Retiring in Thailand

Retiring in Thailand

Retiring in Thailand


Every year more and more retirees are choosing Thailand as their permanent home. It is recently ranked as the 9th place in the world where North Americans would want to spend the rest of their lives. Being an exotic paradise in Southeast Asia, Thailand has already mark its status as a country where travelers come for a visit but eventually falls in love with the land of smiles and decide to stay. It is not really much of a surprise since Thailand is world-known for having warm weather, friendly people, inexpensive cost of living and gorgeous places where you can just laze-around and imbibe the tropical aura it gives.

Retirees are lucky for having it easy to stay in the country. The Thai government didn’t create much complication for a Retirement Visa (Non-Immigrant Retirement Visa). It has simple and crystal clear rules.


Age Requirements

An applicant for a retirement visa in Thailand must be fifty years old and above. They should also show a valid proof that they have completely stopped working from their country of origin. This is a very simple requisite which usually does not come as a problem.

The retirees who are below the required age are given other visa options. They can either apply for Non-Immigrant O or B visa; with complete documents to present on any Thai embassy or consulate it can be easily acquired.

Certain documents showing medical background are very important. All applicants are required to hand it in. It is also better to have it translated in Thai as most embassies and consulates want it that way.


Salary Requirements

There’s a certain amount of income that must be met enable to qualify for a retirement visa in Thailand. The applicant must show a bank balance of THB 800,000 or USD 25,000 minimum. If the retiree does not have this amount in bank, he or she should have at least THB 65,000 or USD 2,000 income monthly.

Most of the retirees (Western or European countries) under pension get USD 2,000 a month or higher so this is not going to be a major problem or hassle for them either.

If ever you still can’t reach the above requirements, there’s always other option given. The Non-Immigrant O visa can make you stay in the country for one year but it must be renewed every 3 months. A tourist visa can be acquired as well (but not allowed to work in the country); giving you a maximum option of triple-entry tourist visa but it’s very rare for Thai embassies and consulates to issue this type of visa. They usually give double-entry tourist visa more.


Obtaining Retirement Visa

Like any other visa, necessary documents must be shown or provided. If an applicant can give all the needed or required paper works, the easier the processing of the retirement visa will be.

List of Required Documents:

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Any other identification card
  • Copy of bank balance
  • Bank statements from the last 3-6 months
  • Other documents proving the value of assets
  • Marriage certificate (if married to a Thai)
  • Any other document necessary for identification
  • Health check


There’s not really much documents needed, if an applicant has it all then it’s just like a trip to the easy-lane.


Application of Retirement Visa from Thai Embassies/Consulates

An applicant for a retirement visa can apply at any Thai Embassy or Consulate. The only problem being faced by retirees are the different procedures of steps that each embassy or consulate has. Sometimes one embassy can issue the visa sooner than the others or may ask little than how others will.

Countries like Cambodia, Laos and Malaysia have gone stricter and acquiring visa from the embassies or consulates there can be tricky. On the other hand it is much easier to apply from European countries particularly in the United Kingdom. Japan and Korea are not as strict either as the bordering countries of Thailand.

Restrictions and Responsibilities

Once having or possessing the Thai Retirement Visa, retirees must comply with the restrictions and responsibilities that come with it.

  • Report to local immigration office every 3 months -  this will extend your visa for another 3 months in each visit
  • If moving to a new zone in Thailand, notify the immigration officers as soon as possible
  • Retirees are not allowed to own a property, houses or open a business unless requiring a work permit and a business class visa
  • When opening a business in Thailand, 50 % must be Thai-owned.  You’ll either benefit if married from a Thai or you have someone to trust
  • Retirement visa holders can buy apartments, condominiums  and other allowed residences
  • A  Thai bank account can be opened
  • Driver’s license can be acquired

Take Note

In applying for Thai Retirement Visa, applicant must obtain it from an embassy or consulate from his/her country or other countries. It is not possible to get this or any type of visa within the country or change visa status in the kingdom.

Always remember that even having this type of visa, your behavior and attitude towards the Thai culture and its people must be observed.