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Visas to Thailand for digital nomads: The best solutions for people working online

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Joanna Horanin

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Last updated at 24/05/2024, 01:15

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.

Are you a digital nomad, wanting to stay in Thailand for a couple of months? If so, you might be wondering how to go about your visa. From this article you will find out which visas to Thailand are the best for digital nomads.

I used to live in Thailand for a couple of years, but as a teacher I had a work permit and a visa, which allowed me to stay long-term in the Land of Smiles. After that, I quit my job and became a digital nomad, which quickly became a problem. As a person who is not employed by any company in Thailand, I needed a tourist visa. I managed to get a multiple entry one and then extend it, which gave me almost an additional year in Thailand, but then…I had to leave.

It’s not easy to stay in the Kingdom for longer. The rules are complicated and you need to be careful navigating around them. However, there are some visas to Thailand for digital nomads, which might be something you’d like to consider.

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    Who exactly is a digital nomad?

    A digital nomad is a person who works online away from their home, abroad, or in their country of residence. Normally, this person doesn’t have one place where they live and they move from one location to another.
    A digital nomad works online for someone else, or for themselves. A lot of nomads are entrepreneurs, working on developing their business.

    Growing trend of digital nomadism

    In the recent years there are more and more people working online and travelling. This is a great way of earning money and seeing other countries.
    After the pandemic, many companies offer remote work, which is often used by employees as a permission to work from different countries.

    The most popular destinations for digital nomads are: Thailand, Portugal, Mexico and Colombia.

    Why is Thailand so attractive for digital nomads?

    Thailand has been the number one destination for digital nomads for many reasons. First of all, it’s affordable, so even if you’re working on your business and just starting out, you can afford a pretty good lifestyle here.
    In bigger cities, like Chiang Mai or Bangkok, there are plenty of accommodation options with good internet and additional facilities, like swimming pools and gyms. You will also find coworking spaces and lively expat and digital nomad communities.

    Let’s not forget that Thailand is safe, has great weather most of the year and offers amazing food.

    Visas to Thailand for digital nomads – Overview

    If your dream is to go to Thailand and work online from there, you will need a visa. Read on and find out which are the best for those working remotely.

    Digital nomad visa for Thailand

    Let’s start from the one that was created with you in mind – a person, who works online.

    The new digital nomad visa, also known as Long Term Residence Visa, allows you to stay in Thailand for 10 years.

    To be able to get this type of visa, you need to:

    • Have a valid passport for at least another 6 months
    • Earn at least $80,000 per year
    • Have a health insurance that covers you for the minimum amount of $50,000. I recommend going to either Luma or Safetywing, which have the best options for digital nomads
    • You need to work for at least 3 years for a publicly traded company, or a company that generates at least $150 million in revenue
    • You can also qualify if you earn at least $40,000 a year and have a master’s degree, plus have either $1 million in assets, be retired with yearly income of $80,000, or invest in Thailand at least $500,000.

    Visa exemption

    Visa exemption is available to people from these countries. You don’t need to apply for it. Simply, show your passport at the immigration crossing at the airport or at the overland border. You will get a stamp with a validity date.

    To receive it you need to have a valid passport for another 6 months and an empty page for the stamp. There is also a requirement of having around 20,000 Baht in your account, but this is rarely checked.

    Make sure that you have travel insurance. I recommend Safetywing, which is especially made for digital nomads.

    Visa exemption is only available for those who go to Thailand for 30 days (by plane) or 15 days (overland). After that time, you can leave the country and come back, which gives you another 30 or 15 days, but remember that you can do a visa run only once a year.
    After that, you need a tourist visa, or you need to leave the country.

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    60-day single entry visa

    As a digital nomad, you can apply for a tourist visa. It’s good if you want to visit Thailand and stay here for a couple of months.

    If you think you’d like to stay in the Kingdom for 60 days, apply for this visa online. I have a whole post about the process, which you can check out here.

    To be able to get the visa, you will need:

    • Your passport valid at least for another 6 months
    • Signed application form
    • A passport style photo
    • Proof of accommodation
    • Proof of a return flight
    • Proof of your earnings and employment
    • Travel insurance

    This visa needs to be used within 3 months from the approval date and after you cross the border it will be valid for 60 days.
    After that you can apply for an extension for another 30 days at an immigration office in Thailand.

    I think this is a great solution for digital nomads who would like to stay in Thailand during winter.

    Smart Visa

    Smart visa was created to attract new talent to the country. It targets specific industries, like digital technologies or automotive.
    This visa allows you to stay in Thailand for 4 years, but there are very specific and strict requirements.

    If you are interested to know more, visit this official website.

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    Elite Visa

    Elite visa gives you up to 20 years of stay in Thailand. However, not everyone can afford it. There are high costs involved.
    Read more about Elite Visa here.

    Non-immigrant visa B

    Non-immigrant visas B are for people who work or study in Thailand. I think they are not such a good solution for digital nomads.
    Most people get them after they use their tourist visas and extensions. Majority of digital nomads I know take a Thai language course, get a non-immigrant visa and stay in Thailand for a bit longer.

    If this is something you’re interested in, please read this article about non-immigrant visas B.

    Which visa to Thailand is the best for digital nomads?

    When choosing a visa to Thailand as a digital nomad, think about how long you want to go for first. If you’re only going for a few weeks, a visa exemption will suffice.
    For longer stays, choose 60-day visa and extend it, if needed. And if you really want to stay for a long time, then you will need to go for LTR visa (digital nomad visa), or a elite visa. This option involves having quite a bit of money and skills, so check carefully the rules before you apply.
    Some people choose to go for a Thai language course and for the non-immigrant visa-B, which is a good option that allows you to stay for a couple of months longer. Alternatively, you can always get a part-time job at a school and become an English teacher in Thailand.