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Thailand’s Ten-Year Retirement Visa – Will it Affect the Property Market?

Thailand’s Ten-Year Retirement Visa – Will it Affect the Property Market?

retirement-visa-chiangmaiRecently, the Thai government announced that that the Immigration Department will begin offering a ten-year retirement visa to foreigners over the age of 50 who meet other specific criteria.

Almost immediately, the foreign retirement community in Thailand was up in arms thinking that they had to meet the criteria set forth by the government to qualify for this visa.

However, they should have paid more attention to what the government didn’t say. They didn’t say that they were going to stop issuing the 1-year visa. They also didn’t say the new, 10-year visa was mandatory.

Until, and unless, a clarification is issued by the Immigration Department, the 10-year visa should simply be seen an option that retirees can choose instead of having to renew their visa on an annual basis.

Meeting the 10-year Visa Requirements

The anger and shock felt expressed by Thailand’s established retirement community stemmed from the requirements laid out by the government in order to qualify for this new visa, which many retirees would have trouble meeting.

The new 10-year visa fee is 10,000 Baht and you also must continue to report to immigration every 90 days and your land lord will still need to register your TM30. In addition, the foreign retiree must have a monthly income of 100,000 Baht a month or maintain a bank balance of 3 million Baht in a Thai bank for a period of one year in order to qualify.

Add to this the requirement to have a health insurance policy that provides at least 10,000 dollars US in hospital coverage along with 1,000 dollars in out-patient coverage and it’s no wonder that some retirees were very nervous.

Will it Affect the Property Market?

thailand-economic-boostThe government must have realized early on that they could only offer the 10-year visa as an option without seriously damaging the lives of both the retirement community as well as the property market. To make it mandatory would force thousands of retirees who have happily called Thailand home and invested in property here, to abandon the country and seek life elsewhere.

Retirees provide a recognised boost to the Thai economy. They shop at local markets, use local healthcare services and contribute to the Thai tax base in the form of VAT taxes that they pay on their purchases.

Although it’s really too early to say with any finality how the 10-year visa will affect the property market, it is interesting to note that the government’s stated reason for introducing the extended visa is to boost the medical and healthcare industry in Thailand by encouraging wealthier retirement age foreigners to view Thailand as a viable alternative to their own countries in which to spend their golden years.

Thailand provides excellent and affordable medical and healthcare services and the country has seen a noticeable rise in medical tourism as a result. The announcement of 10-year visa is a logical step to take in encouraging the growth of this phenomenon.

It will surely attract some wealthy retirees who will undoubtedly consider investing their savings and pensions into a comfortable home in Thailand. In this aspect, promoting a 10-year visa makes sense.

By issuing a visa that guarantees at least 10 years of residency, they also underline and communicate a sense of permanence that will placate retirees who may have feared that they would, at some point, be forced to move elsewhere. It also makes the idea of purchasing a property much more attractive than simply renting from a financial viewpoint.

Looking long-term at the situation, you might see retirement communities catering to foreigners being developed close to popular healthcare facilities and hospitals as a result of Thailand being seen as a foreign retiree-friendly destination.

Thailand for the Long-Term

retirement-chiang-mai-riding-motor-cycleUltimately, by simply offering the 10-year visa, Thailand sends out a message that they are encouraging residency by foreigners as a long-term option that can benefit both potential foreign retirees and property developers.

For younger foreign residents of Thailand who are here on a work permit, the 10-year visa might also be taken as a sign that it might be worth staying in Thailand after they retire instead of pulling up roots and returning to their country of origin. This would also pave the way for them to invest in property as they would see Thailand residency as being a long-term proposition.

For the moment at least, let’s look at it optimistically. We have to assume that the government’s willingness to offer a 10-year visa is a sign that they’re encouraging foreign residents to consider a life in Thailand as a long-term option and the announcement of this visa is akin to throwing out the welcome mat. It should be seen as a positive sign by the retirement community and the property developers of Thailand.

Does this new retirement visa affect you in anyway, has it made you keener to invest in Thailand? If so, we’d absolutely love to hear what you think by posting a comment below!

(23) Comments

  1. Chris

    on   said 

    Yeah right , if they allowed retired farang to own land for a house they bought it might go along way to help the property market ,,and the 90 day reporting issue really doesn’t assure retirees at all either

    Reply
  2. tony buxton

    on   said 

    It’s very good idea and will get a lot of better class retirees. Having 3 million baht in the bank is no big deal for most would be retirees . And you only have to keep it there the first year The 90 day reporting is a nonissue for most of us. It can be done online and you can send anybody to do it. I send one of my servants every 90 days.

    Reply
    • Asoke Maurya

      on   said 

      One reason why Thailand has successfully attracted so many tourists is because the country caters to tourists of every income level. I don’t see where “class” comes in. Hate to say this – it just gives additional publicity to a really really obnoxious person (I am an expat New Yorker) – but most assuredly neither me nor anyone else I know in New York, considers Donald Trump a “classy” person.

      Reply
  3. Samuel J. Heffner

    on   said 

    The ten year visa is not for me as the government is placing way too many restrictions on it. With all of these restrictions I have dropped all ideas of buying in Chiang Mai, Thailand as I was serous in buying a home there.

    Reply
  4. Samuel J. Heffner

    on   said 

    I just spent five weeks in Chiang Mai, looking for a home tp purchase , returning back to the Unites States Oct. 29, 2016. I had checked out several home including the following , Property ID Hd176, & San126, also San178. I have just found another one of interest, but now will no longer consider Thailand.

    Reply
    • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

      on   said 

      Hi Samuel, It is a shame you will not consider Thailand, I am unsure how this new visa could effect your decision. As all the other visa’s are still an option. This is just an additional choice for some.

      Reply
  5. Alton

    on   said 

    3 million Baht in a Thailand bank for a year is a big deal that’s $ 84, 000 U.S right?
    Your money is not protected by the FDIC like in the states if a bank goes under in Thailand will your money be guaranteed?

    They Thailand Kingdom needs a five year visa to bring in the customers . 18,000 Baht Registration fee for five years . 78,000 Baht monthly income. Discount to farang on Thai medical insurance , land options after ten years and citizenship.

    Reply
    • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

      on   said 

      Hi Alton,
      We completely understand this new visa for Thailand only benefits a few wealthier retirees and certainly does benefit the majority, that being said it does not effect them either.

      Reply
      • Bob Jacobson

        on   said 

        I see that the requirement also allows the option of having a monthly income of 100,000 baht (~$2800), which may be easier for some than keeping the 3M baht in the bank.

        Reply
        • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

          on   said 

          Hi Bob, Thanks for your thoughts.
          Yes, agreed for some the income maybe a better option.

          Reply
  6. Timothy

    on   said 

    Well it seems that many people seem to be complaining for the simple reason they cannot afford the new visa. I have been on the Elite Visa for a while now and it is great!
    I will be going for the visa once I am old enough, I have made my money and putting a little of in a bank for a while is no big issue.

    I do wish they would change the laws on ownership for land then I would certainly be building my own home.

    Reply
  7. CURT WOJO

    on   said 

    The Libertarian in me says no deal. I’ll spend 6 months a year here-renew the 90 day visa. Retirees are a safe bunch. No need to gouge them or complicate matters. Guest houses are good enough for us single vagabonds.

    Reply
    • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

      on   said 

      HI Curt,
      I agree with you guest houses do suit many, but certainly not everyone. The new visa is no more complicated the old one, Simply more funds need to be shown to access it.

      Reply
  8. James Lawrence

    on   said 

    What are some of the particulars with financing a home in Thailand? Down payment, mortgage requirements, interest rates and terms? Thank you. My wife is Thai.

    Reply
    • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

      on   said 

      HI James,
      Thank you for your questions, but for this I would refer you to your wife’s bank. As they will have all the details you require.
      We will be doing an article shortly about foreigners getting loans for condos in Chiang Mai.

      Reply
  9. If you can know of an insurance company that will issue health insurance to someone over 70 yrs old at anything resembling a reasonable cost I would like to know what company.. I would buy their insurance in a heart beat and then short the companies stock in the market as they are sure to go broke.. This is why governments around the world have to take up medical insurance after a certain age as companies won’t.. Making mandatory something that is impossible or at best too costly to make sense, doesn’t help anyone.. I doubt that Medicare or Medicaid or whatever it is the US puts old folks on would be acceptable in most hospitals here.. I do know that my Blue cross/Blue shield is accepted, but of course that would go away after one stops working..

    Money in the bank?? ….. Easy
    Insurance after 70?? ….. Not so easy

    Reply
  10. Andy (CNX insure)

    on   said 

    There are insurance options out there to fit the 10 year visa requirement. International companies are preferable as they offer cover past the age of 70 and don’t make changes to your policy once you are in, regardless of claims.
    Even without the 10 year visa it’s still a good idea to have health insurance in Thailand.

    Reply

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