The end of insurance
Compulsory Covid insurance ends July 1 for anyone entering Thailand. But those applying for retirement visas at Thai embassies still need full medical coverage. Details on the websites of individual embassies. Whether you need such coverage to extend such a twelve-month visa at immigration depends on what type it is: O/A yes and O no. It’s all a mess.
Anyone applying for a 10-year wealthy person visa will have to wait until September 1 before applications are accepted either at embassies or at immigration. Comprehensive medical insurance raises its head again (3 million baht) with the escape clause that you will be able to insure yourself for this amount if you are too old or infirm to obtain coverage.
To watch on September 1st
The beginning of September seems to be a key date for the final installment of immigration requirements, especially for expats. There may be other surprises in store. If compulsory insurance continues to rise as a criterion for annual stays, expect the Elite 5-20 multi-entry visa to suddenly become more popular. It is not specially designed for the elderly and does not require any insurance.
After 45 days?
The 30-day visa-free entry for nationals of nearly 60 countries, including Saudi Arabia, is set to increase to 45 days. Currently, these arrivals can be extended at immigration for an additional month (30 + 30). Once the 45 day period has passed, will there be an extension? Will it be for 7, 30 or 45 days? Nobody knows at the moment.
Covid extension final curtain
The last day to get an additional 60 days under Covid discretion is July 25. The very last of these guys and gals will have until the end of September to decide what to do. Despite rumors that immigration offices are cracking down on ‘tourists’ claiming they cannot return to their home country, the evidence at a national level is that Covid extensions are being generously handled.
Work permit flexibility
These days, there seem to be far fewer prosecutions for working without a permit. Casual volunteer work is generally exempt as long as it isn’t “regular” and the old debates about whether you can paint your neighbor’s front door as a favor seem to have faded. One of the benefits of the new 10-year visas may well be work flexibility, although details have yet to be released.
Discretion is the key
Since the 2014 coup, individual immigration offices appear to have used much more local discretion. Which documents you need for particular extensions and whether a residence certificate can be issued in English are matters that differ from country to country. In other words, business negotiation (to a limited extent) has developed rapidly. The old advice to “ask locally” has never been truer.
The short border visa
With the Thailand Pass coming on July 1, it should be quicker to cross overland into a neighboring country and get back fairly quickly. Indeed, you no longer have to wait for a centrally issued QR code. However, some border immigration posts will insist that you spend at least one night out of Thailand before returning. Again, ask locally.
Despite the promises, there is still no visa aimed directly at digital nomads. The 10-year visa proposals will not suit the majority who travel from country to country with a suitcase and do not want to prove strong assets, salary level or the name of the sponsoring company. Most of the time they survive on tourist visas and are left alone by the authorities until they work directly for an employer based in Thailand.