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Thread: My O-A retirement visa experience (usa)

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    My O-A retirement visa experience (usa)

    Since I was headed to California last October, I checked out the various Thai Consulate websites in the USA concerning OA visas. LA and Washington DC handles the OA visa and some of the others do not. I down loaded forms and took them on my travels.

    In Bangkok a week before heading home, took the Medical form into Bamrungrad. A quick listen to my heart, a look in my ears and eyes and I was done. It was quick and I expected more of a check up, but I was on record there having an operation about 18 months prior. 1035 Baht.

    The criminal reports check I was concerned about especially after not living stateside for 15 years. Went to the sheriffs dept. and it is actually a regular function of theirs doing records check for visa applications. 25 dollars, but it had to be a cashiers check.

    The website asked for bank docs with some kind of certification.... I just went to the websites of my banks and printed my accounts, a quarterly statement from my 401k plan and a copy of my 1099 form. They asked for four copies of everything so I packaged them up nicely along with the two completed visa forms. The OA retirment visa has an additional form that asked a few other simple questions. It also asked for references in Thailand. I had plenty of those as well as a couple from this forum (thanks guys). Nothing in writing from them but address and phone numbers in the event they would want to contact.

    I mailed it US postal service with return envelopes post paid. The cost of the visa 200 dollars.

    When I got into Thailand they asked how long I would stay. I didnt know, but I said its a retirement visa for a year isnt it? Give me a year. They did.

    While staying in Jomtien I got notified by the consulate in LA that there might be an issue with my visa and could I go to Chaeng Wattana and see a particular person to get it sorted. I emailed back and said I was in Jomtien for another week two could I handle it at immigration on Soi 3/4? there. No but the contact person was going to get re assigned and wouldnt be in bkk when I returned so they would send me a letter in Thai to take there. So far that hasnt happened.

    My Visa says M multiple entry but when leaving last week after two months they said I needed a reentry permit. I questioned why this one is multiple and wont be honored. None the less I got one 1000 baht. Always carry extra passport pics while traveling. So far so good and I might even email LA and ask whats up? Will keep you posted on any surprises.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Easycpl's Avatar
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    Thanks for the report Jim, planning to upgrade to a real O-A retirement visa myself, so your experience is quite useful. Am I correct that you did not visit the consulate in LA, but did it all by mail? Also, how long did it take to get the visa after you completed the application? Any other tidbits of useful information?

    Thanks,

    Gordo
    "They got the metric system over there… they wouldn't know what the fcuk a quarter-pounder is…"

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    Senior Member Robaht's Avatar
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    That is interesting that you were able to do it by mail. They still have the below message on the main page for the Thai Consulate Houston. I always wondered if it was more their preference for not getting too many applications since it seems to be only 1 lady in an office there, but it is really time-consuming and costly to go in person to Houston every time since they won't accept an application by Fedex/mail!

    This must have started in 2013 (and applies to all types of visa):

    "Per new instructions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand we are not accepting visa applications by mail or Fed Ex until further notice. All applications must be made in person."

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    As you seem to know, you shouldnt need a re-entry while the initial visa (enter before) date is valid.. each entry to Thailand prior to that date should get you a 1 year permission to stay stamp.. After the enter before date is passed, you need a re-entry to keep the 1 year permission to stay valid, it would expire on exit of the country without a re-entry permit (single or multiple).
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    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LivinLOS View Post
    As you seem to know, you shouldnt need a re-entry while the initial visa (enter before) date is valid.. each entry to Thailand prior to that date should get you a 1 year permission to stay stamp.. After the enter before date is passed, you need a re-entry to keep the 1 year permission to stay valid, it would expire on exit of the country without a re-entry permit (single or multiple).
    THIS...is what I was trying to explain to you in Patts that night recently Jim...I too don't get why they insisted on you getting a separate (another) multi re-entry permit for the first year...but make sure you get take that trip out and back to validate another year here for yourself before this visa expires
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    Senior Member NeedHoliday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimCA2 View Post
    My Visa says M multiple entry but when leaving last week after two months they said I needed a reentry permit.
    The "Date Of Issue" and "Enter Before" should be 1 year apart to give you that years worth of multiple entry. What does yours say? (sounds like it was only a month!)
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    It seems that is where the issue was/is. The visa was issued in October 16 and the enter before date is November 16th. I will follow up with the guy from the consulate in LA and see if this is the case. None the less, its a done deal and I'm in the system before anything changes or if there is anything quirky with ASEAN or things go sour with the visa/work permit issues in Cambodia.

    Royal Thai Consulate - General Los Angeles

    this is the oa link for the consulate in LA. Nothing I submitted was notarized but I made sure that all the copies were clean neat and orderly. Also I made color copies of documents as some had colored stamps on them. Bank Documents and my 401k stuff, I made sure that a contact number and address, website were on the documents submitted.

    I mailed and received the docs and visa with in a two week period max. I did specify when I would be entering and maybe thats where they screwd up.

    I remember in the late 80s early nineties before the 30 day waiver when entering, I used to get a visa from the LA consulate and it was always timely, and always used the us postal service. The LA consulate is pretty well staffed (lots of Thais in LA) and maybe like you said, one person in Houston could get swamped with work.

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    Elimination of Visa Page Inserts for U.S. Passports

    saw this off of your houston link. No more pages. grim.

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimCA2 View Post
    It seems that is where the issue was/is. The visa was issued in October 16 and the enter before date is November 16th.
    Strange.. A normal O-A is issued for a year from the date of application.. With each entry at any time up to 364 days later generating a years permission to stay.. Hence being able to get just under 2 years out of one with careful use.

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    That is why the consulate was emailing me and wanting to send me to Immigration in BKK. They screwd up. I emailed them back after getting more of a clue what happened here than what I got from them. I will let you know what kind of response i get.

    When I came in originally I made sure the first exit due date stamp I got on that visa was a year from entry so I had a record.

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    Senior Member Robaht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimCA2 View Post
    Elimination of Visa Page Inserts for U.S. Passports

    saw this off of your houston link. No more pages. grim.
    Well this was a "hidden" secret a few years back, right? I mean the extra pages used to be free. Then they switched to charging $80 for extra pages. Aware of that, I did manage to get in before that deadline and get 2 extra inserts/sets added (up to the max which was 3 sets) for free.

    Now the new USA passports are 52 pages and $110, which is up from the old price, but also the old passports only had 28 or so pages. By the way, do you use a secondary passport? The US gives a secondary 2-year passport if your company vouches that you travel a lot, it does come in handy when applying for visas when you have to send it off but still need to travel.!
    Last edited by Robaht; 14th January 2016 at 19:01. Reason: OCD

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    I dont have a secondary passport as I never had a company to vouche for one. I have a friend in the oil industry that does and it has come in handy many times while he was waiting for a visa. Looking at my old passports (I am on my 7th) I really only needed pages once in my last passport and that was in the 28 page passport. Even then it expired with plenty of extra pages available. Having year visas in Cambodia and only the entry stamps into Thailand has helped that cause and allowed for the extra one off visa to Laos or Myanmar. The Thais and the Cambodian customs people have gotten better over the years with placement of the entry and exit stamps as to not take up one whole page with one little stamp.

    My new passport is two years old and I dont think I will fill it up, but that 58 page is a misconception in itself as only 50 or so pages actually qualify for stamps.

    Since I cut ties with the State of California and let all licenses expire to avoid being liable for any state taxes on my pension, I did get the passport id card as well. It has come in handy as it is valid at exchange booths in Thailand and I have used it for proper ID air travel in the USA. I havent been spot checked in Thailand by immigration, but would be curious to see how it would hold up if I was ever in a place that got raided.

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    Senior Member Robaht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimCA2 View Post
    I did get the passport id card as well. It has come in handy as it is valid at exchange booths in Thailand and I have used it for proper ID air travel in the USA. I havent been spot checked in Thailand by immigration, but would be curious to see how it would hold up if I was ever in a place that got raided.
    I have one of those passport cards as well. I am still trying to gauge its usefulness since my AZ drivers license won't expire until 2040 or so LOL (they don't kid around in Arizona, man) but it is a neat little ID Card not tied to either of my existing passports and valid 10 years. I doubt it would do much better than a drivers license for Thai immigration or raids, but let me know man, I'm curious too, as it looks like an impressive ID but doesn't show entry/exit. At worst, it surely would buy you time to locate your real passport.

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    We'll the (western) guy at the LA Consulate apparently has suffered a big loss of face and after plenty of emails, he does't want to reply to acknowledge his screw up nor answer other questions.

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    One year later and I managed to bumble thru my first renewal O-A process.

    I found forms TM 7 and TM 8 on line and filled them out as well as I knew how. Since I still keep money in the bank I went to the US Embassy website and downloaded the income statement that they notarize. I made and appt. with the embassy for 17 Oct. wondering if it would be open right after the King had died. Took the last appt time 10.45am.

    I flew into BKK on the 16th. Lucky for me, Buddha day and no real distractions to keep me out late. Things buttoned up solid. I took a moto from Nana to the embassy and got there around 10am and promptly got in and out before my actual appt. time. 50 bucks for one piece of paper. I had two W2 statements from two retirements and they could care less.

    Partied for a week then flew up to Udon Thani to meet my buddy up there and go to that immigration office. He has always said he is usually number one or number 2 in line. I made what someone said was a newbie mistake going in on the Tuesday after a Monday holiday. It was jammed packed and looked like chaos. I had gone in about 1030 and hung out for an hour and nothing was moving or if it was, it was at a snails pace. I decided to leave and they were going to close at noon for lunch anyway. Having gone back to my room I thought it would be wise to try to go back and sort it out. I went back around two PM. Empty. Got right in but the woman told me I needed a residence. I was staying at @Home at Udon I told here. She said I needed a contract, photocopy of the landlords ID and the house book. She kindly wrote it all out in Thai for me. I went back to the hotel and spoke to the Mgr/owner about my predicament. Not a problem. He made a copy of his ID and on the copy wrote something to the fact that I am staying there indefinitely on a daily basis paying the daily rate. He didn't have his house book for the place available but would get it to me by the next afternoon. Better yet the front desk handed it to me the next morning when I went out for breakfast.

    All this in hand I went back around 2pm that following day, no line or waiting and after about an hour of copying, flipping pages, filling in the blanks and stamping I got my extension and re entry permit. They stapled a page in my passport for a ninety day report, but after three weeks in LOS I am back in Cambodia.

    Still not sold on Thailand after spending six months on and off over the last year and think I will spend less this year. I wanted to go through the renewal process as not to have to jump through the new visa from the states hoops. At this point I probably don't need the visa as I can hop over for a month at a time which is enough at no cost. The cash and doing the immigration process isn't a big issue and will probably maintain the visa for that rainy day.

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    Senior Member 2girls1cup's Avatar
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    Extending the old visa is the way to go.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimCA2 View Post
    One year later and I managed to bumble thru my first renewal O-A process.

    I found forms TM 7 and TM 8 on line and filled them out as well as I knew how. Since I still keep money in the bank I went to the US Embassy website and downloaded the income statement that they notarize. I made and appt. with the embassy for 17 Oct. wondering if it would be open right after the King had died. Took the last appt time 10.45am.

    I flew into BKK on the 16th. Lucky for me, Buddha day and no real distractions to keep me out late. Things buttoned up solid. I took a moto from Nana to the embassy and got there around 10am and promptly got in and out before my actual appt. time. 50 bucks for one piece of paper. I had two W2 statements from two retirements and they could care less.

    Partied for a week then flew up to Udon Thani to meet my buddy up there and go to that immigration office. He has always said he is usually number one or number 2 in line. I made what someone said was a newbie mistake going in on the Tuesday after a Monday holiday. It was jammed packed and looked like chaos. I had gone in about 1030 and hung out for an hour and nothing was moving or if it was, it was at a snails pace. I decided to leave and they were going to close at noon for lunch anyway. Having gone back to my room I thought it would be wise to try to go back and sort it out. I went back around two PM. Empty. Got right in but the woman told me I needed a residence. I was staying at @Home at Udon I told here. She said I needed a contract, photocopy of the landlords ID and the house book. She kindly wrote it all out in Thai for me. I went back to the hotel and spoke to the Mgr/owner about my predicament. Not a problem. He made a copy of his ID and on the copy wrote something to the fact that I am staying there indefinitely on a daily basis paying the daily rate. He didn't have his house book for the place available but would get it to me by the next afternoon. Better yet the front desk handed it to me the next morning when I went out for breakfast.

    All this in hand I went back around 2pm that following day, no line or waiting and after about an hour of copying, flipping pages, filling in the blanks and stamping I got my extension and re entry permit. They stapled a page in my passport for a ninety day report, but after three weeks in LOS I am back in Cambodia.

    Still not sold on Thailand after spending six months on and off over the last year and think I will spend less this year. I wanted to go through the renewal process as not to have to jump through the new visa from the states hoops. At this point I probably don't need the visa as I can hop over for a month at a time which is enough at no cost. The cash and doing the immigration process isn't a big issue and will probably maintain the visa for that rainy day.
    #MotoAsia - Ultimate motorcycle tours

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    The beauty of the OA tho being it gives 1 year permissions to stay not 90 days.. So if you come in one day before the expiry of the 12 month visa, you get another (almost) year permission to stay.. Of course getting the re-entry permit essential after that if you want to leave and return.

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    Senior Member Robaht's Avatar
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    A bit off topic, and point me to a thread if ever, but is Phuket so stringent for residency docs, the landlord books, IDs, etc? If I went with just my contract and a smile I'd need to go back home for more?

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    answer IMO..yes...besides..whats the point of going to immigration half prepared?...bring everything even if you're not sure...why would anyone want to go down there...sit for an hour or so and then be turned away and told to come back with all the proper forms??..what a waste of time

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    Senior Member Robaht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrFeelgood View Post
    answer IMO..yes...besides..whats the point of going to immigration half prepared?...bring everything even if you're not sure...why would anyone want to go down there...sit for an hour or so and then be turned away and told to come back with all the proper forms??..what a waste of time
    Interesting that was my 500th post here lol. Yes, I get your point, but it is sometimes a pain in the ass to go fully loaded with docs given the time it takes to compile them, so it isn't absurd to ask what is "really needed". I spent 2 days and a flight/hotel in Bangkok to compile documents I'd need for my Non-Imm B in Penang only to have the guy pull out about 6 pages out of 100...so maybe going "half prepared" is actually "targeted" to what is actually requested? Not sure what they really look at for the Residence Certificate, maybe only a lease and passport and visa stamp. Any ideas or only conjecture?

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