What you need to know about the “Thai Retirement Visa”
A retirement visa as it is commonly known doesn’t really exist. Instead it is actually a non immigrant O visa that is extended for 1 year on the basis of retirement. That said, it is normally referred to as a retirement visa so for this explanation that is what we will call it!
Retirement Visa Requirements
- To be eligible for a retirement visa you must be 50 years old. If you are under 50 there are other visa options available.
- You will need to have income of over 800,000 year or 800,000 in a Thai Bank or a combination of both. So for example, I have a year Pension of 400,000 Baht and I keep 400,000 in a Thai bank account.
If you receive an income or pension, this has to be verified by your consulate. To do this you either go in person or send by post the relevant documents showing your income and they will give you a stamped document for immigration. Chiang Mai Immigration keep the original of this document so you need to make a new one every year. The reason being pensions and increase and income can change.
There have been recent significant changes to the Retirement Visa regulations in Thailand. Chiang Mai Immigration will now seek to enforce these new rules and below is an explanation of them.
For any questions about obtaining a Retirement Visa in Thailand, or renewing your Retirement Visa in Chiang Mai feel free to contact us.
Funds deposited in a Thai bank.
For a first time application, you must show 800K deposited in a Thai bank for 2 months prior to the date of application, then 3 months after being granted permission.
You can then withdraw up to 400K, however you must leave a remaining balance of 400K throughout the year. For these first time applications you will also need to show proof of where the money came from.
For the second year, you must prove 800K deposited in a Thai bank for 3 months prior to the date of application, then 3 months after being granted permission.
You can then withdraw up to 400K, but must leave a remaining balance of 400K throughout the year.
The change here relates to holding the money for 3 months after. Chiang Mai Immigration will look to enforce these new regulations strictly.
1). In order to use income only, you would need to show a minimum income of 65K per month deposited in a Thai bank. This must come from overseas in the form of a pension or guaranteed payment. This has to be done for the previous 12 months. In order to prove this you will need to request bank statements from your local Chiang Mai branch. These will need to be specific and show money arriving from abroad to your bank account.
In Chiang Mai the level of knowledge from various Banks can vary, as ever we are happy to assist you with the process and ensure the documents are correct before we go to make your extension.
2). A certified letter of income from your Embassy. This can be used along with proof from your home country in order to get the visa extension. However the Immigration officers can always request to see more information.
This is a mix of money in a Thai bank and income from abroad.
Funds and income totaling a minimum of 800,000 per annum.
There is no minimum balance of funds required.
Same seasoning conditions apply as for funds in the bank method. (First application 2 months prior, then 3 months after. Subsequent applications 3 months prior, then 3 months after.)
The most significant thing to note about this method is the amount cannot drop below 800,000 baht for the year.
Below are some examples of what is acceptable.
Funds deposited of 400K + income of 50K per month.
Funds and income total 1,000,000 per annum.
After the 60 or 90 day period you can withdraw 200K.
Income of 50K x 12 = 600K + 200K funds = 800K.
Funds deposited of 400K + Income of 40K per month.
Funds and income total 880K per annum.
After the seasoning period you can withdraw 80K.
Income of 40K x 12 = 480K + 320K funds = 800K.
Chiang Mai is a wonderful place to live, however there are constant changes in the visas rules. Instead of worrying about it why not let Chiang Mai’s leading visa agency take care of you.
Why You Need 800k Baht In A Bank Account For My Retirement Visa….
For the money in the bank, it can be held in a savings account or a fixed deposit account. It cannot be held in any market account or be linked to the stock market. The money needs to be in the account for 3 months before the renewal of the visa. This is also the case if you use a combination of money and an income letter – the account has to be in your sole name.
Retirement Visa Proof of Address Requirements
For Chiang Mai immigration, we will also need to provide them with a proof of address. This can be in the form of:
- A rental contract
- A copy of your chanote if you own a condo
- A letter on headed paper from your guest house or hotel
Once you have this you will be able to obtain a 1 year retirement visa. However, it’s important to note you must be on a non immigrant visa to make this transition.
Below I will set out the most common way to obtain this visa
If you enter Thailand on a 30 day visa exempt or a 60 day tourist visa we can change your visa inside Thailand at Chiang Mai immigration.
To change the visa the steps are the same as to extension it. We will need to see:
- Proof of funds or money in a Thai bank
- Proof of address from you
What occurs is as follows:
- We will submit your paperwork to change your visa to a non immigrant 0. You will then be given a 90 day non immigrant 0 visa.
- At this stage you can leave the country but you need to make a re entry permit and come back into the country before the end of the 90 days.
- After 60 days we can then extension your non immigrant O visa to a 1 year retirement visa.
That is a short summary of the process and below I list some frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) from my clients that should help you:
Q. Can I work on a Retirement visa?
A. No you cannot work in Thailand on a retirement visa. However, this visa is just for Thailand and we have many clients you utilise the visa but continue to work outside of the country. The visa is only a retirement visa – it will not affect your status outside of Thailand. By that I mean it doesn’t mean you have now stopped working and are actually retired.
Q. Can I leave the country on a retirement visa?
A. Yes, as long as you have a re entry permit you can leave and re enter. The retirement visa is renewed year, so you must re enter before the expiry date on the visa.
Q. How many times can I leave?
A. If you have a multi re entry permit you are free to come and go as you like, this can be made at the same time we process the visa at Chiang Mai Immigration.
Q. Is there a minimum amount of time I have to stay in Thailand?
A. No you are free to travel as much as you like but you will need to be in Thailand before the visa expires in order to renew it.
Q. How many days before the visa expires can I renew?
A. At present the maximum time is 45 days, for most clients we start the process about 30 days before to ensure there are no issues, and then take them to Chiang Mai immigration for the renewal.
Q. Can my wife and family follow my retirement visa?
A. Yes, however in order to do this they will need to already have non immigrant O visas obtained from outside of Thailand at a Thai consulate or embassy as well as documents to show the relationships between the family.
Q. Can I follow my Wife’s/Husbands visa?
A. Yes, as long as you have a non immigrant 0 visa from outside the country, we will also need documents to prove the relationship.
Q. Can I show money in my bank in my home country to obtain the retirement visa?
A. No the money has to be in a Thai bank. We will be happy to assist you with the opening of your account and make sure everything goes smoothly for you.
Q. If I lose my retirement visa can I apply for a new one?
A. Yes if there is any issue which means you can’t renew we can start the process for you again and obtain a new visa, there is no penalty for losing the visa.
Q. What are 90 day reports?
A. Thai Law requires all foreign to check in with immigration for every 90days they are in the Kingdom. At Assist Thai Visa we can take care of this for you, and make sure you never miss a report and always comply with the rules.
Q. Can I get a visa longer than 1 year?
A. At present the retirement visa is based on a 1 yearly renewal. It is therefore not possible to get longer than this.
Wrapping Up Retirement Visas In Chiang Mai
Obviously each individual case is different and as such, we work with all of our clients individual needs. We always recommend that you come to see us and we are happy to answer any questions you may have. Assist Thai Visa has helped thousands of people obtain their visas in Chiang Mai and we look forward to continuing to do so.
For any questions, please use the forms on the website to contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we can.