In the retiree paradise of Thailand, German retirees benefit from low inflation and a favorable exchange rate.

Thousands of German pensioners are enjoying their retirement in Thailand. In the Asian country you benefit from falling prices, a favorable exchange rate and sometimes even tax advantages, reports the “Handelsblatt”. Among the emigrants is Florenz Kittel, a pensioner from North Rhine-Westphalia who has settled on the holiday island of Koh Samui.

The 69-year-old plans to spend his retirement relaxing under palm trees. “I want to stay here forever,” he told a Handelsblatt reporter who visited him at home.

In his highly regarded YouTube videos, Kittel gives tips for retiring in Thailand to those wishing to emigrate. For example, he uses an Excel list to show what housing, insurance or food costs and how high the budget should be in order to make ends meet as comfortably as possible. Because: “Only numbers are true things,” sums up the pensioner in one of his videos.

The financial situation for German emigrants in Thailand has improved significantly over the past five years, the business newspaper reports. While in 2019 German pensioners only received 33 baht for each euro, at the beginning of May this year it was already almost 40 baht per euro. In addition, inflation is currently not an issue in Thailand, which makes life there even cheaper compared to Germany, writes the “Handelsblatt”.

With his German pension of 1,800 euros, Kittel can afford a comfortable life in Thailand. He has now finished with Germany and only keeps in touch with his relatives via video calls. “But for me it’s about enjoying my life now,” he tells the “Handelsblatt”.

Thailand is not only the dream destination for Florenz Kittel to enjoy retirement. The picturesque landscapes, rich vegetation and idyllic beaches create an atmosphere of peace and relaxation that attracts people from all over the world.

But anyone who dares to take the step and wants to spend their retirement there has to overcome a few bureaucratic hurdles. The Thai Embassy offers a guide that explains step by step how to obtain a pensioner visa:

First step: The non-immigrant visa – category “O”

The process begins with the application for a category “O” non-immigrant visa. The requirements for this include a passport with at least six months remaining validity, proof of accommodation in Thailand (if the application is made within Thailand), a bank statement to prove financial resources, and annual health insurance, which is provided by some Thai embassies or consulates is required abroad. In addition, the applicant must have the citizenship or permanent residence of the country in which the visa application is made.

Second step: Obtaining the one-year visa extension for retirees

Once the non-immigrant “O” visa has been granted, the applicant can apply for a one-year extension. The prerequisite for this is that the applicant is at least 50 years old. Other documents that must be submitted include signed copies of all pages of the passport, proof of compliance with financial requirements – this includes a bank certificate of income or proof of income from the applicant’s embassy in Thailand – and three recent photos and a Proof of permanent accommodation in Thailand.

Important note: Confusion between residence permit and re-entry permit

Many people confuse the terms “extension of stay” and “re-entry permit”. However, both are different things that are needed for a longer stay in Thailand. The residence permit regulates the basic right of residence, while the re-entry permit allows you to leave Thailand and return without the residence permit expiring. When submitting the application, there is the option for one-time or multiple re-entry.

Fourth: mandatory reporting every 90 days and visa validity

Applicants must report to immigration authorities every 90 days. Individuals holding a multiple-entry visa simply leave Thailand and renew their residence permit after each 90-day stay. Reporting can be done in person or online. If the extension cannot take place in Thailand, a non-immigrant “O” visa must be applied for again at a Thai embassy or consulate abroad.

Financial requirements for the pensioner visa

The financial requirements for the Thai pensioner visa are clearly defined. Either a bank account in Thailand with a minimum balance of 800,000 THB (20,180 euros) or a monthly income of at least 65,000 THB (1,640 euros) is required. However, it should be noted that some foreign embassies in Thailand do not issue certified proof of income, which is why in some cases only bank proof must be sufficient as proof.

More visa options for long-term stay in Thailand

In addition to the pensioner visa, Thailand also offers other long-term stay options. These include the marriage visa for people married to a Thai citizen, the LTR visa, which is aimed at investors, and the Thailand Elite visa, an option for wealthy individuals that is valid for five to twenty years and offers many privileges and offers tax advantages.

But sometimes dreams of a carefree retirement in Thailand are dashed. A 77-year-old Briton, for example, complains about his hard fate: “I give my wife every penny of my pension and don’t go anywhere or do anything.” Background: The United Kingdom’s “frozen” state pension policy is causing considerable hardship for British pensioners living abroad Difficulties.

Editor’s note: Following a tip from the “Handelsblatt”, parts of the article were revised to make it even clearer that the information listed comes from a local “Handelsblatt” reporter.

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