Visas for Living in Thailand
Warning: Visa rules change often. Check current regulations before making decisions.
There are basically two types of visas for moving to Thailand that we are comfortable discussing. While other schemes may allow someone to spend years in Thailand, those approaches don't seem to be universally successful. We suggest that you also read the web site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Non-Immigrant "O" or "O-A" Visa
Your first step in the process of living in Thailand usually starts with a "Non-Immigrant Visa". Those documents are issued by Thai consulates, Thai embassies and by Thai immigration offices in Thailand.
Consulates abroad may issue single entry, 90 day, or multiple entry, 1 year. Thai immigration my issue a single entry Non-Immigrant Visa as the first step in a 2-step process that allows conversion of "Tourist Visa" or "Visa Exempt Entry" to an extension of stay based on retirement.
"Retirement Extension" Visas
Persons age 50 and over may be able to qualify for a series of year-to-year extensions of a Type "O-A" Non-Immigrant Visa which should be available from a Thai Embassy or Consulate -- requirements for extensions of stay.
At some point within the last 30 days of the validity of the visa, you should report to the immigration office designated for the area in which you live.
Map of immigration offices and areas of responsibility:
View Thailand Immigration Offices in a larger map
Requirements for Extension of Stay Based on Retirement
- You will need copies of all pages of your bank book showing that Bt 800,000 has been deposited for 90 days prior to your application (60 days prior for first-time applications) or Certification of income of Bt 65,000 per month, or a combination of annual income and bank deposit totaling Bt 800,000. Your bank book should be updated on the day of your application.
- A letter from your bank verifying your bank balance. The bank balance and bank letter should agree exactly. This should be dated the day (or very near) of your application.
- Multiple copies of every page of your passport.
- Fee of Bt 1,900
- 2 recent "visa size" photographs
- Proof of residence, i.e., rental agreement, utility bill in your name, house book, etc.
- A completed form TM. 7
- NOTE: If you plan on traveling outside the country during the year, you should get a re-entry visa so your permission to stay is not cancelled. If that is the case, you will need an extra photo. A single re-entry is Bt 1,000 and a multiple is Bt 3,800
Marriage in Thailand brings with it an opportunity to stay in the kingdom with annual renewals so long as certain requirements are met. Requirements are fairly straightforward, but more inconvenient in some respects than for retirement.
Advantages of Spouse Visa vs Retirement Visa
- No need to meet the (50) minimum age requirement
- Financial requirements are less. Bt 400,000 bank deposit 1
Disadvantages of Spouse Visa vs Retirement Visa
- Because the extension is done on a Non-Immigrant "O"' visa, your documentation must be sent to Bangkok for renewal. That means you will need to make subsequent visits to immigration to check on progress.
- Per the above, you must provide one set of documents for Bangkok and another set for the local immigration office. (The local immigration office keeps one copy and sends the other copy and originals to Bangkok.)
- Each year the list of evidence seems to get longer
- You get a stamp that extends your stay for one month pending the returned approval from Bangkok, which means you must return to immigration for your passport
Note: Some colloquial comments suggest that if a "marriage visa" is switched to a "retirement visa" the holder cannot go back to the "marriage visa".
Requirements for getting @ extensions of stay based on marriage.