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I'm a 42 year old disabled American army veteran. I've made two trips in the last couple of years, were I stayed in Bangkok for 2 months. I get about 100,000 baht a month from the government for my service. I've been living in the Dominican republic for the last 3 years but I've been thinking about moving to Thailand. I'm too young to get a retirement visa because I'm under 50. I wanted to know if there are any exceptions to that rule or do I have to wait 8 years?
 

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The minimum 50 years age is very rigid in my experience - never heard of any exceptions.

Your options to stay in Thailand before you're 50 are probably limited to tourist visas of which there are a number of options - your nearest Thai embassy can advise you what these are.
 

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Mweiga is right, although many expats live in Thailand by endlessly renewing their tourist visas. I think Thai authorities are starting to crack down on this, although it wouldn't hurt to visit, would it?
 

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If you still want to "retire" in Thailand, here's a couple of ideas.

Get used to going on quarterly visa runs. No fun and can be dangerous, but, it's a way to stay for a long time. Will probably run β4,000-7,000 each time. From Phuket, they're a 48 hour pain in the arse. You can minimize the pain and anguish if you live closer to another country with a Thai consulate or embassy.

Get an Education Visa. You can use these for years. Yes, you'll have to attend classes, but, so what? It would give you something to do and learning to speak, and even read and write, Thai would be beneficial to you. You'll still have to do a 90 day checking, but, they're not difficult. In most cases, you won't have to go on quarterly visa runs, either.

I'd recommend the Ed Visa. They're usually good for a year and usually cost the same as all the Visa runs. And, you get smarter and have something to do.

Good luck.
 

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Honestly the easiest and best option for you rather than the endless visa runs for tourist visas or the ED visa option would be the entry level thai elite card.

Granted it's 500K baht for a visa but that's good for 5 years. It has unlimited entries into thailand with every entry getting you stamped in for another calendar year. It's got 24 p/u deliveries from the airport, fast track thru immigrations, the elite lounge etc.

I'd say the 16K you'd spend on that (which works out to about $8USD a day) will give you the most trouble free visa there is.

I know probably 15-20 people on the elite visa and they have no complaints. In fact the only people who slag it off are ones who can't afford.
https://www.thailandelite.com/#/
 

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tod-daniels . I have been in Thailand since 2009 and had never heard of the Thailand Elite Visa until you posted it here. So, I checked it out. It seems to me that it’s simply a high priced way around Thailand Immigration law.
I know it’s website states it was passed by the Thaksin Shinawatra administration in 2003, yet there’s no mention of it on the immigration website.
It appears to be a travel membership service in Thailand. It performs travel and visa functions. I suspect it has close ties with a powerful legal firm/family. There are many such legal firms in Thailand that will do all the work for β15-25 each time. The Thailand Elite Visa cost a minimum of β100k per year per person.
A good portion of the fee is given to officials for completing the paperwork. It also provides many travel services.
I guess the thing that makes me wonder if the Elite Visa is legitimate, is that if you cease being a “member”, you lose your visa. It appears that your membership fees provide ways to protect you, and keep you invisible, from Thai immigration officials since you can’t, or won’t, meet the normal immigration requirements.
I guess those with this kind of money to spend wouldn’t be all that upset if kicked out of Thailand. But, it could really mess up a real ex-patriot.
 

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Thai Bigfoot
just because you've been here since 2009 (not really all that long in the grand scheme of things) and don't know about the elite visa program doesn't mean anything.

It's the real deal and your questions about the legality of it (or its ties to whoever) are nothing more than speculation on your part.

The program has been going since 2003, been re-vamped once and worked as it's sold every year it's been going.

The 500K baht entry level Thai Elite gives you a real honest to goodness multi-entry visa from the Thai Immigration dept that's good for 5 years, with every entry getting you stamped in for another calendar year.

You are NOT invisible because you are still required to do 90 day reporting just like everyone. Although if you live in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya or Chiang Mai the elite staff will do your 90 day reporting.

I don't know where you got your information or how you jumped to such negative conclusions about the program.

It's the real deal and I stand by my assertion, the only people who slag it of are the ones who can't afford it. I dunno why you came off so negative about it, but it's definitely a choice for honest to goodness expats that don't fall neatly into the available visa categories there are for thailand now.

Here's what the visa looks like
 

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tod-daniels
I was merely raising some questions about how it would stand up under close examination.

Why isn't the Elite Visa mentioned anywhere in the Immigration Laws?
Stop being an Elite Visa member you lose your visa.
You don't have to do 90 Day check ins in the major tourist regions. The staff does them.

tod-daniels, you just seem to look down your nose at anyone who questions a method that sidesteps all the recognized immigration laws. It is true that Thailand makes it very easy for laws to be circumvented. It's built in to the fabric of the society.

It would be very easy for the Elite Visa company to make it's own visa stamp like you showed in you post. It would also be very easy for the Elite Visa company to handle everything in their own offices without any of it every seeing a real immigration officer. The tea money could be substantial.

I'm not being negative. I'm just asking some legitimate questions. Questions, by the way, that you failed to answer. As far as my speculation, sure. I've looked at the available information and came to a possible conclusion. I may be wrong, but, it's similar to seeing a cat squished on a busy street and speculating that it was hit by a vehicle. Probably a safe conclusion even though you didn't see it happen.

My point is this: I'm not saying the Elite Visa membership program doesn't work. Many things work in Thailand because the wheels of the bureaucracy are heavily greased - land sales, licenses, building permits, visas. The Elite Visa membership program seems to operate outside of the immigration laws.
 

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Thai Bigfoot, you need to dial your paranoia back a notch or three :p

Believe me everything here isn't corrupt and things actually do work the way they are designed, the Thai Elite Card/Visa being one of them

This paper is under the glass on the desk top of every immigration officer out at Chaengwattana in section L (the one that does retirement, marriage and raising kids).

They are NOT circumventing the immigration laws because the thai immigration dept doesn't make VISA policy. Visas are implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. All Thai immigrations does is sell the visas under their policy.

Extensions of stays are totally different and that is covered under the current police order 327/2557.

Again, it's the real deal, it's been the real deal since 2003, and if you have questions, call them and ask. Their staff speaks incredible english.

Here's the paper under the glass on the immigration officers desks
 

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They also have a 20 year Elite visa that you get when you buy a condo here. There are condos available in Phuket & Pattaya that come with that visa when you buy.
 

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My point is this: I'm not saying the Elite Visa membership program doesn't work. Many things work in Thailand because the wheels of the bureaucracy are heavily greased - land sales, licenses, building permits, visas. The Elite Visa membership program seems to operate outside of the immigration laws.
I could be wrong, but my gut feeling is that if the powers that be wanted to get rid of the Elite program, they would have done so by now. They've had the opportunity, and the last time round the government, rather than shutting it down, ended up invested even more money into the program. [Which is still hemorrhaging money].
 
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