Thailand has been a popular destination for many foreigners looking for a place they can call their second home. Phuket’s fantastic landscape and abundant beautiful beaches have been the main reasons for retirees to choose the island as their retirement home.
But just like in any other country, foreigners need to obtain the proper visa in order to be allowed to stay in Phuket legally. Foreign visitors who have fallen in love with Phuket have to apply and process their retirement visa in Thailand if they want to perpetually enjoy the sun, beaches and the mountains not only in Phuket but in entire Thailand for that matter. If you need Phuket lawyers who can help you deal with your retirement visa application, you can click here.
The following outlines the procedures in applying and obtaining a retirement visa in Thailand.
- Obtain a Nonimmigrant Visa. In order to stay legally in Thailand, visitors need to have a non-immigrant visa. Requirements include passport valid for at least one year before the expiry date, proof of funds, and most importantly, one must be holding a recognized nationality or permanent resident status of the country of origin.
- Obtain a One-Year Retirement Visa. To qualify for this visa, applicant must be 50 years old or older. Requirements that need to be complied with include passport (copies of each page duly signed), non-immigrant visa, departure card TM.6, proof of sufficient funds, Thai bank book (original), letter from Thai Bank where account is maintained and three 4 x 5 cm full-face photo.
- Ship Your Household Items to Thailand. Retirees will be given six months from date of entry to Phuket to bring in the household stuff from the retiree’s country of origin, to Thailand, or Phuket, specifically. If granted with a one-year stay permit, the household items will not be subject to tax. Otherwise, the items will be taxed for import duty which is 20% and 7% for value added tax. In the event that the arrival of the items will take more than the prescribed 6 months, the Customs may be informed two months before the deadline and request for an extension should be filed accordingly.
- Obtaining a Re-Entry Permit. “Extension of Stay” and Re-entry Permit” are two different visa variations, both of which will be needed by the retiree during his stay in Phuket. “Extension of Stay” is the controlling or validity date. The legality of your stay and everything else that go with a visa is dependent on this. Upon expiry of the “Extension of Stay”, everything attached or linked to it will be invalidated. On the other hand, the validity of a “Re-entry Permit” is dependent on the validity of the “Extension of Stay”. Any foreigner leaving Thailand without a “Re-entry Permit” will automatically have an invalid “Extension of Stay”.
- Regular Reporting every 3 months. Foreign retirees are required to regularly report to the Immigration Police every 3 months (90 days) if granted a long-term “Extension of Stay”. Those holding multiple entry visa need only to exit Thailand and renew their “Extension of Stay” after each 90 day entry. Non-immigrant visa may also be obtained from a Thai Embassy or Consulate overseas.
Financial Requirements for a Retirement Visa
Any foreign national applying for a retirement visa in Thailand must be able to present proof of having the following finances:
- Bank Account showing THB 800,000
- Monthly income (pension) of at least THB 65,000
- Combination (Bank Account + Income x 12 = THB 800,000)
Upon approval of retirement visa, the retiree shall appear in person for the first and the last time at the Immigration office with the original passport to sign the visa paperwork in the presence of the Immigration officer or staff. Passport will then be stamped with the retirement visa at the time of approval.
Retirement Visa Restrictions
Approved retirement visa allows a retiree to stay in Thailand for a year, during which period, the retiree will not seek employment in Thailand while on a retirement visa. Reporting to the Immigration Police every 90 days is also required to verify current address.