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How to Retire in Thailand Comfortably

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This post is an excerpt of a longer article.

 

How to get a retirement visa for Thailand

 

The first obstacle to entering any country is getting a visa. Fortunately, retiring to Thailand is so popular that there is a specific visa classification for that. The Non-Immigrant O (“Other”) visa covers a number of reasons for entering the Kingdom, as the name suggests, and one of them is retirement.

 

To qualify for a retirement visa, you need to meet two basic requirements:

 

  • You must be at least 50 years old
  • You must have proof that you can financially support yourself
  • You can either have a monthly income of 65,000 baht
  • Or you must have 800,000 baht in a Thai bank account

 

For the 800k option, you need to be able to prove that the money has been in your account for at least two months before applying for the visa. You must also still have at least 400,000 baht in your account for at least three months after you get the visa.

 

In other words, you need to actually have the money – you can’t just borrow it for a few days to meet the visa requirements. The visa will need to be renewed annually and you’ll still need to meet these requirements each time.

 

Sadly, once you’ve got the visa, your interactions with Thai government officials are only just beginning. You need to add in the requirement to report to an Immigration office every 90 days.

 

The so-called “90-day report” is a bit of a chore, during which you need to wait around a government office for however long it takes you to get to the front of the queue just to hand in a couple of forms to keep the Immigration Department updated on your current address.

 

However, given that you can spend the intervening 89 days sipping beers on a beach in Thailand, four days of hassle per year is a small price to pay.

 

In terms of actual paperwork required, you will need to submit the following:

 

  • Visa application form, completely filled out
  • Passport or travel document with at least 18 months of validity remaining
  • Recent passport-sized photograph (3.5 x 4.5 cm), taken within the past 6 months
  • Evidence of adequate finances (as stated above)
  • Proof that you have retired

 

Applying for the Non-Immigrant O visa isn’t too difficult and you can find companies in Thailand who are very willing and able do the legwork for you.

 

Given that government business in Thailand is naturally handled in Thai, using one of these services is recommended as they can make communication a lot easier, smoothing any bumps in the process far quicker than you could doing it on your own.

 

They know how to retire in Thailand from having handled the process dozens of times before – potentially hundreds of times. As such, none of it will come as a surprise to them.

 

While the requirement of an income when you’re supposed to be retired does seem a little counter-intuitive, to say the least, this can take the form of a pension or passive income.

 

In fact, since you can’t work on a retirement visa, it can only come in those forms. You’ll therefore need to set up a means of regularly transferring money into the country.

 

Getting money into Thailand

 

dee2.png

Photo by Vitaly Taranov / Unsplash

 

Fortunately, while transferring money out of Thailand can be a challenge, getting it into the country is relatively easy.

 

There are various options available for transferring your pension into the country, starting with the obvious option of getting it paid into a bank in your home country and then getting it wired into Thailand.

 

The quickest and simplest approach is to use a remittance service as the fees are lower, the transfer is instant and the exchange rate is excellent. Using a bank transfer is also possible, but is slower and generally less cost-effective.

The downside with either of these options is that you will still be paying tax on your income in your country of origin, despite the fact that you’re not living there.

 

If you’re looking at how to retire in Thailand from the UK, it’s worth looking into QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme), which may enable you to relocate your pension to Thailand so that it pays out directly into your Thai bank account.

However, retirees from other countries may have to look into private pension schemes and particularly into the regulations regarding how they pay out.

 

The cost of living in Thailand

 

dee3.png

 

The good news is that 65,000 baht per month (or an 800,000 baht lump sum) goes a very long way in Thailand, particularly if you pick where to retire to with a degree of care. Bangkok, Phuket and Koh Samui are among the more expensive places to live while Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Hua Hin are among the cheapest. Each has its own distinct environment, as well as its own benefits and attractions.

 

When it comes to figuring out the numbers behind how to retire in Thailand, your exact cost of living will depend very much on how and where you choose to live. However, we can use Bangkok as a general guide:

 

A comfortable one-bedroom apartment = about 10,000 baht per month

 

Utilities (including internet, phone, water and electricity) = about 2,500 per month

 

Food (eating mostly local food) = about 100 baht per day

 

Food (eating mostly foreign food) = about 300 baht per day

 

1 beer = about 100 baht, depending on the brand and where you buy it

 

Comprehensive medical insurance = about 6,000 baht per month

 

One of the things that’s going to come as a surprise to you is the things that cost a lot of money and the things that don’t. As imported goods are heavily taxed, you might find yourself paying two or three times what you would on something as simple as a potato compared to its cost in your country of origin.

 

On the flip side, goods produced in Thailand are significantly cheaper than they would be overseas. So, for example, you might find that the amount you spend on new clothes is minuscule, but the amount you spend on food skyrockets.

 

The easiest way to reduce the impact of this is to stick to the local stuff which, with Thai food having an amazing reputation for flavourful dishes, isn’t that hard.

 

A further point that’s worth noting here is that, as the baht strengthens, the cost of living relative to your native currency will increase.

 

This can become a problem if you’re planning to live off a pension which is regularly transferred into the country from overseas. Currency fluctuations could result in significant changes to your budget from one month to the next.

 

This post is an excerpt of a longer article from DeeMoney, Thailand’s payment provider. Exchange and send money to 14 countries, register via our app, website or in store. 

 

Send money to Australia, Bangladesh,  Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam from just 150 baht per transaction plus a foreign exchange fee.

 

DeeMoney serves as a hybrid solution that’s similar to both Transferwise and Western Union, yet distinguishable from both. Whilst TransferWise offers only digital transfers, and WesternUnion mainly cash transfers, DeeMoney is Thailand’s only service to provide both means of transferring money.

 

 

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SAWASDEE

regarding your quote: 

  •  

please advise details/address of your point re 6000 baht comprehensive medical insurance/.

much appreciated, thanks

 

thaisabai

 

This post is an excerpt of a longer article.

 

How to get a retirement visa for Thailand

 

The first obstacle to entering any country is getting a visa. Fortunately, retiring to Thailand is so popular that there is a specific visa classification for that. The Non-Immigrant O (“Other”) visa covers a number of reasons for entering the Kingdom, as the name suggests, and one of them is retirement.

 

To qualify for a retirement visa, you need to meet two basic requirements:

 

  • You must be at least 50 years old
  • You must have proof that you can financially support yourself
  • You can either have a monthly income of 65,000 baht
  • Or you must have 800,000 baht in a Thai bank account

 

For the 800k option, you need to be able to prove that the money has been in your account for at least two months before applying for the visa. You must also still have at least 400,000 baht in your account for at least three months after you get the visa.

 

In other words, you need to actually have the money – you can’t just borrow it for a few days to meet the visa requirements. The visa will need to be renewed annually and you’ll still need to meet these requirements each time.

 

Sadly, once you’ve got the visa, your interactions with Thai government officials are only just beginning. You need to add in the requirement to report to an Immigration office every 90 days.

 

The so-called “90-day report” is a bit of a chore, during which you need to wait around a government office for however long it takes you to get to the front of the queue just to hand in a couple of forms to keep the Immigration Department updated on your current address.

 

However, given that you can spend the intervening 89 days sipping beers on a beach in Thailand, four days of hassle per year is a small price to pay.

 

In terms of actual paperwork required, you will need to submit the following:

 

  • Visa application form, completely filled out
  • Passport or travel document with at least 18 months of validity remaining
  • Recent passport-sized photograph (3.5 x 4.5 cm), taken within the past 6 months
  • Evidence of adequate finances (as stated above)
  • Proof that you have retired

 

Applying for the Non-Immigrant O visa isn’t too difficult and you can find companies in Thailand who are very willing and able do the legwork for you.

 

Given that government business in Thailand is naturally handled in Thai, using one of these services is recommended as they can make communication a lot easier, smoothing any bumps in the process far quicker than you could doing it on your own.

 

They know how to retire in Thailand from having handled the process dozens of times before – potentially hundreds of times. As such, none of it will come as a surprise to them.

 

While the requirement of an income when you’re supposed to be retired does seem a little counter-intuitive, to say the least, this can take the form of a pension or passive income.

 

In fact, since you can’t work on a retirement visa, it can only come in those forms. You’ll therefore need to set up a means of regularly transferring money into the country.

 

Getting money into Thailand

 

dee2.png

Photo by Vitaly Taranov / Unsplash

 

Fortunately, while transferring money out of Thailand can be a challenge, getting it into the country is relatively easy.

 

There are various options available for transferring your pension into the country, starting with the obvious option of getting it paid into a bank in your home country and then getting it wired into Thailand.

 

The quickest and simplest approach is to use a remittance service as the fees are lower, the transfer is instant and the exchange rate is excellent. Using a bank transfer is also possible, but is slower and generally less cost-effective.

The downside with either of these options is that you will still be paying tax on your income in your country of origin, despite the fact that you’re not living there.

 

If you’re looking at how to retire in Thailand from the UK, it’s worth looking into QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme), which may enable you to relocate your pension to Thailand so that it pays out directly into your Thai bank account.

However, retirees from other countries may have to look into private pension schemes and particularly into the regulations regarding how they pay out.

 

The cost of living in Thailand

 

dee3.png

 

The good news is that 65,000 baht per month (or an 800,000 baht lump sum) goes a very long way in Thailand, particularly if you pick where to retire to with a degree of care. Bangkok, Phuket and Koh Samui are among the more expensive places to live while Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Hua Hin are among the cheapest. Each has its own distinct environment, as well as its own benefits and attractions.

 

When it comes to figuring out the numbers behind how to retire in Thailand, your exact cost of living will depend very much on how and where you choose to live. However, we can use Bangkok as a general guide:

 

A comfortable one-bedroom apartment = about 10,000 baht per month

 

Utilities (including internet, phone, water and electricity) = about 2,500 per month

 

Food (eating mostly local food) = about 100 baht per day

 

Food (eating mostly foreign food) = about 300 baht per day

 

1 beer = about 100 baht, depending on the brand and where you buy it

 

Comprehensive medical insurance = about 6,000 baht per month

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1 hour ago, crazykopite said:

The whole thing after 13 years of living here has become a pain in the backside I have fallen out of love with Thailand or if the truth be known immigration.once I have sold my property I shall be vacating never to return.

I believe you are Samui .. yes?  Please DM me the details of the property you have for sale.  Enjoy your next "better" location!

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4 hours ago, ThaivisaSales said:

You must also still have at least 400,000 baht in your account for at least three months after you get the visa.

Sorry. Just got my visa. I was informed It’s got to stay in the bank for the full 12 months. It’s insurance if you go to hospital. 

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48 minutes ago, Brickbat said:

Sorry. Just got my visa. I was informed It’s got to stay in the bank for the full 12 months. It’s insurance if you go to hospital. 

 

For retirement extensions, it's at least 800K for a couple months before applying, and then a couple more months after applying. And then, at least 400K for the remainder of the year cycle until a couple months before your next application. And rinse and repeat.

 

800K is not required to be on deposit yearround, only 5-6 months of the year. And then the rest of the year it only needs to be at least 400K. At least, that's what Immigration's actual retirement extension rules say.

 

Marriage extensions are a lot simpler. Only 400K for a couple months prior to applying, and the no minimum amount thereafter, until just ahead of your next application cycle.

 

 

 

Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK
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