6 Thailand Visa Options for Expats and Investors

A large expat community exists in Thailand, largely due to the country's range of visa options. We look at some of the different routes to residency for investors, skilled professionals, and retirees.

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From vibrant cities like Bangkok to tranquil resorts and island paradises, Thailand caters to various lifestyles. This, coupled with a famously low cost of living, helps to entice expats from across the globe.

Around 3-4 million migrants are living in Thailand as of 2022, making up over 5% of the population. Over 40,000 Britons have found a home in the country, according to the UK’s Institute for Public Policy Research.

Thailand visa

Expats are understandably drawn to Thailand’s affordable living, tropical climate, and remarkable natural landscapes. The country is particularly popular with retirees who are looking to make their savings stretch and adopt a laid-back lifestyle.

Whether you’re a retiree, a digital nomad, an investor, or simply looking for a fresh start, Thailand offers a range of visa options through which you can obtain residency.

Retirement Visa

Retirees aged 50 and over can apply for Thailand’s Retirement Visa, given that they have a pension/monthly income of no less than £1,500. Alternatively, you can deposit £18,600 in a Thai bank account two months before moving and retain the balance for two months after. Following this, you must hold a minimum balance of £9,300.

Investment Visa

This is a great Thailand visa option for foreign investors. By investing a minimum of 10 million baht (approx. $265,000 / £230,000) in either property, Thai government bonds, or a Thai bank account, foreigners can obtain a 1-year visa which can be extended to immediate family members. The Investment Visa is also eligible for renewal.

Elite Visa

Foreigners can buy a membership for Thailand Privilege Card Co., Ltd—a state-owned enterprise within the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)—and receive a visa lasting 20 years. The Elite Visa also comes with complimentary benefits, including liaison and assistance via the Elite Personal Assistant service on arrival and departure, plus services such as spas, restaurants, golf courses, and limousine transfers.

Long-Term Resident (LTR) Visa

Wealthy global citizens, wealthy pensioners, work-from-Thailand professionals, and highly skilled professionals will all be eligible for the LTR Visa. It lasts 5 years and can be renewed for another 5-year period. LTR visa holders will also benefit from fast-track service at international airports, permission to work, and tax exemption from overseas income.

Smart Visa

Thailand’s Smart Visa is designed to attract highly skilled workers, executives, investors, and entrepreneurs in targeted industries. It is hoped that this will encourage innovation and, in turn, drive the economy. Targeted industries are largely technology or environment based, and include Next-Generation Automotive, Digital, Biofuels, Environmental Management, Smart Electronics (and more). Visa holders can stay for a maximum of four years and are exempt from the work permit requirement.

Business Visa

Those seeking employment or to open a business in Thailand can apply for a Thai Business Visa, also known as a Non-Immigrant B Visa. An employer can sponsor Business Visas for its employees. The multiple-entry visa is valid for one year and can be renewed; furthermore, visa holders can eventually apply for permanent residency.

Is a visa for you?

With a wide range of visa options to choose from, Thailand makes for an attractive relocation destination. Its beautiful scenery, enthralling cities, low cost of living and agreeable climate help to create a great quality of life.

If you’re not interested in relocating, but would like to own property in Thailand, a visa program will enable you to move freely in and out of the country. This gives you the option to manage your investment first-hand, should you wish to. Furthermore, you’ll be free to enjoy your property for personal use (whether for a couple of weeks or several months) and experience what life has to offer in this magnificent country.

Love Thailand? Contact us today for more information on overseas real estate investment.