The big question most would-be retirees to Thailand have is how much money do they need. Not how much money do they need to be able to live, but how much money does the Thai government mandate they have before they’ll issue them with a retirement visa. Retirement visas in Thailand are issued for a year, then renewable as needed. But, when one is issued and for every annual renewal, there is a certain amount of money you’ll need to prove you have before they’ll let you stay.
Total Amount of Money – Under current rules, you must be able to show you have 800,000 baht ($26,900) for either an original application for a retirement visa to Thailand, or renewal of a retirement visa for another year. How this 800,000 baht is made up though, can come from several sources. You must also be at least 50 years old.
First Financial Option, a Thai Bank – Your first financial option to be able to get a retirement visa in Thailand is to have 800,000 baht ($26,900) in a Thai bank account. This money must have been in a Thai bank account for three months previous to you applying for a retirement visa (ie: you can’t transfer money into an account one day and apply for a retirement visa the next).
The 800,000 baht must also stay in your Thai bank account during the entire year of your retirement visa, ie: you can’t put money in and then use it to live on (which makes no sense to retirees in Thailand but, there ya go). Some retirees report putting the money in, then taking some of it out during the year and they’ve never had a problem. Immigration however can, and does sometimes, check some bank accounts and, if the full 800,000 baht isn’t there, they could revoke your retirement visa.
Second Financial Option, a Western Pension – A second way to get a retirement visa in Thailand is to have proof of a western pension of at least 65,000 baht ($2,331) a month. This can come from either a government pension or a private pension, or pension funds, but it must be certified by your embassy before the Thai government will accept it as proof of income. Note, this is a total of 780,000 baht for the year, so slightly less than the 800,000 baht required in a bank account.
Third Financial Option, Combination Bank Account and Pension – If you don’t have enough money in savings, or enough money in a pension to meet the around 800,000 baht minimum, if you have a combination of both, you can still get a retirement visa.For instance, if you have 300,000 baht in a Thai bank account, you have to prove you will have another 500,000 baht ($16,835) in retirement pension during the next year, and you will be given a retirement visa for a year.
While Thailand does not make it easy to retire here, and there are no government advantages to do so, retirement in Thailand can be cheap, so once you get here, you can have a wonderful lifestyle for not much money.