Since Thailand is known for its tropical beaches, beautiful architecture, ancient ruins, and breathtaking temples, it is no surprise that many foreigners are looking into ways of changing their mundane daily routine and start living in the paradise that is Thailand.
However, if you are thinking of working remotely, as a freelancer, or self-employed, there are not many available opportunities. In order to be eligible legally live in Thailand, there are strict requirements you must follow.
Does Thailand Offer a Digital Nomad Visa?
As of 2022, Thailand does not currently have a digital nomad visa.
Any type of work that is being performed in Thai territory must be done through a work permit. Remote work is currently not available in Thailand and therefore foreign freelancers and self-employed workers are NOT allowed to work in Thailand.
A quick online search will show many results of foreigners’ experience and that they have in fact worked remotely or as freelancers while living in Thailand. Working in Thailand remotely as a foreigner is considered breaking the law and although many have claimed to have successfully undertaken freelance work, you are in no way advised to do the same as you might get in trouble.
Any work type that is not registered in Thailand is considered fraudulent and illegal so you must therefore make sure you recheck your choices before arriving in Thailand.
Alternatives to the Thai Digital Nomad Visa
Foreigners who are interested in working in Thailand can only do so if they acquire a Thai work permit. Some visas that you can consider if you are set on working and living in Thailand are:
Thai Work Visa
The easiest and safest way to start working in Thailand is by acquiring a Thai work visa. The work visa is valid for one year and can be easily renewed before the expiration date. It enables you to enter the Thai labor market legally as the work visa is paired with the work permit, which you can obtain when a Thai employer applies for one on your behalf. Obtaining a work permit is the number one requirement for anyone who wishes to work in Thailand.
Thai SMART Visa
The Thailand SMART visa is a perfect fit for qualified workers who want to enter the Thai workspace. You can be eligible for the SMART visa if you are a:
- Highly skilled worker.
- Start-up entrepreneur.
- Dependent of a SMART visa holder.
The SMART visa is valid for a minimum of one year or a maximum of four years, during which you will be exempt from the work permit requirement. In order for you to keep your SMART visa, you must submit proof of a yearly payment of 10,000 Thai Baht. If your SMART visa is about to expire, you can apply for a renewal 60 days before the expiry date.
Thai Elite Visa
True to its name, the Thai Elite visa is considered a long-stay visa option for those who can pay a yearly 600,000 Thai Baht fee. This visa does not allow you to work in Thailand without acquiring an additional Thai work permit, but, you can extend your international business in Thailand. The Elite visa is valid for five years and can be extended for an additional one year. The Elite visa comes in different packages and the types are:
- Elite Easy Access. Valid for five years with the chance of extension.
- Elite Family Excursion. Valid for ten years and for couples who can pay 800,000 Thai Baht.
- Elite Family Alternative. Valid for ten years once you renew the first five years for an additional five years and it costs 800,000 Thai Baht.
- Elite Privilege Access. Valid for ten years and it costs 1,000,000 Thai Baht.
- Elite Superiority Extension. Valid for twenty years and costs 1,000,000 Thai Baht.
- Elite Ultimate Privilege. Valid for twenty years and costs 2,140,000 Thai Baht with an additional annual fee of 21,000 Thai Baht.
- Elite Family Premium. Valid for family members of the Elite Ultimate Privilege members.