Thailand has long been a destination that tempts those of retirement age to make it their permanent home.
Major factors for this include the climate, a wide, varied range of locations and environments, accommodation to suit every pocket, excellent private health care, reasonable cost of living and activities across the board.
Here are details of what the visa requirements are, how straightforward the renewal process is and some restrictions that those looking to realise their retirement dream need to understand.
Life really can begin at 50!
The lure of retirement and a very relaxed pace of life in Thailand can be yours from the age of 50. This has got to be a major plus. Many men and women reaching their half-century are fit, healthy and ready to enjoy life as they choose for many more years to come.
The official name for a retirement visa is a Non Immigrant O-A visa, this can be issued from your home country and renewed in Thailand. Some countries will also issue a Non Immigrant O visa, if you show proof that you are over 50 years of age and have sufficient funds to meet the extension requirements once you arrive in Thailand.
Meeting the stipulated financial requirements is key to securing a retirement visa. The government regulations have been designed to show proof that an individual will be able to support themselves financially during their retirement years in Thailand. There are several ways in which to do this:
Personal Thai bank account:
A deposit verification letter accompanied by copies of your personal Thai bank statements in a savings account is required. A minimum of 800,000 baht needs to be in the account.
For your first application, this amount should have been in the account for a minimum of 2 months, subsequent renewals require this proof from the previous 3 months.
The letter can be obtained from your bank at a minimal cost. This confirmation letter should be presented with your retirement visa application within 7 days of it being written and signed by the bank.
For a once-off fee you can request your country’s Embassy to issue a Notarized Affidavit confirming your current income. This must confirm you receive a monthly salary or monthly ongoing income of not less than 65,000 Baht. This proof must be presented with the retirement visa application within 6 months of issue.
A combination of the above. I.e. A Thai Bank Account in your name and a monthly income that together total at least 800,000 Baht.
Standard documentation required:
Along with the above financial evidence you will need:
Additional documentation and number of copies:
If applying for the retirement visa while staying in Thailand the above documents will suffice. While 2 copies of each should be sufficient an extra copy will not go amiss.
If applying from outside of the country there may be a requirement to present a health certificate, police clearance letter and other documentation. You should also make at least 4 copies of everything.
If applying, completing and presenting all required documentation yourself the visa retirement cost is 1,900 Baht
It is important for all those holding a retirement visa to understand that they are prohibited from engaging in any type of work. Those who flout these rules are risking strict sanctions from the Thai Immigration Authority
Single or multiple-entry options:
Many retirees may wish to travel back to their home country, journey across Thailand’s borders to visit neighbouring countries or go further afield. To do this they must apply for a re-entry permit before leaving the country. Failure to do so will void their current retirement visa.
A re-entry permit can be applied for at the same time as you apply for the retirement visa or at any time during the validity of the retirement visa. A Single permit costs 1,000 Baht while a Multiple-entry permit is currently 3,800 Baht.
Whichever permit is chosen, it is important to understand that this is valid only for the duration of the retirement visa.
Foreigners holding a retirement visa are required to check-in with their local Immigration office every 90-days. There is nothing sinister about this. Essentially it is to let the Thai authorities know that you are still residing in their country.
A perfect retirement haven:
Thailand is quite rightly known as the Land of Smiles. Those choosing to retire here have a huge choice of living environment from rolling mountains to sun-kissed beaches. Leisure brings pleasure, and whether it is peace and quiet or nightlife to suit every taste it is to be found.
Accommodation of every type and style go hand-in-hand with cuisine that is rightly savoured and enjoyed the world over.
Obtaining a Thai retirement visa will give you all of this and much more.