I re-entered Thailand on a Non-Immigrant Type ‘O’ Visa for the purpose of retirement instead of the Tourist Visa I used in March. So what? Even though I haven’t decided to stay longer than 4 more months I going to try to make it possible to do so without having to leave the country every 90 days to get a new visa.
In years past leaving the country every month or three was a fact of life for most foreigners, now it’s more difficult, costly and uncertain. There are few ways one can stay in Thailand for more than three months without being employed, married to a Thai, attending school or being at least 55 with some spare cash parked in a Thai bank.
The Non-Imm ‘O’ visa can be extended to one year without leaving Thailand, assuming I meet the requirements and the rules don’t change. Going to the local immigration office every three months seems considerably easier than leaving the country. Especially because how and why each consulate or embassy implements the Immigration regulations can change without notice.
Yesterday, for example, on a Thai visa forum the people who were in Penang to get Tourist Visas at the same time I was there posted how things have changed. They were caught off guard but received the visas. The self important old timers are saying that’s not how it is. It will take a few days and a few more reports on the current situation for the old timers to realize their knowlege is out of date.
The costs to me are that I had to go to the US Embassy to get an Income Affidavit notarized and put a non trivial amount into a Thai baht bank account. Given the uncertainity of the world economic situation I don’t see much downside to taking funds out of a US money market fund where it was earning close to zero interest and putting it into a baht account. If the dollar slides against the baht, it will be to my advantage.