Residency Options in Thailand
Thailand is a popular vacation destination, but it can also be a great country to call home. It hosts a low cost of living and accommodations, great food, and beautiful weather and outdoor sights. If you’d prefer to live abroad for an extended period of time, there are some residency options to consider in Thailand.
90 Day Non-Immigrant Visa
Before applying for other visa options, you’ll have to start with the 90 day non-immigrant visa. It’s issued to those who wish to enter Thailand to study, do business, invest, retire, etc. It’s valid for 90 days, as the name states, and can be extended for 7 more days. This visa can be upgraded to a 1 year non-immigrant visa once you’ve arrived in Thailand. Here are the requirements for the 90 day non-immigrant visa:
- Application submission via Thai embassy or consulate by mail or in person
- Valid passport good for at least 6 months from planned arrival date
- Invitation or confirmation letter for purpose of travel
- Proof of financial funds
- Embassy fees
The review and processing of this visa application takes around 5 to 10 business days. Under this visa, you can apply for a work permit and open a savings account in a Thai bank. It’s the perfect step for getting your foot in the door if you’re looking for a more long-term way to live abroad in Thailand.
For those who are looking to retire in Thailand, the retirement visa can be obtained when upgrading your 90 day non-immigrant visa once you’ve entered the country. This visa is valid for one year, and allows multiple entries into Thailand. It can be renewed each year, but you have to meet the qualifications again each time you renew. Here’s what you need:
- Completed application
- Must be age 50 or older
- Proof that you can meet the financial stipulations. Any of the criteria below are valid:
- Deposit THB 800,000 into a Thai bank account. This amount must be sitting for 2 months prior to visa extension
- THB 65,000 monthly pension
- A combination of the first two qualifications that adds up to meet the correct amounts
- Must not have any criminal history
After 3 consecutive 1-year extensions, you can apply for permanent residency in Thailand.
This visa is available to those who either want to work abroad in Thailand or want to open a business in Thailand. With this visa, you are eligible to apply for a work permit and to open a bank account. It’s good for one calendar year and can be renewed as needed. Remember, three renewals and you can apply for permanent residency. This is what you need to apply for the business visa:
- Completed application
- Passport good for at least 6 months from arrival
- Recent passport-style photograph (within the last 6 months)
- Letter of approval from the Ministry of Labor
- This can be obtained when your employer submits the Form WP3 at the Office of Foreign Workers Administration.
- Copy of Thai work permit
- Corporate information of hiring company/employer. This information can include:
- Business license
- List of shareholders
- Company profile
- List of foreign workers and their nationalities
- Map with location of company indicated
- Income and Business Taxes visible on balance sheet
- For tourism or export related businesses, you’ll need a document indicating the number of foreign tourists or export transactions issued by banks
This visa is for those who are married to Thai nationals and want to go and live abroad with their spouses. As with the other visas in Thailand, you must first get the 90 day visa before applying for this visa. This visa allows multiple entries into Thailand and is valid for one year. It can be renewed as needed. With this visa, you may also apply for a work permit. These are the qualifications:
- Legally married to a Thai national
- No criminal background
- Meet financial requirements. Either/or is okay here:
- Security deposit of THB 400,000 in a Thai bank account for at least two months
- Monthly income of at least THB 40,000. A letter from your own country’s embassy must be supplied to verify this income amount.
As the name implies, the permanent residency visa allows you to live abroad in Thailand permanently. This is very difficult to gain in Thailand, since many people want to live permanently in this country. The Thai government only allows 100 people of each nationality every year. The application takes about 5 months to review, and the entire process can take a full year. Here is what you have to have:
- 3 consecutive visa extensions/renewals
- Valid work permit
- At least 30,000 Baht monthly income for those who’ve been married to a Thai national for 5 years, and at least 80,000 Baht monthly income for those who are single.
- 3 years’ worth of tax statements proving income requirements.
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