Retire in Thailand

After having experienced the beauty and mystique that is the Kingdom of Thailand, many people want to make it their permanent home. Thankfully Thai immigration is not just a dream and can be done in various ways. This article will go through the most common of these methods. Most importantly, the first step would be to employ a Thai immigration lawyer to help with the transition and pave the way to living in paradise. We will explain the following visa types below: Retirement Visa, Business Visa, Marriage Visa, and Elite Visa.

Retire in Paradise

What could be more ideal than living in a renowned place with lush forests, beautiful beaches, and rich cultural heritage? Thailand is a dream location for many foreigners. With its laid-back lifestyle and friendly people, many people have chosen to leave their native countries and spend their sunset years there.

Retirement Visa

To begin the process of retiring in Thailand, first, the application for a Thai retirement visa must be done. The application can be completed either in your home country or in Thailand itself, at a Thai Embassy or Consulate. This is known as a Non-Immigrant O-Long Stay Visa.

This visa is more commonly known as "Extension of Stay Based on Retirement” and is the most popular choice for those planning to retire in the Kingdom of Thailand. It is a long-term visa that allows for multiple entries and single entries and is valid for a period of 1 year of uninterrupted stay.

The requirements for this visa are as follows: The Applicants must be 50 years of age or over. The applicants must meet the minimum financial requirements along with the relevant supporting documents. The details of which will be given by the Thai Immigration lawyer.

You may have to leave Thailand during your initial stay to finalise details of your retirement in your home country. Due to this, your Thai immigration lawyer will advise a multiple entry visa to be applied for. This will make trips back and forth much easier than applying for entry every time you return.

The visa may be denied upon re-entry into Thailand if a re-entry permit is not obtained beforehand. This permit can be applied for at a Thai consulate or international airport.

Once your retirement visa has been approved, allowing the 1-year stay in Thailand, the regulations that must be followed are:

  • Reporting to Immigration every 90 days to confirm the place of residence. You must do this in person.
  • No employment is allowed for the duration of the visa term.
  • Renewing your retirement visa does not change your 90-day reporting date. Failure to report for the 90-day confirmation of address can result in heavy fines and or possible imprisonment.

Business Visa

A foreigner may come to Thailand to be employed or start a business in Thailand. This will require them to obtain a Thai Business Visa. Depending on the length of the stay, it can be converted to a long-stay visa. The visa that needs to apply for is called a Thai Non-Immigrant B visa.

Foreigners applying for a job or opening a business in Thailand will require a Thai business visa. This can be best applied for before coming to Thailand. In addition, this type of visa can be extended to a long-term visa which can be done at the local immigration office in the Kingdom of Thailand and will require sponsorship from a business or company in Thailand.

Marriage Visa

The Thai marriage visa is for foreigners married to Thai nationals. Like the retirement visa, a Thai marriage visa allows for a 1-year uninterrupted stay. It is renewable annually and, as stated, allows for the visa holder to seek and gain employment. It is commonly known as a "1-Year Extension of Stay Based on Marriage".

This is especially beneficial to those wanting to be employed or set up their own business in Thailand, as it negates the need to apply for a business visa. Only a work permit needs to be obtained, and it allows greater freedom of movement, including multiple entries into Thailand from abroad.

Elite Visa

The final visa you can obtain for long-term stays in Thailand is the Thai Elite Visa. The name is only available to a select few that meet the general and financial requirements outlined in the Elite Visa application process. Its purpose is to attract and promote Thailand to foreign nationals with high incomes.

This visa offers a stay of up to 20 years. It applies to everyone who meets the criteria, from digital business people, company executives, and retirees who don’t want to go through the process of applying for and obtaining multiple visas every time they exit and enter Thailand.

This program is owned by the Thailand Privilege Card Company Limited, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sport. Various tiers of this program are available depending on the requirements and needs of the applicants. The benefits of the Elite Visa are:

  • The Thai Elite Visa is a 5-year renewable multiple entry visa with an extendable 1-year length of stay per entry.
  • The Thai Elite visa holder can have an uninterrupted stay in Thailand without the usual requirement to leave the country every 90 days or do visa runs as with the other visa types.
  • The Thai Elite Visa holder will be represented by the Thai Elite staff on the 90-day reporting as required by Thai Immigration.
  • The Thai Elite Visa holder will receive expedited immigration formalities and passport control processing when arriving in Thailand.
  • The Thai Elite Visa holder will also enjoy other benefits such as airport transportation services, annual hospital check-ups, and other luxury experiences.


As outlined above, there are many ways for the foreign national to gain entry to and enjoy a long-term stay in Thailand. Be it through marriage, retirement, employment, or simply spending time there through the Elite Visa Program. The dream of moving to and eventually settling in Thailand is achievable with the guidance and advice of a Thai immigration lawyer.

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