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What’s the best place to retire in Thailand?

In my opinion, Chiang Rai is the best place for retirement in Thailand.  Read my husband’s story here.  We have many expats living in Chiang Rai who previously lived in Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Hua Hin.  Why did they move to Chiang Rai?  They moved for various reasons; to escape heavy traffic, large crowds, air pollution, cost of living, scammers and crime.  All of these people say they prefer Chiang Rai and have no plan to ever move again.

Thailand Retirement or Marriage Visa Application

First it is important to understand that there are basically two types of non-immigrant visas.

Single Entry: This visa is a one time entry visa and if you wish to leave and re-enter Thailand, you will need to get a re-entry permit before you depart.  Failure to get a re-entry permit will cancel your visa and when you return you will be given a 30 day tourist visa.  This will mean you have to start the whole process over again.

Multi Entry:  This visa costs more but allows you to leave and re-enter Thailand as often as you wish.  Depending on how often you plan to leave, this may be a good option for you.

The first step for retirement in Thailand is to secure your Thailand non-immigrant-O or OA visa depending on what visa you arrived in Thailand on.  We will help you with the paperwork and formalities of getting your Thailand retirement visa or Thailand marriage visa in Chiang Rai.

Health insurance requirement: All long term visa applicants, if applying in your home country from July 2019 must show proof of health insurance with a minimum inpatient coverage of 400,000 Baht and outpatient coverage of 40,000 Baht.   More info here

Retirement financial requirements: You can get a Thailand retirement visa if you can show proof at least 800,000 Baht ($25,600 USD) in a Thai bank account or an income or 65,000 Baht ($2,100 USD) per month.  This will require a letter from the manager of your bank.

Marriage financial requirements:If you can show proof at least 400,000 Baht ($12,800 USD) in a Thai bank account or an income of 40,000 Baht ($1,280 USD) per month you can apply for a marriage visa.  This will require a letter from the manager of your bank.

If you use the income method as proof of funds, you must be able to demonstrate that the funds are from overseas and that they have been paid monthly directly to your Thai bank account.  This will require a letter from the manager of your bank.

Arriving on a tourist visa

Converting a Thailand tourist visa to a Thailand Retirement or Marriage visa is a two step process

Step 1. Your tourist visa must first be converted to a 90 day non-immigrant-O visa. To do this you must have at least 21 days remaining on your visa when the application is made . If you do not have 21 days remaining, don’t worry, Retire In Thailand will take you to where you can simply cross the border into Myanmar and return with a new 30 day visa (this will take about one hour).

You will also need to open a bank account and show the sum of 800,000 baht in a Thai bank account for the Thailand retirement visa, or 400,000 for a Thailand marriage (if you are legally married to a Thai citizen) visa. There is no minimum time that this money is required to be in the bank.  You cannot use the income method until you can show regular monthly deposits equaling, or greater than,  the minimum income requirements above in a Thai bank for a period of 12 months.

Step 2. The next step, 60 days later is to apply for your 12 month extension, the non-immigrant-OA visa.

Retirement: At this time, for a retirement extension you will need to apply for a non-immigrant-OA visa, again you will need to show the sum of 800,000 Baht in a Thai bank account but this time the money must be in your bank for a period of not less than 2 months before and 3 months after your visa application.  Again, you cannot use the income method until you can show regular monthly deposits equaling, or greater than,  the minimum income requirements above in a Thai bank for a period of 12 months.

After applying for your visa, the 800,000 Baht must remain in your account for an additional 90 days and must never fall below 400,000.  For subsequent renewals the sum of 800,000 Baht must be in a Thai bank account for a period of not less than 3 months before and 3 months after your visa application and again the account balance must never drop below 400,000 Baht.

Marriage: At this time, for a marriage extension a non-immigrant-OA visa is required you will again need to show the sum of 400,000 Baht in a Thai bank account but this money must be in your bank for a period of not less than 2 months.  Again, you cannot use the income method until you can show regular monthly deposits equaling, or greater than,  the minimum income requirements above in a Thai bank for a period of 12 months.  For subsequent renewals the sum of 400,000 Baht must be in a Thai bank account for a period of not less than 2 months before your visa application. 

Cost: The cost for these two steps is 7,000 Baht plus 7 Baht per kilometer.  Additionally for each step you will also need to pay a 2000 Baht, non-refundable application fee to the immigration department.  Simply stated your total out of pocket expense for us to secure your visa will be 11,000 Baht plus 7 Baht per kilometer.

Arriving on a 90 day Non-Immigrant-O visa

Retirement: If you arrive on a 90 day Non-Immigrant-O visa, 30-45 days before it expires Retire In Thailand will assist you in securing your Thailand non-immigrant-OA retirement visa.  You will need to show the sum of 800,000 baht in a Thai bank account.  You should open your bank account and transfer the required funds as soon as you arrive in Thailand (we can help you with that) because for this visa the money must be in your bank for a period of not less than 2 months.  For subsequent visas the deposit term is 3 months before and after the application and must never go below 400,000 Baht. .

Marriage: If you arrive on a 90 day Non-Immigrant-O visa, 30-45 days before it expires Retire In Thailand will assist you in securing your Thailand non-immigrant-OA marriage visa.  You will need to show the sum of 400,000 baht in a Thai bank account.  You should open your bank account and transfer the required funds as soon as you arrive in Thailand (we can help you with that) because for this visa the money must be in your bank for a period of not less than 2 months.  For subsequent visas the deposit term is also 2 months.

The cost of this service is 3500 Baht plus a 2000 Baht non-refundable application fee paid to the immigration department plus 7 Baht per kilometer.

Click here for more information on Thailand retirement.
Reminders To Thailand Visa Holders:

90-day Reporting

All long-stay visa holders are required to notify the Immigration Office regarding their current residential address every 90 days. This can be done either by mail, on-line or by a short personal visit to the immigration office. You may also enlist the services of an agent to do this on your behalf through a Power of Attorney.

If the retiree is not in the country when the report is due, the counting for the 90-days will start again upon re-entry to Thailand.

Working
On a Thailand retirement visa you are not allowed to do any work not even voluntary.  To work in Thailand you need a Business Visa to get a work permit.  However, you can get a work permit if you hold a Thailand marriage visa

Re-entry Permit
If you plan to travel out of Thailand more than 3 times during the year of your visa validity, you should apply for a multiple re-entry visa. If you plan to travel out of Thailand less than 3 times during the year of your visa validity you should apply for a single entry visa but you will need to apply for a re-entry permit before you leave each time.  Failing to do this will result in your visa being cancelled.

Bank Account
The long-stay visas are valid for a year and can be renewed by presenting the same requirements as the initial application. Please note that the required amount of funds in your bank account must be at least 3 months old for a retirement visa or 2 months for a marriage visa before you can renew your visa.  Also, remember that for the retirement visa the funds must remain in your bank account for at least 90 days and must never go below 400,000 Baht.  If you choose to use the income method, you must be able to show regular monthly deposits equaling, or greater than,  the minimum income requirements (65,000 for retirement or 40,000 for marriage) in a Thai bank for a period of 12 months.

Importation of Household Effects
Please note that according to the Bureau of Customs, though some say they can, retirees cannot import their personal effects to Thailand duty free.  Besides, it is cheaper to buy new here than it is to ship everything, especially after customs add their fees.

Wondering what to do next?  Simply click here.

For more visa information click here 

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