Jul 15

Retiring in Thailand

Thailand consistently ranks among the top destinations for retirement in the world. The reason for this vary from one retiree to another but overall, Thailand’s beautiful weather, world class and high-standard facilities, relatively cheap cost of living, friendly people and delicious food make the Kingdom of Thailand a favorite place for retirees.

How Foreigners can retire in Thailand?

Westerners wishing to retire to Thailand can do so with a minimum of fuss, but there are some issues that you will want to consider before you undertake to shift across to Thailand.

Applying for the Thai Retirement Visa

Retirees to Thailand, who are a minimum 50 years of age, can obtain a one-year visa (renewable annually), provided they can demonstrate THB 800,000 in a Thai bank account; or a minimum monthly pension of THB 65,000./month or a combination of the two (savings and pension)  which adds up to THB 800,000/year. The visa formalities can be organized by consulting an experienced legal advisor in Bangkok; you might make the first application overseas or come to Thailand under a Tourist Visa and convert it inside Thailand.

Opening a Bank Account in Thailand

Foreigners retiring in Thailand will also need to set up a local bank account to receive and hold the above funds, however it is best once again the secure the assistance of an advisor, as the interpretation of the rules to open a personal bank account vary from one bank branch to another!  With an experienced advisor to help, you can successfully open your account in less than 30 minutes.

Bringing Your Personal Effects to Thailand

Retirees will most likely want to bring some personal goods into Thailand, and here it pays to seek assistance.  There are rules that apply to the inbound shipment of personal goods for residents of Thailand:  if handled competently, you can avoid the possibility of customs excise duties on those goods.  Best to discuss this matter in advance with a legal advisor.

Settling in

Some law firms will also offer to assist retirees with the selection of short-term or long-term accommodation, as many have good links with real estate agencies and can advise you on lease agreements.  Alternatively, many retirees will prefer to invest in a beach-side, or city, condominium.  Whatever property alternative you prefer—leased or purchased–be sure to seek competent legal advice before you sign a contract or make a deposit payment.

Should you make a Will?

Foreigners settling in Thailand should insure a Will is prepared in order to identify their assets in Thailand (bank accounts, property, etc.).  This will insure peace of mind for both yourself and your heirs as you relocate half-way around the world to enjoy your sunset years.

Getting Yourself Insured

Foreigners retiring to Thailand will know that excellent medical facilities—operating to the highest international medical standards—exist in Thailand. International insurance companies with offices in Thailand have a range of plans to meet your needs.  Your legal advisor can identify the most reputable health insurance providers; and recommend medical facilities in Bangkok or up-country should you require care.

Having a Legal Advisor

As you are settling down in a foreign country a long way from home, it would be wise to retain an experienced legal advisor to help with the above matters. That advisor can be consulted thereafter should you need any further help with any important issue during your retirement in Thailand.

G.A.M. Legal Alliance, a full-service law firm in Thailand, has been assisting foreigners with their retirement visa applications and other legal needs in Thailand. The law firm has two offices in Bangkok with its main office found in the capital city of Bangkok and a branch office in Phuket.

Final words

Thailand is a wonderful place to settle down, provided you do your homework, prepare your retirement carefully, and listen to sound advice at every step.

Valentin Declercq

Valentin obtained his Bachelor (LLB) and Master’s Degree (LLM) with Cum Laude at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. He was a former intern of GAM Legal Alliance, Bangkok Office. During his internship he immersed himself into the Thai Corporate Legal practice which eventually became his Master’s Thesis. Previous work experiences of Valentin include internship and legal practice in the banking and litigation sectors in Brussels, Belgium. Valentin is currently involved in the management of the company and works as a legal advisor. He works closely with our Thai lawyers in assisting our foreign clients. He speaks English and French.

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