Webinar: Thailand Permanent Residency

PR webinar

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Transcription

Mark Friedman:

You’ll notice that your mics and cameras are turned off. I frequently make the mistake in these webinars of forgetting that I’m not on mute and end up creating some background noise. So we’ve just eliminated that possibility. But we are going to be taking questions from everybody and you will see up above in the menu bar a chat function. So if you have a question for us, please go ahead and click on that and type in your question. Our participation this evening, quite frankly, is exceeded what we were originally planning on. So we’re very, very pleased by the robust turnout and the interest in PR, but it’s very likely that we’re not going to be able to get to everybody’s questions. So what we’ve decided to do is we’re going to create an FAQ and when we post the recording of this, we’ll also post the FAQs and hopefully we’ll get to all of your questions. Okay? So let’s begin the slideshow Wil, if you will.

Mark Friedman:

Great. And if we could turn down, I don’t know if we’re going to keep hearing that beeping, but that’s okay, it is what it is. We still have people coming in and we appreciate it’s after work today. So let’s go to the next slide. And now the next slide please. So before we get started on the substantive portion, some good news, we’re going to give a free giveaway. So you’re going to have to stick around for the first, I would say three quarters of the presentation. Not all the way till the end, but we hope you’ll find our giveaway to be helpful and interesting. We will deal with as many questions as we can at the end. We want to be respectful of people’s time and keep this to about a 45 minute presentation. And again, if we don’t get your questions answered, we’re going to post FAQs. And if you have particular questions about your particular circumstances, you can always reach out to us at hello@btisolutions.co.

Mark Friedman:

And P’Ing and her team would be happy to address your particular circumstances. And as I said before, we’re going to be sharing the recording, so if you miss something or want to go back and take a look at the materials, you’re going to have an opportunity to do that. Great. So let’s get started on the substantive part. And I think P’Ing and I always like to talk to people about PR, about why folks should consider this, and there’s a fundamental difference between those of us who are extending our visas every year and permanent residency. And the fundamental difference is when you’re on what I call the nons, the non O, the non B, the non ED, your legal right to be here in Thailand is dependent on particular circumstances. And that circumstance could be the school you’re attending, the business you started, the job you hold, a Thai family, and sometimes or frequently it’s a combination of all of those things.

Mark Friedman:

Knowing that it’s tied to particular circumstances, what we learn in life and particularly in a post covid environment, is that circumstances can change. And when those circumstances change, we begin searching for a new legal right to remain in the Kingdom because frankly we consider this our home. Permanent residency is a fundamentally different opportunity to be here. It means that you’ve immigrated to Thailand, and as an immigrant to Thailand, you don’t need a particular circumstance or reason to be here. And in that regard, you’re treated as if you were born here. You could continue working or you could stop working. You could have an upset with the family or any number of other circumstances, but you will still have the legal right to remain in the Kingdom. And so it just is the difference between being a non-immigrant visa holder or an immigrant to Thailand. And the other thing we found with our clients and our friends is that over time our connections to Thailand deepen, we really do solidify our thinking around making this our home.

Mark Friedman:

And being an immigrant to Thailand is the best way to protect those relationships that you’ve created. The way I think about this is that when my wife immigrated to the US as a spouse of a US citizen, she got her green card and she had the right to remain in the country for as long as she liked and exit and enter when she liked, and it was never dependent on circumstances. That’s the same opportunity you have with permanent residency. So that’s kind of the conceptual and maybe more esoteric reason to consider permanent residency. There’s some practical reasons and as I get older, I think that my time, it seems much more valuable and seems to go by a lot more quickly. And so if you do successfully achieve permanent residency status, you’re not going to be involved in visa extensions and thinking about it and keeping track of those, you’re no longer required to do any 90 day reporting.

Mark Friedman:

If your circumstances change, you’re not scrambling to find a reason, a legal connection to Thailand. And finally, maybe more importantly, you do get to enter Suvarnabhumi like a Thai national, so that’s always fun. So given the fact that there’s a fundamental difference between continuing to hold your non O visa and permanent residency and the clear advantages to being an immigrant from a number of perspectives, what holds people back and P’Ing and I talk to lots and lots of prospective clients, I’m an avid fan of looking at those Facebook groups and those chats in there, I try to ignore the trolls and just go to the substantive piece of it.

Mark Friedman:

And there’s also great forums like Asean where people are talking about their concerns and their understandings about this. And so we’ve identified five reasons that people don’t apply for permanent residency. It takes forever to complete and there’s no finish line. It doesn’t fit within my budget and simply too expensive. The paperwork can seem time consuming and overwhelming. I live in an expat community and I really haven’t sharpened my Thai skills. And then there’s the human nature aspect of it, which is what’s the rush, right? Everything’s been fine, my HR department has been handling my renewals all these years, and so why make a change now?

Mark Friedman:

So let’s take these one by one and P’Ing and I are going to share the responsibilities for these. And the first one is, the first misconception is it just takes too long to complete. By the way, one of the things that we’re going to do here is we are going to contextualize this, part of our practice is not only the inbound group that P’Ing leads for expats forming their connections, either business or personal at Thailand, we also have an outbound group led by Noina and she helps Thai nationals immigrate to other countries. And so we’re just going to help you understand from a contextual standpoint, what Thais are facing when they immigrate and how different or similar it is to your experience if you go ahead and apply for permanent residency. So one thing we do want to assure you is that if you do apply for permanent residency, there is a finish line to this and I’ll let P’Ing talk about that timeline. Let go to the next slide please.

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

Thank you. I am here today to talk to you about why PR benefiting from PR and how you can achieve your goal to spend a lifetime in Thailand as a second home. Is it true that it take too long to complete? No, it doesn’t take too long to compete if you have a good guideline, roadmap and specialist in this matter to assist you in every step of the way and the timeline for the Thai PR application. Normally the window will open in November or December so you can find the application with the office until the last working day of the year.

Mark Friedman:

Can I add something there?

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

Yes.

Mark Friedman:

So this is really up to the discretion of the Minister of the Interior. We’re expecting what over the next couple of weeks for the minister to announce the opening of the application window. It’s the same minister as last year and last year it opened right around the second or third week of November. So there will be a public announcement made here shortly. And then once the window opens, you can begin to submit applications and that application window closes firmly at the end of the calendar year.

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

Yeah.

Mark Friedman:

Okay.

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

Right after filing the application, you have about four to six months to practice your dual Thai language, which will arrange in the second quarters or by middle of April or May. And for the approval it may take at least one and half to two years to get the approval from the Ministry of Interior. Once your application is approved, you need to apply for the PR, permanent resident certificate from immigration bureau, then applied the alien book from the local police station where you have your resident. And the last one, you need to contact the district office to register your name into the blue book, or we call in Thai the tabien baan, with the district office. Why? Because time is a precious commodity. You will be free from all visa extension. You can stay goodbye for the 90 day reporting forever. You can take a many year gap or you can get back to work or get an employment anytime without applying a new non B visa or non O visa and you’re free of the requirement of the visa extension.

Mark Friedman:

So just to finish the thought on the timeline, P’Ing has been helping people for many, many years successfully achieve PR. People have gotten approvals as early as one year from the time that they filed. Typically, the sweet spot is 18 months. It can be as long as 24 months. And just to put that in context, if you came to us today and said that you wanted to immigrate to the US with your Thai spouse, maybe you have elderly parents or you have a son or daughter that matriculated and is attending university there, and you were lightning quick in providing us all the documents we needed to file your CR-1, lightning quick would be four to six weeks, it would till still take about 14 to 16 months to get through the US Customs and Immigration Service, the National Visa Center run by the State Department and the interview with the US Embassy.

Mark Friedman:

So that timeframe, just to contextualize it isn’t that much different than somebody who is immigrating to the United States as a spouse. Okay, let’s go to the next slide please. So this is an issue for some people, and that is the expense. How much does this cost and what are the benefits? And I would say that this is a very personal decision to weigh the cost and benefits because, let’s go to the next slide please, it is never expensive to immigrate to a country. And the reason is that along the continuum of due diligence that a country is going to perform when you ask for the right to be in that country, permanent residency and citizenship is at the far end of that continuum, which means that it’s going to go through the most amount of hands in terms of governmental agencies and stakeholders. It’s going to require the most amount of documentation, background checking and time.

Mark Friedman:

So it’s not inexpensive to go through this process. And I was going to put all of these denominations in US dollar equivalents, but if anybody has been watching currency levels of late, that was changing by the hour. So we just left it in, and you can go on Google and run your own currency conversion here, but I think the Thailand, while the government fees are slightly higher than the US, and about equivalent to the UK spousal visa, by the way, the range on the left hand side as I look at this slide, those are the government fees on the left hand side of the ledger. The lower number is if you are applying under the Thai dependent category and the right hand number, the 202,000 baht is if you’re applying for economic contribution. So those are those two numbers. But what’s at risk here is that in order to apply, you need to pay 7,600 Thai baht.

Mark Friedman:

That’s the application fee. The figures that I just quoted to you are only paid if, and only if, your PR application is approved and at the time that it’s approved. Now that’s unlike the US and we’ve had clients who have paid their green card fees only to have either the application rejected or because of covid or for some other reason the application was allowed to lapse, and you’ve got to pay those fees over again. So I think the risk is really mitigated in Thailand in terms of when those fees are due. On the right hand side of the ledger, we talk about professional fees and we sincerely mean this to say this is a very personal decision, and you can get to the finish line in permanent residency doing this yourself. It’s a decision based upon budget, the time that you have and really your predilection for dealing with forms and dealing with government agencies and putting this together.

Mark Friedman:

But the way we think about building a complete package, it’s like building a house, and you need a good plan that consists of a thorough checklist of everything you’re going to need to put together to complete the application. It also helps, for example, if you have a Thai spouse or friends that speak Thai, this is after all a Thai immigration process to help you out. And we know a number of spouses that help their expat husbands and wives complete a lot of this documentation and so on. So it is a personal decision, you can get through it, but if you choose to engage a professional, I’d advise you to spend some time with different resources. Immigration, like other areas of the law, is a real partnership between the client and counselor. And so you really want somebody you’re going to be comfortable with for the next six months to a year in terms of exchanging information and working with them to get to the finish line.

Mark Friedman:

The other thing, as you’re balancing whether or not the cost is worth the benefit, time is a precious commodity as P’Ing and I have noted, so you’re out of annual extensions. That’s a picture of main immigration or what at least my impression of main immigration is like every time I’ve been there. You don’t have to keep track of your 90 day reporting. And of course there’s no scrambling if your circumstances change. And let’s go to the next slide. We’re hoping for the good old days of pre covid when this would be your experience at Suvarnabhumi and all the tourists have come back and you’re standing in the line. But if you achieve PR status, let’s go to the next slide.

Mark Friedman:

You just enter the country as if you were a Thai national. So there is that thing. Okay, so let’s talk a little bit about the paperwork. I say it’s not rocket science. My father was literally a rocket scientist, quality control manager for the Gemini booster program, for those of you old enough to remember that. This is a process of getting the Thai government and the various agencies to get to know you and your family and your work circumstances better and P’Ing, why don’t you go ahead and take us through that.

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

Yeah. For the paperwork is too complicated for you to apply and arrange once when you are a non immigrant visa and one year visa extension. But if you have three year and if you get the PR, you apply for the PR, it show you free form, like a spin your head with many… A big pile of paper and run to many government agency to get certified documents.

Mark Friedman:

So I think the first thing that the government’s going to want to know is who are you? And the very first thing they’re going to want to know is what visa have you been here under? And how many years have you been extending that visa? Because P’Ing has instructed me that three years extension rule is a hard and fast rule. So why don’t you explain that please.

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

Okay. You need to extend or you need to be in Thailand with non immigrant visa, one year visa for at least three consecutive years. And with the non B or non O or support, do you have family and working in Thailand, pay tax into Thailand with the minimum requirement.

Mark Friedman:

So to put a finer point on that, a non B extended for three years, not two years and 11 months, but three years.

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

No, three years.

Mark Friedman:

…or a non O dependent visa, and you’ve achieved a work permit under that visa and it’s again, it has to be extended, and it can’t be a combination of those visa, it has to be the same category of visa for three consecutive years. And any break means you start over again.

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

Yes. And you need to stay with your current employer for at least one year before you submit the application.

Mark Friedman:

So you could extend your non B for three years but with different employers so long as your last employer you’ve been with for at least 12 months before you submit.

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

Yeah.

Mark Friedman:

Great point. And then I think the second thing is what economic contribution have you made to the Kingdom?

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

Yes, you need to provide the certified document to prove that you pay tax into Thailand, you file your type personal income tax to Thai revenue department.

Mark Friedman:

And there’s information online that’s outdated in terms of salary levels. And we’d encourage everyone to really take a look at that because that’s something that immigration pays close attention to. So we see people thinking that 40 to 50,000 Thai baht a month is sufficient?

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

Is not sufficient for the Thai, is sufficient to get the one year visa stamp. But for the requirements, the minimum requirement for Thai PR under the category of support Thai family, should at least, 60,000 monthly income, 60,000 to 80,000 a month.

Mark Friedman:

And if you don’t have Thai dependents, I think you’re recommending 80 to a hundred thousand?

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

Yes. If you don’t have a Thai family or relationship with the Thai citizen, your minimum salary should be 80,000 to 100,000 a month.

Mark Friedman:

And then I think the last thing that immigration is interested in, is if you’re claiming Thai dependence, proving up their identity, right?

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

Yes. Yeah. If you choose the category of support Thai family, the whole family member, they need to arrange or provide the DNA test.

Mark Friedman:

Right? So there is an advantage actually for you to get PR because you can bring dependents under your PR status and they have the right to basically be treated as immigrants as long as you do. So it’s a tremendous advantage. Let’s go to the next slide. So I view the Thai government in terms of what level of proof is kind of a belt and suspenders jurisdiction. And while in the US and the UK and Australia, it may be enough to submit your tax records and submit those under penalty of perjury, here in Thailand, you’re going to have to go to the Department of Revenue and get the certified copies of those records as well. Similarly, with your work history, you can submit a copy of your work permit and you can declare under penalty of perjury what your work history has been, but you’re still going to need to go to the Department of Labor and pull the certified records out of that.

Mark Friedman:

And as P’Ing mentioned, you can provide your marriage certificate and all your birth certificates, but the Thai government still requires absolute proof. And the absolute proof of proving you have a child, is a DNA test. And that has to be arranged through a government hospital. It can’t be done privately. And that’s a long lead time. So if you have any takeaway from the paperwork is too complicated, it’s doable, it just takes some diligence and we’d advise to start getting started on that sooner rather than later to meet the deadline by years end. And then the final thing is for those who have been under long term visas, this probably comes as no surprise, but you’ll need medical clearance and you’ll also need criminal background clearance and the US that takes about a month I think, to get those. So that’s the kind of universe of paperwork, and again, if you get a good checklist, get a good questionnaire and start building out your application brick by brick, it’s doable to get this done by years end.

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

Sure.

Mark Friedman:

So this is one that is near and dear to my heart, and we hear this very frequently. “Hey, I’m an expat. I live in an expat community. I really don’t speak a lot of Thai. In fact, my wife and I, we speak what I call Tinglish to each other. She likes to practice her English I try to practice my Thai, so there’s a little push and pull there.” But the answer is you don’t need to speak fluently, you don’t need to be somebody like P’Ing who holds a law degree. But the question is, can you be conversational in Thai at an intermediate level? So the way that this is tested is, as P’Ing mentioned, about five to six months after you submit your application in November or December, you will have an interview scheduled, you’ll sit in an anti room with a bunch of other folks and then your turn will be called to go into the room.

Mark Friedman:

There’ll be between six and 10, government officials sitting at around a table and you’ll take a chair. It will be recorded and they’re going to converse with you in Thai and you’re going to answer in Thai for about 10 to 15 minutes. I’d say two things. First of all, it’s pretty basic, who you are, what you like to do, where you live, where you work, what your company name is, some things about Thailand and that sort of thing. And it’s the ability to understand and respond to those questions exclusively in Thai. The good news is, if you decide to file this year, you’ve got several months to prepare and we would advise getting a Thai instructor, that’s a picture of Kru Arisa, who happens to be my Thai instructor, she’s terrific and I’m going to tell you why in just a minute because it has to do with our free giveaway.

Mark Friedman:

And she holds group lessons, and one on one lessons with folks. You can get her contact information through the resources section of our website and I’m sure lots of you know lots of Thai teachers and you just find the person that’s the right fit for you and start really focusing on that conversational aspect of your Thai journey. In order to help you do that, and here’s the free giveaway, we’ve decided to create flashcards. Why did we do this? Well, it’s kind of a personal thing, when my wife was completing her journey for citizenship, she had to study a hundred US civics questions. But the USCIS, the US Customs and Immigration Service was nice enough to put together a beautiful set of flashcards to cover all of this, and the Thai community in Los Angeles would circulate this box so that by the time we got the flash guards that were rather dog eared, but boy were they a help.

Mark Friedman:

And every night, my wife totally over-prepared for this. We went through five or six of these questions. So I looked around and I didn’t see anything similar or might be out there, but I just couldn’t find it, for the Thai language interview. And so what we’re offering to you by going on the link below, btisolutions.co/pr-special is flashcards in a couple of different forms. One is on an app that you can customize, that you can hear the language spoken. So for anybody that’s technology savvy or even adept, which we are not, we’d advise downloading this on the app and practicing with your friends and family and spouses. For us old school folks who went to law school with pen and paper, we created a do it yourself cut and paste version. So you’ll actually have a hard copy that you can work from, and again, have fun with your friends and family.

Mark Friedman:

And I’ve watched too many Ronco commercials, those of you who are in the US will recognize that brand, but in any event, there’s more. And we decided to go ahead and print out box sets. They’re currently at the printer and we expect those to be available in the next couple of weeks. If you want one, go ahead and email to us at hello@btisolutions.co, put in the subject line webinar PR box set and give us your Thai postal address and we’ll stick one in the mail to you. The only thing we ask is that you pay it forward and when you successfully achieve PR status, you take that box and you pass it along to a friend or a colleague or maybe your brother or sister who are thinking about PR, so that they can get the benefit of that. Okay, great.

Mark Friedman:

So the last piece that we wanted to talk about before we get to your questions is, it’s human nature to kind of settle in and get comfortable with things. Many of you have HR departments that help you extend your visa every year. You may even get two years on your work permit because you worked for a BOI company. I mean there’s lots of reasons and the status quo seems pretty solid and so on. But we all know that that change is a fact of life. And I’ll give you a couple of examples of real life instances that we’ve seen clients face and have told us that they wish they had looked at PR earlier. The most common example we see are busy executives that are running their companies here in Thailand or have significant job responsibilities or traveling significantly. And they get toward the end of their career and they’re a month or two away from retirement and they suddenly realize that that non B visas that they’re holding, was about to be relinquished because they were retiring.

Mark Friedman:

And they come to us and they say, “We want to go for permanent residency.” And the problem is that unless we can figure out a way to maintain that non B visa, at least until we file that PR application, they may lose that tenure, and so it’s a bit of a scramble. We’ve seen in this challenging economic environment, partnerships, breakup or companies close or downsize. And that’s never a pleasant thing to go through, and again, if you’re being here, the circumstance of your being here is based upon your work, and you haven’t achieved immigrant status, again, you’ve got to find another vehicle to keep you in the country. And then we’ve even heard stories where, “We love our Thai spouses dearly, they have graciously agreed to help us with our next visa extension and they talked to a visa agent or talked to a friend or read something somewhere.” And unbeknownst they’ve changed the category of visa from non B to non O dependent. And suddenly you find yourself losing your tenure.

Mark Friedman:

So our point to is that if you do qualify, it is within your budget, and you’re not daunted by putting together this application, doing it sooner rather than later is probably a good idea and something you should think about in terms of your long term strategy of staying here, because we know that change is a fact of life and as things change and if those change our circumstances that legally bind us to Thailand, we find ourselves from time to time in a bit of a pickle. Anything you want to add to that?

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

No. Okay. Yeah, you did great.

Mark Friedman:

Thank you very much. And the last thing I’ll tell you, and I think we’ve touched on this before, is being an immigrant to Thailand means you have the same opportunities for change, the same optionality as if you were born here. So you’re working away, you want a change in your career, your job, or you’ve decided that you found a great business idea that you think will fly here or you just want to put your toe in the water and after slugging it out for 10 or 12 years, you want to take a little sabbatical and take a break, with PR status and with immigrant status to Thailand, all of that’s available to you.

Mark Friedman:

And finally, I think the most important thing we have in our lives, are our relationships. The more time we spend here, and I’ve talked to people who have been here from several years to a few decades, you really do want to protect those relationships and not base those relationships on circumstances, legal circumstances, but rather the fact that you’re an immigrant to Thailand and this is your home. So thank you very much for your time, We really appreciate it. And Chiara, you have some questions?

Chiara Budelli:

Yes.

Mark Friedman:

That we can answer?

Chiara Budelli:

Okay. First one, Mr. Altin ask, does the new LTVs that also count as part of the three years?

Mark Friedman:

And it’s Altin, is that correct? Okay, so go ahead.

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

No, for three years of LTR program, they don’t combine all three as one year visa under the PR program.

Mark Friedman:

So, and that may change, it’s early days in the LTR program, and it was just rolled out by the Board of Investment on September one. Our colleague View is down with the officer, the captain of the desk almost daily to get updates on what information they’ll collect. By the way, I think it’s a terrific visa program and you should go on the BOI site. They’ve done a very, very good job of providing checklists and brochures and explanations of who qualifies for that visa. And it does get you out of that annual visa extension update. But the one thing I will tell you, and caution you about is before you jump to an LTR visa, if you are considering permanent residency to P’Ing’s point, it will break your tenure for those extensions you’ve been doing under your non O dependent or your non B visa. So great question Altin, thank you.

Chiara Budelli:

And Mr. Dan is asking, are the permanent resident liable for tax on oversee income?

Mark Friedman:

So that’s a great question.

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

Yes, is a great question because for the Thai permanent resident and the PR order, he need to check or study about double DTA, double taxation agreement.

Mark Friedman:

And so I talked to your accountant about the possibility of double taxation. I will say with the LTR program, foreign income is expressly excluded from taxation and the tax rate is capped at 17%. So another reason to look at LTR, but again, check with your tax attorneys to make sure that you don’t get hit for double taxation. And I know in the US for example, you do get credits. I get credits for taxes that I pay here in Thailand.

Chiara Budelli:

And we have Mr. Roland asking, what about those here on the retirement visa? Can they apply for PR?

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

No, we cannot for retirement purpose because the important piece of paper that the committee or Thai immigration rule require is a cap payment in Thailand.

Mark Friedman:

So again, if it’s three years of extending your non O dependent or three years of extending your non B, that qualifies you the non O based on age or shorthand retirement visa does not, you can’t work under that visa, you can’t pay taxes under that visa. However, if you do have a Thai dependent, you could switch and start to assume that tenure over a three year period of time, or if you decide to work or start a company, that would be another long term strategy to eventually qualify for PR. I will tell you though, before you renew your non O retirement visa, you ought to look at the LTR program to see if you qualify. It requires a certain level of income or investment in the country. But if you do qualify, it’s in my view from a time savings and the other benefits under that visa, a superior visa product. But something you should look at on the BOI site.

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

We will show me a equation from our participant. He asked that if… Once they change events, they submit the application and they terminate employment agreement with the employer, that will affect to their application.

Mark Friedman:

That’s a great question.

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

But it doesn’t affect to their application because when they submit application, the officer will consider the paperwork that support their application, but the important thing, when they quit a job or terminate employment agreement, they need to contact our immigration, tell PR they need to get a new stamp under… We call it the period of under consideration. They will give you a six-month period.

Mark Friedman:

And this is a great point. So, let’s say that you apply on December 15th under a non-B, and in March of the following year, you decide to leave the employment, or the company downsizes, or if there’s some change in your employment status. What P’Ing is saying to you is your grandfathered, but you need to be proactive with the immigration bureau in the PR section to make sure you get that visa stamp, that notes that your PR application is pending. And that’s another kind of why now reason to apply. Because if you are planning on leaving a job, or the business is having some challenges, or otherwise, get that application in under your current non-B or your non-O during the pendency of that approval process. Now, at the end of that approval process, and you get approved, then you’ll go from that pending kind of non-B visa status, or non-O dependent status, now you’re a permanent resident. You’ve immigrated to Thailand. So, there is a benefit for getting the application in. Great question. Thank you for that.

Mark Friedman:

One question that we’ve frequently get asked, is permanent really permanent? And I think, a number of people who asked that, is there any way to lose your permanent residency status? And the answer is yes, there are a couple of trip wires. One that kind of drives me a little bit crazy. But the other one happened during the COVID pandemic to a couple of our clients and we’ve had to appeal the loss of their PR, appeal for reinstatement. And that is you have to touch base with Thailand at least once a year and come into the country if it’s for a few days, or for a few weeks, but don’t be absent from Thailand for longer than 365 days.

Mark Friedman:

The other one that drives me completely around the bend… But it is what it is. You play the cards that you’ve been dealt. … is if you forget to get re-entry permits and you leave the country even under PR, you can lose your PR status.

Mark Friedman:

So, a good rule of thumb out there for everybody is just put it on your calendar, and once a year, buy your multiple reentry permits if you have any intention to leave the country, or if you ever go to Suvarnabhumi and you can’t recall, go to the desk and buy your reentry permit there, please.

Mark Friedman:

What’s interesting is that for the cost, the price of admission of an LTR visa, that includes all your re-entry permits. So, if they can do it for a 10-year visa, why can’t they do it for PR? I think that’s something that our respective chambers of commerce should work on with the Thai government, but we’ll see if we can get that changed at some point.

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

We will receive a new question because… To answer your question, na-ka, the PR holder, even you have the PR certificate, but you cannot buy or you cannot own the piece of land under the Thai law, except Thai citizen.

Mark Friedman:

Right. Another good point. So, you can invest in a condo, and in fact, there’s a category of LTR visa where if you invest $500,000 U.S. equivalent into the country, and that can be a combination of government bonds, publicly traded securities and real estate. But condominium purchases are what’s available to you. And outside of that, in order to purchase land here in Thailand, you need to be a citizen. So, why don’t we do one last question? Again, we want to be respectful of people’s time.

Mark Friedman:

This is a good question. Can we scroll up just a little bit so we get a name? It’s Hans. Hello, Hans. Hans asked: On average, what is the percentage of applicants measured against the PRs granted per year?

Mark Friedman:

So, there’s a couple of answers there. We will not recommend that somebody submit an application unless we’re convinced, and sometimes we even preview with decision makers how that application is likely to be viewed.

Mark Friedman:

So, P’Ing’s got to use a baseball analogy, a high slugging percentage, and we don’t really… I don’t think that the Bureau of Immigration posts the percentage of applications that are rejected, but I would say that if you have any question, consult with somebody. Our consultations initially are free. Talk to another resource, talk to somebody who’s been through the process, or you can talk to the captain at the desk at immigration yourself and really get a good sense of whether you’ve got a shot based upon your qualifications.

Mark Friedman:

The one thing that people do ask in that regard is, will I get rejected because of this hundred person quota? And the answer is no. There’s only historically been two nationals, Chinese and Indian nationals, who have exceeded the quota amount. But for every other country, the quota really hasn’t come into play. So, I wouldn’t be concerned about that. I’d be more concerned if you do intend to apply this year of making sure that your application is thorough and complete rather than rushing it to beat some quota standard.

Mark Friedman:

So, again, we want to thank everybody for their time. This was an extremely well-attended event and we hope it was useful for you. Again, we’ll remind you, we’re going to put up a recording of this on our website. We’re also going to put up FAQs for… And we apologize to all the people whose questions we couldn’t get to, but we’re going to answer all of your questions. And again, if you’ve got particular circumstances and close questions about your visa extensions and maybe a break in your work permit or whatnot, send us a note at hello@btisolutions.co. Not .com, .co, and we’ll answer your question. P’Ing spends lots and lots of time with people who are serious about PR, giving them consultations, and sometimes it’s a thumbs up and sometimes it’s talk about it next year, but we’ll give you our best thinking. So, thanks again. We really appreciate it. And Peiying, thank you. It was great.

Kasinee “Ing” Suwanagudt:

Thank you.

Mark Friedman:

Take care.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I lose my permanent residency?

Yes, under limited circumstances you can lose your PR if you:

  1. Leave Thailand without a Reentry Permit or
  2. You do not return to Thailand for a full year.

However, there are exceptions for point 1.2. In the event that you could not enter Thailand due events beyond your control (e.g. travel ban due to pandemic), or other uncontrollable and unforeseen circumstances, you can appeal the order to revoke your PR by providing the aforementioned reasons.

Can I apply for Thai PR if I am on a Non-O retirement visa?

No, the retirement visa category does not qualify for PR.

Can I apply for PR if I earn less than the required amount?

No, your application will not be accepted for approval as minimum income is one of the most important requirements for the Business category. You can fix this over a three year period by earning and paying taxed in the required amounts.

If I don’t live in Bangkok, can I apply for PR in my local province?

Yes, you can apply for PR at the Bureau of Immigration Office located in your Province. Note that once you submit the application it will be sent to Bangkok for consideration and approvals.

Will I need a work permit to work if I have PR?

Yes, you will still need a Work Permit. However, you will no longer required to have 4 Thai employees in order to qualify for a work permit.

How much Thai do I need to speak for the PR interview?

You will need to have basic conversational skills. You should be able to hold a simple 10-15 minute conversation. Here is a link to a free Permanent Residency Interview Guide with more information.

Can I buy land if I hold PR?

No, you cannot buy land in Thailand under PR. You will need to receive Thai citizenship in order to be permitted to purchase real estate, other than a condominium.

Can I travel outside of Thailand while my PR is under consideration?

Yes, but you will need to obtain a Re-entry Permit before you travel out of Thailand. You will receive an “under consideration” stamp while you are waiting to be issued your PR. During this period, you will still be residing in Thailand under your Non-immigrant visa, and thus you can travel out of Thailand in the ordinary course with a Re-entry permit.

How long does it take after I submit my application to receive PR?

The consideration period is typically about 16-24 months.

Will my application be rejected if I quit my job while waiting to be granted PR?

No, your application will not be rejected if you quit your job while your PR is under consideration. However, if you applied for your PR under the Humanitarian category and you get a divorce while under consideration, you will need to change the category to Business category.

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Mark Friedman

Managing Director of Baan Thai
Mark is a member of the California Bar and a 1987 graduate with honors from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

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