With an increasing number of people looking to retire in Thailand, there is a lot of debate regarding whether the Thailand Retirement Visa is the right option. While it is undoubtedly true that the Thai Immigration authorities require mountains of paperwork for many visas, fortunately for the Retirement Visa in Thailand, it is less laborious than several other visas. Some will argue that one of the Thailand Elite Visas would be a better option, but due to the fees involved, we believe that if you qualify for the Thailand Retirement Visa, it is almost certainly the most appropriate option.
As the original agency for retirement visa in Thailand we receive countless enquiries about the new Retirement Visa Rules in Thailand and the continual question of if it is the best option. In reality, there aren’t really any new retirement visa rules in Thailand; it is more a case of existing regulations being enforced. Once again, this reinforces our belief that if you qualify for the visa, and we will come on to the Thailand Retirement Visa requirements in a moment, that it is still more appropriate than the Thailand Elite Visa.
Retirement Visa in Thailand Requirements
The main criteria for the Thai Retirement Visa are that you must be 50 years of age or older and intend to live in Thailand for the long term, and won’t be working whilst in the Kingdom. The most significant hurdle that many people experience is meeting the financial requirements or proving that they meet the financial requirements. For the initial application are one of the following are required:
- The applicant must have THB800,000 held in a Thai bank account, and this balance needs to be maintained for two months before you submit the visa application. The balance should also be retained for two months after the application has been processed.
- The applicant must be receiving a monthly income of no less than THB65,000 per month or currency equivalent. The income can be from salary (earned overseas), a pension, rental income or other regular, provable income.
- The applicant can have a combination of money in a Thai bank account and income, totalling no less than THB800,000 per annum.
Naturally, you will be required to provide evidence of money in a bank account, income or a combination of the two. The required supporting documents are:
- If you are using a bank deposit as your sole proof of meeting the financial requirements, you will need to provide a copy of your bank book, which should have been updated no more than 24-hours before the visa application is submitted. Your bank will also be required to issue a letter confirming that the sums were deposited from an overseas bank account and held in the account for at least two months. All banks in Thailand will be familiar with the process and be happy to provide this information.
- If you are receiving income in Thailand of THB65,000 per month, such as from rental income, a locally held pension or an overseas pension paid directly into a Thai bank account, you will be required to provide documentary evidence. It can be in the form of your bank book proving the amount going into your account each month and rental contracts.
- If the income is paid into an international bank account, your embassy will need to provide a letter confirming this. Unfortunately, most embassies are reluctant to do this due to the potential legal ramifications.
- If you receive the money overseas and your embassy won’t provide a supporting letter, you will need to show a 12-month bank statement detailing the regular deposit into a THAI bank account. The amount can be transferred by yourself, but it must be on the same day of each month or the next working day.
- For those applying using both a bank deposit and income, a combination of the above proof will be needed to satisfy the authorities.
Holders of a Thai Retirement Visa will be required to prove that they have valid health insurance with a minimum of THB400,000 inpatient coverage and THB40,000 outpatient cover. When it comes to your Thai Retirement Visa renewal, you will also be required to prove that you have sufficient cover. In some cases, the Thai Immigration Officer may request additional documentation such as a police clearance certificate and a medical certificate. However, for applications made in the Kingdom, this is rare.
The Thai Retirement Visa is the term given to the Non-Immigrant O-A Visa (if applied for in Thailand) or a variant of the Non-Immigrant O Visa (if applied for overseas). If the visa is applied for outside of Thailand, it will be valid for three months and can be a single entry or multiple entry visas. The Non-Immigrant O-A Visa is a 12-month, single entry visa, with the holder needing to report to a Thai Immigration Office every 90 days. If you wish to leave the Kingdom during the 12 months, you will need to apply for a Re-entry Permit before leaving.
You can renew your Retirement Visa in Thailand every 12 months, assuming that your circumstances remain unchanged. The renewal cost is currently THB1,900 and will need to be paid in cash to the Thai Immigration Department.
Thailand Retirement Visa versus Thailand Elite Visa
The Thailand Elite Visa is a visa intended for VIPs entering the country, and they enjoy some excellent privileges. It is ideal for those below retirement age or those wishing to work in the Kingdom after retirement age. The visa is valid for five, ten or twenty years and is renewable on a five-year basis. However, as you would imagine, it does come at a cost with fees starting at THB500,000.
The Thailand Retirement Visa is perfect for those over the age of 50, meeting the financial requirements and have no intention of working in Thailand. They wish to enjoy their retirement in its true sense, with the cost of the visa being significantly lower, making it the most appropriate option. If you are applying for a visa in Thailand, at Thai Visa Expert, we can guide you through the entire process.