How to Retire in Thailand: What You Need to Know

Thailand has long been a popular destination for foreigners wanting to retire. And it’s easy to see why with a low cost of living, a rich culture, tasty local cuisine, friendly locals and beautiful weather. There are plenty of beaches to relax on, incredible scenery to enjoy and for the more active – tons of forest covered hills to trek.

If you’re thinking of retiring and living in Thailand, one of the most important things to do is to find adequate accommodation to stay in. Many nationalities can enter Thailand without a visa for the first month. If you wish to retire, you’ll need a retirement visa. Here’s what else you need to know.

Is Thailand a Safe Place to Retire?

Thailand is famously known as the ‘land of smiles’ and locals are generally very welcoming to foreigners. Violent crimes against foreigners are rare and Thailand is ranked as one of the safest countries in Southeast Asia. But of courses crime does happen and it’s important to always take precautions.

The major cities in Thailand like all cities across the world have a higher level of crime. And crimes against foreigners are usually financial in the form of pickpocketing and fraud. Remember to always take care of your belongings in busy markets, bars and on transport.

How Much Does It Cost to Retire in Thailand?

Cost of living in Thailand is estimated to be around 30-40% cheaper than the US. This is why Thailand is an attractive option for many to live out their golden years, making their pension fund stretch further. How much money you live on in Thailand really depends on the individual.

It’s totally possible to live on $1,000 a month comfortably, if you live on the outskirts of a city and eat local cuisine. If you like a few more mod cons and to go out a little more, a budget of $1,500 to $2,000 will give you a great lifestyle.

How to Apply for a Thailand Retirement Visa?

If you are a foreign national over 50 years of age and want to retire in Thailand, you can apply for a retirement visa while overseas or in the country. You must have no criminal record in your home country or in Thailand and have no prohibitive diseases such as leprosy, tuberculosis, drug addiction, elephantiasis and the third phase of syphilis. Other requirements;

  • A monthly income or pension of 65,000 Thai Baht
  • 800,000 Thai Baht in a Thai bank account cleared in the account two months before application
  • Or, have an annual income, pension and money in a local bank which when combined comes to 800,000 Thai Baht
  • Health insurance with 400,000 Baht IPD coverage and 40,000 Baht OPD coverage
  • Passport with at least 6 months’ validity
  • Photos sized 4cm by 6cm taken in the last 6 months
  • A police background check certificate

Once you have all the required documents, you can visit the local immigration office if you’re in Thailand or local Thai embassy in another country. The retirement visa (non immigrant OA visa) lasts for one year and can be renewed every year in Thailand.