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Thailand’s New Visa for Digital Nomads

Thailand, often referred to as the Land of Smiles, is Southeast Asia’s most visited country and is a second home for many expats and retirees. Many expats and tourists know Thailand because of the beautiful beaches and popular cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Thailand is one of few countries in Asia that has begun offering a long-term visa for digital nomads and remote employees who want to spend an extended period in Thailand. This visa will allow foreigners to call Thailand home for up to 10 years after they receive approval. The application requirements are a bit more challenging, but it is well worth it if you qualify for this visa and are interested in Thailand.

 

The Emerald Pool in the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park

The Emerald Pool in the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park

VISA OVERVIEW

Thailand’s new visa for digital nomads will allow them to live in Thailand for up to 10 years. This feature makes Thailand’s digital nomad visa stand out relative to other global digital nomad visa programs, which typically only allow expats to stay for 12 months. However, applicants still need to pay yearly fees to renew their digital work permit.

The digital nomad program targets wealthy expats from Europe and other regions already familiar with Thailand and wants to take advantage of the lifestyle, outdoors, and lower cost of living. There are also special tax incentives, as digital nomads will only have to pay a 17% tax rate instead of a 35% tax rate. Since the program is new, it is not clear if you will have issues renewing your annual digital work permit if you spend six months or less in Thailand and are not a tax resident.

The past legal framework for remote employees was very unclear, and many people were illegally working as digital nomads on tourist visas. In the past, many people often had to resort to renewing visas or going on visa runs to stay in Thailand long-term. This new visa provides new legal clarity and economic support for Thailand’s economy, which heavily depends on tourists and long-term residents.

 

Related content: Thailand Immigration - How To Get Residency In Thailand

 

Tiger Cave in Krabi Town, Thailand

Tiger Cave in Krabi Town, Thailand

WHY THAILAND?

Thailand is an excellent hub for digital nomads and remote employees that want to take advantage of the country’s natural beauty, culturally rich cities, and lower cost of living. Thailand is already a top-rated destination for retirees from places like Europe and digital nomads who visited Thailand as tourists. Although major cities like Chiang Mai and Bangkok are more expensive, Thailand is still affordable for most expats and often cheaper than options in other low-cost destinations like Eastern Europe. Most people in Thailand make less than $1,000 USD/month, and the country’s minimum wage is slightly under $300 USD/month.

When most people think of Thailand, the first thing that comes to mind may be islands and beach destinations such as Koh Samui, Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Chang. All these destinations are easily accessible by bus or flight for people based in Bangkok or other large cities in Southern Thailand. However, Thailand is also an excellent destination for people who like hiking and the outdoors, as the country also has over 100 national parks. Expats who prefer the mountains and colder climates may find destinations like Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai more appealing.

 

Related content: Keep An Eye Out For The Upcoming Digital Nomad Visa In Indonesia

 

The Phi Phi Islands

The Phi Phi Islands

WHO CAN APPLY?

Although this visa was not created exclusively for digital nomads, it is an excellent fit for digital nomads and provides flexibility for applicants. While the minimum income requirement is generally $80,000 USD annually, this amount may be lower if you have other qualifications. Some people may also be able to apply based on their education, industry experience, or ability to raise funds for their company. There are multiple types of qualifications for people to apply for this visa:

Wealthy global citizens: This group must prove that they have at least $1 million in assets or show that they made $80,000 USD/year during the past two years. These income requirements are higher than other digital nomad visa programs but still within reach for many.

Wealthy pensioners: These individuals must prove that they have an income of $40,000-80,000 USD. They may also be required to purchase bonds or real estate if their income is lower.

Remote Workers: These individuals must prove they made between $40,000-80,000 USD/year. Individuals with a master’s degree only need to prove that they made $40,000 USD/year during the past two years.

Highly Skilled Professionals: This group can include highly skilled workers deemed essential by the Thai government, including education or other industries.


It is best for digital nomads to take advantage of the Remote Worker or Highly Skilled Professionals options. Applications with particular work experience or educational background may receive an edge when applying and not have to prove that they make $80,000 USD/year.

 

Getting a second residency or a second passport can be pretty challenging, and it can be difficult finding reliable information so I have written for you The Basics Of How To Get A Second Passport Or A Second Residency to help you with your journey.

 

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

The documentation requirements vary depending on the visa program you apply for. The Work from Thai Professionals need to submit the following:

  • CV/resume and passport photos
  • Copy of passport
  • Evidence of work history (5 years)
  • University degree
  • Health insurance covering $50,000 USD in Thailand
  • Employment contracts
  • Proof of income from contracts/employer (proof of payment/tax returns/etc.)
  • Tax Returns
  • Criminal background check

Once applicants submit everything online, they should hear back within 20 days. Qualified applicants will then be requested to apply for a Long Term Residence Visa at a Thai Embassy or Consulate. The cost of issuing this 10-year multiple-entry visa is 50,000 BAHT ($1,318 USD). Once applicants reach the country, they must apply for the Digital Work Permit, which costs around $79 USD/year. Other legal notifications are posted in Thai on the government website.

 

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

TAKEAWAY

Digital nomads and remote employees can easily take advantage of this new program, which allows them to live in Thailand for up to 10 years. Applicants are assessed based on their income, technical skills, and educational background, so people who make less than $80,000 USD/year can still qualify for this visa. This visa is unique in the region and provides legal clarity and a long-term solution to living and working in Thailand. There are only several other clear options available in Asia, including Taiwan, so this is a noteworthy program to consider if you are a digital nomad and want to live in Asia. Thailand also offers permanent residency if you end up loving it there so much.

 

 

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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.

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