Retiring in Thailand: What are your options?

Retiring in Thailand is a great idea. Low cost of living, fantastic beaches, lovely countryside, along with all modern amenities and services, including world-class medical care. The Thai government welcomes retirees from other countries with retirement visas and other long-stay visa options.

Most retirees opt for the Non-Immigrant O-A visa

The non-immigrant O-A visa is the retirement visa of choice for most retirees in Thailand. If you are 50 years old or older, you can apply for this visa if you fulfil the following criteria:

  1. You have no criminal record in Thailand or your home country – you’ll need notarized verification letters.
  2. You pass a required medical examination – you cannot suffer from leprosy, advanced tuberculosis, drug addiction, elephantiasis, or advanced syphilis.
  3. You have adequate income – you’ll need to provide proof of either:
    1. A bank account in Thailand (in your own name) with at least an THB 800,000 balance for two months prior to application (or renewal); or
    2. Certification that at least THB 65,000 every month will be transferred to your Thai bank account from overseas for the duration of the visa (one year); or
    3. A combination of (b) and a Thai bank account balance that together equals at least THB 800,000.
  4. You hold medical insurance with at least THB 40,000 in outpatient coverage and at least THB 400,000 in inpatient coverage. This can be obtained through any of the insurers listed at the following website, or, if you already have medical coverage, you can submit an overseas medical insurance certificate.

Once you receive a non-immigrant O-A visa, you will not be allowed to work, but you can sponsor your spouse for a non-immigrant O visa (spousal dependent visa). Also, you’ll be required to report to the Immigration Department every 90 days.  If your spouse is also over 50, then they may also apply for a retirement visa, noting that the financial and insurance coverage must be duplicated.  It is important to note that if you hold a joint bank account, the total sum on deposit must be THB 1.6M, even if only one of you holds a retirement visa because the authorities will consider only half the balance in order to meet qualifying criteria.

There is also a special non-immigrant O-X visa, valid for five years with a five-year extension, for certain nationalities, including Japan, Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, Canada, and the USA. However, the financial criteria is increased to THB 3 million annually per visa holder.

There are other visa options for retiring in Thailand

If you cannot meet all these criteria, there are other options available that may suit you better. If you are married to a Thai citizen, you may apply for a spousal visa. If you are considering, or already are, investing in Thailand, you might want to look into an investment visa.

For those of you who may already be living and working here with a work permit, and are looking forward to retiring in Thailand, aside from an investment visas you may qualify for permanent residency. A permanent resident doesn’t have 90-day reporting requirements and has less restrictions regarding employment, mortgages, and traveling in and out of the country.

If you have the funds immediately available, you may want to consider the Thailand Elite Visa program. This is essentially a premium tourist visa available to individuals and families, ranging from 20-year visas (for THB 2 million upfront and THB 20,000 annual fees) to five-year visas (for THB 500,000 upfront). These come with perks such as airport transfers and free rounds of golf and spa excursions.

Ask GPS Legal about your retirement options in Thailand

GPS Legal has a team of immigration experts who can help you decide what path is best for you. Contact us today for a free initial 30-minute consultation to find out more.


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