On 16 August 2017, the top brass at Thai Immigration Police announced that the new 10-year visa for foreign retirees is now available. Let us take a look at how this retirement visa works and whether it is a good idea to apply for this type of long stay visa in Thailand.
The new visa type extends your long stay visa to 10 years, and under the new rules, the 10-year period is divided into two 5-year sections – meaning this new visa is initially valid for five years, and can be renewed for another 5 years. While you are not expected to renew your visa annually, visa holders will still be required to check in every 90 days with the Thai Bureau of Immigration.
However, before you make your way to Chaeng Watthana or your provincial immigration offices to apply for the newly available 10-year Thai retirement visa, you need to know that it is NOT available to every expat retiree out there. This new visa is only available to applicants who are more than 50 years old, have no pending criminal charges or convictions, and are from one of these 14 countries:
- United Kingdom
- United States
Well, Of Course, There Are Financial Pre-Requisites
Besides what is mentioned earlier, those who are interested to apply for this new 10-year visa must have deposited 3 million Baht into their bank account at the time of application. Alternatively, applicants are required to have a 100,000 Baht monthly salary. You are not able to withdraw the money in the first year of acquiring the visa. After the first year of the first 5-year period, you can withdraw not more than 50% of the 3 million Baht. In cases of withdrawals, the withdrawal statements will be required for submission to the authorities. This visa costs 10,000 Baht to apply.
Should You Apply for This New Thai Retirement Visa?
To tackle this question, you need to review your own answers to the following questions:
- Do you want to save the trouble of renewing your retirement visa annually?
Everyone wants to avoid the inconveniences of dealing with visa renewal issues. Under the new rules, you only need to renew this visa type once after the first 5-year period. Compared to the yearly renewals under the 1-year Thai retirement visa type, this can potentially save you time and money. However, do note that even though the renewal duration is different, both applicants of the 1-year retirement visa or the new 10-year retirement visa will STILL HAVE TO perform the 90-day reporting with the Immigration Bureau. If you ask me, the “inconveniences” are pretty much the same.
- Do you need to stay in Thailand for long periods of time?
For those who are not making regular multi-entries into the kingdom, this might seem like a winner. There are some expat retirees here who prefer to stay within Thailand – whether it’s for long-term investment purposes or personal preferences or family reasons – without any plan to travel abroad. With the double 5-year periods, this clause is useful for those who fall into the above-mentioned category. What’s more, since this is a 10-year, multi-entry visa type, even if you need to make multiple entries into Thailand, it will allow you to do so easily.
- Do you have 3 million Baht to leave untouched in the bank account or have at least 100,000 Baht incoming monthly salary?
This is probably one of the biggest challenges for people who are interested in taking up this new visa type. After all, these are not small amounts of money we are talking about (well, at least I am talking on behalf for most of us). For the 1-year Thai retirement visa which is still in use, applicants only need to have 800,000 Baht in the bank, or have a 65,000 Baht monthly salary. As it seems, the new 10-year visa for foreign retirees is made for the rich fellows in mind, so the financial requirements may be the single-biggest obstacle for retirees to consider it.
So, Yay or Nay?
Well, if your answer is “yes” to the three questions asked earlier, then you are probably going to want to apply for the new 10-year visa for foreign retirees. In all honesty, if you can meet the tough financial requirements, there should be nothing holding you back, especially when you are someone who prefers removing all the inconveniences related to your long-term retirement in Thailand. However, we believe there should be many naysayers too, not just because of the financial pre-requisites, but more so because the 10-year Thai retirement visa has not done a convincing job with distinguishing itself from the processes involved for the annual renewal retirement visa.
Nevertheless, there are numerous visa handling agencies that can provide detailed information about visa application process as well as all that you need to know to plan a flawless retirement in Thailand. Whether you prefer the 1-year Thai retirement visa or the 10-year Thai retirement visa, talk to us today at Key Visa and get to know your best options!