Getting the right visa for your retirement extension
Can I change a 30 day visa on arrival to a retirement visa? is one of the most popular questions we get asked on a daily basis in Thailand and this is normally by clients who come to Thailand and fall in love with the Kingdom and wish to retire and stay here but most arrive on a free 30 day visa on arrival and have no idea how to change their visa to a long stay visa.
There are three main requirements which you must meet.
You have the financial criteria for the visa which can be done in 3 ways including having 800,000 Thai baht in a Thai bank for a period of 2 months before applying for the visa, the money can be in Thai baht or it can be placed in a Foreign currency account in a Thai bank but the foreign currency must equate to 800,000 Thai baht taken off the daily exchange rate, or if you have an income of 65,000 Thai baht or more per month you do not need the money in the bank you can work off the income only, you need to bring proof to Thailand in the form of bank statements to prove your income to your Embassy who in turn will give you a letter for the Thai Immigration confirming the income. Please note the income does not have to be sent to Thailand it can stay in your home Country. If you have a smaller income you can also use this and what ever the short fall is you can put the money in a Thai bank to make the 800,000 Thai baht for the year, example if your income works out 500,000 Thai baht for the year then you need to put 300,000 Thai baht in your Thai bank and if you are working off a combination the money does not have to be in the bank for 2 months prior to applying because you are combining an income and monies.
Obtaining a Non Immigrant visa is the next step which in Thailand has been made very easy if you have the financial requirement to show for the retirement visa, the Thai Immigration will allow you to convert your 30 day on arrival to a 3 month Non Immigrant and a 1 year extension at the same time without leaving the Kingdom, so the first visa issued would be for 15 months, 3 months Non Immigrant and then a 1 year extension. You can do the two visas at the same time the forms are called the TM7 and the TM86.
Please note that a conversion can only be made for retirement extensions because your are 50 years and above for other visas it is not permitted.
A visa extension based on retirement also does not mean you are retired in Thailand it is just a classification, a name given to the visa because you are 50 and above. Please visit our main retirement visa page for more information.
When any long stay visa is awarded you must make sure every 90 days you report to the Thai Immigration to show were you are residing and if you wish to leave Thailand you must obtain a re entry permit first or you will lose your visa on re entry to Thailand and have to start all over again. Normally when the visa is awarded these rules are printed underneath the visa you obtain.