A new visa has been launched and is dividing opinion across the expat community. It's called the Non-Immigrant O-X (long stay).
Technically it is a “new” retirement visa because it shares very similar properties with the Non Immigrant O-A visa, commonly known as the ‘retirement visa'.
In this post I'll run you through all you need to know about the O-X visa and help you determine whether this is the right visa for you.
I also give you my opinion in the conclusion. Let's get into the details…
Who is the O-X visa for?
This visa is for applicants aged 50 years and over. This is exactly the same as the standard retirement visa.
How long does it let me stay in Thailand for?
The visa lasts for 10 years, with a maximum stay of 5 years. So potentially you could do two stays of 5 years each. Confused? Okay: so you stay 5 years, leave the country, come back again and activate the next 5 years, Simple.
Do I have to do 90-day reporting?
Yes. Like the standard retirement visa, you have to report to immigration every 90 days.
What if I want to leave the country and come back in again, within the 5-year period?
The visa is multiple entry, so you can leave and re-enter at any time.
Can I work on an O-X visa?
No. Employment of any kind is strictly prohibited.
What countries are eligible?
You must be a national and passport holder of one of the following countries:
- United Kingdom
- United States
What financial conditions are there?
You must have a bank deposit of no less than 3M Baht in a Thai bank account, or a bank deposit of no less than 1.8M Baht and an annual income of no less than 1.2M Baht. You must have this bank deposit in full for at least one year, and keep at no less than 1.5M Baht in the bank account thereafter.
Any other conditions?
Yes. You must have Thai health insurance for the entire duration of your stay. Your coverage must include outpatient treatment of no less than 40,000 Baht, and inpatient treatment of no less than 400,000 Baht.
✓ Your Next Read: The Big Thai Visa Post (includes O-A visa)
Who is not eligible for the O-X visa?
You must not have a criminal record in Thailand or in your native country, or have a prohibited disease such as Leprosy, Tuberculosis, Elephantiasis or the third phase of Syphilis. Further stipulations can be found in the Ministerial Regulation No. 14 B.E. 2535. Drug addicts are also non-eligible.
How much does the O-X visa cost?
$400 (USD) per application. Applications are non-refundable.
How long does it take to apply?
The processing times are as follows:
- In person : 5 business days
- By mail: minimum 15 business days
What documents are required?
Submit 3 sets of each document: 1 original and 2 copies
1. Your Passport: Passport must have 6 months + validity and contain at least one blank visa page.
2. Visa application form completely filled out (can be downloaded here)
3. Three passport-size photographs (2″ x2) Photocopies are not accepted. Photographs must have a light colored background with a full- face view and without a hat or dark glasses. Photos must be no more than 6 months old.
4. A copy of your bank statement from the Thai bank where your deposit is held, and a letter of guarantee from the bank — with the bank’s contact information — showing a deposit of the amount equal to and not less than 3m Baht. Or, a copy of your bank statement from the Thai bank where your deposit is held, and a letter of guarantee from the bank — with the bank’s contact information — showing a deposit of the amount equal to and not less than 1.8m Baht, and proof of annual income of not less than 1.2m Baht.
5. A letter of verification stating that you have no criminal record. The verification must not be more than 3 months old.
6. A medical certificate showing no prohibitive diseases as indicated in the Ministerial Regulation No.14 (B.E. 2535). The certificate must not be more than 3 months old. (can be downloaded here)
7. Evidence of your health insurance plan. Please choose from the providers listed at here.
8. Visa processing Fee of $400USD
9. In the case of an accompanying spouse, a marriage certificate must be provided as evidence. The spouse must also apply and include items number 1-8 on this list.
10. In the case of an accompanying legal child/adopted child (who is under 20 years old), a birth certificate/adoption order must be provided as evidence. The accompanying child must also submit items numbered 1-3, 7, 8 on this list.
In the case where a spouse and legal child/adopted child are not eligible to apply for the Category ‘O-X’ (Long Stay) visa, he or she would apply for Category ‘O’ or “O-A”(Long stay) or “ED” (for child) visa.
My Opinion – Is it Worth It?
My first impression, when I saw “5 years” was “wow”! My second, when I saw three obvious points of friction wasn't so jubilant:
1. Still having to do 90-day reporting
If this is the case, why not just get a one-year extension based on retirement for 1,900 Baht? I'm talking about the standard O-A visa (retirement visa). If you have to visit immigration every 90 days anyway you might as well just extend your visa each year, as long as you meet the financial requirements for the retirement visa. That said; they have 90-day reporting online now, so maybe this is a moot point.
✓ Your Next Read: The Big Thai Visa Post (includes O-A visa)
2. A fairly big financial commitment
3M THB in a Thai bank account, tied up for 10 years at pretty much zero interest rate really isn't an attractive proposition. Most savvy expats would baulk at this idea. That sort of cash could be making 3-5% interest quite happily elsewhere!
Of course, you could always go for the 1.8m THB and 1.2m THB income (yearly) option. But even then, it's far more than the 800k you need for a standard 1-year retirement extension.
3. Taking out a health insurance policy with one of their “suggested providers”
It is unclear as to whether you have to choose one of the four they suggest, but being pushed towards a policy doesn't sit well with me.
I accept that every expat needs health insurance, but I don't recommend any of these for expats. Check out my recommendations here.
On a Positive Note
Most people don't really need a 5-year visa; they usually fly home at least once every 2 years. But this might suit those who aren't very mobile and for whom it is a hassle to extend each year.
And then there are those who have a ton of money, and for whom depositing 3 million THB in a Thai bank is a drop in the ocean, as long as they don't have to think about extending each year.
The 1.8 million THB and 1.2 million THB income combination is less of a commitment, and if you just want to get a visa one time (for 10 years) and have done with it — and then report online every 90 days — it's a little bit of a time saver, at least it is once a year when you'd otherwise have to extend on a O-A retirement visa.
What do you think?