Helpful hints to ensure that you get and keep a Thai retirement visa

Can I Work in Thailand If I Have a Thai Retirement Visa?
The answer to this is quite simply, NO. You cannot legally work in the Kingdom of Thailand when you hold a retirement visa or any other type of Thai visa for that matter, unless it is a work visa that is accompanied by a government issued work permit.

Unfortunately, the Thais do not make a distinction between paid employment and charity work. Therefore, you may want to think twice before volunteering to do any unpaid charity work. The only way to legally work in Thailand is to have a government issued work permit and be the holder of Thai work visa.

What is a Reentry Permit?
If you plan on travelling outside of Thailand during the one year period that your retirement visa is valid, in order to protect your visa from being canceled, you must obtain what is called a re-entry permit before exiting the country.

This does not mean that you cannot leave the country without a reentry permit; it simply means that if you do exit Thailand without first obtaining a reentry permit, then your retirement visa will be cancelled as soon the exit stamp has been placed inside your passport when you leave the country through an airport or land border check point. Upon reentry, you will no longer have a valid retirement visa and will then have to re-apply for a new 3 month non immigrant visa and then for a new Thai retirement visa.

• Re-entry Permit Form – Download Form

If for whatever reason you wish to travel outside of Thailand the square, red reentry stamp or permit can be obtained prior to leaving the country at the nearest immigration office and now at any Thai international airport.

Don’t wait until the last minute to apply for a reentry permit as the processing time for obtaining it can vary between one hour and one day depending on the location and the amount of business being conducted at each particular location.

The Following documentation is required when applying for a re-entry permit:

1. A TM-8 Form or the “Application for a re-Entry Permit Into the Kingdom” form must be completely filled out in black ink. You Can download a Copy of the TM-8 Form Here…

2. Passport photo: one front view, color, 4 by 5 centimeter passport photo taken within the last three months. Please note that Thai law requires that you sign the back of each passport photo as proof that it is an original photo of you

3. Photocopies of your passport’s main page and the page bearing the most recent entry stamp, as well as the TM-6 form or airport arrival/departure card. Please note that each photocopy must be signed in black ink to certify that it is a true copy of the original.

4. The correct fee for processing the reentry application is also required at the time the application is submitted. Check with the local immigration office to find out what the current fee is.

How Do I Deal With Thai Bureaucrats and Officials?
On occasion, the ‘Land of Smiles’ can turn into the ‘Land of Frustration’, especially when a foreigner is dealing with a Thai bureaucrat. But then again, dealing with a government official of any nation can at the best of times be trying and downright annoying at the worst of times.

It is advisable that as a foreigner, whenever you conduct business of any type in a Thai Government office or deal with one of its bureaucrats that you do not compare them or how they go about their business with the way things are done in your native or resident country.

Always remember that Thailand is not your country. The Thais do not speak your language. The Thais have different customs, and they also have a different way of conducting business.

Therefore, do not expect things to be done in Thailand as they are in your own country In general, you will find that most of the officers and the staff at the Thai Immigration office or any of the other government agencies are both polite and friendly as long as you are. Try to keep it that way!

Thailand is a nation that judges most foreigners on how they look and on how they behave. Therefore, whenever you must conduct business in a government office – dress respectfully. Do not arrive wearing a swimming costume and a string vest!

Always keep in mind that the immigration officials are the people who hold your future in the Kingdom in the palm of their hand. They have the power to deny granting you a retirement visa.

They also have the ability to refuse to renew an expiring retirement visa. Therefore, you would be well served not give them a reason to do either of those things.

In other words, be on your best behavior as the granting or not granting of your Thai retirement visa is done solely at the discretion of the Immigration officer whom you are dealing with. If you anger or otherwise upset them, they will do the same to you by denying your visa.

If they don’t like you or the way that you look, act or speak or for any other reason they may mentally classify you as a dishonest, deceitful, dodgy or undesirable person.

If you rub them the wrong way, they have the ability to send you packing without a visa or they can turn your entire visa application or renewal process into a nightmare if they so choose. They can claim your paperwork is out of order or incomplete. They can make sure that your paperwork can “get lost”, in which case you will have to begin the procedure all over again.

They also know all too well that if they make you start the entire process over again over a slight error or small technicality, that besides having to start all over again, you will have to pay the fees a second time because it clearly says on every Thai immigration visa form that you’ve signed:


They can also tell you there is something wrong with your passport and demand that you get a new one. They can tell you to come back tomorrow or in two weeks. In short, whether or not you get a Thai retirement visa is entirely up to them, not ‘up to you’, so do everything within your power to make a good impression.

That is why it’s a good idea to:

• Avoid boisterous behavior

• Never drink alcohol before visiting the immigration office

• Never show up drunk or with a hangover

• Never complain or criticize

• Never become agitated or excited.

• Never point your finger or gesticulate wildly

• Never threaten or physically touch a Thai government employee

• Never raise your voice.

• Never use bad or foul language.

• Never ever lose your temper.

Even if you think the Thai official you are dealing with is rude, incompetent, lazy, or just plain stupid, keep your opinions, impatience, mounting frustration, and growing anger to yourself.

Regardless of your opinion, you will get a lot more accomplished when you maintain a pleasant demeanor and smile and nod. After all, it is their country, which means that it’s also their rules. Learn to play by them.

In closing, never expect your next visit to a Thai immigration office to be the same as your last visit, because the procedures and documentation required may vary from office to office.

Procedures and documentation can also vary within the same office from day to day, from one visit to the next and even from one official to another.

In addition, any of Thailand’s immigration rules and regulations, as well as the fees charged, can change at a moment’s notice. Far too often, these changes are not reflected for weeks or even months after they have changed on the Royal Thai Immigration Bureau’s website:

Because of this it is advisable to actually visit your local immigration office or a professional visa service a week to two weeks in advance of your planned visit to find out exactly what the fees and requirements are for the procedure or visa that you are interested in, so that you can be fully prepared when you do visit.

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