Thailand is now encouraging long-stay foreigners – especially as it pertains to retirees. Thailand actually welcomes retiring foreigners with open arms, to the point that there is a special visa for retirees. Retired immigrants must be over the age of 50 (which is already a bonus, especially for immigrants from the United States) and must bring into Thailand an amount of foreign currency which totals greater than 800,000 baht. If those requirements are met, foreigners can apply for their retirement visa.
There are certain other qualifications that must be met by any foreigner wishing to retire in Thailand. In addition to age restrictions, no potential retirees can have been prohibited from entering Thailand under the Immigration Act. As far as money goes, if the foreigner’s monthly income is less than 65,000 baht, he or she is not eligible. Furthermore, the appropriate amounts of money must ultimately be put into a bank in Thailand. As well, prospective retirees cannot have a criminal record.
Once these qualifications are met, there are several required documents necessary in order to then apply for a Retirement Visa:
- The visa application, completely and correctly filled out;
- Two photographs, passport-sized, no more than six months old;
- Copies of valid travel documents;
- Copies of financial documents showing the aforementioned financial information.
Retiring foreigners can submit their application abroad or in Thailand. Generally, Retirement Visas last for a period of up to one year, after which the retiree will be required to renew/extend his or her visa – before its expiration date.
Thailand is very serious about provided safety for retired immigrants. The country has one of the highest levels of safety of any other country, and violent crimes against people are extremely rare. Culturally, age in Thailand is unquestionably respected.
The standard cost of living in Thailand is incredibly low as well, making it extremely affordable for retirees on a fixed income – it is much more affordable than Florida, which stateside is the retirement destination. There are lots of housing facilities out of the way from high tourism areas, which further make it easy for retirees on a fixed income to afford.
The medical facilities in Thailand are both affordable and completely modern. A lot of the doctors in Thailand have been trained in western medical schools, as have a lot of the RNs, so both doctors and nurses are up-to-date on the latest technologies and techniques.
The weather is another benefit to retiring in Thailand. It is generally warm all year round, which makes it ideal for retirees, no matter what their age when they first come to the country. With no cold fronts, people will not feel the effects of aging very often.
Chiang Mai is the most popular place in Thailand to retire because it is economical, rather rural, and peaceful. Another popular place is Pattaya which comes in at a very close second. It is full of immigrants and foreigners, plus it is centrally located near larger cities. Phuket is also an ideal place to retire, as is the area west of Bangkok, in Hua Hin and Cha-Am. Other popular retirement regions include Prachuab Khiri Khan, which is on the coast, Koh Samui, which is actually an island, and various suburbs and areas outside of Bangkok are enjoyed by retirees as well.