I'm So Confused - O or OA

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2lz2p
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Re: I'm So Confused - O or OA

Post by 2lz2p » Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:37 pm

Bob wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:42 am
Gaybutton wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:26 pm
....I can certainly understand why Thailand wants retired farang residents to have valid medical insurance, but I have yet to see a rational explanation, or for that matter any explanation as to why it has to be a Thai insurance company.
I was a bit surprised reading a message from the US State department which indicated that the required long-stay insurance (currently for new O-A visa holders and apparently for prior O-A visa holders too) could be obtained from either a Thai or foreign insurance company...provided the policy would cover the annual amounts (400,000 baht or about $13,333.00 basic coverage and 40,000 baht or about $1,333.00 outpatient coverage). Not quite believing that (the police order seems to say only insurance from one of the 12 blessed Thai companies is acceptable), I checked out the US Thai embassy website. There the language was identical to that in the US State department message. It reads:

Effective from 31 October 2019 , the applicant must be medically insured for the entire period of stay in Thailand with the following coverage: . . .

But, given the actually rather low coverage requirements (400k baht and 40k baht for outpatient), it would seem to me that just about any foreign insurance company could issue that kind of coverage for far less than any of the 12 Thai companies. Hopefully a couple of the foreign companies will seize the opportunity to issue "Thai tailored" health insurance policies for a price far less than what the approved Thai companies are offering.
The Embassy notice has caused some confusion because it is not complete. It addresses only the requirements being imposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Thai Embassies/Consulates to issue a Non-Immigrant OA Visa. It leaves out the requirements of the Immigration Bureau for entry into Thailand using the Visa or for granting extensions of the initial permission to stay based on the OA Visa.

The heading of the US Embassy notice states: "New Health Insurance Requirement for Long-Stay Visa Applicants (November 8, 2019)" [Emphasis Added]

A foreign policy can only be used for applying for the Visa at a Thai Embassy or Consulate. A foreign policy will not be accepted by Immigration, they require it from one of the companies listed on the TGIA webpage for the OA Visa. The latest information as of 7 November being provided by the Pattaya City Expats Club can be seen here: http://www.pcecnews.com/permNL/Visa-Imm ... rement.pdf

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Re: I'm So Confused - O or OA

Post by 2lz2p » Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:53 pm

gera wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:16 pm
I wonder what are the rules for recently introduced 10 year retirement visa. Of course, it was considered nonstarter because of high required deposit in Thai bank but it may be worth considering in light of new health insurance requirements.
The so called 10 year retirement visa - Non-Immigrant OX - requires health insurance and only from a Thai company listed on the TGIA webpage (http://longstay.tgia.org/ - note when you go to that page it has two links for "participating" companies, one for the OX and the other for the OA). The coverage requirements (40k outpatient, 400k inpatient) are the same for both the OA and OX.

The OX visa is a very bad deal - in addition to the health insurance it requires substantially higher amounts to be on deposit in a Thai bank. Although it grants a 5 year permission to stay on entry which can be renewed for another 5 years, thus the use of the term 10 year retirement visa, the holder still has to do 90 day address reports AND annually go to Immigration with documentation to show they have continued to keep the required amount on deposit and the the required health insurance.

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Re: I'm So Confused - O or OA

Post by RichLB » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:23 pm

I don't know if this would work, but it's worth a shout out. If you currently have an OA visa can you go to Immigration and request an O visa to replace your original one? I seem to remember doing that some 20 years ago but now the rules may have changed or my memory is foggy. I originally entered Thailand with a visa issued in the US and I remember going to Immigration, jumping through some hoops, and emerging with a non-O visa - which I now have. Just a shot in the dark and may not be a workable solution.

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Re: I'm So Confused - O or OA

Post by Gaybutton » Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:12 pm

RichLB wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:23 pm
I don't know if this would work, but it's worth a shout out.
Here's another one, which I don't know if it would work - You have the O-A visa. You let it expire and leave Thailand on the last day of its validity, maybe a visa run destination.

Now you return to Thailand with the 30 day privilege or a tourist visa. You gather all the required documentation, go to immigration, and start the visa application process fresh. Since you would be doing that at a Thai immigration office, would you now be given the O visa?

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Re: I'm So Confused - O or OA

Post by 2lz2p » Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:53 pm

Gaybutton wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:12 pm
RichLB wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:23 pm
I don't know if this would work, but it's worth a shout out.
Here's another one, which I don't know if it would work - You have the O-A visa. You let it expire and leave Thailand on the last day of its validity, maybe a visa run destination.

Now you return to Thailand with the 30 day privilege or a tourist visa. You gather all the required documentation, go to immigration, and start the visa application process fresh. Since you would be doing that at a Thai immigration office, would you now be given the O visa?
Yes, you can do that. One of the persons who sent me a photo of the sign at Jomtien Immigration stating that if you had the OA Visa, you would need insurance, said that the Immigration Officer suggested he do just that. Since they didn't mention being able to simply apply for the Non-Immigrant O Visa without having to leave Thailand, it is most likely that they would not allow you to simply apply for the new Visa while on an extension of stay of an OA visa - but, one could always go and ask.

If they will not, then you can leave Thailand without a Re-Entry permit. This will effectively cancel your permission to stay which was based on entering originally with a Non-OA Visa. You have 3 options on getting a Non-Immigrant O Visa which will allow extensions without the need for health insurance:

1. Apply for a Non-Immigrant O Visa at a Thai Embassy/Consulate, e.g. in Cambodia, Laos, etc. - they should grant the Visa on the basis that you meet the requirements for retirement - but check on what they require as it may differ from Embassy/Consulate to Embassy/Consulate. Based on postings on Thaivisa.com, some may want to see you have the funds necessary (income, in bank, or combo) - others may be satisfied that your passport shows you are at least 50 years of age without any proof of financial resources. Upon receiving the Visa, when you enter Thailand, you will receive a 90 day permission to stay. When 60 days has elapsed, you go to the Immigration Office and apply for a one year extension of the stay for the purpose of retirement -- providing proof of financial resources as you would have done if renewing your OA extensions.

2. Apply for a Tourist Visa at a Thai Embassy/Consulate, e.g. in Cambodia, Laos, etc. - again checking on what they may require as documentation if anything other than your passport. Upon entry into Thailand, you will receive a Permission of Stay for 60 days. Go to Immigration to apply for a Non-Immigrant O Visa (must be done with a minimum of 15 days remaining on your stay) providing the same documents you would need to support an extension based on retirement. If you have less than the 15 days remaining, you can get a one time extension of 30 days added to the 60. Upon receipt of the Non-O Visa, you will also receive a 90 day permission to stay from the issue date. After 60 days have elapsed, go to Immigration and apply for a one year extension based on retirement, again providing the necessary documentation for meeting the financial resources.

3. Enter Thailand on Visa Exempt status and receive a 30 day permission to stay. Then the same procedure as in option 2 except you have a shorter time frame to apply to meet the minimum 15 days remaining on your permission to stay. As in option 2, if you have less than the 15 days remaining, you can get a one time extension of 30 days added to the 30.

Fortunately, I don't have to do this, but if I did, I would choose option 1 -- saves the hassle of applying for the Non-O at Thai Immigration before you can apply for the one year extension.

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Re: I'm So Confused - O or OA

Post by Dodger » Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:10 pm

I doubt they would let you switch from O-A to O at this juncture. They're incompetent, but not stupid.

Jumping through hoops to manipulate the policy (whatever the policy is) may work for the short term - but eventually all expats will required to have health insurance, so what's the point?

Regarding the health insurance mandate, there haven't been any reports circulating yet from actual retiree's who have O-A Visa's with Extension of Stay Stamps (Retirement). If they will be required, or not required, to have health insurance remains to be seen.

Major power struggles almost certainly going on.

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Re: I'm So Confused - O or OA

Post by Gaybutton » Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:33 pm

Dodger wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:10 pm
Jumping through hoops to manipulate the policy (whatever the policy is) may work for the short term - but eventually all expats will required to have health insurance, so what's the point?
The point is you think that will happen, but you don't know that will happen. I have seen no indication from any source other than people simply assuming that will happen. Certainly nothing official or even in the Thai media that any aspect of this is going to change for O visa holders.

At this time there is no reason to believe the requirements will change for O visa holders or will change any time soon. If they planned to do that, then why didn't they do it at the same time they changed the requirements for O-A visa holders?

I believe in "Don't worry until there is something to worry about." For O visa holders currently there is nothing to worry about and no indication, other than people posting their guesses on various boards, that in the foreseeable future anything will change.

In any case, unless one is independently wealthy, I can't imagine why anyone would want to live in this day and age, let alone in a foreign country, without adequate medical insurance coverage, especially if they're getting on in years - whether it is required or not.

I think we should stick with facts, not rumors or guesses. If anyone thinks something will happen, then you should say in your post "I think" instead of posting as if a guess is fact.

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Re: I'm So Confused - O or OA

Post by Bob » Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:40 am

2lz2p wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:37 pm
The Embassy notice has caused some confusion because it is not complete. It addresses only the requirements being imposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Thai Embassies/Consulates to issue a Non-Immigrant OA Visa. It leaves out the requirements of the Immigration Bureau for entry into Thailand using the Visa or for granting extensions of the initial permission to stay based on the OA Visa.

The heading of the US Embassy notice states: "New Health Insurance Requirement for Long-Stay Visa Applicants (November 8, 2019)" [Emphasis Added]

A foreign policy can only be used for applying for the Visa at a Thai Embassy or Consulate. A foreign policy will not be accepted by Immigration, they require it from one of the companies listed on the TGIA webpage for the OA Visa. The latest information as of 7 November being provided by the Pattaya City Expats Club can be seen here: http://www.pcecnews.com/permNL/Visa-Imm ... rement.pdf
My point with the post was the notion that one can supposedly use a foreign insurance company to get the O-A visa. As to whether a certificate from a foreign insurance company would be sufficient for either a re-entry or an extension by an O-A holder is not known for sure at this point. Time will tell.

And how Chon Buri Immigration interprets/applies the rules is certainly critical to Chon Buri residents; however, it may be quite different at CW, Chiangmai, and other immigration offices. Again, time will tell.

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Re: I'm So Confused - O or OA

Post by Dodger » Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:41 am

Gaybutton wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:33 pm
Dodger wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:10 pm
Jumping through hoops to manipulate the policy (whatever the policy is) may work for the short term - but eventually all expats will required to have health insurance, so what's the point?
I think we should stick with facts, not rumors or guesses. If anyone thinks something will happen, then you should say in your post "I think" instead of posting as if a guess is fact.
Your point is well taken. Let me rephrase that:

Jumping through hoops to manipulate the policy (whatever the policy is) may be a viable solution for the short term - but it's possible that all expats may be required to have health insurance at some point in the future which should also be considered. This is just my opinion and not based on any factual evidence.

Understanding that the only meaningful difference between an O and O-A Visa is where the Visa was obtained, it defies logic (even in Thailand) to mandate health insurance for one and not the other, unless, in fact, they simply selected one visa class as phase one of the implementation of this mandate, and plan to start adding other visa classes to the mandate as time moves forward. This is consistent with the information I gained when discussing this with the Superintendent of Chonburi Immigration back in September of this year, which led to me obtaining health insurance before it actually became mandatory that I do so.

One of the concerns that Immigration would almost certainly have relates to the shear volume of Insurance Certificates flowing into the visa renewal process once the mandate becomes effective. The fact that the actual population of foreigners residing in Thailand is unknown, only elevates the risk associated with this, which would explain the apprehension about just releasing the flood gates and making health insurance mandatory for all visa classes at the same time. If you read Demographic Reports on Thailand, including the most recent U.S. Thailand Demographic Report, you'll see it stipulates that Thailand does not report foreign resident populations utilizing accurate methods, and only rough estimates can be relied upon. I've seen reported estimates (statistical dart tosses) as low as 200,000, and as high as 500,000 from any given source. This is fact.

If I were in a position where I had health insurance from a Company (foreign or Thai) which did not appear on Immigration's TGIA list of Thai Company's, I would have my insurance company complete the Insurance Certificate in accordance with the instructions provided by the Royal Thai Embassy, and present it to the Immigration Superintendent for his review well in advance of applying for my next extension. It is my opinion only, and not fact, that this would be accepted. This would involve contacting the insurance company, providing them with a copy of B.E. 2562 (2019), asking to to complete and return the signed Certificate.

I agree, that personal opinions typically only serve to muddy the waters, but the way immigration policy changes are administered in Thailand, my personal opinion's are all that I have to guide me. I secured health insurance at a time when it was not required that I do so for this very reason. If I had not done so, I would be in the same boat that many appear to be in right now.

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