What kind of visa for me?

So I am moving to Chiang Mai in spring of 2018.
- I want to take some classes in Thai language when I get there.
- I will be looking for jobs teaching English.
- At some point (2 years from now), I will start getting social security income.

So when I go in, should I just go in as a tourist, and change my visa when I get there? Too much trouble?
Can I get an educational visa before I leave? Do I really need that?
Can I just get a retirement visa and work as an English teacher when I find an opening?


If I were you, I would apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa “O” and stipulate you plan on retirement.  That will give you more flexibility going forward.  The category “B” for teaching is more restrictive and I believe you need to have a job already lined up.

Legally you need to have a business visa and work permit which can only be obtained if you have employment.

If you meet the requirements apply for Non-Imm O-A (retirement) visa before you leave the US and you will receive one year permission to stay stamp upon arrival in Thailand.

Should you later find a teaching job they should assist with visa change and work permit.

Thanks, and kop kun krap!

I wasn't sure I could get a teaching or work visa after I got a retirement visa. Thanks again!

It might not be possible for me to get a Non-Immigrant Visa "O-A". I'm not receiving social security yet. I will be counting on rental income to fulfill the "monthly income" part of their requirement. However, I won't have that rolling in until at least a month after I depart for Thailand.
http://www.thaiembassy.ca/en/visiting-t … -residents

Am I correct in assuming that I can arrive in Thailand as a regular tourist, then apply for my O-A while I am there?

The Thai Embassy site says that people on O-A visas can't work. So I assume that if they do find work, they will get a "B" visa, then convert back to a O-A visa when as and if that work concludes...?

You can come in on 30 day visa exempt stamp at airport (no cost), then go to US Embassy in Bangkok to get income affidavit notarized stating how much monthly income you have. It doesn't have to be a pension and they don't ask for any documentation. You have to sign a lease on apartment, then you can go to immigration to apply for 3 mth O visa & 12 mth O-A retirement visa.

I used company last year for my first time to help with all paperwork and to walk me thru it. This year, I did 12 mth extension myself.

When you fly in, they give you a form on the plane to fill out with your return flight, but I don't think they check at airport immigration if flight is legitimate... Last few times I flew in I just listed a flight I had used before, but didn't have return flight. I did however have my retirement visa which means I don't have to leave the country.

Good luck... click on my profile and email me if you want more info on what docs are required at immigration.
Good luck...

Zeus.wmo :

It doesn't have to be a pension and they don't ask for any documentation....

So it can be a (hopefully) accurate projection of future monthly income?

Weight lifted off back! Thank you!

I remember last time I visited they asked the address of the hotel I was staying at, and I just scribbled something vague. Nobody asked me about it. That's Thailand. :)

Yes, on the arrival side of the form they ask for hotel/condo you are staying.
On reverse side, the departure side, they ask for the return flight number... but, they don't check to see if any of it is legitimate.

late night here. will read email tomorrows.

The language institute of Chang Mai University offered excellent Thai language classes a few years back (they certainly still do). Highly recommended.

Be aware that you will need a Bachelor degree to apply as an English Teacher in most of the schools in Thailand. Without this Bachelor degree (and you have to present the original document, not a copy), it is almost impossible to get a teaching license. Without teaching license, no work permit and no visa.

My rental income will probably be short of the monthly income required for a retirement visa. I will need to wait a couple of years before I can apply for social security payments.
So I can see that I will need to arrange for a non-immigrant visa and find a school that will hire me (and, yes, I have a BA). But since I will have the rental income, the teaching job doesn't need to be too lucrative.

Actually you need first to find a school to hire you. You can't apply for an NonB visa if you don't have any employer.
So you have to enter Thailand with a tourist visa, sign a contract with a school and go out of the country to apply for a 3 month NonB visa. Once you have your visa, you need to get a work permit. With all your documents and the work permit you apply, in Thailand, for a 1 year extension of your NonB.
The other possibility is to find a job via an agency and they will prepare all the documents you need to apply for a NonB before entering Thailand.

Thank you for your many kind and informative answers.

Stupid question: For a non-immigrant visa, I need to buy a round-trip ticket, even if I don't have a plan to return (or at least not soon)?

This is a little confusing. It looks like I will have to get a return ticket just to satisfy the Thai government, but I may take the option to cancel the ticket of course.
http://www.thaiembassy.com/faq/thai-vis … ticket.php


I was told by Siam Legal that it does not need to be a return ticket.  It only needs to be an exit ticket. So book your flight to Bangkok and an Exit ticket to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, etc.... Make sure you book the exit to somewhere cheap and have the exit booked within the timeframe of the Visa you will be holding, i.e. no more than 60 days

Anchorman69, are you sure it was for an NonB visa ?
You definitely need an exit ticket for any tourist visa... but I am not so sure you need it for a nonB. Normally when you get your 3 month nonB, the first one, if you exit the country, you loose the visa, on the top of that, the first nonB has to be extended in the country, you can't extend it outside of the country ... so I don't see why they would ask you an exit ticket.
Honestly, I can't recall having to present an exit ticket. That's not a stupid question after all ;-)
You can double check all the informations here under point 2.4
http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/services/4 … s-and.html

As suggested previously, what you can do is book a one-way to Thailand and then a one-way anywhere else. It can be an expensive fully-refundable ticket so you can get your money back or a cheap ticket you don't use. The airline on last leg will give you a Thai arrival/departure card to fill out and on the departure side, it will have a place to put your return/onward flight number.

I came to Thailand many times as a tourist from 2014 thru 2016 and the Thai airport immigration never asked to see my return ticket.  Sometimes, when I flew to Thailand, the airline check-in asked me if I had a return/onward flight if it wasn't a roundtrip ticket with them. I always had one because I was always coming back or going on. But, the last time I flew to stay in Thailand for good, airline didn't ask me, but I was leaving Saudi for last time and had an exit visa. When I filled in the Thai arrival/departure card, I put a flight number from a previous flight even though I really didn't have a return/onward flight and it wasn't a problem.

Thanks so much for all the answers and leads!

I'm filling out my visa form now, hoping to get a 60-day visa to start with.

Fortunately I can drive to the "local" consulate several hundred miles away in Los Angeles. I guess I just need to make a weekend project of it.

It's curious that they don't offer some sort of mail service. For those in the US anyway, it must be a pain to be remote from the embassy in DC as well as the consulates in LA, NY and Chicago.

BTW: Interesting, and a little frustrating that this useful information is only in Thai:

No, I was wrong, I can mail in my visa application; I don't know where I got the idea that I couldn't.
Got a return ticket, even if I'm not planning to use it. Hopefully I can cancel it (if necessary) with basic travel insurance.

I finally got my passport back from the Thai consulate in Los Angeles!
I had considered driving down there (six+ hour drive) just to stand in line and come back in the morning etc. The consulate website said they would accept mailed-in applications. So I prepared my bundle and sent it in.
Then I realized these precious things could be lost in the mail and I would be screwed.
Panicking, I called the consulate. I couldn't get through to anyone, so I left a message. The following evening, a kind Thai-accented voice told me that they had my application and would be sending it out on the next day.
Last Sunday, I received my passport with 60-day visa stamp on it.
I'm in!

Another pesky question:
If I do currently have a tourist visa (60-day), then do I need POOT (proof of onward travel) anymore?
After all, I am planning to apply for a retirement visa.

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