Retiring in Thailand: How easy is it?
Thailand is one of the world’s favourite retirement destinations with tens of thousands of people every year moving to the Kingdom after finishing their working life. The retirement influx is not just from a small number of countries, they are coming from North America, Western and Eastern Europe and even from other Asian countries – particularly Japan and South Korea.
It is not hard to see why Thailand is such an attractive destination. The climate is very agreeable and there is a variety of locations to suit everyone; from bustling cities to relaxing beach retreats, stunning mountains or island havens. The cost of living in Thailand is another great attraction; it is considerably lower than in most developed economies, while at the same time offers easy availability of comfort and luxury goods and services. Another factor is the attitude of Thai people – relaxed, easy going, tolerant and friendly. As a general rule, they make foreigners feel very welcome in their land and have a culture of respect towards older people. No wonder retirement in Thailand is so attractive.
It helps that the government has a specific visa particularly for retirees looking to live in Thailand. There is of course a process to go through, but as long as you meet the qualifying criteria it is a completely trouble free process. The main requirements are a minimum of 800,000 Baht lodged in a Thai bank, or a pension income of at least 65,000 Baht per month. Retirees must be over 50 years of age and in good health at the time of the initial application.
The initial application for a visa should be at a Thai Embassy or Consulate in the applicant’s home country and there is a second stage for a full retirement visa once in Thailand. Thereafter, the visa must be renewed annually. The only other requirement is that retirees register their address with the immigration authorities every 90 days. This can be done in person at a regional office, by post and at some offices online. It is very straightforward.
After the first annual visa is issued, it’s possible for retirees to ship their belongings to Thailand without having to pay customs duties. This must be done within six months, although an extension can be granted on request.
Other aspects of a retired life in Thailand are equally easy. The country has a good transport and communications infrastructure as well as modern supermarkets and offers the ready availability of other consumer goods. Satellite television stations have programming in many languages including English, French, Spanish, German, Russian and Japanese. Best of all, there is an active international retired community as well as plenty of opportunity to integrate with the local population.
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