bring money here.

For retirement you need either 800kb in a thai bank or a proven income think it is 60kb per month but not sure as I havent used that option. The 800k must be in the TL bank 3 months before you apply for a renewal.


Hope that helps, for more info look on the Thai immigration web site.

Hi robby nz,

We have a Thai consulate in Portland and I spoke with them perhaps 2-3 months ago. I think each consulate has some discretion but at that time I could get a 1 year immigration O-A visa. Things may have changed since but I don't know. Also regarding the money - I think they allow a combination of the two - say for illustration THB 500,000 plus say THB 35,000 per month so there can [may?] be some flexibility. If you're close to a Thai consulate where you can personally make your case I think it can be a big help! That's my story and I'm sticking to it! ;)

Serendipity2
 

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As long as you have the 800000bht sorted you can convert to retirement visa extension when you are in LOS. I did.

NEVER pay anyone to sort out your Visa problem for you. It is not necessary and money down the drain!
Anyone with half a brain can do it after a bit of research. I did with my half a brain. (I said that before someone else did!)
 
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Who knows? I may need to shop around after reading through some of these reports concerning CM air quality. I had no idea CM experienced such poor air quality until the past weekend. I do have asthma, and was assuming this would be a positive move. Now, I'm not so sure. Any sense things are getting better, or that they will in future?
It's a lot worse when they burn off the rice in the spring, that's for sure. It doesn't agree with me either. No problem during the rainy season, but later in the year I've suffered a bit. It's a key factor in my decision for the future too - I'll see how it goes over the next six months, but if it seems to be getting more polluted, I'll be looking at a different destination next time, much as I'll miss Chiang Mai.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It's a lot worse when they burn off the rice in the spring, that's for sure. It doesn't agree with me either. No problem during the rainy season, but later in the year I've suffered a bit. It's a key factor in my decision for the future too - I'll see how it goes over the next six months, but if it seems to be getting more polluted, I'll be looking at a different destination next time, much as I'll miss Chiang Mai.
Hmm. Not good news. I'll arrive in January - just in time for the fun. What alternative are you considering? Isaan?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
As long as you have the 800000bht sorted you can convert to retirement visa extension when you are in LOS. I did.

NEVER pay anyone to sort out your Visa problem for you. It is not necessary and money down the drain!
Anyone with half a brain can do it after a bit of research. I did with my half a brain. (I said that before someone else did!)

Your modesty is very becoming, sir. And appropriate to this net neighborhood so far as I can see! I enjoy the keen repartee among you veterans.
 
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During my next stay I'm going to have a look around. Trouble is I'm really attached to CM, it feels like home - suits me just right. Not too many farang, but lively enough, lots to do and see. The like's of smaller towns such as Chiang Rai are completely dead of an evening. Isaan? My wife2B is from Yasothon, I think there's about two bars there that stay open until 9! Udon Thani? I'll take a look later in the year.

The coast is an option, but where? - it's mostly overrun by tourists and/or pretty expensive.

Another option? Live a little out of town, at enough altitude to get clear of the haze when it's bad. Would need a small car in that case... but at least it's possible to get into the city now and again if I get too bored.

In your shoes AP I would take a little time to look around, get a feel for the different areas...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
During my next stay I'm going to have a look around. Trouble is I'm really attached to CM, it feels like home - suits me just right. Not too many farang, but lively enough, lots to do and see. The like's of smaller towns such as Chiang Rai are completely dead of an evening. Isaan? My wife2B is from Yasothon, I think there's about two bars there that stay open until 9! Udon Thani? I'll take a look later in the year.

The coast is an option, but where? - it's mostly overrun by tourists and/or pretty expensive.

Another option? Live a little out of town, at enough altitude to get clear of the haze when it's bad. Would need a small car in that case... but at least it's possible to get into the city now and again if I get too bored.

In your shoes AP I would take a little time to look around, get a feel for the different areas...
Oh, I will do just that. The same options are running through my mind, believe me. I asked about Isaan only because you had mentioned you'd be spending time there. When I checked it out, I couldn't figure why. Should have known it would be a family affair. I'm still coming into CM first, because I'm in need of therapeutic massage I can't afford in the states, but my next move would be into the cave country and then out to the Andamans. Maybe not Phi Phi ....
 

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Hmm. Not good news. I'll arrive in January - just in time for the fun. What alternative are you considering? Isaan?


anselllpixel,

The solution is simple [along with by idea! :D] Have a 'summer' place and a 'winter' place. In the summer, after the burnoff of the rice fields migrate north to the cooler weather of Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai and in the winter head south to Krabi or Phuket or Pattaya where the beaches are warm and so are the ladies! :D

Serendipity2
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
anselllpixel,

The solution is simple [along with by idea! :D] Have a 'summer' place and a 'winter' place. In the summer, after the burnoff of the rice fields migrate north to the cooler weather of Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai and in the winter head south to Krabi or Phuket or Pattaya where the beaches are warm and so are the ladies! :D

Serendipity2
A delightful concept! Warm women are expensive, but no more so than the cold ones.
 

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Hmm. Not good news. I'll arrive in January - just in time for the fun. What alternative are you considering? Isaan?
The rice field clearing 'season' is pretty much a National trait I'm affraid. In BKK its OK because the traffic pollution hides it :spider:

Its only bad in March and then it depends on where in CM you are - the further into the sticks you go, the worse it will be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The rice field clearing 'season' is pretty much a National trait I'm affraid. In BKK its OK because the traffic pollution hides it :spider:

Its only bad in March and then it depends on where in CM you are - the further into the sticks you go, the worse it will be.
Interesting observation.
I'd planned to stay as close to the center of the city as possible.
Do this mean the balconies of Hillside 4 are worse than the streets inside the moat?
 
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I reckon the healthiest place to be is about 20 floors up ... or perhaps halfway up the Doi Suthep mountain. There's a nice little hill tribe village or two up there, but it would be a long walk home after a beer too many... and the tuktuks aren't allowed up there :)
 
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