Thailand’s climate, affordability, and laid back way of life have long attracted retirees from around the world. The country also has a large ex-pat population along with city resorts that have all that anybody could need, no matter where you are from.
As welcoming as Thailand is, however, there are still immigration rules to follow, as you would expect from any country. All foreigners in Thailand are expected to meet Thailand’s immigration laws, including retirees, and retirement visas are available to older ex-pats in the country.
Thailand’s retirement visa can be applied for within the country, in which case it is known as a non-immigrant O (Retirement) visa. You can also apply for a retirement visa for Thailand in another country, which is known as Non Immigrant O Single Entry Visa, Non Immigrant O Single Entry visa is valid for 3 months but can be extended at local Immigration in Thailand for 12 months. Non Immigrant O Visa is a visa type that can be issued for various reasons. For example, if you are married to a Thai, having a Thai Child with a Thai national, visiting family members etc. Since you are 50 years of age or above then your reason of applying for a Non Immigrant O Visa is a Retirement.
You will need to meet certain financial requirements to qualify for the Thailand retirement visa, which includes:
- Placing a security deposit of 800,000 THB in a Thai bank account. The money needs to have been placed in the account at least two months before applying for a visa, or…
- An income of at least 65,000 THB monthly. However, it needs to be transferred directly to your Thai Bank account at least for a year since most of the foreign Embassies in Thailand have stopped legalizing proof of monthly pension.
- A combination of annual income and a security deposit amounting to 800,000 THB.
- The applicant will need a letter from their bank stating the balance in account is 800,000 THB or above.
If you don’t have a Thai Bank account yet, a team of Thai Visa Expert will assist you to set up one to ensure you meet the financial requirements. In order to set up a Thai Bank account, you must be present in the bank along with your passport.
Please note, you don’t require Health Insurance or Police clearance certificate if you are applying for a Non Immigrant O (Retirement) Visa in Thailand at a Local Immigration. Most of the foreigners get mixed up with the requirements between Non Immigrant O (Retirement) Visa and a Non Immigrant O-A (Retirement) Visa. Health Insurance is only required if you have entered Thailand on a Non Immigrant O-A Visa.
Other requirements include:
- Be over 50 years old
- Meet one of our Thai Visa Experts at Bangkok Immigration to ensure the smooth proceedings
90 Day Reporting
A Thailand retirement visa is valid for up to one year, and you will need to report to your local immigration office every 90 days. Fortunately, this can be done online, preventing you from having to go in person. Note that if you wish to leave the country during the validity of your visa, you will need to apply for a re-entry permit. Otherwise, your retirement visa will be cancelled, and you will need to reapply.
Renewing Your Visa
When your retirement visa expires, you will need to renew it, and there is no limit to how many times you can apply for the visa. It’s advisable to not leave the renewal of your retirement visa until the last moment in case there are any delays in processing the request. You can apply to renew your retirement visa within 45 days of its expiry date, although it’s usually best to apply between 3 and four weeks before the visa expires.
In order to qualify for a renewal, you will need to meet the same requirements as when you originally applied for your visa. If changes are made to the requirements, they will sometimes be grandfathered for people who already have a visa. But it’s wise to check the requirements every time you renew your visa to be sure.
It should also be noted that you cannot withdraw any money in your account for the first three months after your retirement visa is approved. You can withdraw some of your funds afterwards, but your balance is not to drop below 400,000 THB.
Penalties for overstaying Thai Visa
It might be tempting for some to not go through the process of getting Visa/permission to stay in Thailand renewed, but this is not recommended. While the risk of being caught may be slim, there is still a real chance that an immigration official might need to look at your passport. If you can’t present your passport with a valid permission to stay in Thailand, you are likely to be in trouble with the authorities.
Overstaying a visa is against the law, and you will be fined 500 THB for every day you have overstayed. Usually, a fine is the only penalty you will pay, provided you have not overstayed for more than 90 days. However, overstaying for more than 90 days is considered a serious crime and will see you be blacklisted from entering the country for one year. You will also still have to pay the fine. The length of blacklists will increase the longer your overstay is, reaching up to ten years for somebody who has overstayed by more than 5 years.
While the visa application process can be a nuisance, it’s a small inconvenience compared to the hassle you may face if caught in Thailand without a valid visa. It’s always worth taking the time and effort to ensure you are always within the law.
Working on a Retirement Visa
Some retirees might find it tempting to find some work while in Thailand, even if only to give themselves something to do. However, you are not permitted to work in Thailand on a retirement visa. You should note that this covers any type of work, including a part-time job, and you potentially face penalties if you are found working without a work permit. The retirement visa does not allow you to apply for a Thai work permit.
Speak With an Expert
As with any country, Thailand’s immigration laws can seem confusing at times. This makes it a good idea to work through a professional so you can be confident of having all you need to qualify for a visa. Not only can the rules be confusing at times, but they are also prone to change, so it’s good to work with an expert that will help keep you up to date.
Although a little inconvenient, renewing your retirement visa is a necessity, and all foreigners in Thailand must have a valid visa. The financial requirements may be too strict for some, although it should be noted that the money only needs to be deposited and not actually spent. It’s also advisable to ensure you know what rights your visa gives you.
Regardless, once you have been granted your visa, then you are free to relax and make the most of the wonderful land of smiles. Keep within the rules, and you should have no difficulty getting another retirement visa when you need one. We are at your service to offer you hassle free service so that you can have the most of land of smiles. Leave your visa worries for us while you enjoy and relax in Thailand.