Sunday, January 13th 2019
Retirement Visa Thailand: How to get a Thailand Retirement Visa
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What is a Thailand Retirement Visa:
There is no actual retirement visa in Thailand. It is simply a One-Year O Visa that gets extended every year by year on the basis of retirement. However, it is universally referred to as a Thailand Retirement Visa by nearly everyone. Therefore, we have decided to refer to it as such. That said, being awarded a retirement visa in Thailand will only guarantee you stay in Thailand for one year.
Thailand Retirement Visa Requirements:
The requirements for obtaining a Thailand Retirement Visa are relatively straight forward. They are largely based on your personal finances, with just a few bureaucratic steps. There are three basic methods for obtaining your Thailand Retirement Visa: Income and Savings.
– To Obtain your Thailand Retirement Visa by Income –
The first way to get your Thailand Retirement Visa is to be able to prove that you earn enough money to live in Thailand. This means that you must earn at least 65,000 THB (as per the newest requirements released 12/26/2018). This equates to roughly $2,000 USD depending on the fluctuations in exchange rates. We will have more information on the step-by-step procedures in a later section of this article. Notarized Affidavit of Income from your Embassy or Consulate are no longer accepted as of October 2018, and many embassies such as the UK, USA, and Australian embassies will no longer issue them. If you are applying outside of Thailand, you may need four copies of every document. If you are applying within the Kingdom of Thailand, then you will only need two.
*For US citizens form, click here. The cost is roughly $50 USD.
– To Obtain your Thailand Retirement Visa by Marriage –
Obtaining your Thailand Retirement Visa by Marriage is one of the simplest, and the most inexpensive methods to get your one-year visa. You must have at least an average income of $40,000 THB. However, it is not guaranteed.
As per the new requirements released 12/26/2018, you must have:
- Marriage Certificate must be presented if you wish to live together in the Kingdom of Thailand (if the spouse is not qualified for the visa – say for age restrictions, for example, then the spouse will be considered for Non-Immigrant Visa Type O
- Evidence showing any pension or income
- A personal income tax form with the payment slip included
- A letter showing bank deposits in a Thai bank
- Bank statement showing money transfers over the last 12 months (unless you have been retired for less than 12 months, in which case you have to provide evidence starting the very next month, and you will have to submit your finances for the following month if granted marriage visa)
– To Obtain your Thailand Retirement Visa by Savings –
The other way to get your Thailand Retirement Visa is to be able to prove that you have substantial savings that will afford for you to live in Thailand for the year. This also means that you must have that same amount when you go to renew in a year. You must have at least 800,000 THB for the year. This equates to roughly $25,000 USD depending on the fluctuations in exchange rates. These funds need to be deposited in a Thai bank account for at least 2 months before applying, and 3 months if you are renewing your Thailand Retirement Visa.
*To see the current exchange rate, click here.
The good news is that if you have a pension, you can deduct that amount from the actual savings. For example, if you have a pension that is worth 300,000 THB annually, then you only need to keep 500,000 THB. This pension has to be verified by the consulate or embassy of your home country. To do this, you can either go in person, or you just send any relevant financial documents, and they will return with an officially-stamped letter verifying the amount of your pension for the Thai government. This letter and the bank accounts must all be in your name.
The funds have to be stored in a Thai bank, and they can either be stored in a fixed deposit account or a savings account. However, it can not be linked to the stock market or held in any form of market account.
Proof of Address for the Thailand Retirement Visa:
You will also need to prove the Thai government with a proof of address.
This can be:
- If you own a condo, bring a copy of your Freehold Title Deed (chanote or Nor Sor 4 in Thai)
- If you rent a guesthouse or hotel, bring a personalized letter on headed paper
- If you rent a home, bring a copy of your rental contract
Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Thailand Retirement Visa:
– Step One: Obtaining a Non-Immigrant O Type Visa for Thailand –
The first step is to obtain your non-immigrant O Type visa for Thailand. You must be on this type of visa first before you can transition to a Thailand Retirement Visa. You can not get a job in Thailand with this type of visa, nor can you volunteer for any organization.
The requirements for this type of visa are:
- A valid passport with at least one year before it expires (18 months is preferred)
- Proof of financial requirement
- You must hold nationality or residence in the country where you are applying
- You must be 50 years old or older
- Letter from Thai bank proving deposits of financial requirements
The non-immigrant O Type visa for Thailand is valid for 90 days. During this time, you will be able to leave the country—however, you must be back in Thailand before the end of the 90 days.
*You can enter the country on a 30-day visa exempt, or a 60-day tourist visa. Then, once you have a proof of funds in a Thai bank and proof of address, you can transition to a non-immigrant O type visa for Thailand. The easiest way to achieve this is to hire an immigration service company, such as Assist Thai Visa Services, which can help you in this regard.
– Step Two: Obtaining Your One-Year Thailand Retirement Visa –
The Thailand Retirement Visa only applies to Thailand as a country, and it permits you to live in Thailand for one year. You cannot work in Thailand with this visa, though you can work elsewhere online. Applicant must not be prohibited from entering Thailand as per the requirements in Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979)
For a Thailand Retirement Visa, you will need:
- You must be at least 50 years old
- Non-immigrant visa
- An original Thai bank book and a letter from your Thai bank
- Three 4cm x 5cm passport photos (sign the back of each photo)
- All copies of all relevant pages (signed at the bottom)
- Copies of the Personal Data Form (click here for this form)
- Copies of your TM-7
- Departure Card TM-6
- Passport of your home residence
- Proof of meeting financial requirements
- Your passport must be valid for at least 18 months
- You must have no criminal history in Thailand, the country of your citizenship, or the country of your residence; copies of a notarized Police Clearance issued within three months of your application. If you are applying within the Kingdom of Thailand, then you do not need this document.
- Copies of your Medical Certificate issued from the country where you are applying, which must be issued within 3 months of applying. The certificate must include the name and address of the doctor. This document is not required if issued within the Kingdom of Thailand.
You must have no prohibitive diseases as articulated by the Ministerial Regulation No.14 B.E. 2535:
- Stage 3 Syphilis
- Drug Addiction/Alcoholism
– Step Three: Obtaining Your Extension of Stay and Re-Entry Permit-
Contrary to popular opinion, your “Extension of Stay” and your “Re-Entry Permit” are not the same document. Your Extension of Stay is the primary document. It dictates how long your stay in Thailand is valid. When it has expired, you will have had to either renew your Thailand Retirement Visa, or you will have needed to leave the country.
Your Re-Entry Permit allows you to enter and leave the country at will, provided you do not miss one of your 90 Day Reports. There is more on that in the following section. This Re-Entry Permit is only valid while your Extension of Stay document is valid. However, leaving Thailand without your Re-Entry Permit automatically invalidates your Extension of Stay.
You can apply for your Re-Entry Permit either when you apply for your visa, or once you are living in Thailand. If you are only looking to leave the country and re-enter the Kingdom of Thailand once, then you can get a Single Re-Entry Permit for 1,000 THB. However, if you are looking to be able to travel at will—provided you do not miss a 90 Day Report—then you can get a Multiple Re-Entry Permit for 3,800 THB.
To get a Re-Entry Permit, you will need:
- Copies of your Arrival Card (though your passport may have the departure card)
- Copies of the first page of your passport showing your picture
- Copies of passport page showing the latest visa stamp
- Copies of passport page showing expiration of the page
- Form TM-8
- One 2” x 2” passport photo taken within the last 6 months
- Your Passport
– Step Four: Reporting Every 90 Days –
After getting your Thailand Retirement Visa, your Extension of Stay, and your Re-Entry Visa, you must report every 90 days with Thai immigration. Fines for not checking in are 2000 THB plus 200 THB for each day that you fail to report.
*There are immigration services that will take care of this for you.
You will need:
- Form TM-47
- Your Passport
- Copies of passport page with latest visa stamp
- Copies of passport page with a passport picture
- Copies of passport page with an expiration date of passport
- Copies of Arrival Card and Departure Card if applies
- Proof of Address as described at the top of this article
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