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3 December 2013

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 and be supported by a letter from that financial institution.

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.

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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: Pattaya Today
 

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I read about it, it's ridiculous.
These people assume that every foreigner has a job, they do not consider that somebody might be a housewife or just a mum, following their husband if they have a job overseas. This rule is totally against the freedom of people.
I think there should be a way to make a complain about the stupid regulations that these guys create without a common sense.
 

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^ ithailian - this is for retirement - neither partner is able to be employed, the housewife/husband with job doesn't come into it at all

their own separate pension income or cash in a Thai bank.
Both partners are retired, so both have to show income/means of support
 

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How many non-genuine farang-farang over 50y old marriage exist and make a problem for Thailand?
I think it will apply to any marriage farang-farang, where one of them is on retiree visa and the spouse follows that visa.
Imagine I'm 55 on retiree plan and my wife is 45, not retiree; can she still follow my visa (she's not retiree yet) or will this new rule apply? I think it will, but I haven't read the full text release of the new regulation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ithailian and song si, as usual Thai Immigration "announces" through a well-known expat-forum a change in rules and regulations.
Checking out the Immigration website won't bring you any further; no word about the new "deal".
Before jumping into conclusions and take un-necessary measures, I suggest to wait and see.

Basically I regret putting the news up here.
 

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yes, I also tried to find out some info at the Immigration Bureau website, but no mentioning about the new regulation. Let's wait and see
 

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If someone looks at where this news came from we can see that some Immigrations official in Phuket thought he'd get a little face time and spout off something which isn't even in the Royal Thai Police order which contains the "rules" for visas for foreigners. No matter how much he asserts it is a rule there's NOTHING in the Thai version which states that at all.

Even the illustrious posers, err posters & mods on the "un-named website' which ran the post are comin' out sayin', "wait-n-see".

I believe it's like any other thing they announce "mandatory health insurance for tourists" blah-blah-blah, they spoke before they put any thought into it.

In fact I called Thai Immigrations (usually at Chaengwattana) but now at Ladprao Soi 83 due to the protests, and they said they hadn't heard anything of the sort..

Let's wait and see what really happens..
 

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As with many things "taken as gospel" from this or that Thai official; today they back-pedaled and re-clarified the rules.

Much as I suspected, seeing as Immigration Rules are issued by Royal Thai Police Orders, and the last changes were in 2008, this was just an official spouting off and here's the link to the "clarification", which means the rules which were in effect are still in effect.

Foreigners who are over 50, on yearly extensions of stay and married to non-thais under 50 can still get their spouses "piggybacked" onto their extension without showing any more money in the bank or income than they previously had to 65K a month income or 800K in a thai bank. The rule that the money hasta be in a bank account in the primary visa holders name hasn't changed either, which means a joint account won't work, but it wouldn't work before at Chaengwattana anyway.
 

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Whatever they do or enforce, if you know the right people, there will be ways to work around the ever-changing requirements :)
 

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The requirement haven't changed in FIVE years as that's when the last Police Order came out. Plus that lame line about "if you know the right people", is so beat to death by foreigners tryin' to circumvent the system..

Sheesh, it's not genetic engineering, follow the rules and get to stay in Thailand...
 

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The requirement haven't changed in FIVE years as that's when the last Police Order came out. Plus that lame line about "if you know the right people", is so beat to death by foreigners tryin' to circumvent the system..

Sheesh, it's not genetic engineering, follow the rules and get to stay in Thailand...
That is fair comment, however there are people under 50, married and finding it near impossible to stay in the Kingdom with 'changes' made by individual Immigration Chiefs. The current guy in Vientiane seems to be on a one man mission to exclude non immigrants from being eligible for visa's unless they are retired. The reason is simple, ALL issued visa's are at his discretion, and this is part of Thai immigration policy.

In order for such people to remain in the Kingdom, they are effectively being forced to look for alternatives to stay, which in turn keeps the wheels of corruption turning quite nicely.

I should add.....this is the 90 day Visa I am referring to. Now added to this, or so I am led to believe, Thai bank accounts are not going to be issued to immigrants other than those for retirement Visa's (commencing 2014), so how does someone now get a 90 day or a 1 year non O (Marriage) visa with 400,00 baht in the bank - without a bank account, if this loon in Laos will not issue 90 days visa's?
 

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You bring up a valid point "neilr" and I apologize for being argumentative.. However your story seems to be from the Thai Consulate in Vientiane Lao, NOT inside the kingdom!

Those Thai Consulates seem to run "hot-n-cold", for a while they'll hand out visas to every Tom, Dick & Somchai who shows up. Then some official wants to throw his weight around and starts nit-picking the applications, changing the goal posts, etc. It's happened many times in the S/E Asian countries which border Thailand..

Just so you know; it's totally possible to enter Thailand on either a 30 day visa exempt stamp or a 60 day tourist visa go to Immigrations in Bangkok show the correct documentation; marriage certificates (kor-ror 2&3), copy of your wife's Thai I/D & house book, show a deposit of 400K in a bank account in your name only AND apply for a single entry 90 day Non-Immigrant Type-O visa (based on being married to a Thai national). You pay 2000baht and come back two weeks later to get the visa stamped into your passport.

BTW: when doing that the money doesn't even have to be "seasoned" at all, because Immigrations knows by the time you apply for a yearly extension of stay the money will have hit the seasoning time.

Then when there's less than a month left on that 90 day visa you go back with the correct documentation pay 1900baht and apply for a yearly extension of stay based on marriage to a Thai national.

I've done it with more foreigners than I can count and as of yet, haven't had any "knocked back". Then again I only deal with Bangkok, and as I mentioned they're pretty darned close to how the rules are written in Thai.

As far as opening a bank account, to the best of my knowledge, I haven't read any information or heard any information about foreigners NOT being able to open accounts in Thailand after 2014, or at least not from any of the banks I routinely send foreigners to so they can open bank accounts.

I just went with a foreigner who was on a 30 day visa exempt stamp and he opened an account with NO problem at Bangkok Bank!

If the branch of one bank declines to open an account for you go to another branch. The criteria for opening accounts for foreigners is set by the branch manager NOT the main office. Check around, don't give up, you can open an account if you just try to.

One other thing; Right now the "go-2-place" for visas seems to be the Thai Consulate in Savannakhet Lao which is across the river from Mukdahan Thailand.

Lastest reports there were that people were getting Year-long Multi-Entry Non-Immigrant Type-O visas based on being married to a Thai national with NO proof of finances at all!! They just had their marriage certificates, the copies of the wifes I/D and house book, and a letter from their wife addressed to that Immigrations office asking that the visa be issued...

Good Luck. . .:)
 

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As far as opening a bank account, to the best of my knowledge, I haven't read any information or heard any information about foreigners NOT being able to open accounts in Thailand after 2014, or at least not from any of the banks I routinely send foreigners to so they can open bank accounts.
As I said, just something heard on the grapevine and of course may hold no water whatsoever, or could even just become a localised thing - you just never know here :D
 

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There are indeed some bank branches which won't let foreigners on either the 30 day visa exempt entry or even on a 60 day tourist visa open a bank account.:mad:

Their reasoning is; people on a 30 day visa exempt entry or on a tourist visa in all likelihood don't live here. The term "tourist visa" kinda marks them as well, as tourists. As a rule (thais feel that), tourists come here, spend money then leave, so why would they need a bank account?

Just keep at it and you'll find a branch which will let you open an account.

Next time I go to a bank I'll make sure to ask if there's gonna be a policy change, or if it's just a branch by branch decision..
 

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There are indeed some bank branches which won't let foreigners on either the 30 day visa exempt entry or even on a 60 day tourist visa open a bank account.:mad:

Their reasoning is; people on a 30 day visa exempt entry or on a tourist visa in all likelihood don't live here. The term "tourist visa" kinda marks them as well, as tourists. As a rule (thais feel that), tourists come here, spend money then leave, so why would they need a bank account?

Just keep at it and you'll find a branch which will let you open an account.

Next time I go to a bank I'll make sure to ask if there's gonna be a policy change, or if it's just a branch by branch decision..
I personally have no issues with bank accounts, I have two - one opened just last week with Kasikornbank. No questions, just wanted the address book and passport.

I kinda understand why a tourist would not need one, but the rumours that have circulated would also effect anyone wanting a non O on marriage, be it for 90 day or 1 year - something I found quite disturbing, as if true, has not been thought about clearly. This would perhaps suggest there is little to the rumour, but you never know.
 

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I totally agree 'neilr' with your statement "you never know".

Hopefully it's just another "crock-'o-****e" idea floated by some bank lackey..

However your post piqued my interest enough so that I called the local branch manager of the Bangkok Bank I routinely take foreigners to so they can open accounts.

He said, as far as he knows there is nothing to the rumor. In fact, he didn't even know about it at all.

Seeing as we were conversing in Thai he used the Thai idiomatic phrase of someone who believes everything they hear.. Now because he used that idiom to pooh-pooh off the rumor, I am lead to believe it's just that, a rumor, but as you said, "you never know":). . .
 
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