Retirement in Thailand – A Comprehensive Guide

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Retirement in Thailand

If you are fast approaching that magical day when you hang up your working hat forever, you are probably focusing on preparations to relocate to the tropical paradise that is Thailand, and with that in mind, we present important information to help you manage the relocation operation and make the transition to life in the unique nation that is known as the Land of Smiles.

The Importance of Health Insurance

Whatever healthcare plan you happen to have in your home country, will not protect you in Thailand. Check out the  local insurer Pacific Cross Health Insurance where you will find the best policies at the lowest prices. Some people prefer basic coverage, while others would rather have comprehensive health coverage; the choice is yours.

Learning Thai Language

If you plan on retiring in Thailand, you must learn how to communicate with locals. Sign up for a local Thai class, or you can learn one-on-one with a Thai national using Zoom. It does seem like Thai is a crazy language, as it is phonetic and differs greatly from English. Some foreigners find it very difficult, while others pick it up without an issue; English is only spoken in tourist areas, so you should be able to communicate in basic Thai, which is not that difficult; don’t be shy and always take every opportunity to converse with local Thai people.

Applying for a Retirement Visa

If you are aged 50 or over, you can apply for a Non-Immigrant visa based on retirement. This visa is renewed annually and there are specific financial requirements that you have to meet. Two months before applying for the visa, open an account with a Thai bank and deposit the sum of 800,000 Baht, then you can fill out the application process and your visa should be issued without any problems. Once you receive your visa, you are allowed to use up to 50% of that money, which must be topped up 2 months before you renew the visa.

Joint Income

If you are married, you and your partner’s joint income can be used to qualify for a retirement visa; Europeans need a joint income of at least 65,000 Baht per month, instead of showing 800,000 Baht, which might be a better option. If you find the visa application process complex, you could hire the services of a reputable visa agent.

Choosing a Location in Thailand

Whether you prefer beach life or would rather live in the mountainous northern part of Thailand, there is something for everyone. We don’t recommend buying property for the first 6 months, rather move around until you are sure that you have found the best location that meets your needs. While foreign nationals are not permitted to own land in Thailand, you can buy a condo unit, providing you can show evidence that the funds came from abroad. If you do have your heart set on building your dream home, you can set up a limited company and buy the land in the company’s name. Click here for why aquatic exercise is becoming very popular.

Forget Shipping Your Personal Possessions and Furniture

Those who try to import their furniture, usually end up frustrated and having to pay import tax on used goods. Sell everything at home and buy new when you arrive in Thailand; there is a great selection of household appliances and furniture, all at affordable prices. Only bring things that are essential for living, the rest can be purchased locally.

Building a Home

There is no law to stop you from owning your home, however, you cannot own the land on which it sits; leasing the land for 30 years with an option for another 30 years and your home is secure. Choose your builder carefully; some are specialists in building to order and finding a builder who speaks English is not a difficult thing to do. If you trust a Thai person, you could ask them to oversee the build, acting as your representative. Indeed, some foreigners have their homes built before relocating, which would be ideal.

If you schedule a visit to Thailand a few months before your relocation date, you can sort out the bank account and decide on a suitable area in which to live. Here is some up-to-date information on Thailand from the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

We hope the information in this article goes some way to helping you arrange everything for your retirement in the Land of Smiles.