True proof-of-income now required in Chiang Mai

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Gaybutton
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#1 True proof-of-income now required in Chiang Mai

Postby Gaybutton » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:05 am

In a post on the Sawatdee board, Travelerjim reports that Chiang Mai immigration is now requiring true proof-of-income, beyond the embassy affidavit, when applying for or renewing the retirement visa.

He emphasizes this is only in Chiang Mai and no other immigration offices - for now.

See: https://sawatdeenetwork.com/v4/showthre ... -of-income

This comes as no surprise to me. Most of us are aware that for the retirement visa Thailand requires a minimum 65,000 baht per month income and the source of that income must come from outside of Thailand. Many of us are also aware that the USA embassy requires nothing but your word for it when getting the proof-of-income statement. And many of us are aware that many Americans, perhaps even some members of this board, have been living in Thailand on a monthly income far less than 65,000 baht per month and have no way to actually prove they can meet the minimum requirement or use the 800,000 baht in a Thai bank account for a minimum of 3 months alternative.

Apparently at least Chiang Mai immigration got tired of the cheaters. As far as I know most, if not all, of every country's embassy requires actual proof except for the USA embassy.

For years I have been warning that sooner or later this was likely to come. I have no way of knowing whether this requirement will spread to Thailand's other immigration offices, including Bangkok and Pattaya, but it very well could. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether this will happen or when it will happen.

Assuming Travelerjim's report is accurate, and I have no reason to doubt him, when word of this starts spreading around it will be scaring the shit out of Americans and anyone else who has been living in Thailand, some for many years, by ... well ... lying and falsifying their actual monthly income.

I hope none of you are among those who have been cheating about your monthly income, but if Thailand starts requiring actual proof in all the immigration offices, then a number of people better start packing their bags and preparing to find somewhere to live other than Thailand.

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#2 Re: True proof-of-income now required in Chiang Mai

Postby RichLB » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:58 am

In Chiang Mai (ONLY) the new rule was unceremoniously instituted July 11 without warning. So, that creates the question - has anyone received their one year extension in Jomtien after that date without any additional proof of income required? And, if there has been no change outside Chiang Mai, can't residents there just go to an Immigration Office outside the city?

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#3 Re: True proof-of-income now required in Chiang Mai

Postby Gaybutton » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:00 am

RichLB wrote:can't residents there just go to an Immigration Office outside the city?

I do know the answer to that one. The short answer is no.

In order to obtain the retirement visa or renew it, you have to show acceptable evidence of where you reside. You can only do the retirement visa in the immigration jurisdiction of your residence. They won't do it anywhere else.

In other words, people might as well forget about trying to circumvent the system. That won't work. For example, if you live in Bangkok you have to do everything involving the retirement visa at the Bangkok immigration office. You can't go to Pattaya and do it there.

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#4 Re: True proof-of-income now required in Chiang Mai

Postby martyinsiam » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:27 am

A friend of mine in Chiang Mai called his Visa Service Company yesterday after I told him about this post and he was informed that the income letter is still sufficient for retirement visa renewals, but additional proof of income is required when applying for a new retirement visa. Of course, it is all subject to change at any time.

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#5 Re: True proof-of-income now required in Chiang Mai

Postby 2lz2p » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:46 am

Gaybutton wrote:
RichLB wrote:can't residents there just go to an Immigration Office outside the city?

I do know the answer to that one. The short answer is no.

GB is correct - several years ago, Immigration issued an order stating Immigration services had to be obtained at the Immigration Office that serviced the geographical area where you reside. In order to use another Office, you would need to change your residence to a place in their jurisdiction - filing the appropriate change of address forms and showing some form of proof of residence.

As for Chonburi (Pattaya) Immigration, I haven't heard of any change - I did my renewal in late June using US Embassy income letter (from the June Outreach visit) - no problems, no questions. But, as GB suggests, I usually have documentation to support my "affidavit" - e.g., latest pension notice and, in the past, copies of my bank statements showing pension amount into US Bank, transfer of funds from that account to Bangkok Bank, receipt of funds in Bangkok Bank account - however, since I had never been asked to show any of it in the past 15 years of renewal, I decided this year to save a tree and didn't make copies "just in case." As mentioned, again this year no need to show anything other than the Embassy Income letter.

Will that day come? Who knows. The Immigration Rules states the monthly income requirement, but leaves it open as to what documentation the Immigration Officers may ask for or accept (it doesn't even mention an Embassy income letter as being required).

Is it a problem if they start looking and you don't really have the income? Maybe not - let's just say when my bf went to do my last 90 day report, which was about 2 months before my due date, he was told that other arrangements were possible if I didn't have the funds - as to details, you can PM me.

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#6 Re: True proof-of-income now required in Chiang Mai

Postby Gaybutton » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:52 am

Thank you very much martyinsiam.

I think what we need is for people currently renewing their retirement visa not only in Chiang Mai, but in the other immigration offices as well, to post and let us know for sure what is going on, from their own experience.

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#7 Re: True proof-of-income now required in Chiang Mai

Postby Gaybutton » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:00 pm

2lz2p wrote:he was told that other arrangements were possible if I didn't have the funds

Without posting any personal details, can you give us any examples of what such arrangements might be?

This is the first I've ever heard that retirement visa renewal might be possible even if you don't have the funds. I would think many would want to know more about that.

As long as I'm at it, I was under the impression that you can renew the retirement visa as much as three months in advance. One of my friends insists you can renew only up to one month in advance. Do you know which it is?

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#8 Re: True proof-of-income now required in Chiang Mai

Postby fountainhall » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:16 pm

martyinsiam wrote:additional proof of income is required when applying for a new retirement visa

I am wondering if this is to bring everything a bit more in line with applications for the initial retirement visa made overseas. I certainly had to provide a lot of proof with actual bank statements and proof of my apartment purchase.

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#9 Re: True proof-of-income now required in Chiang Mai

Postby Gaybutton » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:34 pm

Yes, it would certainly make more sense for initial retirement visa applicants to have to be the ones submitting additional proof rather than those renewing retirement visas.

The problem with that is since when do the rules in Thailand have to make sense? That alone would be something new. To me it has never made sense that Thai immigration accepts the proof-of-income statement from Americans without further proof when they know damned well that the American embassy will simply issue the statement with no verifiable evidence at all.

To me, looking at it from the standpoint of the American embassy, why should they care whether what people tell them about their income is true or not? The embassy charges the equivalent of US $50 per notary seal. They make a pile of money from that. If people had to actually prove their real income to them, then they would be issuing far fewer notary seals and making much less money.

However, regardless of whether additional proof is now required by Thai immigration even for renewals, why only Chiang Mai - and do we know it applies only to Chiang Mai?

Oh well, here we go again with confusion . . .

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#10 Re: True proof-of-income now required in Chiang Mai

Postby Up2u » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:32 pm

America is not the only country that has an arrangement with Thailand and uses the Income Affadavit Letter,; New Zealand, Australia, for example. I always brought my IRS Form 1040 with me to the US Embassy and Pattaya Immigration as proof but never have I been asked for any type of verification. I view this CM story as some rogue IMM official (or office) having a bureaucratic orgasm and until I hear anything from the American embassy, I consider this a non-event for my annual retirement renewal.


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