The 6 best visas that allow me to live in Thailand in 2021.
A common question that is often asked among expats in Thailand is whether or not buying a property in Thailand (condo or villa / land purchased through a company) would allow them to live in Thailand without having to get any kind of visa. Unfortunately, more than likely the answer is no as residence and property ownership are not related.
Subject to certain criteria, the Thai investment visa may allow it.
There is however one exception, the so-called investment visa, which if certain criteria can be met allows the holder to live in Thailand.
1. Thai investment visa
Foreign investors can obtain a special investment visa which allows them to stay in Thailand long-term. Eligibility for the Investment Visa is based on the following criteria:
- Be in possession of a non-immigrant visa.
- Transfer at least 10 million baht into Thailand.
At least one (or a combination of the criteria list below) with a value of at least 10 million baht.
- Purchase or lease of a condo.
- Maintain a balance in a fixed-deposit account in a Thai bank.
- Purchase and own Thai government and/or state enterprise bonds.
The investment visa can be renewed yearly and much like the other visas available in Thailand, investment visa holders are required to do 90 day reports. Holders may also work in Thailand but they must obtain a work permit.
Family members of the investment visa are also eligible to ‘piggy back’ the visa and live in Thailand as well.
For those who cannot meet the requirements for the investment visa and would like to reside in Thailand for a long period can explore the following options, Thailand Elite Visa, Tourist visas, Retirement visa, guardianship visa and employment.
What are the other visas to visit Thailand on a long term basis?
While the investment visa looks like an excellent option, it is more than likely out of reach for the majority of people. If this is the case, what options are available for those who want to live or stay in Thailand long-term. To answer this, we will split the information into 2 sections, unemployed and employed.
If you are unemployed the following options are available to you:
2. Thailand Elite visa
The Thailand Elite Visa is a long-term visa which allows the holder to reside in Thailand for periods of 5, 10 or 20 years (depending on the program chosen). Thailand Elite visas require the payment of a membership fee.
- The Thai Elite Visa is a 5-year renewable multiple entry visa with an extendable 1-year length of stay per each entry. More expensive packages allow the holder to renew every 5 years as opposed to yearly.
- The Thai Elite visa holder can stay in Thailand without having to leave the country every 90 days as required by some of the other visa types.
- The Elite Visa holder does not need to do their 90 day report themselves, the Thai Elite staff will take care of it for you.
- Thai Elite Visa holders will receive special VIP/Fast Track immigration and passport control upon arriving in Thailand.
The Thai Elite visa seems like a good option, however it is very expensive. The cheapest membership that can be purchased is 600,000 THB (the most expensive package is 2.14 million Thai baht with annual fee of 21,400 Thai baht).
3. Tourist visa with extensions
A Thai Tourist Visa will initially grant you a stay of 60 days in Thailand (or multiple entries of 60 days when on a multiple entry visa). Each entry of 60 days can be extended for an additional 30 days. If you have a multiple entry tourist visa and plan your entries carefully (doing a day trip out of Thailand and re entering to get another 60 days) you can potentially stay in Thailand for 9 months or so.
Another advantage of tourist visa extensions is that they are usually very straightforward.
4. Retirement visa
The Thailand retirement visa or “Extension of Stay Based on Retirement” is available as either a single or multiple entry visa. This is a long term Thai visa that entitles the holder a stay in Thailand for 1 year . The retirement visa can be renewed every year inside the country. Please note that multiple entry visa holders have to leave the country every 90 days. Read also our post : “10 tips for a good retirement in Koh Samui“.
To be able to apply for a retirement visa, the following criteria must be met:
- Applicant must be 50 years of age or over
- Must meet any of the financial requirements:
- Security deposit of THB 800,000 in a Thai bank account for 2 months prior to the visa application
- Monthly Income of 65,000 THB
- Combination of security deposit and annual income with a total of 800,000 THB
5. Guardian Visa
If you have children enrolled in a Thai school you will be able to apply for an extension of stay based on their attendance. However, it is important to note that if you only have one child enrolled in a Thai school you can only apply for one guardian visa, for both parents to receive the visa you must have two children enrolled in School.
If you are employed in Thailand you can also reside in Thailand through the following visa:
6. Non Immigrant B Visa
Upon getting your job based in Thailand you must apply for a Non-Immigrant B visa. Once you have this you can enter Thailand and begin the mandatory process of obtaining your work permit.
Once you have entered Thailand you will then be able to convert your Non-B visa into an extension of stay based on employment. This extension of stay will be valid for one year. As long as you are employed and meet the criteria you can renew this extension of stay yearly.
Unfortunately, buying a property in Thailand doesn’t necessarily guarantee you the right to live in Thailand (unless you qualify for the investment visa). Luckily there are a few different options available for those who would like to stay in Thailand long term.
If you would like to learn more about the different visa options available to you, please follow this link. The Belaws team will be able to assist you with everything you may need.
Author of this post: Belaws.com