Many Australian retirees have opted to relocate abroad for their sunset years, with Thailand being amongst the top choices for settlement. The decision to move abroad as a senior can be difficult as it often means having to make major life changes that you may need to commit to for the rest of your life. But many Australian retirees have happily made this transition for good reasons. 

Why Australians Are Retiring to Thailand

The most commonly mentioned justification for this change is the cost of living. Australia is a very expensive country to live in. And for many retirees who are on a limited income, it simply makes sense to go where their money can be more easily stretched to meet their needs. From the cost of housing to food, Thailand is far more affordable, meaning that ex-pats have more money left over that they can spend on other necessities and luxuries. 

The cost of healthcare in Thailand is also more affordable. Many ex-pats have found that the quality of healthcare in Thailand is often comparable to what they would get in their native countries but at a fraction of the cost. Even with the more recent requirement of health insurance for those with Non-immigrant O-A Visa, many ex-pat Australians feel they are getting a better deal and willingly opt out of Medicare.  

Another upside has to be the conducive weather. Australia is subject to extremes of weather that can make life difficult for people, especially when they are seniors with underlying medical conditions. Thailand has more conducive weather and even during monsoon periods will remain more comfortable than the extremely dry and extensive summers of Australia. Though both countries can reach high temperatures, Thailand is more humid and thus easier to cope with.  

The beautiful landscape, seascape, and friendly people have also been a strong lure for ex-pats. There are many thriving ex-pat communities in and around major cities and towns where foreigners are welcome and can enjoy a more laid-back and enjoyable lifestyle. Most also have a substantial English speaking population so language will not be a barrier. 

Getting Started

Australian passport holders don’t require Thai Visa prior to traveling to Thailand as Australian passport holders can enter Thailand on an Exempt Visa stamp for 30 days which is extendable to another 30 days at local Immigration office in Thailand. 

Thailand offers a dedicated Non-Immigrant O Visa based on Retirement which is valid for 3 months and Extension of stay on Non-Immigrant O (Retirement) Visa is valid for 12 months. The total duration of stay you will get is for 15 months which is extendable yearly just before its expiry. For further details, you can consult a team of Thai Visa Experts to ensure the smooth and hassle free procedure. Not only Thai Visa Expert helps guides you step by step but will also process the application to ensure Visa is successfully secured.  

Know that a retirement visa is valid for a year and that you cannot seek employment in the country with it. You can however renew the visa annually from within the kingdom. Without employment, you need to ensure you can meet the financial requirements and can adequately support your needs for the duration of your stay. If you are receiving your Australian age pension, be sure to visit Centrelink for more information on how to keep receiving your payments when relocated. Your monthly pension need to be deposited directly into Thai bank account. If you are unable to set up a Thai Bank account in Thailand, don’t hesitate to contact us, we at Thai Visa Expert will assist you to set up a Thai Bank account with one of the largest banks in Thailand which has most branches throughout the Nation. 

The initial short-stay visa is a good opportunity for those that have never been to the country to first visit and get a feel for the environment. You can also have one on one consultation with the team of Thai Visa Experts to figure out where you might like to settle. Some of the locations you are likely to find thriving ex-pat communities with a good representation of fellow Aussies include Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin, and Koh Samui. They are also top tourist hubs so you are sure to enjoy your trip even if you do not end up settling there. 

Bangkok is often the gateway for most foreign visitors. For those that prefer living in a bustling city, this can also be an option for relocation. There are many housing options, cultural attractions, affordable food and easy transport links to get you around. 

It is also worth noting that foreigners cannot own landed property in Thailand. There are many condominiums you can buy but if you have your heart set on a house, be prepared to rent. Fortunately, there are many rental houses available at very affordable rates. 

Retirement Visa Requirements

To apply for a retirement visa you will need:

  • Have attained the age of 50 years or above
  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of Australia
  • Have a departure card 
  • Provide proof of funds (Security deposit of at least THB 800,000 deposited in a Thai bank account for at least 2 months before making an application or monthly income of at least THB 65,000 from an overseas source reflected in a 12-month bank Thai bank statement)
  • Have an original Thai bank book and supporting bank letter



45 days Exempt visa stamp is no longer offered which was implemented on October 1st last year 2022 as an effort to help stimulate the Thai Tourism Industry. All the countries that eligible for Exempt Visa stamp will now get only 30 days upon arrival.

For those who want to stay longer for tourism purpose, travelers can also apply for a 60 days Tourist Visa head of time, which is of course, more costly and requires uploading a variety of documents as most embassies have moved to the E-Visa application system.

Either way, the Exempt Visa stamp for 30 days and Tourist Visa for 60 days can extend their stay for another 30 days at the cost of 1900 THB at a local Thai Immigration in Thailand. However, some nationalities may receive extension not more than 7 days on a Tourist Visa (if not eligible for Exempt Visa stamp)