Following social media confusion in the Pattaya area about some recent immigration bureau requirements, Pattaya Mail sets the record straight.
Re-entry permit extensions
A recent announcement stated that “permanent residents” who are abroad can regard their re-entry permit as available for use indefinitely in the future. As in the past, the term has caused confusion. It refers to specific individuals who have the right to live in Thailand without ever having to renew their visa or do a 90 day report. Foreigners with a one year visa or extension of stay are not permanent residents as defined. An easy way to tell who is a permanent resident is possession of a police red book. No red book, no permanent residency.
Proving 800,000 baht in the bank
Foreigners using the 800,000 baht in the bank method for the retirement annual extension of stay must keep at least that sum in the bank for two months prior to application and for three months afterwards. All those receiving the extension (rather than some) must now appear at the retirement desk in immigration 90 days after the award, or as soon as possible thereafter, to prove the cash is still there.
Documents required are passport and bank book, but a new letter from the bank is not needed. For the remaining seven months of the year, the bank balance must not fall below 400,000 baht. This 90 days reporting has nothing to do with the separate 90 days reporting of address required of all expats (except permanent residents).
The visa amnesty ended on October 31. There has been recent publicity that visa amnesty has been extended for a further six months. However, the only group included are guest workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia who entered the country illegally as part of the policy to combat Covid-19. They are now being encouraged to report to the authorities to regularize their position and to undergo coronavirus testing. Unless you are a guest worker from one of the three countries, there has been no visa amnesty since expiry on October 31.
Compulsory coronavirus testing for expats
Recent publicity on the internet suggested that all foreigners will need a virus-free certificate from a hospital to extend or renew their visa from late January 2021 onwards. The immigration bureau has clarified that there is at present no such requirement, but that due notice will be given if the Council of State were to introduce such a rule. A similar rumour that, starting in 2022, a vaccination certificate will be needed for those wishing to remain here is also unfounded. Any changes, as always, will be well-publicized, initially in the mainstream media, by the immigration authorities directly and under their logo.