Thailand has over the years become a hot spot in Asia for retirement as the cost of living is low, crime levels are far lower than Europe or Spain and the weather is great most days of the year. Many people see Thailand as an excellent place for retirement. The Kingdom of Thailand has about 76 provinces which offer different attractions, cultures and experiences. It is for these reasons that many foreigners are drawn to retire in this country every year.
The application process for retirement visa in Thailand is pretty straightforward. Over the years, however, this has become a rather confusing subject to many due to the inconsistency in the immigration processes. Not only are the processes varying in the Thai Embassies and Consulates around the world but also with some rules in different immigration offices all across Thailand.
Consider the following guidelines if you wish to retire in Thailand.
- The client must be at least 50 years of age or over during the time of the application.
- The client must meet the financial requirement which could be any of the following:
- Security deposit of 800,000 baht in a Thai bank; or
- A monthly income or pension of 65,000 baht; or
- A total of 800,000 baht combination of personal bank deposit and income or pension for the entire year.
Processing of Visa Application
There are at least two ways on how to get a visa to retire in Thailand:
- Application outside Thailand.
A foreigner who meets the age requirement set by the Thai Embassy (in their country) can directly apply for the 1 Year Non-Immigrant OA visa from their home country. Application for this type of visa requires the applicant to submit a police clearance and medical certificate.
- Application inside Thailand
Getting a 1 year visa extension inside Thailand based on retirement requires an initial application for a Non-Immigrant O visa. The Non-Immigrant O visa is usually applied at the Thai Embassy in the applicant’s home country, but it can also be obtained inside Thailand. However, the applicant must already meet the financial requirement if they wish to go with the latter.
In addition, applicants of Non-immigrant O visa extension in Thailand must provide evidence of their address in Thailand. Processing of visa extension is done at the immigration office in the same area, or usually the one nearest to their location in case there is none in their city or province.
Renewal of Extension
Once the applicant has obtained a one year extension of stay based on retirement, the extension can be renewed every year within Thailand. The renewal application must be done prior to the expiration of the current visa. The procedure for renewal is the same as for the initial application, and therefore this should be an easier task for retirees who are able to obtain an extension before.