Extending Your Thai Visa Based on Retirement
For many visitors to Thailand, a short holiday simply isn’t enough to enjoy all that the country has to offer. If you wish to stay longer than 3 months, and you can meet the requirements set out by immigration, then extending your visa based on retirement may be the answer for you. It doesn’t mean that you have to permanently up and move to Thailand, but extending your visa annually does allow you to stay in the Kingdom for years. Here’s how to do it.
The Right Visa
There are 2 ways to obtain the right visa that you need for retirement in Thailand.
A. Non Immigrant O
The first is to apply for a Non-Immigrant ‘O’ visa at a Royal Thai Consulate in a nearby country (Vientiane, Laos; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Penang, Malaysia, etc.). For 2000 THB, you receive the 90-day visa which you can later extend to a full year. You’ll need to be over 50 years of age and have bank statements showing an income of over 65,000THB / month or 800,000THB total. If you’re in Thailand already and don’t want to exit, you can apply to change your 30-day non-visa entry or 60-day Tourist visa at the Immigration center in Bangkok.
B. Non-Immigrant O-A
From your home country (or official country of residence), you can apply for a Non-Immigrant O-A visa (long duration) which will enable you to stay in Thailand for 1 year. Again, you need proof that you met the age and financial eligibility. The following documents are required:
1. Passport with at least 18 months’ validity
2. 3 copies of completed visa application form
3. 3 passport-sized photos (4x6cm) taken within the past 6 months
4. Personal information form
5. Copy of a your bank statement showing an amount of 800,000THB or more, OR a certificate proving that you have a monthly income (ex. a pension) of 65,000THB or more, OR certification showing a combination of bank deposit and monthly income that totals not less than 800,000THB.
6. Letter of guarantee from your bank (to guarantee bank statement accuracy)
7. Notarized letter from your home country (or official country of residence) stating that you have no criminal record.
8. Medical certificate from a hospital in the country where you submit your application showing that you have no prohibitive diseases. The certificate should be recent (valid for not more than 3 months) and might have to be notarized.
You really have to check before applying with your Thai consulate or Thai embassy. Each places can have their own rules and rules DO CHANGE OFTEN. So, verify if the above list is still accurate.
This visa is granted for 1 year, but as with all visas in Thailand, you must report to Immigration every 90 days (unless you leave Thailand before 90 days - in that case, you might need a re-entry permit if on a single-entry visa) and file a TM47 form showing that you’re still in Thailand and at the same address. There is no fee for these check-ins, and you’re also given leeway to arrive within a week before or a week after the arranged date for your 90-day check. However, if you’re late you will be fined. Be aware that if you have only a single-entry visa and leave Thailand before your visa expires, if you do not have a re-entry permit, you will lose that visa. With a multiple-entry visa, you can enter and leave the country as many times you wish during the period that your visa or extension is still valid.
It is advisable for option A, to add a re-entry permit or multiple entry (TM8) at the same time. That will mean that every time you re-enter Thailand, you will get another 365 days on arrival. Make sure your last re-entry will be BEFORE the end of the original visa date.
Extending Your Visa
There are 2 ways to extend your visa based on retirement, based on the type of visa you have obtained.
A. Non-Immigrant O
With this visa, you’re only granted a 90-day stay, so to extend this to a full year you’ll need to file a TM7 form to extend your stay based on retirement in Thailand. To get the extension, you again need to prove that you pass the age, health, and financial requirements set out for retirees; however there are 2 more requirements.
If you are showing a bank statement to prove your finances total over 800,000THB, then this amount has to be in a Thai account for not less than 3 months prior to your application for extension. However, if you’re combining monthly income and bank deposit, then there is no requirement to have the money in your bank account 60 days before you apply.
Regardless of whether you’re showing income or deposit, you also need to show that you hold a Thai bank account, with a minimum balance of cash in it. For this you’ll need a registered letter from the bank, plus copies of your bank passbook. This letter should be dated within 1 day of the extension request and should match with the balance of your bankbook. Some offices might allow 7 days. Verify with your local immigration office.
When this extension is accepted, your visa will be extended to a full year, which means they will stamp your passport for 1 year from the date when your Non-Immigrant O visa was initially used. Following your first extension, you can apply for an extension annually according to the same procedure use with the Non-Immigrant O-A visa below.
B. Non-Immigrant O-A
With this visa, you’ve already been granted a 1-year stay, so when that is close to expiring you’ll need to apply for your next year’s extension.
To do this, you need to file a TM7 Extension of Stay form just like you would for the Non-Immigrant O visa above. This time, you have to show 800,000THB in a Thai bank account, 65,000THB/month income, or a combination of the two equalling 800,000THB or more.
You need to submit:
1. TM7 application form
2. Application fee of 1,900 THB
3. Original passport with signed photocopies of each page (2 copies outside of Bangkok)
4. 1 passport-sized photo (2 outside Bangkok)
5. Map to your residence, must be hand-drawn
6. Financial proof (as discussed above)
If you don’t want to keep your money in a low-interest Thai bank account for 3 months prior to your application for extension, then use the combination of registered income and deposit. In this case, your deposit only has to be in the Thai bank account long enough to get a bank statement proving the money is there.
Remember that foreigners are only allowed to stay in the Kingdom of Thailand for 90 days without exiting or reporting to immigration. Don’t miss your 90-day reports or you will be fined!
If you want to leave Thailand during your stay on your Non-Immigrant visa, you will need to purchase a Re-entry Permit for 1000THB from immigration (no longer available at the airport) not more than 1 month before you exit. It is easier to do this the same day you make your extension. The re-entry permit should be valid as long as your visa extension. If you need to travel, you might want to request a multiple-entry permit. The single and multiple re-entry permits are done with the form TM8. This permit allows you to leave and re-enter Thailand without your visa being cancelled. (However, in some places, your re-entry might be valid only for a short period. This is why you should always double check with your local office)
Employment is prohibited on the retirement visa and retirement extension.
For over-50s, the retirement visa and extensions based on retirement are great options to help you stay in Thailand long-term and enjoy this beautiful country. As long as you have the finances and keep your paperwork organized and in order, then you can use the extension based on retirement to build a great post-work life in Thailand.
NOTE: Immigration officers can always ask additional information at their discretion in order to check the validity of the information provided.