Looking to retire somewhere exotic? If so, you might be considering applying for a Thai retirement visa to realise your dream. But how do you know where to start?
Finding answers to your questions can be tricky so we’ve put together a guide covering the basic information you need. We’ll even take you through the application process step-by-step so you know what to expect.
To help with your move overseas, we’ll also show you a convenient way to save when sending and spending money abroad by opening a Wise multi-currency account.
More on that later - first let’s look at the Thai retirement visas available to you.
When you apply for a Thai retirement visa, this is actually an extended Non-Immigrant Visa based on retirement. There are two types: O-A and O-X.
O-A is the most commonly held and you can stay up to 1 year before renewing for another year (the number of times you can renew is unlimited). O-X allows you to stay up to 5 years and you can renew for another 5 years.
Both visas allow you to choose Single or Multiple entry, depending on if you wish to stay in Thailand for the whole of the visa term or not. Bear in mind that you can’t hold these visas and work in Thailand.
You need to be 50 years or older to get a Thai retirement visa. Plus, you must be able to prove citizenship or permanent residency within your country. You also need to meet these financial requirements of the Visa you’re applying for¹:
|Visa Type||Option 1||Option 2|
|O-A Visa||Bank deposit equal to or more than 800,000 THB (approx £20,000)||Monthly income of at least 65,000 THB (approx £1,625)|
|O-X Visa||3 million THB (approx £70,000) deposited in a Thai bank in Thailand||Deposit of at least 1.8 million THB (approx £42,000) deposited in a Thai bank in Thailand AND annual income of at least 1.2 million THB (approx £28,000)*|
*If you qualify for an O-X Visa using combined funds from your deposit and annual income, you’ll need at least 3 million THB in a Thai bank located in Thailand within 1 year of arrival.
You can begin your application online. Simply follow the steps below to upload your documents and make your payment. You’ll be asked to book an appointment at the Royal Thai Embassy, 29-30 Queen's Gate, London, SW7 5JB² to submit your application.
The exact documents you need will depend on which retirement visa you apply for. To speed things up have the following ready³:
- Passport (at least 6 months remaining before expiration)
- Photo(s) taken within the last 6 months
- Proof of funds e.g bank statements or proof of earnings
- Certificate of criminal record clearance
- Medical certificate (dated within 3 months before application submission).
You should check the full list of documentation on the Royal Thai Embassy website to make sure you have everything you’ll need.
Ready to go? Follow these steps to fill in your application form:
- If you haven’t done so already, create an account on the Thai E-Visa website
- You’ll be sent an email containing a link to activate your account and log in
- Once logged in go to Apply for new visa
- Complete the eligibility section and select where you’ll submit your documents e.g. Royal Thai Embassy, London
- In the next section, upload a scan of your passport and your photo
- Fill out the personal information fields
- Complete the travel details section
- Finally, upload the supporting documents requested
- Then Save all changes and click Done. (This will save your place so you can easily go back and make changes anytime)
- Once you’re happy, submit your form to the Embassy:
- Go to Ready to submit under the Manage visa application menu
- Select the checkbox next to your application
- Click Proceed to payment
- Book your appointment at the embassy
- Pay your application fee
- Check the status of your application has updated with your booking
That’s the online part complete. Next, attend your appointment at the embassy. Be sure to take all your documents, as well as a print-out of the application form with you on the day.
If you need additional support with applying online download this handy guide.
You might be wondering what happens when your visa runs out. Well, provided you still meet the requirements you can extend it from within Thailand. Just visit the Office of Immigration Bureau in your province to file your application³.
You can expect to be charged an application fee. As of 1st April 2019 the fees are as follows⁴:
|Visa Type||Application Fee|
Contact the Royal Thai Embassy to check the latest Thai retirement visa fees.
That’s everything you need to get you started with your visa application. Before you go, we’d like to show you how to save money on your relocation expenses.
Open a Wise multi-currency account and you can send your retirement funds to Thailand safely and securely without those hefty bank charges. You can also get the Wise debit card and spend at low costs in the local currency. There’s no need to convert currency or carry cash around, as your card will handle the conversion automatically when you tap to spend.
The best thing is when sending or spending money with Wise, you’ll always get the real, mid-market exchange rate.
So, we hope you found this guide useful. Remember to check the full requirements to select the right visa for you. You can also contact the Royal Thai Embassy if you have questions about your application. Good luck!
Sources used for this article:
- Royal Thai Embassy London - non-immigrant visas
- Royal Thai Embassy London - address and numbers
- Thai e-Visa - long stay visa
- Royal Thai Embassy London - fees
Sources checked on 12 April 2021
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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