Red tape remains for foreign retirees in Thailand

Photo by Clark Public Utilities

This year, travel magazine International Living rated Thailand 11th most desirable country to retire in, out of 25. Despite this ranking, there are still regulations making it difficult for foreigners to stay here. Those with visas for one or more years are still required to report to immigration officials every 90 days.

Foreigners with a Non-Immigrant O or Non-Immigrant OA visa extension based on retirement can’t get any type of job in Thailand. This is bad news for retirees who still wish to do some type of part-time work for enjoyment. An Immigration Bureau deputy commander spoke with the Bangkok Post and said this is because work permits are only granted to those with permanent residence or to those with a Non-Immigrant B visa, which is issued to foreigners who want to work in Thailand.

The quota for the number of people granted permanent residence each year is 100 per nationality, he said. Even foreigners who have lived and worked in the country for over 10 years are ineligible for healthcare and other government benefits if they don’t change their nationality.

Foreigners who are married to Thais and have a Non-Immigrant O visa extension based on marriage must renew their visas every year. If their Thai spouse dies, they can apply to extend their stay in Thailand for childcare. If they don’t have children, they must look for other reasons to stay, such as work or retirement.

Foreigners married to Thais can apply for Thai citizenship, however, the process is more complicated for foreign men married to Thai women than it is for foreign women married to Thai men. Foreign men married to Thai women must meet a requirement in Thai language proficiency, have a stable job, obtain approval from the interior minister, and have lived in the country for five years.

Visa Information

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.