SE Asia’s Trio of 10-Year Visas

Andrew Leeson


New Thai Retirement Visa

Traditionally, SE Asian countries offered 12-month long stay (or retirement) visas, which were quite easy to extend year-on-year. However, countries are increasingly offering much longer 10 year visas to attract the increasingly sought-after retiree or investment dollar.

We briefly list below what is currently on offer around SE Asia. It is not our intention here to put in detail the ins-and-outs of these visas, but to simply inform you as to what’s out there that may be of interest to you and the major requirements you would need to cover to apply.

The financial requirements I will convert into Australian Dollars (AUD) with the exchange rate as of 08th Sept 2022.

Chiang Mai


Traditionally, Thailand offered the ‘Non-Immigrant Visa Type O-X’. But as of 01st September this year (yep brand spanking new) it now offers the ‘Long Term Resident (LTR) Visa’.

While the traditional O-X Visa is still aimed solely at retirees, the LTR visa is aimed at ‘high value foreigners’ but has a sub-category for retirees.

Non-Immigrant Visa Type O-X

General requirements

  1. Minimum age requirement is 50. It is a 5-year visa but is renewable for a further 5 years. This visa does not allow you to work.
  2. Only citizens of 14 countries can apply, Australia is one of them.
  3. You must take out suitable Thai health insurance for your duration of stay. This cost is not high and it’s something we would highly recommend even if this was not a requirement.
Finance Requirements

Financial requirements:

  1. 3-million Baht ($122K) placed into a Thai bank account. Or:
  2. 1.8 million Baht ($73K) placed into a Thai bank account plus an annual income of at least 1.2 million Baht ($49K).

In both financial scenarios above the funds in full must be kept in the Thai bank account for the full year. After the first year a minimum balance of 1.5 million Baht ($61K) must remain thereafter.

Bangkok Bank

Long-Term Resident (LTR) Visa

This is a 10-year extendable visa that allows you to work in Thailand.

It is aimed at ‘high potential’ foreigners. This translates to ‘got a few more dollars than most’ foreigners.

There are no age restrictions for three categories. As Retire to Asia concentrate on the retiree market, I will only mention the fourth category which has a minimum age of 50:

Foreign Retirees (Wealthy Pensioners)

Foreign Retirees (Wealthy Pensioners)

Ideally have personal income of not less that US$80,000 pa ($119K). If this is not achieved, then: Personal income not less than US$40,000 pa ($60K) PLUS invest at least US$250,000 ($372K) in Thai Gov’t bonds, foreign direct investment or Thai property.

There is a health insurance requirement which, again, is not onerous and in fact you should take out a higher level of cover than the stated minimum requirement.

Malaysian Flag


Malaysia HAD a spectacular 10-year retirement visa called ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ (MM2H). It still has, but it’s no longer spectacular for the masses.

Malaysia hugely increased the financial requirements to be eligible. The result is that only a smaller percentage of people will now find they are eligible.

However, and interestingly the eastern state of Sarawak controls its own immigration and has its own, and far less financially stringent MM2H program. Of further interest is people with the Sarawak MM2H visa can live in other parts of Malaysia. It will be interesting if this loophole will be closed in future.

Malaysia MM2H Visa

This is a 5-year visa that can be renewed for a further 5-tear term. Apart from the financials, it is basically OPEN TO EVERYONE over the age of 35.

A recipient must live in Malaysia for a minimum of 90 days each year.

Malaysia for me in a gem. We hardly get anyone express interest in Malaysia. If you can match the following financial requirements, I recommend a trip to Malaysia to see why.

Financials required:

  1. Liquid assets of a minimum RM 1.5M ($496K). Need not be in Malaysia, and
  2. Need to show at least RM 40,000 pm ($13K pm) income, and
  3. Provide a fixed deposit, in Malaysia, of RM 1M ($331K). Can withdraw half of this after year 1 for Malaysian purchases such as property, car, medical expenses.
  4. I see point two above being the largest hindrance to MM2H eligibility. 
Finance and Planning Asia

General issues

Generally, will not be allowed to work unless you have specific skills. However, you can start a business, but are not allowed to work (be actively involved) in that business.

I particularly like under this visa that foreigners are permitted to own land. So long as it’s not zoned ‘Malay Reserve Land’.

Sarawak MM2H Visa

As the state of Sarawak controls its own immigration, it swings to its own rhythm when it comes to managing its own MM2H visa program.

Like the Malaysian MM2H visa, it mainly differs with the financial requirements to be eligible.

Although Sarawak has a minimum age of 50.

Visa and Finances Malaysia

Financials required:

  1. Need to show monthly income of RM 10,000 per couple ($3.3K pm). RM 7,000 if single ($2.3K pm), and

  2. Fixed deposit in a local bank of RM 300,000 for couples ($99K), RM 150,000 if single ($50K). You can withdraw up to 40% of this amount after two years to purchase a house, car, medical or education expenses within Malaysia.

People aged 40-49 you can still be eligible for this visa. In addition to the above financial requirements, you will need to purchase a home in Sarawak state for a minimum of RM 600,000 ($198K).

Sarawak trying to keep people in state

As you can live anywhere in Malaysia if you have the Sarawak visa, it will be interesting if Malaysia ‘Central’ closes this loophole in future.

To limit people obtaining the Sarawak visa then moving out of state, the Sarawak Gov’t recently enacted that you must live in the state of Sarawak for a minimum of 30 days each year.

Cambodia Flag


Now Cambodia is getting in on the act with its recently launched ‘My 2nd Home’ program – another 10-year visa. You can even apply for Cambodian citizenship after 5 years.

It’s not a retirement visa as such. Like with the Thai Long Term Resident (LTR) visa its aim is to stimulate foreign investment.

General requirements

  1. Investment capital of at least US$100,000 ($149K) in Cambodia, and
  2. Must be part of a real estate project in Cambodia, and
  3. Over age 18

A gov’t spokesman stated:

‘The program is aimed at foreign professionals working for Cambodian or overseas companies, but wealthy retirees would also be considered as long as they made the minimum investments’.

There are very limited details as to what is required to be eligible. No bank account details, no medical insurance details, no proof of income etc. It’s basically ‘just apply and we’ll assess on merit’. Got to love it!


The longer-term visas are great if you don’t want the hassle of reapplying each year to extend the 12-month visas,or want to ‘check in’ less with the immigration dep’t, or just wish to come or go at will over an extended period of time. Usually there are cost savings over a 10-year period and a few extra perks in some cases such as easier pathways through immigration etc.

In any case, for those that know they will be living in whichever country for an extended period, the 10-year visas may be what you are looking for.

Now just waiting on the Philippines and Bali to come join the party. 

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Andrew Leeson

Andrew Leeson

Over 20 years of experience helping people live a better life in SE Asia. Having worked in financial services in Asia I understand the challenges when moving to and living in a new country. I have travelled extensively throughout the region and experienced what SE Asia has to offer to retirees.

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