Thailand Digital Nomad Visa – What Is There and What is Coming (Long Term Resident Visa in Thailand)

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In this article we will discuss about Thailand Digital Nomad Visa and you might have questions like this Is there a digital nomad visa for Thailand?

In recent months, Thailand has been in the news for its digital nomad visa. That’s because the Kingdom of Thailand is working on making a special visa for digital nomads who want to work from there.

Even though there are a lot of digital nomads who work out of Thailand, it’s important to note that legally, you can only work and make money in Thailand if you have a work permit (more on this later!)

Still, there are some things to think about if you want to work from home in Thailand.

Read on as we discover:

  • Some reasons why a digital nomad would want to live in Thailand
  • The different kinds of visas that visitors to Thailand can get
  • Whether or not you need a Thailand visa, to begin with
  • Thailand’s digital nomad visa possibilities
  • How to get a visa to go to Thailand as a digital nomad
  • How much does it cost for a digital nomad to live in Thailand
  • The best places for a digital nomad to live in Thailand

What Is A Digital Nomad?

A digital nomad is someone who works and travels at the same time.

Thailand Digital Nomad Visa

The internet and a good laptop are the two most important tools for a digital nomad. A digital nomad may use another tech, but these are the things that keep them going.

A digital nomad can work from home for an employer or work on their own.

In either case, a digital nomad is free to move around and see new places while making money.

Why Become A Digital Nomad In Thailand?

Thailand is an incredibly popular destination for digital nomads because of its booming tourism industry. There are several reasons for this, including:

  • A breathtaking landscape and stunning beaches
  • Living costs are extremely affordable
  • The transportation system in Thailand is excellent
  • There is nothing like the hospitality and helpfulness of the Thai people
  • Some digital nomads may find the slow pace of certain parts of the country appealing
  • Regardless of where you live, access to the internet is fast and easy
  • There is nothing better than Thai food!

It is easy to see why Thailand is such an attractive place to be a digital nomad, for all of these reasons.

Types Of Thailand Visas

Thailand has many different types of visas, which depend on how long you plan to stay and why you want to go there. These are the different types of visas:

  • Business Visa
  • Education Visa
  • Retirement Visa
  • Smart Visa
  • Tourist Visa
  • Non-Immigrant F Visa
  • Transit Visa
  • Thai Elite Visa
  • Diplomatic Visa

Still, it seems like the best visa to apply for if you want to be a digital nomad in Thailand is the special Tourist Visa.

As was already said, you need a visa and a work permit to legally work in Thailand. With a tourist visa, you might not be able to work in the country as a digital nomad. More to come on this!

At this point, it’s also important to note that most of the information on the website of the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in Thai.

So, you might need to check with your local embassy or consulate for information on the other types of visas. However, Thailand’s visa rules don’t change very often.

In general, though, you can choose between two types of Tourist Visas if you want to work remotely from Thailand:

1. Tourist Visa (TR Visa)

This single entry visa costs USD38 and allows you to stay in Thailand for up to 60 days.

2. Long Stay Visa

You can stay in Thailand for a minimum of 90 days with this visa, which costs about USD188. A further 90 days can be added twice for a total of 180 days. 

The Thailand Tourist Visa (TR Visa)

All tourists from other countries who want to go to Thailand must first get a Thai tourist visa. It is a one-time entry visa that lets you stay in Thailand for up to 60 days.

Depending on where you live, you have to go to a Thai government consulate or the royal Thai embassy to get a tourist visa for Thailand.

Thai visa applications require the following documents:

  • Minimum six-month validity on a passport or travel document
  • The visa application form has been filled out
  • A recent photograph of 4×6 cm 
  • Air ticket or e-ticket proof of travel from Thailand
  • Evidence of financial capability (20,000 baht for individuals and 40,000 baht for families)
  • Accommodation(s) evidence

In order to stay longer or change the type of visa, applicants must apply at Government Center B, Chaengwattana Soi 7, Laksi, Bangkok 10210.

The Details on the Thailand Digital Nomad Visa

There is a new type of visa known as a Smart Visa that was made to attract highly skilled workers, skilled executives, investors, digital nomads, and new business owners who want to work or invest in certain industries in the Kingdom of Thailand.

Thailand has taken a number of steps to improve the economy by coming up with new ideas.

The Thai government has taken more steps to bring in people and technology so that its chosen industries, which are called S-Curve industries, can grow and hire more people.

People with Smart Visas will be able to stay for up to four years, won’t need a work visa, and will be able to get other benefits.

Industry sectors targeted include:

  • Next-Generation Automotive
  • Agriculture and Biotechnology
  • Medical Hub
  • Affluent, Medical, and Wellness Tourism
  • Biofuels and Biochemicals
  • Aviation and Logistics
  • Digital
  • Automation and Robotics
  • Smart Electronics
  • Food for the Future
  • Dispute resolution through alternative means
  • Development of human resources in science and technology
  • Renewable Energy and Environmental Management

In the background, the Smart Visa (which was first launched in February 2018) is currently offered to:

  • Science and technology experts are those with specific talents
  • Professionals with at least a bachelor’s degree and 10 years of experience
  • Affluent investors
  • Founders of startups

Note, though, that if you want to apply for the digital nomad version of the Thailand Smart Visa, you will need to show that you have a contract of employment with a foreign company that gives you a Thai work permit and lasts at least 6 months from the time you apply.

At the time this was written, the Thailand Smart Visa cost about USD375, but this could change once the visa is officially approved for digital nomads.

Types Of Smart Visa

Applicants for a Smart Visa will be put into one of these Smart Visa categories based on why or what they want to do in Thailand.

1. Smart T (Talent)

Professionals who are highly qualified in the targeted industries include:

  • Science and technology experts
  • Earn at least 100,000 baht per month
  • Have an employment contract that expires in one year
  • Employed in targeted industries

2. Smart I (Investor)

Investors in technology-based businesses in the targeted sectors are eligible to apply for this type of visa. Below are the requirements:

  • It is necessary to invest at least 20 million baht directly.
  • To qualify, applicants must invest in technology-enabled enterprises producing or delivering services in the targeted sectors.

3. Smart E (Executive)

This visa is like a business visa, and it is for senior leaders in technology-based enterprises in the targeted sectors. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and have worked for at least ten years
  • Salary of 200,000 baht per month
  • One-year employment contract
  • High-level executives
  • Using technology in producing or delivering services in targeted sectors

4. Smart S (Startup)

This visa is for tech-based entrepreneurs and people who work from home in certain industries. Here are the things you need to do to get this visa:

  • There needs to be a deposit of 600,000 baht that has been kept for at least three months.
  • Coverage for health care
  • Participating in an accelerator, incubator, or similar program that has been approved by a government agency, or forming a joint venture with or getting approval from a government agency that is relevant to your business.
  • Within a year, you must either start a business in Thailand in one of the chosen fields and own at least 25% of it, or join the board.

5. Smart O (Other)

This visa is for the spouses and children of people who already have a Smart Visa. They can live and work in Thailand in the same way as Smart Visa holders.

Should I Buy Travel Insurance Before Going to Thailand?

All non-Thais applying for a Certificate of Entry to Thailand must have medical insurance with a minimum coverage of $100,000, as stated on the website of the Royal Thai Consulate General. You need to make sure that your health insurance is in effect for the whole length of your trip, includes coverage for covid 19, and pays for both hospitalisation and outpatient care. Travelers should verify their individual policies conform to entry standards.

SafetyWing is here to help you :

SafetyWing is an affiliate of the international insurance powerhouse Tokio Marine and provides comprehensive travel insurance that includes both medical and trip-related protections.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 39, you may get 4 weeks of coverage for $37; for those 40 and over, the price per week of coverage rises with each age band. Getting insured when visiting the USA will cost you extra money.

There is no penalty for canceling early, and the coverage renews every four weeks for 364 days.

SafetyWing is convenient since it allows you to join up from any location, whether you’re at home or on the road.

You may utilise your coverage by locating a participating hospital or medical provider near you via their website, then visiting that facility. Afterwards, the facility will charge SafetyWing directly for your care. Alternatively, you may seek care from any medical facility of your choosing, pay for it in full at the time of service, and then file a claim for reimbursement.

SafetyWing has a $250 per-period deductible.

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How To Apply For Digital Nomad Visa Thailand?

As was said above, the details of the Smart Visa for digital nomads are still being worked out. In the meantime, a Tourist Visa is one way you can get into Thailand to work as a digital nomad.

Note that the requirements and documents you need to send with your application will depend on your country of origin.

Here is a great platform that will help you figure out what is needed based on the country you live in. Once you choose your country, you will be sent to the right embassy, which will help you with your question.

Broadly speaking, the general requirements are:

  • Maintain a valid passport for a minimum of six months
  • A fully paid return air ticket
  • You should have a passport-sized photo of yourself
  • Demonstration of adequate finances. There should be a minimum fee of USD 641.20 (20,000 Thai Baht), but this may change. 

Again, it’s important to note that all of the information here was correct at the time it was written, but the best way to find out what you need to bring to your local Thai embassy to get your Thai visa is to use the platform above.

Best Digital Nomad Cities in Thailand

Thailand is a place with many wonders and a lot of beauty, that’s for sure.

But digital nomads from all over the world are drawn to some cities in Thailand.

Some of the reasons for this are their convenient locations and the fact that coworking and coliving spaces are available, which means you can work online anywhere, at any time.

Thailand has many great cities, including:

1. Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is located in the northern part of Thailand.

If you’re the kind of digital nomad who likes to be in a place with lots of greenery and outdoor activities, this is the best place for you to live in Thailand.

This is also a popular place for digital nomads to get together and hold conferences, courses, and other events.

Coliving is a great option for digital nomads because it lets people with similar interests live and work in the same space and share their experiences with each other.

2. Bangkok

Bangkok is Thailand’s capital city. It’s a busy place that’s always full of people.

In addition to the city life, you will get to see the city’s rich history and heritage in the form of Royal palaces and many temples.

When in Bangkok, shopping is a must! Some of the most popular places for tourists to do this are the huge Chatuchak Weekend Market and the Taling Chan Floating Market.

More importantly, as a digital nomad, you will find the variety of coworking spaces in the city to be very useful. Among these are international coworking companies like:

  • WeWork
  • Spaces
  • The Hive

3. Krabi

Okay, Krabi is not a city in the strictest sense. But if you’re a digital nomad who likes to hang out on the beach, there’s no better place to be a digital nomad.

As a digital nomad in Krabi, you’ll probably be working on soft sand beaches next to aquamarine blue oceans.

During your breaks, you will be able to go from island to island, scuba dive, and hike through the jungle.

The Krabi Tiger Cave is also in Krabi. It is close to the center of Krabi Town. It is made up of limestone caves, and after a 1237-step climb, you can find the Buddha’s footprint and see 360-degree views.

4. Phuket

People often say that Phuket is one of the best places for digital nomads to live. Most digital nomads would rather be in Krabi than Phuket because the beach is quieter and there are fewer tourists. However, if you want to be in a busy place with lots of people, Phuket is the place to be!

Phuket is a dream for digital nomads who like to learn as much as they can about other cultures. There is a lot of Buddhist culture on the island, and you can find temples and Buddhist relics almost everywhere.

From Phuket, it’s not too hard to get on a boat and go island-hopping. Before you know it, you’ll be busy with a lot of different things to do!

Even though these places may be busy in the summer, if you go to Phuket during the off-season, you might have them all to yourself.

Some of the best places to work with other people are:

  • BayaCao Coworking Space
  • Coco Working Space
  • Regus Working Space
  • Fin Hostel

You can stay at the following places:

  • Any Place
  • Homa
  • Stash

Thailand Visa Requirements for Digital Nomads?

If they plan to stay in the country for only 30 days, some nationalities are exempt from obtaining a visa.

These countries are:

Australia, Austria, Demark, Belgium, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Czech Republic, Liechtenstein,  Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong Luxembourg, Oman, Malaysia, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, The Philippines, Poland, Sweden, Portugal, Slovenia, Qatar, Spain, Singapore, Slovak Republic,, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States of America.

Is it legal for digital nomads to live in Thailand?

Yes, there are digital nomads in Thailand. At the moment, most digital nomads use tourist visas, which allow them to work legally as digital nomads.

Is It Legal To Work Remotely In Thailand?

Yes, it is legal in Thailand to work from home.

With all the talk about being a digital nomad in Thailand, this is probably the most important question to answer.

On a tourist visa, you can’t work under any circumstances. In Thailand, you can only work if you have a work permit and pay the right taxes.

But it can’t be denied that a lot of people from all over the world come to Thailand to work as digital nomads from home. When it comes to things like this, the law is definitely not clear.

What may be helpful is this: work is defined as using energy, knowledge, or effort to produce something. 

Work Permit Offices in Thailand are also thought to be concerned with situations that affect Thai interests and deny Thai people opportunities to work.

Thus, remote working in this context can be interpreted as falling outside these two categories. 

As a result, the Thailand Smart Visa may allow digital nomads to work legally remotely in Thailand by clearing up these gray areas. 

Cost Of Living In Thailand

As we’ve already talked about, Thailand is thought to have a low cost of living compared to other countries in the area.

For example, a single person in Thailand would spend about USD582.53 per month, if they didn’t have to pay rent.

If you want to rent an apartment in Thailand, you should know that prices in the city center are almost twice as high as prices outside of the city center.

For example, the rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center can be about USD 430 per month, but outside of the city center, the same thing will only cost you about USD 260 per month.

At a cheap restaurant, if you wanted to eat outside, it might cost you about USD2. You did read that correctly! People say that Thailand’s amazing food is also amazing for how cheap it is.

In Thailand, do digital nomads have to pay taxes?

If you stay in Thailand for less than 6 months or work for a company outside of Thailand, you won’t have to pay taxes.

The Revenue Department in Thailand divides people who might have to pay taxes into two groups:

  • Residents – People who stay in Thailand for more than 180 days a year
  • Non-Residents – Tourists who stay less than 180 days in Thailand

The law says that people who don’t live in Thailand must pay tax on income from Thailand. Residents, on the other hand, are required by law to pay taxes on both income made in Thailand and money brought in from outside Thailand.

Based on the above, a digital nomad who is still working for an employer in their home country and spends less than 180 days in Thailand doesn’t have to pay taxes. A digital nomad who lives in Thailand and gets a SMART visa must also file and pay taxes in Thailand.

Thailand’s Unique Tips for Digital Nomads

Thailand's Unique Tips for Digital Nomads

1. Tourist Attraction

Thailand has a lot of temples that are also places of interest for tourists. Make sure your knees are covered when you go to any of these temples. If you don’t, you might not be allowed in. If you want to be safe, don’t wear sleeveless tops or bring a shawl with you so you can cover your shoulders in the temple.

2. Learn The Language

Learn how to say things like “hello” and “thank you” in Thai. Thai people are already very friendly, but if you speak their language, you’re sure to get extra points. You can quickly learn some useful Thai phrases with an app like Duolingo.

3. Be Aware Of Certain Restrictions

Did you know that it’s illegal to take Buddha pictures out of the country? Almost 95% of the people in Thailand follow Buddhism as their religion. Because of this, all images of Buddha are seen as holy.

If you want to take Buddha pictures out of the country, you need a special permit. The purpose of the permit is to make sure you don’t take a piece of culture out of the country.

Prints, paintings, and other works of art with pictures of Buddha are, of course, for sale. They might not tell you about these rules, though.

Thailand is preparing a new visa for digital nomads

Digital nomads and wealthy ex-pats now have a 10-year visa approved by the Thai government. Long-term tourists are believed to drive Thai economic growth if they are lured to the country. There are four categories of wealthy long-term travelers eligible for the 10-year visa:

  • Digital Nomads – At the moment, most digital nomads are working under tourism visas, but having a more legal way to work would be beneficial
  • Dedicated professionals with high skills and salaries can contribute to Thailand’s advancement. – The SMART Visa will compete with this
  • Wealthy Global Citizens – Thailand already offers an Elite Visa for them.
  • Wealthy Pensioners – Thailand is a retirement paradise and it offers Non-Immigrant O-A and O-X visas to pensioners over 50.

What is currently known is:

  • It has a duration of 5 years and can be extended for another 5 years.
  • Unlike the Thai Elite Visa program, it costs 10,000 baht a year without the VIP airport treatment.
  • Whether the work permit includes remote work only or specific categories of work in Thailand, such as the SMART visa, is unknown.

To qualify for this visa, income or deposits are not known.

Which Countries Have Digital Nomad Visas?

In spite of not explicitly referring to them as such, the following countries have visas similar to those granted to digital nomads. Among them are:

  • Portugal
  • Croatia
  • Barbados
  • Costa Rica
  • Czech Republic
  • Dubai
  • Germany

If you want to try out the digital nomad lifestyle but are worried about the uncertain status of Thailand’s digital nomad visa, you might want to look into other countries that offer visas that are made for digital nomads.

As you can see, the digital nomad visa in Thailand is kind of up in the air right now. But don’t worry, you can still go there if you have a tourist visa. You might not be able to stay in the country as long as you want to, though.

Before the global pandemic, it was easier to get a new tourist visa by leaving the country, traveling to nearby places, and then coming back in. This was called a “visa run.”

But in these times, it may not be possible or, even more important, affordable to do so.

So, if you really want to go to Thailand and work as a digital nomad, you should wait until the digital nomad Smart Visa is approved.

Quick Links:

Conclusion: Thailand Digital Nomad Visa 2023

There are several visa options available in Thailand to assist digital nomads, investors, retirees, and wealthy ex-pats (via the Thai Elite Visa). The tax and work status of people who work from home has never been clear. Except for one raid at a coworking center in Chiang Mai in 2014, digital nomads did not pay taxes. It should be clear once and for all with the Digital Nomad Visa.

It would be great if you didn’t have to go to the border to get a visa or report to immigration every 90 days, which takes time and money. Please include this in the new Thailand visa rules.

Is this just another way for the Thai government and the Tourism Authority of Thailand to try to get more tourists, even though the visas won’t change much? Or is Thailand trying to attract a different type of tourist, ex-pat, or retiree, with a focus on the wealthy? Time will tell, and here at Nomad Girl, we’ll let you know what’s going on.

Before the pandemic, Thailand had the largest group of Digital Nomads, and the infrastructure to support them is still there. Don’t mess up this position of power.

Andy Thompson

Andy Thompson has been a freelance writer for a long while. She is a senior SEO and content marketing analyst at Digiexe, a digital marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. She has more than seven years of experience in digital marketing & affiliate marketing too. She likes sharing her knowledge in a wide range of domains ranging from e-commerce, startups, social media marketing, making money online, affiliate marketing to human capital management, and much more. She has been writing for several authoritative SEO, Make Money Online & digital marketing blogs like ImageStation.

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