If you’re reading this article, you’re most likely interested in traveling to Thailand over the COVID-19 period and wondering what visa option is best for you. Particularly if you’re considering applying for a retirement visa from your home country, then this is for you.
After visiting the Thai Embassy website, you will discover that there are a number of visa options available, including the standard ‘O’ category retirement visa for persons over 50 years of age. The requirements are pretty much the same as previously published except for one additional insurance requirement – applicants now need to have health insurance to cover a minimum of 100,000 USD which includes coverage for COVID-19. This is in addition to the previous requirement to have health insurance which includes a minimum 400,000 THB for Inpatient and 40,000 THB coverage for Outpatient visits.
One of the main issues is that if you apply for the retirement visa from your home country you will need to pay for 12 months of health insurance upfront to obtain an insurance policy that meets the above requirements. The process of obtaining insurance usually takes 10-14 days. You must then present your insurance coverage certificate to the Thai embassy in your home country in order to obtain the Certificate of Entry (COE). As well, you will need to have confirmed booking at an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) Facility, and a booking on a repatriation flight which might not be available from your country for another month or so. Even then flights may be cancelled, and a new booking required after you have applied for your visa. All of this affects the amount of time your insurance policy remains valid after you have paid the premium and submitted the insurance certificate to the embassy to obtain your COE. The longer it takes for you to acquire the visa and COE in your home country, the less time you will have remaining on your insurance policy.
So, getting back to the question of whether it’s better to apply for an O-A retirement visa in your home country or after you arrive in Thailand. Provided you are 50-74 years of age, one option is to apply for a Tourist Visa from your home country first (60 days + 30 days extendable) or Special Tourist Visa (If available) then apply for the retirement visa after you arrive in Thailand.
For a Tourist Visa, you only need to have a 90-day travel insurance policy which you can easily purchase by going to our website https://thaitravelinsurance.com/travel-plans/. This policy (Luma Thailand Pass), for persons 1-74 years of age, includes cover for COVID-19 to $100,000 USD and meets the Thai government requirements for both the Tourist and Retirement visa. It can be issued in 5 minutes which is a huge advantage over other forms of insurance coverage. It is also well known to Thai Embassies and so is readily accepted.
Once in Thailand, you can apply for a 3-month non-O visa, then the 1-year retirement visa extension through any number of visa agents here. Also, once you have decided on the most appropriate visa for your extended stay, you are welcome to contact us again and purchase a full comprehensive in-country insurance policy (The Luma Thailand Pass cannot be extended) to cover the length of your new visa as required by the Thai government. It seems the government has relaxed on an earlier requirement to start the process of applying for a 90-day non-immigrant visa from a Thai embassy or consulate. I would encourage you to do your own research but the visa agents we discussed this option with, inform us that it is indeed possible.
Thai Expat Health makes it EASY for foreigners to obtain the certificate of insurance required to meet the Thai government’s entry requirement (insurance covering all medical expenses including COVID-19 and worth at least 100,000 USD). We have assisted many clients to receive their certificate of insurance in the FASTEST possible time with a MINIMUM of fuss. Our service is provided FREE of charge and you benefit from our personalized help and experience.
Note that there are a large number of applications in the system at the moment, so please submit your application early to avoid delays.
Contact Thai Expat Club/Health if you have any questions or require any further information
Telephone or WhatsApp +6689-897-9435
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this report has been obtained from sources believed to be accurate and reliable. However, Thai Expat Club makes no representation as to the accuracy and completeness of such information. Information and opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. In particular, Thai Expat Club does not guarantee the accuracy of information related to immigration processes and requirements in this report nor do we accept any liability for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of the use of such information or opinions in this report. Readers are advised to do their own research before making decisions relating to visa transfers and migration to Thailand. All rights are reserved.
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