Retire in Thailand | 5 Things You Need to Know Before

retiring thailand

In many ways, Thailand is the ideal location for the retiree seeking a new chapter in their life. The tropical holiday destination is a relaxed, enjoyable and affordable option for settling down. Friendly people, warm weather all year round, plenty of sightseeing opportunities, and every modern convenience await you in the Land of Smiles.

Still, when preparing for such a significant move, there are plenty of details to attend to – including beyond the obvious questions of choosing a specific location and type of accommodation. Is it practical to seek retirement in Thailand? Is it safe, and is good medical care available? Are there activities to participate in, and other retired expats to mingle with?

We’ve put together this short guide to answer the crucial considerations for retirement in Thailand, taking the main issues one at a time so you’ll know what to expect step by step.

retiring in Thailand

Retirement Visa for Thailand

Thailand is a popular retirement destination for a never ending list of reasons. It offers a warm climate, affordable cost of living, and a rich culture. If you are considering retiring to Thailand, you will need to obtain a retirement visa. The process of applying for a retirement visa can be complex, so it is advisable to consult with an immigration lawyer. However, with careful planning, it is possible to obtain a retirement visa and enjoy a happy and fulfilling retirement in Thailand.

There are two main types of retirement visas for Thailand: O-A (1 year) Retirement Visa and O-X (5 years) Retirement Visa. The best type of visa for you will depend on your individual circumstances and financial resources.

Visa requirements for a retirement O-A Thai visa:

  • Be at least 50 years old at the time of application.
  • Have a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining.
  • Have a medical certificate from a licensed doctor stating that you are in good health and free of any contagious diseases.
  • Have a minimum income of THB 65,000 ($1,800 USD Approx.) per month or a deposit of THB 800,000 ($22,000 USD Approx.)  in a Thai bank account.
  • You must have no criminal history record. This criminal record check must be from your home country or country of residence.

The health insurance requirements for a retirement O-A Thai visa

  • The policy must cover the entire period of your stay in Thailand.
  • You must have a health insurance with minimum coverage of THB 3,000,000 ($100,000 USD Approx.) including treatment for COVID-19 treatment.
  • Your policy must cover both inpatient and outpatient care.
  • The policy must be issued by a reputable insurance company that is licensed to operate in Thailand. 

Please note that visa requirements for O-A Visa are subject to frequent changes. For the most up-to-date and accurate information, it is recommended to check the official Thai Embassy of your country before proceeding with your visa application.

Visa requirements for a retirement O-X Thai visa:

  • Be at least 50 years old at the time of application.
  • Have a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining.
  • Have a medical certificate from a licensed doctor stating that you are in good health and free of any contagious diseases.
  •  outpatients, including coverage for COVID-19 treatment.
  • Have a minimum income of THB 80,000 ($2,200 USD Approx.) per month or a deposit of THB 1 million ($27,500 USD Approx.) in a Thai bank account.
  • You must have no criminal history record. This criminal record check must be from your home country or country of residence.

The health insurance requirements for a retirement O-X Thai

  • The policy must cover the entire period of your stay in Thailand.
  • The Health Insurance plan must have a minimum coverage of THB 400,000 ($11,000 USD Approx.) for inpatients and THB 40,000 ($1,100 USD Approx.) for outpatients.
  • Your policy must include coverage of COVID-19 treatment.
  • The policy must be issued by a reputable insurance company that is licensed to operate in Thailand. 

Please note that visa requirements for O-X Visa are subject to frequent changes. For the most up-to-date and accurate information, it is recommended to check the official Thai Embassy of your country before proceeding with your visa application.

Aside from the retirement visa, there are two other types of long-stay visas in Thailand: the Thailand Elite Visa and the LTR Visa (Long Term Resident Visa).

Thailand Elite Visa requirements:

The Thailand Elite Visa is a premium visa that offers a range of benefits, including:

  • Multiple-entry visa with a validity of 5, 10, or 20 years
  • Priority immigration processing
  • Access to exclusive airport lounges and fast-track immigration lanes
  • Discounts on travel, accommodation, and other services
  • The ability to own a property in Thailand
  • Health insurance coverage with a minimum coverage of THB 3,000,000 for COVID-19 treatment

The Thailand Elite Visa is available to applicants of all ages and nationalities. However, it is a relatively expensive visa, with fees starting at THB 500,000 (approximately US$15,000).

LTR Visa (Long Term Resident Visa) requirements:

The LTR Visa is a visa for foreigners who wish to reside in Thailand for a long period of time, but who do not qualify for the retirement visa. The LTR Visa is valid for five years and can be renewed once.

To qualify for the LTR Visa, applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Invest at least THB 500,000 (approximately US$15,000) in Thai government bonds or Thai real estate
  • Have a Thai spouse or child
  • Be a high-skilled worker or investor
  • Be over the age of 50 and have a monthly income of at least THB 80,000 (approximately US$2,500)
  • Have health insurance coverage with a minimum coverage of THB 3,000,000 for COVID-19 treatment

The LTR Visa is a more affordable option than the Thailand Elite Visa, with fees starting at THB 5,000 (approximately US$150).

Please keep in mind these are the basic requirements and the actual application process may require additional documents. Please always be sure to check with the official Thai Embassy of your country before proceeding with your visa application.

Re-entry Permits and 90-day Report for Retirement Visas

Thailand offers two types of re-entry permits: single and multiple. A single re-entry permit allows you to leave and re-enter the country once on your retirement visa. A multiple re-entry permit allows you to leave and re-enter Thailand multiple times on the same visa, up to the expiration date of your retirement visa.

Which Re-Entry Permit is right for you when Retiring in Thailand?

Thailand offers two types of re-entry permits: single and multiple. A single re-entry permit allows you to leave and return to Thailand once on the same visa, while a multiple re-entry permit allows you to leave and return multiple times on the same visa, until the visa expires.

90-day Reports

If you are retiring in Thailand you will need to do a 90 Day report. You are required to report to a Thai immigration office regarding your current address in Thailand. This helps Thai Immigration keep track of your visa and latest address.  To submit a 90-day report, you must go to a Thai immigration office and submit the following documents:

  • Your passport
  • A completed TM.47 form
  • A copy of your visa
  • A copy of your departure card (TM.6)

Alternatively, you can submit your 90-day report through the online Royal Thai Police website. Be sure to check with your immigration lawyer for your specific case.

Healthcare in Thailand 

Let’s face it – health insurance is an especially important issue for people of retirement age. In some countries, regular healthcare can be prohibitively expensive for people past middle age, particularly those with pre-existing conditions.

Fear not. Thailand’s private hospitals are generally of excellent quality, and affordable insurance is available to people of all ages. Thailand’s sizeable expat population has led to an impressive collection of health insurers and hospitals that specialise in providing exceptional service to foreigners. This means there are a variety of medical insurance plans to choose from so you can find exactly the right one for you.

Known widely as a prime destination for medical tourism, Thailand offers health care on par with the modern treatment available in Western countries, with prices more typical of Southeast Asian nations. For the perfect balance between high-quality service and genuine affordability, Thailand ranks up there with the world’s very best locations.

thailand retiring

How much will retiring in Thailand cost?

The cost of living in Thailand varies depending on location but is generally very affordable. A monthly budget of $1500 is sufficient for a modest lifestyle, covering basic necessities.

One major advantage of living in Thailand is the low cost of food. Delicious and nutritious meals can be easily found at markets and restaurants for a fraction of the price in other countries. For example, a plate of Pad Thai at a street stall typically costs less than $3.

Reasonably priced accommodation can be found all over Thailand, even in the most popular and beautiful regions of the country. Apartments and condominiums are available for much better prices than can be found for comparable properties in the world’s more advanced economies. Affordable accommodation options are available even in popular tourist destinations. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in the heart of Bangkok can be rented for around $600 per month. Overall, Thailand is a great place to retire. With a little planning, it is easy to live a comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle without breaking the bank.

retiring thailand

Places to Move when Retiring to Thailand

Thailand offers plenty of options for exploration, most of the country’s famous islands and beaches are in the southern half of the country, while Bangkok’s thriving city life offers an endless supply of activities to keep life interesting. Northern areas such as Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai have their share of supporters as well, thanks to the colder climate and attractive landscapes in the region. Check out our article on Top 5 Cities To Stay In Thailand

Thanks in part to Thailand’s significant expat population, quality hospitals can be found in all major areas of Thailand. This means that your health will be well cared for in any of the areas listed in our ultimate guide to health insurance in Thailand.

retiring to thailand

Expat Groups for Retirees in Thailand

Expat groups in Thailand for people looking to retire in Thailand can be a valuable resource for those considering making the move. These groups can provide information and advice on everything from the visa process to finding a place to live to adjusting to life in a new country.

These groups often meet for social events, such as dinners, lunches, and coffee mornings. Some expat groups also organize activities such as hiking, biking, and golf.

With its friendly atmosphere and a large population of retirees, living in Thailand offers plenty of opportunities to get out and be social among locals and expats alike. Golf courses, tennis and badminton courts, beaches, activity centers, bars, cafes, and plenty of other social destinations await you in Thailand, each time you step outside.

Each community has its own gatherings and events so that you can meet new people and stay active. With beautiful weather most of the year, and affordable activities easy to get involved with, you’ll have plenty to keep you busy for as long as you like.

As a retirement destination, Thailand is hard to beat. Comfortable, entertaining, and with an always-positive atmosphere, retirement in this Southeast Asian nation is an excellent way to reward yourself after a long and successful career. And with comprehensive medical care keeping you healthy and in good spirits, you’ll have nothing to worry about as you go out and enjoy everything the country has to offer.

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