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, O and OA.
The best visa is the O.
The first step for retirement in Thailand is to get here. You have two options, apply for a 60 day tourist visa then convert to a non-immigrant 90 day visa or apply for a 90 day non-immigrant-O visa in your home country. Do not apply for a 12 month visa because that will be an OA or OX which both require the purchase of expensive health insurance.
If you arrive on a tourist visa (not a visa on arrival or visa exempt entry), I can help you open a bank account and get a 90 day non-immigrant O visa, then about 60 days later get your 1st 12 month extension.
If you arrive on a 90 day non immigrant visa, I can help you open a bank account and about 60 days later get your 1st 12 month extension.
After you arrive, for all visa extensions you must meet the financial requirements:
- For a retirement visa you must show proof of at least 800,000 Baht in a Thai bank account or an income of 65,000 Baht per month paid into a Thai bank account. This will also require a letter from the manager of your bank.
- For a marriage visa you must show proof at least 400,000 Baht in a Thai bank account or an income of 40,000 Baht per month deposited to your Thai bank account from overseas. This will also 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 for 12 months. This also, will require a letter from the manager of your bank.
For the Retirement Visa you can combine your income and bank account to qualify but the same is not true for a marriage visa, it can only be 400K in the bank.
Your first extension can be applied for after you have had the required money in the Thai bank account for 2 months.
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. You can do your 90 day report up to 15 days before the due date, or up to 7 days after the due date. There is a 4,000 baht fine if you are late.
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.
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 or marriage visa to get a work 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 multi re-entry permit after your visa is issued.
If you plan to travel out of Thailand and return, you will need to apply for a re-entry permit each time or if you will travel out of the country more than twice, apply for a multi re-entry permit. Failing to do this will result in your visa being cancelled.
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 likely cheaper to buy new here than it is to ship everything, especially after customs add their fees.
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