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Retirement visa vs Thai Wife Visa, what should you choose?


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Retirement visa vs Marriage visa

This is a question that many expats ponder and I think it would be a good idea to compare the two. Let’s begin with the marriage visa. Commonly referred to as the Thai wife visa and hopefully soon, the spouse visa if the Thai government gets their act together on the same sex marriage laws.

You can qualify for it by being married to a Thai, obviously. The financial requirement is 400,000 Baht locked into a Thai bank account or an income of 40,000 Thai baht monthly. For the deposit, it must be in your account for a period of time before and after the extension. If you have issues with this, visa agents can often help. What are the benefits of the Thai wife visa? First of all, this visa gives you the privilege to work. That means that if you are here on a Thai wife visa and get hired to work in Thailand, your employer can just simply apply for your work permit and you are off to the races and allowed to work legally with that employer, and thanks to a Royal Decree in 2018, you can also easily work for another employer legally without adding a second employer in your work permit.  The second benefit is if you want to open a Thai company here and need a work permit for yourself, the registered capital requirement to get your work permit is 1 million Baht instead of 2 million.  The one big disadvantage to this visa is if your marriage goes sour, your visa and company status will be impacted immensely. If you are under 50, you may have no choice as this visa will be your only choice if you want these benefits.


Now onto the retirement visa. This visa is for expats 50 years and older. It requires a Thai bank account with 800,000 Baht locked in it or a monthly income deposited into your Thai bank account every month of 65,000 Baht.  For the deposit, it must be in your account for a period of time before and after your extension. For the income method, you will need a 12 month record of deposits into your Thai bank account. For this reason, most people do their first visa through an agent and do their next extension by themselves after they have prepared properly. If you have issues with this type of visa, visa agents can normally help. The benefits of this visa are it’s not affected by a marriage gone bad. However, the disadvantages are two fold. On this visa you can’t work and there are no benefits for company ownership. This meaning you will have to give up your retirement visa if you want to legally work in Thailand and you won’t be able to obtain any type of employment in the country legally on this type of visa. Finally, most expats don’t like the idea of having such as huge amount of cash in a Thai bank. They would much rather invest it. As well as this,  if exchange rates are unstable, they could end up losing money.


At Thai Legal protection and through one of our many partners, such as One Stop Visa & Drivers license in Pattaya, and TSL & Associates in Bangkok,  we can assist you in making the right visa choice for your situation. Sign up for Thai Legal Protection today and get all the support you need in making the best visa decision for you and your family. Visit: https://thethaiger.com/legal-assistance to learn more or click on this video: 



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52 minutes ago, TLP said:

The financial requirement is 400,000 Baht locked into a Thai bank account or an income of 40,000 Thai baht monthly

You talking about the extension  of stay, not the non im visa, me thinks

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I use the Non-O retirement extension, having originally entered on a 90-day Non-O Visa from London based on marriage.

The documentation required for the marriage extension is a lot more extensive, photos needed, home visits etc, plus you get the under-consideration status while the application is sent to Bangkok for approval. The last bit has been really critical the last couple of years, I've left the country 2 or 3 days after doing the retirement extension, for a few months.

I've now switched to the Thailand Elite Visa, before the price increases.



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My view is if one is on a Type-O visa and has the money (with no plan to work) go for an extension of one's permission to stay based on retirement. Less paperwork and getting the extension is faster (when compared to an extension based on marriage). 

But if one is on a Type-OA visa, to avoid having to go for Health Insurance from the Thai branch of a Health Insurance company (as typically foreign insurance is NOT accepted by Thai immigration), then in that case of a Type-OA permission to stay extension, go for the extension based on marriage.

In my case, given I don't ever plan to work again (since I am elderly and retired) I deliberately changed from a Type-OA visa (with extensions based on marriage) to a Type-O visa (with an extension base on retirement), to (1) avoid the excessive paperwork on marriage extensions, and (2) to avoid the Health insurance (from mostly only a Thai branch of insurance company) requirement on a Type-OA visa if attempting an extension based on retirement.

Then later, when the LTR visa came out , I switched to an LTR-wealthy pensioner visa, but that Visa is not suitable for all of us.

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On 11/13/2023 at 4:22 PM, Guest1 said:

You talking about the extension  of stay, not the non im visa, me thinks

I am just using terminology that the average Jo will understand and can relate to. Therefore, for this post, there is no need to use the technical vocab, such as Non-immigrant O visa based on marriage and extension of stay and so on.. The point of this post was just to compare the two visa categories so the average guy understands. Hence the use of the term Thai wife visa and not mentioning the difference between the initial visa and the extension of stay. Hope that makes sense to you. 

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