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Is it possible to live permanently in Thailand? Check how you can legally move to the Land of Smiles



Joanna Horanin

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Last updated at 25/07/2024, 09:45

Hi, I'm Joanna, the author of The Blond Travels. In the worlds of Thailand and Portugal, I feel like a fish in water - and it's no coincidence! I've been exploring Thailand for over a decade, and I've settled in Portugal for 6 years now. My mission is to support Dreamers - just like you - in discovering these fascinating countries and helping those in love with them find their own place on Earth, preferably for good! Let's uncover these unique corners of the world together.

Dreaming about moving permanently to Thailand and settling down here? In this post you will find all you need to know about living here long-term.

Many people want to move to the Land of Smiles. The country has a lot to offer – good food, amazing weather, beaches, mountains and low-cost of living. Thailand attracts a lot of expats, who dream about moving here. Are you also one of them? If so, you probably are researching how to live permanently in Thailand. Am I right? I might also be right in writing that you have just found out it’s not such an easy thing to do. Trust me, I know. That’s why I’m writing htis post. I want to help you with making your dreams come true.

The good news here is that it is possible to move permanently to Thailand. Sometimes, it might not be so straight forward, but if you put your mind to it, you can achieve it.
So, let’s start and have a look at the options you have.

Is it possible to live permanently in Thailand?

The short answer to this question is – yes. It is possible. However, there are a couple of things you need to think about. In order for you to move to Thailand, you need to answer these questions first.

What do you want to do there when you move?

Are you going to retire, travel? Do you want to work? Do you have money to invest? Are you going to get married to a Thai citizen?

This is the most important as it will determine which visa you will need and what formalities you will need to fulfill.

Once you have the answer to that, then you can move to the legal part.

How long do you want to stay in Thailand?

Is this going to be a stay for a few months, few years, or forever?

Again, the answer to this question will help you to find out what to do next.

How much money do you have?

Calculate how much money you can spend. This is important because some visas require you to have quite a bit of cash, others allow you to live permanently in Thailand without much of an investment.
Write the numbers down – write how much you can spend and how much money will you have coming in every month.

How to legally move to Thailand?

And now, let’s move to the part where I will tell you what kind of options you have.

Work as a teacher

The simplest thing to do is to do a TEFL course and become a teacher in Thailand. You need to have at least a bachelor degree.
If you have the qualifications, you can easily apply for jobs in Thailand. Once you get a position, your school should help you to get a visa and a work permit.

Your visa will be valid for a year. After that time you can extend it at the immigration office, if you are still employed.

Get a multiple tourist visa

This visa is only for tourists. You’re not allowed to work while you have it. The multiple entry visa to Thailand allows you to stay in the country for 6 months and you can then extend it for another 3 months. In total, it gives you 9 months of legal stay.

You will find more about the multiple entry visa here.

Apply for a Thailand Elite Visa

Thailand Elite Visa is for people who want to stay in Thailand for 5,10 or 20 years and don’t want to worry about extentions and permits.
You simply apply for it, get an approval letter, arrive in Thailand and get a stamp. After the time has passed and you want to stay longer, you can get an extention.

It is not allowed to work in Thailand while using this visa.

If you are interested in applying, read this post first. After that, message me and I will help you with the application. I work with Henley&Partners, the global leader in residence by investment and we help people like you to move abroad legally.

Retire in Thailand

If you are retired, you can settle down in Thailand. It is quite easy to get the retirement visa, but you need to have some money put aside as well as a certain amount of money coming in every month.

Marry a Thai citizen

Some people choose to marry a Thai national. This gives you the right to legally live in Thailand. But, as with the retirement visa, here you also need quite a lot of money.

Open your own business

You can open your own business in Thailand. The downside of this is that you can own 49% of the shares of your company. The rest belongs to a business partner, who needs to hold a Thai passport.
You will also need to employ Thai people, which for a small business, or someone who is self-employed might be a problem.

Now, choose the right visa

After you have checked all of the options and you know what you want to do in Thailand and what you can afford, it’s time to choose the right visa.

If you need to know more about different visas, check out my post about long-term visas to Thailand.

I hope that this post has helped you to check if you can legally live in Thailand. Wishing you all the best with your move to the Land of Smiles and if you have any questions, please leave a comment!