“The new Non O X visa will cost Bt10,000 and be valid for a five year period after which it can be renewed for another five years”, said a spokesman for BSA Law.
A prominent international law firm in Thailand, BSA Law provides legal advice and a full range of commercial and corporate legal and financial services to the Thai and foreign communities. The firm's areas of expertise include Thai labour law, Thai law in general, company law, contracts, notarization and certification, intellectual property, insurance, real estate, investment, starting a business in Thailand and taxation, accounting and auditing services.
The Thai visa service desk at BSA Law handles visa and Thailand work permit related issues.
The Non O X visa will be available to foreign nationals aged 50 and above who are citizens of 14 nations – Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States, Canada, Japan and Australia.
The new visa was proposed toward the end of 2016 and it's understood the Thai prime minister formally approved it in June 2017.
In order to apply for the 10 year visa, the foreign applicant must have at least Bt3 million in a Thai bank account or Bt1.8 million in the bank and income of not less than Bt1.2 million. The money must be kept in the bank as a deposit for a one year period, but this amount can be reduced under certain conditions.
The applicant is also required to have valid medical insurance from a Thai insurance company for the duration of the visa. A criminal background check will also be carried out on the applicant.
The applicant will not be permitted to work on the Non O X visa, and will still have to fulfil the 90 Day Report requirement.
The criteria for eligibility for the new visa has drawn mixed reactions from the target group it's aimed at, with some foreigners expressing their enthusiasm and others raising concern over the health insurance and financial stipulations.
In March 2017 Thailand extended for a further six months the free tourist visa scheme it introduced at the end of November 2016. The extension period began on 1 March and continues until 31 August 2017.
A 50 per cent reduction in the cost of a 15-day Visa on Arrival (VoA) from Bt2,000 to Bt1,000, which was introduced at the same time as the tourist visa fee waiver, was also extended for the six month period.
Passport holders from 21 countries and territories namely Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Papua New Guinea and Fiji are eligible for the tourist visa fee waiver and Visa on Arrival fee reduction.
Having welcomed 32,588,303 international visitor arrivals in 2016, representing an 8.9 per cent increase on 2015's figure of 29,923,185, Thailand is aiming for 35 million arrivals in 2017 and it's hoped the free tourist visa and cheaper Visa on Arrival will help achieve this target.