Thailand is one of the most popular vacationing destinations in Asia, and it’s also home to a lot of foreigners who want to live in the country for longer periods. Whether you’re looking for a long term stay as an expatriate, retiree or digital nomad, it’s important to understand your options.
The best long term stay option for you will depend on what you’re planning to do once you arrive in the country, your budget, and what type of visa you need. For example, if you’re coming to Thailand for the first time and want to experience it in its full glory, then you might prefer a tourist visa.
However, if you’re looking for a long term destination to grow your business or start a new life as an expat, then it might be time to look at a different visa. There are a variety of visa options available, from the cheapest to the most expensive, depending on your needs and priorities.
Price: The cheapest option for a long term stay in Thailand is a Retirement visa (along with a Marriage visa). If you’re over 50 years old, have a regular monthly income or have savings in a Thai bank account, this is probably the most affordable long-term stay option.
Ease of obtaining: The Retirement visa is the most easy to obtain long-term stay option in Thailand, requiring no work permit and minimal paperwork. This visa is valid for either a one or five year period and can be renewed/extended at the end of its expiration date.
There are some requirements to meet, including medical and criminal clearances, a minimum Thai bank balance of 1.5 million baht, and an annual income of at least 65,000 baht. The five-year option requires more paperwork, expense, and time commitments, so if you’re going this route it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into.
SMART VISA: For digital nomads who are looking to get a long term visa but haven’t been successful in the past, there’s now a new visa that will help them stay in Thailand. This SMART Visa is available for those aged over 50 who aren’t employed in any way and want to stay in Thailand for at least five years without working or bringing any family members with them.
LTR Visa: For investors and people who want to visit Thailand many times a year, the LTR visa is a good long-term stay option. It allows you to report to immigration once a year (instead of every 90 days), stays valid for five years, and has no re-entry permit limits.
You can bring up to four dependents with you under this visa. It’s also a multi-entry visa, so you can fly in and out of the country as often as you like.
Marriage Visa: If you’re married to a Thai national and want to stay in Thailand long-term, then this is an easy choice. It comes with ongoing immigration obligations, but it’s also the cheapest option on this list.