Digital Nomad Thailand - Thailand Remote Work Visa

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Digital Nomad Thailand – Getting a Thailand Remote Work Visa

Many foreigners regard Thailand as a long term favorite destination for living and working. Digital Nomads in Thailand flock to its main cities and islands to enjoy a comfortable way of life. Chiang Mai is now the most popular location in the world for digital nomads due to its great food scene, plentiful cafes and co-working spaces, fast internet and affordable living.

The Thai digital nomad community and tourist industry suffered greatly in 2021 and has yet to recover. In order to tempt remote workers back, the government has announced plans for a Thailand Digital Nomad visa in the near future. For now, let’s take a look at the current visa options for those wanting to work remotely and long term in Thailand today.

What Type of Remote Work Needs a Visa in Thailand?

Are you a digital nomad planning to run your business from a co-working space in Thailand? Will you conduct business in a Bangkok hotel room while passing through? When does the Thai Foreign Office consider this work that needs a permit? Thai officials will take notice if:

  • The security of Thailand is seen to be at threat
  • The work of the foreigner takes work away from local Thais

Due to the rise in popularity of remote working, Thai officials have started to take notice. Here are a few remote jobs that may or may not raise concerns for authorities:

  • A foreign website designer working remotely in Thailand will be expected to have a work permit to do this type of work as this job could be done by a Thai website designer
  • A blogger writing about Thailand needs a work permit, because this type of content may affect the security of Thailand
  • A foreigner teaching English to Chinese students online. According to the Thai Embassy, this type of work is not a main concern right now so can be done without a work permit

Current Visa Options for Long Term Remote Working in Thailand

Smart Visa

An option for remote workers who fit a strict criteria is the Thai Smart Visa. This means it might not be right for everyone. But the good news is that the Thai government is looking to relax the eligibility requirements for this visa in the future. The options include:

  • Smart E (executive). Must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, have 10+ years’ work experience and 200K+ baht salary monthly
  • Smart I (investor). Minimum direct investment of 20 million+ baht
  • Smart T (talent). Science and technology experts with a salary of 100,000+ baht per month
  • Smart S (startup). Technology based startup entrepreneurs who can deposit 600,000+ baht which is held for at least 3 months
  • Smart O (spouse) For the spouse and children of Smart Visa holders

Thailand Elite Visa

The Thai Elite Visa, also known as a Privilege Entry Visa, allows multiple entry access to Thailand for 5, 10 and 20 years. This visa’s extra perks include VIP immigration, airport lounge access, healthcare, airport transfer and a luggage collection process.

While an Elite Visa is categorized as a Tourist Visa, you should be able to work remotely as long as you don’t work for a Thai company or take work away from local Thais. While this visa does come at a price, it removes the hassle of frequent visa renewals. The cost is:

  • 600,000 baht + annual fees for a 5-year visa
  • 1,000,000 baht + annual fees for a 10-year visa
  • 2,400,000 baht + annual fees for a 20-year visa

Thailand Work Permit

A Thai Work Permit allows you to work for a business or work as a skilled remote professional in Thailand. You need it if you plan to stay in Thailand long term and work a job that could be done by a local Thai. For more details, you can refer to this article on How to Apply for a Work Permit in Thailand

Future Plans for the Thailand Digital Nomad Visa

Thailand is planning to move away from mass budget tourism and start to lure in higher spending tourists and long term digital nomads. In order to do this, the Thai government has just approved a 10-year Digital Nomad Visa for draft legislation. While it’s not available just yet, the current information is:

  • Visa duration is 5 years with 5-year extension allowed
  • A work permit is included if this is for remote work only

Where to Get Help with Thailand Remote Work Visas?

You can reach out to the team at Aster Lion if you are interested to work in Thailand to assist with setting up your business and your Thailand visa and work permit process. 

As an Employer of Record (EOR/ PEO) & payroll provider, we can handle all the necessary steps and guide you through the work permit process to ensure a smooth set-up, so you can focus on what matters – your business!  You can reach us at team@asterlion.com for a free consultation.

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