Featured Image

4 min read

Thailand Immigration - How To Get Residency In Thailand

Thailand is known as “The Land of Smiles”. The Thai people are friendly, polite, and welcoming of foreigners. Because of the cheap cost of living, delicious food, and rich cultural traditions, Thailand is a popular destination for both vacationers and expats.

Thailand is a tropical country in South Eastern Asia, which has enjoyed strong economic growth over the last sixty years.

You can grab a tuk-tuk or water taxi and explore the city of Bangkok. Visit a Buddhist temple or enjoy some delicious street food. Outside of Bangkok, travellers can appreciate Thailand’s rich natural beauty, like the Thi Lu Su waterfall or Ang Thong National Marine Park. Or simply relax and enjoy an inexpensive massage on the beach.

Boats in Krabi, Thailand.

Krabi, Thailand.

SOUTH EAST ASIA RESIDENCY IN THAILAND 

While in the past, a lot of expats who lived in Thailand existed within a state of ‘perpetual tourism’, doing border runs every few months to extend their tourist visas, Thai authorities are increasingly cracking down on this behaviour. There are however a number of other ways to live in Thailand on a long-term basis.

 

THAI PERMANENT RESIDENCY

The first thing to understand about Thai permanent residency is that there is an annual quota of 100 applicants per nationality, so the program is relatively restrictive. The application period is usually between October and December, and because of the quota system, you will want to get your application in as quickly as possible. The second thing you need to know is that only individuals who have held Thai non-immigrant visa status for three consecutive years may apply. This status is only granted for a year, so you must have three separate extensions. In addition, you must qualify under one of the following classes: 

  • To qualify for permanent residency as an investor, you need to make an investment of between 3 and 10 million baht in Thailand.
  • Working and/or business.
  • Family reunification. To qualify for this class, you must be either the spouse, parent, or guardian of a Thai citizen or permanent resident.
  • Academic. 

Even though permanent residency status is permanent, if you want to leave Thailand and re-enter, then you must apply for a re-entry permit. After ten years as a permanent resident, you can apply to become a Thai citizen through naturalization.

Related Content I Think You'll Love: The Top Best Visas To Move To Panama

 

Front view of Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram

Wat Benchamabophit, Bangkok, Thailand.

LONG-TERM RESIDENCY VISA 

Another way to get residency in Thailand is by applying for a long-term residency visa. This program is coming into place in September of 2022 and is aimed at high-net-worth individuals, pensioners, skilled workers, and digital nomads who want to work remotely from Thailand. 

The criteria for high-net-worth individuals is that they must have,

  • $1,000,000 in assets,
  • a personal income of not less than $80,000 a year,
  • and an investment of at least $500,000 in Thai bonds, real estate, or a Thai business. 

To participate as a pensioner, the requirements are

  • a yearly income of $80,000 or an income of at least $40,000 and
  • an investment of $250,000 in Thai bonds, real estate, or foreign direct investment. 

For digital nomads, you must have a

  • personal income of at least $80,000 a year, or $40,000 a year with either a master’s degree, ownership of intellectual property, or being a recipient of Series A funding.
  • And the company you are working for must be a public company on the stock exchange or private company in operation for at least 3 years with combined revenue of at least $150,000,000 in revenue in the last 3 years.
  • You also need a minimum of five years of experience in fields of work relevant to your current employment over the last ten years. 

You can read this article where we look at all of the immigration schemes worldwide, it’s called: The Basics Of How To Get A Second Passport Or A Second Residency

 

For highly skilled professionals, the requirements are either

  • an income of $80,000 a year, or an income of at least $40,000 a year while having a Master’s degree or above in a STEM field or you must have “special expertise” relating to your job performance in Thailand. On the plus side, if you end up working for the Thai government, there are no minimum income requirements.
  • You also must be working for a business that is one of several targeted industries or be employed at a college, university, or research facility.
  • It is also necessary to have at least five years of experience in your industry unless you have a Ph.D. 

No matter which grouping you apply under, you must have health insurance worth $50,000 or if you want to self-insure you need to deposit $100,000. There is also a processing fee of  ฿50,000 which must be included with your application.

 

Golden Buddha Statue in Khao Noi Temple, Nan Province, Thailand.

Golden Buddha Statue in Khao Noi Temple, Nan Province, Thailand.

THAI ELITE VISA 

The Thai Elite Visa is valid for a period of between five and twenty years, depending on what option you select, and allows you to stay in Thailand for as long as you want during that period. You can also come and go from the country as you please. 

There are a number of different Thai Elite Visa options. The most basic option costs ฿ 600,000 and is valid for five years. On top of being able to come and go as you please, you also get some perks like airport pickup, access to the departure lounge, and the ability to skip the lines at immigration with the fast track lane. You also get access to an elite personal liaison who can assist you in getting a bank account and/or your driver's license.

There is also a family option, which costs ฿ 800,000, as well as an additional ฿ 300,000 for each extra family member (note that this person must be part of your immediate family). This is the same as the basic option except of course you can have multiple people on it. 

There are also more expensive packages, that offer 10 and 20-year visas, as well as additional perks like free access to golf courses, medical checkups, spa packages, boxing classes, and more. 

It is important to note that neither the long-term resident visa nor the Thai Elite visa are pathways to citizenship. These programs are simply for residency and do not count towards naturalization.

Related Content: Spain Golden Visa

 

WORK WITH ME

I help my clients to move offshore for freedom, privacy and autonomy by focusing on the immigration, legal, and tax issues that you will face when becoming an expat. If you would like to work one-on-one with me on getting out of Canada or the USA (or setting up a Plan-B location), then read this important letter and fill in an application form to become a Private Client. My fees are not cheap, however, I can assure you that when you work with a professional, your risks can be reduced considerably.

Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and CEO at Expat Money™, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money.

Recent Posts

Why Digital Nomads Should Consider Croatia

Croatia is becoming popular among digital nomads looking for a low-cost, entertaining destination in Europe. Croatia launched a digital nomad program...

Read More

Guide to Cambodian Citizenship By Investment

Cambodia is a country in southeastern Asia that borders Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. The population is almost entirely Buddhist, and it is home to...

Read More

Guide to Setting up a Trust in the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands is a New Zealand-belonging autonomous archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean, in the same timezone as Hawaii. This territory is...

Read More