BANGKOK — The much awaited 10-year visa for foreign retirees is now available, the top commander of the immigration police said Wednesday. , though staff seem to be unaware of the announcement.
Lt. Gen. Natthathorn Prohsunthorn said the new visa will come in two installments of five years each. It can be issued for foreigners from 14 countries who meet set conditions, such as having three million baht in bank account.
“It is now effective,” Natthathorn said by phone. “Foreigners can apply for it at their provincial immigration offices. For Bangkok and neighboring provinces, it’s at Chaeng Wattana.”
Although the new retirement visa has been available since Friday, Natthathorn said he has not seen any applications come across his desk so far.
“I think the media should report this news. This is a much better story than the other incident,” the immigration police commander said, referring to complaints of long queues at Bangkok’s international airports.
A staff member at the Immigration Division I headquarters in Bangkok was unaware of the change and did not believe the 10-year visas were available. She referred a reporter to the immigration website.
No information about the new visa could readily be found on the site Wednesday.
Natthathorn said a memo was already sent out to staff at the Chaeng Wattana location, but some officials might not have read it. He advised potential applicants to push ahead with the application anyway.
“Maybe the reporter talked to someone who doesn’t know?” the police lieutenant general said. “Just go ahead and submit the application.”
The government announced the new visa plan in November, citing a policy to promote Thailand as a destination for medical services and retirement. Previously, retirees could only apply for visas that required annual renewal.
Nattathorn said applicants must come from one of 14 designated countries, must not have any pending criminal convictions or charges, and have at least 3 million baht in their bank account.