Retire to Thailand? Think again, unless you’ve got the dosh!

Retiring to Thailand is the dream of many foreigners. And why not? The Land of Smiles has it all: sun, sea, sand, sexy senoritas, and a cheap way of living so, let’s do it! But what about the red tape? Is there any?

How does Johnny Foreigner retire to Thailand?

Well, Thailand’s Board of Investment is set to make an announcement on September 1 regarding its Long-Term Resident Visa plan. There are 4 categories and unless you’ve got plenty of dosh don’t pack your bucket and spade because retirement in Thailand is not happening for you.

The BOI believe the visa will “provide a range of tax and non-tax benefits to enhance the country’s attractiveness as a regional hub for living and doing business for ‘high-potential’ foreigners.” Subliminally, what they’re really trying to say, “if you haven’t got any money, you can’t come.”

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The LTR visa plan is targeting 4 types of foreign residents: Global Wealthy Citizens, Wealthy Pensioners, Work-from-Thailand Professionals, Highly-Skilled Professionals, and their dependents. Dependants include spouses and children under 20 years old of LTR visa holders (maximum of 4 dependants in total per one LTR visa holder) will also qualify for the same visas.

Under the LTR scheme, there will be various privileges for these visa holders, including:

  1. 10 years renewable visa;
  2. Exemption from the “four Thais to one foreigner” employment requirement ratio;
  3. Fast track service at international airports in Thailand;
  4. Extension of the 90-day report to a one-year report, and exemption from re-entry permit requirements;
  5. Permission to work in Thailand (Digital Work permit);
  6. 17% personal income tax for high-skilled professionals, and
  7. Immigration and work permit facilitation services at the One Stop Service Center for Visa and Work Permit.

Global Wealthy Citizens must have a personal income of no less than US$80,000 a year in the past 2 years before applying for the visa. And they must be a personally investor of no less than US$500,000 in at least 1 of the below categories before applying for the visa:

(a) Thai government bond issued by the Ministry of Finance with over 5 years of remaining maturity at the time of application.

(b) Investment in a limited company or public company registered under Thai law, and investment in a venture capital company registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Thailand, excluding investment in the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

(c) Investment in real estate (condominiums).

Global Wealthy Citizen

The Global Wealthy Citizen must have a net asset value of no less than US$1 million at the time of application – excluding assets without proof of applicant’s ownership and assets without reliable market appraisal evidence, for example, artworks, amulets, cryptocurrencies, or memberships.

The Global Wealthy Citizen must have health insurance with a coverage of no less than US$50,000 with the remaining maturity of no less than 10 months at the time of application or valid social security benefits which insures hospitalization and treatment in Thailand or deposit of no less than US$100,000 in a bank account which has been held for at least 12 months at the time of application

Wealthy Pensioner

The Wealthy Pensioner is someone 50+ years of age who receives regular pension income of no less than US$80,000 a year.

If the personal income is below US$80,000 but no less than US$40,000 a year, applicants must have the investment of no less than US$250,000 in Thailand in any of the following:

(a) Thai government bond issued by the Ministry of Finance with over 5 years of remaining maturity at the time of application.

(b) Investment in a limited company or public company registered under Thai law, and investment in a venture capital company registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Thailand, excluding investment in the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

(c) Investment in real estate (condominiums).

The Wealthy Pensioner also needs a health insurance policy of no less than US$50,000 coverage through the entire period of stay in Thailand or social security healthcare, which insures hospitalization treatment in Thailand

The Work-From-Thailand Professional

The Work-From-Thailand Professional must have a personal income of no less than US$80,000 a year in the past two years before applying for the visa. In case annual personal income is below US$80,000 but no less than US$40,000 in the past two years, applicants must have a master’s degree (or above), own intellectual property, or receive Series A funding.

The Work-From-Thailand Professional must have a health insurance policy of no less than US$50,000 coverage through the entire period of stay in Thailand or social security healthcare, which insures hospitalization treatment in Thailand.

They must have at least 5 years of working experience in the relevant field to the current employment, and their current employer must have one of the following characteristics:

(a) A public company listed on the stock exchange in any country.

(b) A private company that has been in operation for at least 3 years and has total combined revenue of more than US$150 million in the last 3 years.

The High Skilled Professional

The High Skilled Professionals should be working in business in targeted industries in Thailand, experts in targeted industries, working for a Thai government agency or a higher education institution or a specialized training institution in Thailand.

They must have a personal income of no less than US$80,000 a year in the past 2 years.

If the annual personal income is below US$80,000 but no less than US$40,000 in the past 2 years, applicants must have a science and technology master degree or above or have special high-skilled expertise relevant to the job assignment in Thailand.

There is no minimum personal income for experts working for a Thai government agency or a state-owned higher education institution or a state-owned specialized training institution in Thailand.

A health insurance policy of no less than US$50,000 coverage is required through the entire period of stay in Thailand or social security healthcare, which insures hospitalization treatment in Thailand

The High Skilled Professional should have at least 5 years of working experience in the targeted industries except for applicants working for a Thai government agency or a state-owned higher education institution or a state-owned specialized training an institution in Thailand or applicants with a doctorate degree.

And the good news, last month the Thai Cabinet announced that the fee for a 10 year LTR visa would be halved from 100,000 baht to 50,000 baht.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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