Thailand is one of the top international retirement destinations.  With wonderful people, amazing food, excellent weather, low cost of living, and a fascinating culture it’s no wonder Thailand is becoming home to more and more expats.

What do you need to know before you can settle in and feel right at home?

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If you are over 50 years old you can easily qualify for a “retirement visa”.  It isn’t a visa per se but rather an Extension of Stay based on Retirement.  This allows you to stay for an uninterrupted 1 year period in Thailand.  You must renew this visa every year and the renewal process is done at the Thai Immigration office in the city where you live.

The requirements for the extension of stay are straightforward.  You have to be over 50 years of age.  You must place THB 800,000 in a Thai bank account 2 months before your application or show proof of income of THB 65,000 per month with verified bank statements.

You might also have to show a Police Clearance document, medical certificate and proof of insurance.  If you apply for a retirement visa from your home country you will be issued an O-A visa extension.  This visa type requires you to have medical insurance coverage.

The best way to do this is to enter the country on a 30-day tourist visa.  At the end of 30 days, you can extend your tourist visa or apply for a retirement extension.  When it’s done within the country you will receive a type O extension.  Currently, this visa extension has no insurance requirement.

Bank Account

You have to open a Thai bank account and deposit THB 800,000.  The money is yours and you may withdraw it at a later time.  The requirement is that you have the funds in the bank before applying for your retirement extension.  If you withdraw funds below the THB 800,000 amount, you will have to replenish the funds before you reapply for re-extension at the end of one year.

Bangkok Bank or Kasikorn Bank are your best bets for opening an account.  You may receive resistance from a teller, that’s okay.   If that happens go to another branch of the same bank, or go to a different bank.  You might have to go to one or more banks, but eventually, you will find a bank willing to open an account.

Health Insurance

Health insurance may or may not be required based on your visa type.  Whether or not it is required it is a good idea to have Thailand health insurance for foreigners.

For any retiree health insurance provides protection against unforeseen medical issues that could derail your retirement and force you out of the country.

Thailand has so much to offer retirees that it comes as no surprise that it has become one of the world’s top retirement destinations.

The Thai Immigration Bureau and Immigration Police are helpful and genuinely want you to enjoy your stay in the Land of Smiles.