Have you been thinking about retiring in Thailand? Wondering what the requirements are to get a long-term visa?
In this post you’ll find out what financial requirements you need to meet, and which documents you need to present, to qualify for a Thailand retirement visa.
If you want to skip all the details and just need help getting your retirement visa, reach out to us and we’ll put you in touch with an immigration lawyer.
- 1 What is it?
- 2 Requirements
- 3 Health Insurance
- 4 How to Apply
- 5 Visa Restrictions
- 6 How to Extend Your Visa
- 7 Other “Retirement” Visas
- 8 Now, on to You
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What is it?
The Thai retirement visa, or the non-immigrant O or OA long stay visa, lets qualified retirees who are at least 50 years old and meet the specific financial requirements live in Thailand for up to one year. The one-year visa can then be renewed every year as long as the person applying continues to meet the financial requirements.
To get a retirement visa in Thailand, you must be at least 50 years old, have no criminal record in your home country and in Thailand, and have no prohibitive diseases, which the Thai Embassy lists as Leprosy, Tuberculosis, drug addictions, Elephantiasis, and Syphilis in its third phase.
You’ll also need to show one of these three financial documents to qualify for non-immigrant O or OA visa:
- copies of your bank statements showing a deposit of the amount equal to and not less than 800,000 baht in your Thai bank account or
- notarized bank statement copies showing income of not less than 65,000 baht per month, plus an affidavit from your embassy or consulate as proof of income or
- a combination of a deposit account and a monthly income totaling at least 800,000 baht
Since April 2019, there’s a new regulation requiring you to have health insurance with 400,000 baht IPD coverage and 40,000 baht OPD coverage in order to apply or extend a retirement visa.
The new regulation is officially confirmed in the end of October 31, 2019.
Currently, it seems like only local insurance is accepted.
You can use MisterPrakan to find a suitable insurance plan from local insurance companies.
In addition, there are some companies that have just released new plans that meet the minimum health insurance requirements.
They are slightly cheaper than other plans and have the exact 400,000 IPD coverage and 40,000 OPD coverage.You can fill out this form if you want to get this plan for yourself.
How to Apply
You can apply for a retirement visa either in your home country (in some cases) or in Thailand.
First thing you’ll want to do is prepare your required financial documents and all of the following:
- passport with at least six months validity
- 4 cm x 6 cm photos taken in the last six months
- an updated bank passbook
- a bank letter confirming your funds were deposited from a foreign source not less than two months from the date of application*
- a health certificate (you may not need this if you’re in Thailand)
- a police/background check certificate
*To get a bank letter visit the bank branch where you opened your account. Tell them you need an official bank letter stating that you had the funds in your account on the date two months out from your application date. The letter usually costs a few hundred baht, depending on your bank. And it can be done on the same day, usually within an hour.
Then you can go to either the Division 1 Immigration Office in Bangkok. Here’s the Google Maps link to Division 1 Immigration Office in Bangkok. And here’s the physical address:
- 120 Thanon Chaeng Watthana, Khwaeng Thung Song Hong, Khet Lak Si, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10210
Just bring with you all of the documents listed in this section and the above requirements section.
In most cases, you need to apply for a non-immigrant visa O before you extend your visa in Thailand into a one-year non-immigrant OA visa. You’ll be given 90 days in the kingdom. And after your first 60 days, you can apply for a one-year OA visa.
If you’re applying for your retirement visa outside of Thailand, you’ll be applying for a non-immigrant OA visa. You’ll need to bring the same documents listed above with you to the nearest Thai Embassy in your country. But don’t be surprised if you the embassy tells you they don’t issue this type of visa to foreigners, as not all of them do.
The non-immigrant OA long term visa lets you retire in Thailand for one year and can be renewed from within Thailand every year thereafter.
You’ll have two options when getting your non-immigrant OA visa: single-entry or multiple-entry.
If you’re not planning on leaving Thailand while on your retirement visa, you can apply for a single-entry non-immigrant visa OA. If you do need to leave the country, whether for leisure or in an emergency, you must apply for a re-entry permit.
A multiple-entry OA visa lets you leave and enter Thailand as you wish. So if you know that you’re going to come and go quite often while living in Thailand, your best bet is to get a multiple-entry visa from the start.
Whether you apply inside or outside of Thailand, you’ll have to do 90-day check ins at Thailand immigration after your visa has been approved.
Retirement visa holders are prohibited from engaging in any type of work.
How to Extend Your Visa
When your visa is about to expire, you’ll need to renew it at any of the immigration offices in Thailand. The process is the same as when you first applied. But you should start your renewal process about 15 days before your visa expires. This will give you plenty of time for adjustments if Thai Immigration asks for more documents.
If you want to renew your visa outside of Thailand, you can re-apply at the nearest Thai Embassy.
Other “Retirement” Visas
Here a few other options you have if retiring in Thailand is in your radar.
Five-year Retirement Visa
The five-year Thai retirement visa lets affluent retirees from 14 countries stay in Thailand for up to five years. Here are those countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States. The five-year non0immigrant OX visa is renewable every five years.
The requirements for this visa are a little different. You’ll need the following to qualify for non-immigrant OX ten-year visa:
- 3 million baht in a bank account, untouched for at least three months from your application date or
- 100,000 baht monthly income
- health insurance that provides you with at $10,000 in coverage (non-optional)
The application process is the same as applying for a non-immigrant O visa. The only difference is that at the end of this process, you must get a re-entry permit.
If you’re married to a Thai national, you can get a non-immigrant visa O based on marriage from the Thai embassy nearest to you or in Thailand at an immigration office. The financial requirements are a little easier to manage. So this visa is great for those who don’t have enough funds to get a retirement visa.
Thailand Elite Visa Program (Privilege Entry Visa)
The Elite Thai Visa isn’t technically a retirement visa. But it’s a valid option for affluent foreigners who wish to stay long-term in Thailand and avoid visa runs and extensions.
Depending on the membership package, qualified foreigners can stay in Thailand for five to 20 years.
The best thing about the Thailand Elite Visa is that it significantly decreases the time and headaches of dealing with paperwork and immigration officers, and it keeps you updated with the everchanging retirement visa requirements.
A great number of retirees now go for the Elite Visa even if they are eligible for the retirement visa.
To find out more or apply for the Privilege Entry Visa, read our Thailand Elite Visa review. Reach out to us and we’ll put you in touch with an agency that’s authorized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to provide Thailand Elite Visas.
Now, on to You
That’s how you get yourself a Thailand retirement visa. The process itself is straightforward if you meet the financial requirements and present the right documents.
So be sure to double check the list above and contact your local Thai embassy or Thai immigration office.
If you’ve made it this far and still aren’t sure which visa you should get, feel free to get in touch with us and tell us what you need.