11 Jul Plan on Retiring in Thailand? Here’s What You Need to Know about Visas
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Whether it’s the peace and tranquility of the north, the tropical lifestyle of the south or the vibrancy of the capital, there are plenty of reasons why so many foreigners pull up stakes and move to Thailand for retirement.
But while the decision to move to here might be a straightforward one, the logistics of legally staying in the country need careful consideration.
If you are planning on retiring in Thailand, Terra International Realty explains what you need to know about retirement visas.
What visa do I actually need?
Those wishing to retire in Thailand should apply for a Non-immigrant OA Visa. This is a long-term visa and it is valid for 1 year. An OA visa allows holders to stay in Thailand for up to 365 days from the date in which it is awarded.
Holders must report to a local immigration office every 90 days in order to verify the address, or before 90 days has elapsed since the last time the holder entered Thailand.
Requirements – age and finances
Before we get into the ins and outs of applying for a retirement visa in Thailand, there are a few things worth noting beforehand.
Perhaps most importantly is age; applicants must be at least 50 years old to be considered for the visa.
There are also some strict financial requirements too. Foreigners applying for an OA visa must meet one of these three financial requirements in order for their application to be considered:
- A security deposit of THB 800,000. This must be deposited into a personal Thai bank account from the applicant’s personal bank overseas. This deposit needs to be made at least two months in advance before the applicant applies for the retirement visa.
- A monthly income of at least THB 65,000 in the form of a salary or pension, with said income coming from a source outside of Thailand. In this case, an affidavit needs to be obtained from a foreign embassy or consulate showing proof of the income.
- A combination of a security deposit and yearly income which totals at least THB 800,000.
The application process
Step 1: Enter the country on a Non-immigrant B visa
First, you will need to enter Thailand and allow yourself enough time to stay, legally, while you apply for your retirement visa. The best way to do this is to obtain a 90-day Non-immigrant visa. This can be easily obtained in your home country or most Thai consulate offices outside of Thailand (for example, in Vientiane, Singapore, Penang etc.) Do note there is a small charge of THB 2,000 and it’s best to allow around five days for the application process.
Step 2: Open an account and make a security deposit as per the financial requirements
A common question that foreigners ask is whether or not they are able to actually open a Thai bank account (which will obviously be needed in order to make that deposit as outlined above in the financial requirements).
The short answer is yes, any foreigner can open a Thai bank account. However, it is up to each individual branch of the bank as to whether or not they accept the application, which means some banks might be hesitant of non-Thai applications. Our best advice, in this case, is to go to the bank with somebody who speaks Thai. Once it is made clear that you plan on making a THB 800,000 deposit for retirement purposes, you should have no problems.
Step 3: Prepare your documents
After you have opened a Thai bank account and made a deposit, the next two months or so will be a bit of a waiting game, as the deposited amount must have sat in the account for 60 days before you make an application.
This gives you ample to prepare all the necessary documents required for the application. These documents should include:
- Updated bank book and letter from the Thai bank showing evidence of the deposited amount entered at least two months ago from a foreign account
(or) An affidavit as form of proof of monthly income coming from a source overseas
- Medical Certificate (obtainable from any hospital and most clinics)
- Departure Card TM.6 and proof of Non-Immigrant Visa (these both will be in your passport)
- Three(3) 4×5 cm photos, with full face taken
- Passport and copies of each used page (signed)
- Complete OA Visa Application Form
Step 4: Apply and pick up!
Once the 60 days have passed since making the required financial deposit and all your documents are in order, you are ready to make the application.
This can be done in person at Thailand’s ‘Office of the Immigration Bureau’ which is located in Chaengwattana Soi 7 Bangkok. To make an appointment here with an immigration officer you can call 0-2141-9889. Do note that the application fee for an AO visa is currently THB 5,000 and this does allow multiple entries.
After waiting a few days for the application to be processed, return to pick up your passport which should (hopefully) contain your new AO visa stamp!