New information has come to light that makes me contradict some advice I had previously given regarding getting the O-A visa in your home country.
If you are looking at getting your Thai Retirement Visa then you should watch this video!!
Even though I had heard of a Multiple Entry Type O-A before I had always said that getting the one year extension once in Thailand was a better option. But since Thai Immigration initiated financial requirements (see Ultimate Guide to Thailand Retirement Visa: Everything You Need to Know), now more than ever I feel that the O-A visa is the way to go. Especially if within a two year time frame you have any desire or plans to return back home for a visit.
Not having to deposit money in a Thai account for two years, and not having to see an immigration officer (except for 90-day reports, which in many cases can be done by mail) for nearly the same amount of time has it’s benefits, particularly at this time in the economy, and at this time in the political spectrum of Thailand.
Whether someone is moving here for the first time or they are facing a challenge when the renewal within Thailand rolls around, I think the O-A route is a far better option than getting the extension within Thailand. Think about if it’s for you, and whether obviating the need to keep a fairly large chunk of cash in a small to-non interest-bearing account in a Thai bank is a good idea. Your 401(k) or IRA (or whatever equivalent in your own country) can continue to earn interest/dividends, and you will not be subject to any early-withdrawal or other negative tax implications which could occur if you have to withdraw from a deferred-tax plan. Getting nearly two years, pre-approved, is, to me, worth a lot.
*** NOTE: The Important Thing To Remember Is to Get a Multiple Entry Retirement Visa O-A
How to get 2 years out of an O-A retirement visa obtained from your own country:
Multiple Entry O-A Visa Obtained in your Home Country
Here is an example of how you get 2 years and what dates to pay attention to.
So lets say you obtain an O-A (retirement) visa from the local consulate back in the USA on 12/1/21.
In this example, you have from 12/1/21 until 11/30/22 to enter the country….those are the validity dates of the visa. Each time you exit/re-enter during that period, you’ll get stamped in for a year from the date of entry (that’s the permission to stay). You can do that multiple times, hence the “multiple re-entry” aspect of the visa.
If you enter the country on 1/1/22 and then leave again 4/1/22, you would have until 11/30/22 to re-enter the country. Again, each time you do you’ll get stamped in for a year.
You can enter again on 11/30/22 and you’ll get stamped in until 11/29/23….BUT for any trips out of the country after that entry, you’ll need to purchase a re-entry permit (because your original visa expires 11/30/16). So from 11/30/22 until 11/29/23you can exit/re-enter only if you have a re-entry permit.
Once 11/29/23 rolls around, you’d need to either go back to the US and get another O-A visa or apply for an annual extension within Thailand each year.
When applying from your home country for an O-A visa as of Oct 31, 2019 a medical insurance policy has been required to obtain the visa AND ALSO BE SHOWN WHEN RE-ENTERING THAILAND.
Pursuant to the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of Thailand, dated 2 April B.E. 2562 (2019),
approving in principle for the stipulation of health insurance as an additional requirement for Non-Immigrant ‘O-A’ (Long Stay) visa application, the Royal Thai Embassy has introduced the following requirements for the said visa application:
The insurance requirements as of October 1, 2021, announced by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), state that people applying or renewing (or rather re-applying for) a Non-Immigrant Visa “O-A” now need to have a Thai health insurance policy for the duration of their stay, with coverage for Outpatient and Inpatient Treatment of no less than 3,000,000 baht. or 100,000 USD.
This means when you re-enter Thailand you will might only be granted a period of stay equivalent to the amount of time you have medical insurance coverage for.
Upon arrival into Thailand you might need to prove the following:
A Health insurance policy document issued by a Thai or foreign insurance company (a foreign policy is accepted on the initial application. Renewals will require a Thai policy), stating that the applicant is medically insured for the entire period of stay in Thailand and with coverage as mentioned above.
In case of a Thai insurance company, you should have a policy or a insurance card with the coverage amounts and it’s effective dates. A list of Thai insurance companies participating in the scheme can be found here: http://longstay.tgia.org
So I hope this info helps and it allows for another option that you will consider. If you have any questions add them to the comments below.