One of the big things to look into when moving to Thailand is obtaining a visa to stay in the country long-term. Thailand is wonderful for retirees because of the specific retirement visa that Thailand has in place to make life easier.
As an individual visiting Thailand for the first time you will have a couple of options when it comes to getting a Thai visa:
One Year Non-Immigrant Visa: This visa allows individuals to stay in Thailand for 90 days upon entry, this means making “visa runs.” Every 90 days you must go to the boarder and exit the country to have your visa stamped upon re-entry, you’ll then be good for another 90 days before you’ve got to do this again.
While these visa runs can be tedious and rather annoying, look at it as an adventure; each time you must leave the country, visit a new city and explore. There’s always a bright side, you’ve just got to find it!
Retirement Visa: If you are over the age of 50 you may be eligible for a retirement visa in Thailand. If you’re approved for this type of visa you will be able to stay in the country without the requirement of leaving every 90 days. You must first apply for a non-immigrant visa, and then apply to convert that visa into a retirement visa. To be approved you must be unemployed during your span living in Thailand, you must also meet two separate financial requirements:
- You must have a Thai bank account showing at least $24,000/£16,500 which has been open for at least 2 months prior to application.
- You will be required to prove a monthly income of $2,000/£1400 or more. This is typically in the form a pension because of the unemployment requirement.
If approved the visa will be renewed every 90 days by providing either bank statements or paystubs to the Immigration Department along with proof of your location of residence.
After living in Thailand for 3 consecutive years (once you have had 3 one-year visa extensions) you may be eligible for a permanent resident visa, and life will be much easier.