Planning to Retire in Thailand? What you Need to Know

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( — July 16, 2021) —

If you are only a few years from retirement and your plan is to buy a second home in Phuket, you certainly wouldn’t be alone. The South of Thailand is one of the favourite retirement destinations in the world, and for very good reasons; the climate is tropical, the cost of living reasonable and Thailand has a rich and colourful culture that captivates most westerners when they visit.

Long Stay Visas

Of course, if you are going to retire in Thailand, you will need to apply for a retirement visa (you must be 50 or older), which can be extended on an annual basis. Thai immigration set financial requirements and there are 2 ways that you can qualify;

  1. Deposit the sum of 800,000 Thai baht into a Thai bank account.

  2. Show evidence that you have a certain pension income.

To find out more about long term visas in Thailand, a Google search will take you to the website of your Thai Embassy.

Health Insurance

The current pandemic has forced the Thai government to ensure that all foreigners living in their country have Covid-19 insurance, with a cover of $100k. There are online providers of visa insurance in Thailand, where you can take out a comprehensive health insurance policy. Medical treatment can be very expensive in Thailand and if you are planning to retire, you should have adequate health insurance cover.

Buying Real Estate

Foreigners are not permitted to own land in Thailand (with a few exceptions) and if you want to acquire your own home, you can lease a plot of land for 30 years, with an optional extra 30 years, should you wish to renew the lease. The only way that you can own land in Thailand is if a limited company purchased the land/house and you are a shareholder of the said company, but the limited company must be trading, otherwise, you run the risk of having the assets seized by the authorities, in the event they think the company formation was primarily for buying real estate. The 30×30 lease is a secure way to protect your property and you will need the services of an English-speaking lawyer. Here are some tips about managing overseas rental property, which you might find useful.

Learning the Language

While it is possible to get by with only English, if you want to gain an insight into Thai culture, you should make an effort to learn to speak Thai. It is only in the tourist areas that the locals can speak English and if you are planning to live in a remote rural area, speaking the language is a must. There are lots of free language learning resources on the Internet, plus you can enrol in a basic Thai language class and with lots of free practice, it won’t be long until you can enjoy a basic conversation in Thai.

Prior to making any travel plans, check with your Thai Embassy regarding entry requirements, which might include ‘fit to fly’ certificates and even Covid-19 vaccinations.