(Updated last August 10, 2021)
Starting October 31, 2019, foreigners who are applying for and entering Thailand with a non-immigrant O-A visa must show that they have valid health insurance covering their period of stay.
What is a Non-Immigrant O-A Visa?
Non-immigrant O-A visa is a long-stay visa that can be applied at Thai embassies or consulates overseas. Applicants for one-year retirement visas must be 50 and up. They need police clearance, medical certificate, and now health insurance. They must either show evidence of monthly income of at least 65,000 baht or balance of at least 800,000 baht in their own bank account or Thai bank account for their application to be granted. This visa allows the visa holder to stay in Thailand for one uninterrupted stay from the date of arrival or entry.
What is the new requirement for the Thai retirement O-A visa?
The new rule specifies that the applicant or visa holder must have health insurance not be less than 40,000 baht for outpatient and 400,000 baht for inpatient medical fees. Policies can either be purchased from domestic or foreign insurers, but the sum of foreign policies must not be less than the amount stipulated for Thai policies.
By requiring foreign retirees to have health insurance, they can be ensured that they will be taken care of when they get ill and in case of an accident. This measure will solve over 100 million baht fees left unpaid by foreign patients. The measure will prevent foreigners from doing a runner for hospital fees.
Who are required to have health insurance?
The new rules will be applied to those who are applying for the non-immigrant O-A visa from the Thai embassy or consulate in their home countries, for those who enter the country for the first time with non-immigrant O-A visa and those who wish to extend their non-immigrant O-A visas inside Thailand.
Who are NOT required to have health insurance?
According to the immigration office, only foreign retirees holding non-immigration O-A visa will be affected. They will be required to present their insurance policies with the remaining coverage period for their stay or they would be denied entry or refusal of visa extension. According to the order, health insurance is not required for those applying for an extension of stay of a non-immigrant category O visa based on retirement or Thai wife.
Which companies participated in this scheme?
Here are some of the insurance companies that the applicants may obtain their health insurance to:
- Viriyan Insurance,
- Asia Insurance 1950,
- Thaivisa Insurance,
- Sompo Insurance,
- LMG Insurance,
- Thai Health Insurance,
- Navakij Insurance,
- Dhipaya Insurance,
- The Falcon Insurance,
- Pacific Cross Health Insurance,
- AXA Insurance,
- AETNA Health Insurance
What are my options if I am not qualified to get health insurance?
There are foreign retirees who are not eligible to have health insurance due to age requirement or due to pre-existing medical conditions. Here are the options that you can do to avoid the health insurance requirement and still obtain the 1-year visa extension:
1. First Time Applicant
- If you are a first-time applicant, you may avoid the health insurance requirement if you apply for the non-immigrant O visa instead of the non-immigrant O-A visa. You will obtain this non-immigrant O visa from the Thai embassy or consulate in your home country or country of residence.
- In your application, you will state that the purpose of travel is “in view of retirement”.
- In some countries, if you are receiving state pension, you will automatically qualify for a non-immigrant O visa.
- You will enter Thailand on the non-immigrant O visa. You need to prepare the financial requirement of 800,000 THB savings in a Thai bank account or an income letter from your embassy.
- On the last 30 days of your permit to stay, you will apply for the 1-year retirement visa extension.
2. Currently Holding Non-immigrant O-A Visa or O-A Visa Extension
- If you already in Thailand and you are currently staying under a non-immigrant O-A visa or extension of stay, you only have one option. You have to cancel the visa or let it expire and leave Thailand to avoid overstay.
- You may return to your home country and apply for the non-immigrant O visa as mentioned in option number 1.
- If you do not plan to travel back to your home country, you may also just travel to a neighboring country of Thailand and return as a tourist. You may return on a 60-day tourist visa or you may return on a 30-day visa exemption. If you will be asked by the immigration officer upon returning, you may state that you are going to change into a non-immigrant O visa based on retirement.
- After returning to Thailand as tourist, you will immediately sort out your Thai bank account to meet the financial requirement.
- You will apply for the “change of visa”. You will apply for the non-immigrant O visa based on retirement. The process will take 15 days. It is advisable to check with your local immigration office for additional requirements. Please note that some immigration offices will not accept using the monthly income when you change your status from tourist into non-immigrant O visa.
- Once you have changed to a non-immigrant O visa, you need to wait until you are half-way through the visa or once you are on the last 30 days of the visa before you can apply for the 1-year extension.
- You are only required to meet the financial requirement and the proof of address when you apply for the 1-year extension. The medical certificate, police clearance, and health insurance are not required.
3. Changing from Non-immigrant O-A visa to Marriage Visa
- There has been cases where the non-immigrant visa or visa extension holder is married to a Thai national. In this case, you can also change to a marriage visa.
- The non-immigrant O-A visa or extension should be canceled first.
- You must leave Thailand and apply for a new non-immigrant O visa based on marriage from a Thai embassy in neighboring countries of Thailand.
- You will re-enter Thailand and arrange the financial requirements.
- Before the end of the 90-day non-immigrant visa, you can apply for the 1-year extension based on Thai wife.
- Application for the 1-year marriage visa or extension of stay based on marriage is not covered by the health insurance requirement.
For travelers who are 75 years old and above, get your Health Insurance here:
The Thai Elite Visa holder does not need to pay income taxes especially when the income was derived abroad. What about OA and O Visa?
Yes, it is also the same for the Non O and OA visa holders. There is no need to pay tax in Thailand if you are paying tax in your country where the income was derived.
The STV requires long stay insurance and separate Covid cover. Can the long stay insurance cover same period for 3 months or is it 1year policy only? Thankyou.
Medical and Travel Insurance with a minimum 100,000 USD coverage for COVID-19 medical treatment and a minimum coverage of 400,000 THB for other medical and accident expenses. The insurance must cover for at least 90 days which is the initial validity of the visa. I believe you can use the same policy and the same insurance company.
My original visa was a 1 Year OA
I’ve extended with retirement stamped on extension for 5 years since then and the current extension expires 25 Nov 2020.
I have to hold 800K Baht year round in the bank to meet the Visa requirements so have adequate funding to pay my bills..
Do i still have to get insurance? If so how easy is it to convert to OA to O Visa and is there any reason not to do it?
Yes, you need to procure a health insurance valid for 1 year since the original visa was under the OA category. To change the visa into Non Immigrant O visa, please refer back to the article. I have stated 3 options for you.
I’m a holder of an extension to a Non-O visa currently outside of Thailand. To get back to Thailand I cannot (due to covid) use the still valid extension but need to apply for a Non O-A visa at the local Thai embassy. Do to so, I need insurance covarage. Have one with cigna, but was told that a policy from this company is not sufficient to extend the visa within Thailand once it runs out. You listed the applicable Thai companies in your article. I was now told by April Thailand that their MyHealth plan is also accepted when extending the O-A visa. I cannont find this company in any official lists. Can you help ?
The official list, you may find on this link:
Hi, I found over the internet that there’s a visa type called “Elite Visa” that you paid a certain amount of money per person or family and get a visa to stay in Thailand for 5, 10, 20 years depends on how much you are willing to pay. I cannot find that information in the Thai Consulate website. Is it legit? My parents are elderly and won’t be able to get health insurance (they have health insurance in the US but it will not cover medical bills in Thailand unless it’s an emergency). As you said, they can get the non-immigrant O visa but I worry rules might change that will require health insurance for type “O” visa in the future. Thanks in advance for your response.
Yes, there is a Thai Elite Membership and Visa. You may check their website on this link:
For your parents, they may also apply for a retirement visa by having a Non Immigrant O visa converted into retirement visa. This route does not require health insurance. For the past 10 years, health insurance was not required for this type of visa. The only type of visa that requires health insurance is the non immigrant OA visa which is also another type of a retirement visa.
Hello. My ‘NON-IMM’ visa (that’s the category stamped in the visa) was due for renewal on 19th August 2020, but I renewed it two weeks ago so it now expires on 19th August 2021. I am 72-years-old, retired, and have lived in Thailand for five years. I have always had health insurance since I arrived. My current insurance through Pacific Cross is for 700,000 baht per ‘incident’, with unlimited ‘incidents’, excluding out-patients, and I am covered for Covid-19. It is due for renewal at the end of September. I have received an email from my visa agent saying that to return to Thailand (I am in Thailand at the moment but had planned a important trip to Turkey next month) I would need insurance coverage for $100,000, specifically for covid, the premiums for which would be exorbitant at my age and far beyond what I could afford. The only information I can find on insurance is similar to that displayed on the AXA site, ‘Health insurance has been made mandatory for foreigners aged 50 years and above seeking long-term stay in Thailand for Non-Immigrant Visa “O-A” (Long Stay 1 year) and Non-Immigrant Visa “O-X” (Long Stay 10 years). The health insurance must offer medical claims for outpatient (OPD) must not be less than 40,000 Baht, for inpatient (IPD) must not be less than 400,000 Baht.’ There is no mention of the standard Non-O visa being subject to these insurance requirements, or to a value of $100,000. What I need to know is, as I have a standard non-immigrant visa issued in Thailand, does my insurance coverage qualify me for getting back into Thailand when eventually ex-pat residents are allowed to re-enter? Thank you.
Please know that your insurance, the one you have right now is only the requirement by Thai Immigration office. However, the 100,000 USD insurance for COVID-19 is requirement by the Civil Aviation Authority for any foreigner entering Thailand during this time. Also, please know that if your visa right now is under “RETIREMENT”, we do not recommend for you to leave Thailand, you might not be able to return because retirees are not on the list of foreigners allowed to enter Thailand according to the current notification of Civil Aviation Authority published on August 3rd.
Hi I have an immigration non O visa (retirement) issued here in Bangkok that is due for renewal in september and . Doi i need the medicla cover and who is offering the best deals
Health insurance is not required if the basis of your retirement visa was a Non-immigrant O visa. However, if you still wish to apply for health insurance for own safety, you may check this page for the list of insurance providers:
Not sure if your received this but my original visa that was issued in bangkok states Non O Retirement. Is there anyway of confirming its an O or an OA, without going to Immigration Building B.
If the 90-day Non Immigrant retirement was issued in Bangkok it is very likely that it is a category O visa. Therefore if you extend it to 1 year visa, it is Non O Retirement Visa and not OA visa. This means, you do not need to meet the health insurance requirement.
I’m 48 years old and I’m married to a Thai citizen, I’ve been living in Thailand since 2012 based on 1 year extension of stay originating from non immigrant ”O” marriage visa.
My extension of stay will expire on the 8th of October 2020.
I will have to go to Europe for medical reason at mid of August and I have air ticket to return to Thailand at the end of September.
1) what is going to happen to my 1 year extension if Thailand will not reopen its borders within the 8th of October ? Am I going to loose my 1 year extension ?
2) If that will happen, I will apply for a 90 days ”o” visa based on Thai spouse from Thai Consulate in my country. And I will leave Thailand after 90 days. Will be the health insurance compulsory in this case ?
Thanks for your kind help,
Here are my comments:
1. If you are unable to return to Thailand before October 8 from Europe, yes, your visa will expire and you will lose it. But you can return to Thailand before October because the airlines are allowed to travel with passengers who have Thai families.
2. If ever you lose the visa, you need to get a new non-immigrant O visa from Thai Embassy in your country and maybe certificate of entry. You will be given 90 days and you can extend it to 1 year marriage visa as long as you have 400,000 THB in a Thai bank account. Health insurance is not required for the marriage visa. BUT COVID-19 insurance will be required to fly back to Thailand.
I am holding a OA visa, would need to do a visa run to go out of Thailand to get a tourist visa etc. What if I can not re enter Thailand?
If you leave Thailand, you may have to wait until normal tourists will be allowed into the country. That could be in September or October. Thank you.
Thank you very much for your information.
Would my wife need to go with me to change my visa from marriage to retirement she is currently in England due to travel restrictions.
If you will renew your visa under Retirement, your wife does not need to be present. Thank you.
Can I change from a marriage visa to a retirement visa at any time?
Would I need health insurance if I change my visa from marriage to retirement visa.
Changing from Marriage Visa to a Retirement, must be done during the renewal and it has to be done at your local immigration office if they allow it. Health insurance is not required when changing Non Immigrant O marriage visa into a Retirement visa.
If you have sufficient funds in your bank account than you may not need health insurance
If your retirement visa under category O visa, then you only need to show funds and you do not need to show health insurance. If the the initial or first visa was under category OA visa, then you need to show funds and health insurance. Thank you.
Would you kindly share your thought on the rationale of health insurance requirement in one type of retirement visa (non O-A) and not in the other (non-O), or is it just a loop hole arising from a lack of coordination between the Health Ministry and Immigration Department ?
Here is our thought on this issue:
1. The non-immigrant OA visa application is done from a Thai Embassy outside Thailand or from the home country. Because the application is in the applicant’s country, the Thai embassy can issue the non-immigrant OA visa by merely showing proof of income or savings in their bank account in that country. Technically some foreigners can get this non-immigrant OA visa even without any money in a Thai account. This visa is valid for 1. There is the reason why non-immigrant OA visa should have a health insurance.
2. The non-immigrant O visa and the 1 year extension based on retirement which is issued in Thailand, requires the the proof of income coming to Thailand or proof of savings in a Thai bank account. That is why they do not need a health insurance since they already have a bank account in Thailand.
3. There is a loophole on this, because non-immigrant OA visa holders can extend their visas in Thailand after 1 year and in order for them to extend it, they need to have the funds in their bank account. Which is understandable. The things I don’t understand is that they also need to have health insurance due to the fact that they had a Non Immigrant OA visa issued abroad the previous year or years.
I hope this make some issues clear. Thank you
I hold an O visa and have been extending my yearly retirement visa for many years with multiple re-entry permits. My visa is good until Feb 2021. I cannot get insurance. 74 with heart problems. I was treated at the Korat hospital and am fine with that. I have a ticket to Canada June 19 but I am afraid that they may not let me return without insurance in October or november/ Do you see that as an issue. I have a thai common law wife with a multiple re-entry visa for Canada for her and my step daughter. We are not legally married but we could if that would help. any advice would be most appreciated
Good day. If your extension of stay is retirement and its original visa was category O visa, then you do not need a health insurance to enter Thailand and you do not need health insurance to renew it or extend it for another year. Please carefully check your very first visa. if it was non-immigrant O-A visa that was issued in Canada and extended every year in Thailand, then, that type of visa or extension will definitely require health insurance. Thank you.
Thank you Rex for your reply today to my comments of 13 May 2020 and your advice that under the current special rules my period of stay is extended to 31 July. I am still a little confused about extending my visa for the year. I have read the Immigration Bureau information release “The Government extends the permitted period of stay for aliens to temporarily stay in the Kingdom as a special case from 1 May 2020 to 31 July 2020” in which it states “Aliens permitted to temporarily stay in the Kingdom (all types of visa) – The permitted period of stay and notification of 90-day report shall be extended from 1 May 2020 to 31 July 2020. Once the situation is resolved, such alien must apply for visa extension and do 90-day reporting as specified by regulations”. Now, in my case I have been in the Kingdom since 2015 as a retiree extending my non-immigrant visa O-A annually. My visa is due for extension on 16 May. Now I tried to extend on 13 May but I did not know of the requirement for health insurance as it was not a requirement when I last got an extension, and I could not extend on the 13th. I am frantically trying to get health insurance and have lodged an application today with the forlorn hope that maybe it can be processed urgently and I can get an insurance certificate issued tomorrow and I can go and get my extension tomorrow before 16 May. But I don’t hold out much hope for that. Now, my understanding of the Immigration Bureau information release on the extension of the permitted period of stay as a special case until 31 July is that if I cannot get my insurance certificate and cannot extend my visa by 16 May, under the special rule in place my visa is already extended up to 31 July and once the situation is resolved I can apply for my yearly visa extension then. Can you advise me if my understanding of the special case rule is correct. If I cannot get my health certificate until later next week I can still extend my visa when the situation is resolved hopefully on 31 July (or when my health insurance certificate is issued). Sorry for being so long winded but I am trying to state my case as clearly as possible because when I ring my local Immigration Office or the Immigration Bureau hotline I am still confused about my situation after the call. I prefer to renew my visa rather than have it expire and then have to leave the country once the borders open then return as a tourist to start the process of applying for visa O then retirement visa. I Would appreciate your advice at your earliest convenience.
It is best to contact the local immigration office where you intend to extend your visa.
My non-immigrant O-A visa expires 16 May 2020. I tried to renew it today and learnt I need health insurance now. Instead can I go back to Thai immigration tomorrow and apply for non-immigration O retirement visa, instead of renewing of O-A visa, without health insurance? Or must I leave Thailand, obtain a non-immigrant O retirement visa and then return? also I understand that there is currently an amnesty on renewal of visas until 31 July 2020. Does that mean I have until then to either get health insurance, or to obtain O visa and I will not get penalty for over-staying past 16 May?
It is not possible to convert the non immigrant OA visa into Non immigrant O visa inside Thailand You need to leave Thailand and re-enter as tourist. Once you return, you can convert the tourist visa into non immigrant O visa and then into retirement visa without health insurance. Yes, you may stay in Thailand until July 31 if you cannot leave before that date. in this article we also discussed the option in changing from non immigrant OA visa into Non O visa.
After renewing my A-0 Visa for 20 some odd years under the original requirements/ terms, I am now told by a Thai Immigration agent that the terms will change when I try to renew my Retirement Visa this year requiring that I will additionally need to purchase a Hospitalization Insurance policy. I have had a couple of friends that have recently renewed their Retirement Visa and were not required to have the new insurance, I am confused. What is going on? Needless to say as I am on a limited retirement income and 75 years of age, I would like to avoid purchasing this insurance if possible. I need to know before I apply for my renewal where I stand regarding the necessity to purchase this insurance. The stress of having to pack a suite case and leave at a moment’s notice because my Visa renewal is declined because I have not been able to get clear explanation to know what to do because this new law has not been made clear. After the accumulation of all my possessions including a Thai family over many years seems rather insensitive. Any help in clarifying this issue would be greatly appreciated, not only for me but for many other Retiree’s
The reason may be that your friend’s retirement visa was based on a non immigrant O visa and your retirement visa was based on a non-immigrant OA visa. Please check your retirement visa and see what exactly was the basis of that retirement visa in the past. Should you wish to change to category O visa, please refer back to the article.
Hi i a am due to apply for an extension to my Non Immigrant OA retirement visa July 01 2020 as i have done for fhe previous 4 years.I would like to apply for the extension because i am married rather than as retired is this possible?
In this article, you will see the option on your can change your Non Immigrant OA Visa or OA visa extension into a marriage visa.
My problem is, my retirement visa will be expired on 10th June 2020, and I tried to purchase medical insurance from the listed insurance company, and their reply is, the policy period started on the date that the premium is paid and it take about 7 days to send the documents including the certificate.
So, it means that the period of insurance can never match with my visa, say, if I pay today, then the policy period is from 14th April 2020 to 13th April 2021 whilst my visa that I want to renew is from 11th June 2020 to 10th June 2021, will the Immigration officers accepted such a different because some people complaint in the internet that they met problem due to the different in the date.
If you have a Non Immigrant O Retirement visa, the health insurance is not required. if you have a Non Immigrant OA Retirement visa, the health insurance should cover most of the 12 months of the new Non Immigrant OA retirement visa.
I need to do a NON IMM O-A one year Visa Renewal here in Kingdom. I attempted to do a renewal as I have many years in the past without any problems but my application was rejected by my local Thai Immigration office. I have a high end health insurance plan from the USA but I was told that I need to take out insurance from a THAI Insurance company. I have read to the contrary that foreign insurance could be accepted as long as it conforms to their requirements.
What is the TRUTH ???
There are immigration offices that would accept an international health insurance provider as long as you can provide them the letter that they certify your insurance policy. It is best to contact your local immigration office about this letter.
Hi ,my question is , for the past 6 years i have held a retirement visa during that 6 years i have held health and personal accident insurance policies, all exceeding the required 400000 with Thailife insurance, my problem is this company dosenot have out patients cover. my question is can i maintain my present insurance provider and purchase the out patients policy from anther provider.
Thank in advance for help.
It is not clear whether your retirement visa extension of stay was based on category O-A visa or category O visa.
How do we know whether the visa is type O or type O-A base on the stamps on the passport? Would there be any difference between the two on the passport?
The type or category of the visa may be determined based on the visa sticker or stamp in the passport. The non-immigrant O-A visa is only issued by a Thai embassy or consulate outside Thailand. The non-immigrant O visa can be issued by a Thai embassy or consulate outside Thailand and the Thai immigration office inside Thailand.
I hold “double” nationality, Argentinean and Spanish. My intention is to enter Thailand using my Argentinean passport which allows me more time to explore the country.
I have been in Spain visiting family for about 2 months after leaving England, where I used to live.
I will arrive in Bangkok on April the 1st and was wondering if I will have to undergo quarantine due to the coronavirus.
If you will use the Argentina passport to enter Thailand, you will be given 90 days permit to stay. However, since you are entering Thailand from the UK or you have been in the UK in the last 14 days, you will be recommended to self-monitor for 14 days after entering Thailand.
Hi, what is the difference between a non-immigrant visa O vs non-immigrant visa OA? If am planning to retire in Thailand next year, what visa should I apply? If I want to avoid the health insurance, can I apply for a visa O and keep extending the O visa?
The difference between the non-immigrant OA and the O visa are the following:
To avoid health insurance, you need to get a non-immigrant O visa and extend it to a 1-year retirement visa. You can keep renewing it without health insurance.
I’m holding 1 year Thai married visa O. Do I need to have insurance in order to apply for an extension for 1 more year?
Health insurance is not required for those who are holding a non-immigrant O visa. Since you have a non-immigrant O visa based on Thai marriage, you are not required to have health insurance when you convert it to a marriage visa.
I am a holder of an OA visa issued in 2015. I have done many extensions in the kingdom. Am I required to have the new health insurance?
Since your current extension was based on the non-immigrant OA visa, you will be required to have health insurance.
The way to avoid health insurance is to restart the process (by letting your current extension expire and leave the country) and obtain a non-immigrant O visa and extend it. The succeeding extensions are based on a Non-Immigrant O visa, therefore, you will not be required to have health insurance.
Thank you for the response.
Now I understand what to do about my i.e. visa.
I am out of the kingdom now. I have come back to the united states for family matters.
My question is will I have to buy insurance before returning to Thailand? My visa does not expire until June next year.
I do not have the new insurance yet and will need time to research the different companies.
Based on reports, the immigration officers at the Suvarnabhumi Airport are not requiring the person entering on a non–immigrant OA visa to present health insurance. They state that it is only required if you will do the application at the embassy or application for extension at the immigration office.