Thailand Retirement Visa
Thailand is one of the top retiree destinations in the world, with great year-round weather, a large expat community, and great healthcare. If you want to retire in the Kingdom, the best way is to apply for a Thailand retirement visa. It is a non-immigrant visa that allows people over 50 to live in the country long-term, provided all criteria are met.
Where can I apply for a Thailand Retirement Visa outside Thailand?
If you meet the Thailand retirement visa requirements outlined below, you can apply for a visa at the Royal Thai Embassy or Thai Consulate in your home country before you travel. Alternatively, it’s something that’s becoming increasingly popular among those approaching retirement age. While in the Kingdom, you must apply to the Thai Embassy or Consulate in one of Thailand’s neighboring countries, such as Laos, Myanmar, or Cambodia.
The first retirement visa for Thailand will be a single-entry non-immigrant O (retirement) visa with a validity period of 90 days. During this initial 90-day period, the applicant can apply for a Thai Retirement Visa renewal at their nearest Royal Thai Immigration Department, which is Chaeng Wattana for most Bangkok residents. Thai Immigration will then issue a retirement visa, allowing you to stay for 12 months. Although the new visa will be a single-entry visa, you can apply for a re-entry permit (see below) that will allow you to re-enter Thailand without having to renew your retirement visa for Thailand.
Applying for a Retirement Visa in Thailand
As long as you meet the Retirement Visa Thailand requirements and have a passport from one of the 21 countries that can enter Thailand with a Visa on Arrival or 30-day exempt stamp, applying for a Retirement Visa for Thailand is relatively simple. Because the process can take up to three weeks, you must apply almost immediately if you entered the country using a 30-day exempt stamp. The application must be submitted to your local Thai Immigration Department.
Documents Needed for a Thailand Retirement Visa Application
When you apply for a Thailand Retirement Visa, you need several documents to support your application. This includes:
- Your passport, which is valid for at least six more monthsand has at least one blank visa page. If you’re applying for a one-year visa, your passport should be valid for at least another 18 months.
- Completed and signed Visa Application Form, which can be downloaded from the Embassy or Consulate’s website or you can pick it up when you submit your application in person.
- Additional Retirement Visa Application Form (completed and signed)
- Passport-sized picture of yourself, with the following specifications:
- White background
- Taken within the last six months
- You must have a neutral facial expression, staring straight ahead
- Your entire face must be fully visible
- Headgear is only allowed for religious purposes and even then, only if it does not cover the face
- Glasses are allowed only if they do not cover your eyes and do not have heavy frames
- Proof you meet the financial requirements as detailed above, through one of the following (as is applicable):
- Bank Statements and Letter of Guarantee showing the deposit in the Thai Bank which is no less than detailed above on “Eligibility”
- Bank statements showing an annual income of no less than what is detailed above on “Eligibility…”
- *Bank Statements have to be certified by a Notary Public.
- Police Certificate issued by the police authorities in your country, showing you do not have a criminal record. The certificate has to be certified by a Notary Public.
- Health Certificate issued in the past three months showing you are not infected with one of the prohibited diseases (Leprosy, Tuberculosis, Elephantiasis, Addiction (Drug/Alcoholism), or Third Phase Syphilis). The certificate has to be certified by a Notary Public.
- Proof of health insurancewith annual coverage of at least 40,000 Thai Baht for outpatient treatment and at least 400,000 Thai Baht for inpatient treatment as detailed by the Thai General Insurance Association.
- Thailand Retirement Visa processing fee.
The visa-issuing staff in the Embassy or Consulate you are applying in can ask you to submit any additional documents as they see fit.
What health insurance is required for a Thai Retirement Visa?
Some new rules for the Thailand Retirement Visa have been introduced and now require new applicants and those wishing to renew their Thailand Retirement Visa to have compulsory medical insurance to cover the length of their stay in Thailand. The required minimum coverage is outpatient coverage of at least THB 40,000 and hospitalization coverage of at least THB 400,000.
Although there was originally an amnesty for those wishing to renew their retirement visas in Thailand, it is now being enforced more rigorously. Health insurance can be purchased from local providers such as Pacific Cross, BUPA, or many major insurers. However, this insurance can only be valid up to 70, although there are also restrictions about the entry age.
Expat insurance, designed specifically for expats, often allows members to stay on the plan regardless of age as long as they enroll before a certain age, typically 75. Virtually all policies do NOT cover pre-existing medical conditions.
Are there any new rules regarding Thai Retirement Visa Renewal?
For those looking to renew their Thai Immigration Retirement Visa, the rules are the same for the initial application. The new Retirement Visa rules for Thailand only relate to the extended period of monies being kept in the bank after application as already outlined and regarding mandatory health insurance. The process for Thailand Retirement Visa renewal is quite strict, particularly regarding the financial requirements, as the authorities are aware that circumstances can quickly change.
We would strongly advise that when the time comes to renew your Retirement Visa in Thailand that you consult with a professional immigration advisor who can advise you on the rules at the time. Unfortunately, all immigration rules are subject to change without prior warning, and there is no requirement for any notification to be of these changes. However, as we have a long-standing professional relationship with the Thai Immigration office at Chaeng Wattana, we are usually one of the first to know about any changes and can advise you accordingly.
How Much is the Thailand Retirement Visa Fee?
The fee for a Thailand Retirement Visa changes depending on which type of visa you are applying. The fee can also change depending on which country you’re applying from, but you can expect to pay the following processing fees for your Thai Retirement Visa:
- For a 1-Year Thai Retirement Visa (Single-Entry): 2,000 Thai Baht
- For a 1-Year Thai Retirement Visa (Multiple-Entry): 5,000 Thai Baht
- For a 5-Year Thai Retirement Visa: 10,000 Thai Baht