Travel, Teach, Live in Thailand
Requirements and conditions for a British citizen applying for Retirement visa at Immigration, Chiang Mai as at May 2008. These requirements pre-suppose no special circumstances apply in your case. It is possible that these requirements would be extremely similar for Nationals of other countries but potential differences should be explored and confirmed.
Each person must be over 50 years old, have no criminal record (that may require verification from the British Embassy in London) and, have the following:
Valid Passport with at least one year remaining before expiry
2 photocopies of every page having an entry, of the passport
(Main page photocopy certified by the British Consul)
In your passport - Non-Immigrant Visa 'O' or "B' with less than 30 days left to run.
One cannot apply for a Retirement visa from a tourist visa.
It is possible (but not guaranteed) to apply with more than 30 days remaining on your current visa.
A Non-Immigrant 'O' can be obtained from any Thai Consulate in the United Kingdom or more locally from the Thai Consulate in Penang (usually available in 48 hours once there) for RM200 and the visa of 90 days duration is sufficient. Technically, you would then need to wait just over 60 days before making your application. (See above)
If you apply from a 'B' visa you will probably have a work permit that you will have to give up, as no work of any kind is allowed on the Retirement visa. In addition you may need evidence that your taxes have been correctly assessed and paid.
A completed TM7 form with one recent colour photograph 4.5cm by 3.5cm attached on the reverse side. Plus photocopy. This is the basic application form, is self-explanatory; is available from Immigration, Chiang Mai, and, ideally, would be completed in advance of application day proper. A completed TM8 form will also be needed, if Multiple Entry on the Retirement visa is required costing B3,800 each.* and 2 more recent colour photographs each.
A recent medical certificate (from a recognised Doctor or Hospital in Thailand) showing no evidence of the declared diseases. Plus photocopy. You can call in at Ram or Suan Dok Hospital for example, subject yourself to a simple examination and for B100 get the certificate you need. In 2008 no longer required. This item has been left in to alert you to a possible change again.
You will need B800,000 minimum. If capital sums are involved they will need to be deposited in a savings or investment (not a Current) Account of a Thai Bank. The more recent this information is the better. From 2007, there is a requirement that this capital would have been in account for the previous consecutive three months.
In addition, you will need the bank book together with 2 photocopies of every page showing transactions. Also a letter from your bank certifying the money is there, plus a photocopy of this. If some of the B800,000 is pension income, you will need to obtain a letter from the British Consul that certifies the truth of this, plus a photocopy. If all the money is via income (pension), equal to B66,000 per month will be needed assuming the exchange rate is around B65 = GBP1
In the event of no pension and the capital sum being marginal there is a risk your application will fail because, any other type of income evidence will be difficult to guarantee. (Inherent in this application is that income would have to emanate from another country).
All copies of all documents will need to be personally signatured in the presence of an Immigration Officer.
The costs of all these things are as follows:
Basic application 1 x B1,900 B1,900
Certification of Passports 1 x B1,700 B1,700
Certificate letter of Pension* 1 x B1,700 B1,700
Bank letter 1 x B200 B200
If Multiple Entry 1 x B3,800 B3,800
*You will of course need the appropriate original documents from your Pension(s) Provider(s) Private or Government, for the Consulate to pursue for authenticity. Certifications of most documents can be processed in 48 hours. From 2008, Certificate letter of Pension from your Consulate will have to be for the current year.
There is no need to make an appointment for the application day. The Applicant is required to attend in person. The Office opens officially at 08.30 and if you arrive about then, register at the end window and wait to be called. Usually, you will be about fourth or fifth in line. If you arrive at any other time in the day you will be in a fairly lengthy queue. You will be invited inside and firstly your requirements above will be checked. If this is all in order, everything will be stamped up and you will then be invited to a private office with a senior Officer who will 'rubber stamp' the application. Less than twenty minutes later your passports will be handed back with your Retirement visa duly entered.
With your Retirement Visa there will be an additional document in each passport showing the obligation to attend Immigration, Chiang Mai, every 90 days, with an endorsement of the actual date. There is also a reminder of the need to apply for a re-entry visa (see below).
* Now having your Retirement Visa, leaving Thailand without the Multiple Entry element, will necessitate applying for a Re-Entry visa at Immigration, before attempting to leave. If you didn't do this, on re-entry to Thailand you would only get a 30 day tourist visa that would then, unfortunately, supersede your retirement visa. (You would be back to square one!) Also, remember that, at places like Mae Sot and Mae Sai, no exit from Thailand is possible at all without the pre-arranged re-entry visa.
Remember, this is a one-off application and each subsequent year requires a brand new application (not renewal) with exactly the same requirements (subject to any changes). Therefore, it's a good idea to keep extra photocopies in your files.