Known as the Long Term Residents (LTR) Visa, the Thailand digital nomad visa is now available and open to applicants looking to spend their time in the Land of Smiles.
Thailand has long been popular among backpackers, digital nomads, and remote workers, thanks to its affordability. However, the Thailand digital nomad visa is, surprisingly, catered to “high-potential individuals” rather than your typical backpacker.
There are strict criteria, high minimum income levels, and a tricky application process awaiting remote workers looking to apply. Find out everything that you need to know about the Thai digital nomad visa below.
What is the Thailand Digital Nomad Visa?
The Thailand digital nomad visa, known officially as the “Long Term Residents (LTR) Visa”, offers a unique entry visa allowing remote workers to legally live in and work from Thailand for up to 15 years.
The Thailand tourism visa, although popular, does not fit the requirements of remote workers and digital nomads. This new form of visa is designed with “high potential” individuals in mind, offering benefits to the new wave of remote workers.
Why is the Thailand Digital Nomad Visa Better Than a Tourist Visa?
The Thai Long Term Residents Visa grants holders a range of both tax and non-tax benefits designed to boost the appeal of the country.
The first and most obvious benefit offered is the amount of time that visa holders can spend in the country. Where the minimum and maximum tourist visa lengths sit at 60 days and nine months respectively, the Thailand Long Term Residents Visa offers a huge 10-year potential residency period in the country. This is offered with the option of extension for a further five-year period providing the necessary criteria are met.
In addition to the permitted long stays, the Thai visa also comes with tax benefits for remote workers. Instead of the typical 35% tax rate, digital nomads can receive cuts, paying just 17% in taxes. Tax exemption from overseas income is also offered, creating an attractive tax system in the country.
Other benefits include exemption from the 4:1 Thai to foreigner employment ratio, fast track access in Thai airports, and a multiple re-entry permit.
Thailand Digital Nomad Visa Requirements
Somewhat unexpectedly due to the popularity of Thailand as a digital nomad hotspot, there is a steep list of requirements for applying for the visa.
- Valid Passport: The applicant's passport must be valid for at least 6 months.
- $80,000 Minimum Monthly Income: Applicants must prove the minimum annual income of at least $80,000 per year for the last two years.
- Health Insurance: Applicants are required to show proof of health insurance spanning the visa length with a minimum value of $50,000.
In addition to the above requirements, applicants must also satisfy one of the following to be accepted into the LTR program:
- Work as a Remote Employee: You must work for at least three years at a publicly traded company or a company that generates at least $150 million in annual revenue.
Qualification may also be granted if an applicant has earned a minimum of $40,000/year for the last two years and has achieved higher education to the level of a Master’s Degree with the additional following criteria:
- $1 Million in Financial Assets: A minimum financial assets value totaling $1 million.
- Retired with a minimum annual income of $80,000: Aged 50 or over with a stable income (pension etc.) of at least $80,000.
- Invest a minimum of $500,000 in Thailand: Invest in either Thai government bonds, Thai property, or foreign direct investments in the country.
How to Apply
Applying for the Thailand digital nomad visa proves to be one of the trickiest submissions currently available to global remote workers.
We’ve compressed the entire visa process down to four simple, easy-to-follow steps, for submitting a visa application that is guaranteed to be approved.
Step 1: Gather All Required Documents
There are five main categories (wealth global citizens, wealthy pensioners, high-skilled professionals, Work-from-Thailand professionals, and dependents) that each visa applicant may fall into with the required documents differing slightly for each.
Taking the Work-from-Thailand professionals as our main focus, applicants must supply the following mandatory personal documents with their visa submission:
- Copy of a valid passport with 6 months' validity
- Passport photograph (sized 3x4cm)
- Curriculum Vitae (CV)
- Proof of previous employment in the related field (no less than five years in the last 10)
- Evidence of health insurance covering the entire visa length (Minimum coverage of $50,000)
In addition to personal documents, remote workers must also provide evidence of employment with the following mandatory documents:
- Evidence of an employment or service contract or service contract (detailing employment position, contract terms, and income) signed by an authorized person
- Proof of financial position in the current year (e.g. bank statement)
- Evidence of an annual personal income tax return with a minimum of $80,000 or $40,000 per year in the last 2 years
In addition to these documents, additional evidence must be submitted if applicable to the applicants e.g. proof of higher education (master's degree or higher).
Step 2: Submit Visa Application
The visa application form can be both completed and submitted online with the application forms accessed from the official website.
Applicants are, once again, required to select the appropriate form from the available categories (wealth global citizens, wealthy pensioners, high-skilled professionals, Work-from-Thailand professionals, and dependents). The outcome of the visa application will be determined within 20 days of the submission.
Step 3: Attend a Visa Appointment
Following the successful visa application, digital nomads are then required to attend a visa appointment at either a Thai embassy, consulate abroad, or Immigration Offices in Thailand to obtain the visa.
During the appointment, applicants will be required to pay the visa fee of 50,000 Thai baht per person.
Step 4: Collect a Thai Digital Work Permit
Following the visa appointment, nomads are then able to collect their Thai Digital Work Permit.
This can be collected from the Department of Employment One Stop Shop Center for Visa and Work Permits in the Thai capital of Bangkok. There is an annual fee of 3,000 Thai Baht charged to maintain the work permit.
Why Choose Thailand for Your Next Remote Working Trip?
Thailand is an incredible destination for any remote working trip with the Land of Smiles offering everything from bustling cities to quiet island living and everything in between. The country has long been a top choice for remote workers and digital nomads looking to enjoy the tropical beaches without breaking the bank. A low cost of living has attracted ex-pats from around the world to spend time in Southeast Asia with Thailand often described as the crown jewel.
Remote Work Culture in Thailand
There is a strong remote work culture throughout Thailand with digital nomad communities spanning the length of the country. From the popular small city living found in Chiang Mai to the chaos of Bangkok and the islands in the south, there’s a community of ex-pats, remote workers, and nomads on every corner. Coworking spaces, remote work-friendly cafes, and affordable accommodation make both living and working in the country a joy.
Cost of living and Quality of Life in Thailand
The cost of living in Thailand is low with an estimated monthly living cost of approximately $450 for a single remote worker living in the country. This value increases to the approximate value of $2,000 for a family of four. The quality of life in Thailand is given an index score of 101.62 out of a possible 240 points, scoring a medium to low life quality. The main areas of concern for nomads living in the country the purchasing power, pollution levels, and property prices in the country. Conversely, the quality of life is boosted by the low cost of living index, high safety index, and top-quality healthcare.
Healthcare in Thailand
According to the 2021 Legatum Prosperity Index, an independent annual review covering more than 100 different indexes, healthcare in Thailand is rated as very good with the ranking 27th out of 167 different countries. Thailand opened its doors to the universal health system in 2002 with the majority of Thai nationals receiving healthcare from this system. All digital nomads applying for the Long Term Residents Visa are required to provide evidence of health insurance covering the visa length with a minimum value of $50,000.
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Thailand has long been a hot destination for digital nomads and remote workers, but issues with tourism visas have prevented long-term stays in the country.
Now, thanks to the Long Term Residents Visa, global travelers are able to spend large chunks of time in the country with a potential visa length of 10 years with the option of a five-year extension.
Somewhat surprisingly, the visa targets individuals of “high potential”, focusing on high-earners with large investments in the local economy. This may prove disappointing for some digital nomads, leaving tourist visas the only solution for long-term Thai stays.
This story was originally published in October 2022.