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Thailand Travel Tip - Long Term Visa Breakdown

This week’s Thailand Travel Tip section is quite long, but hopefully very useful for those of you that are wondering what type of long-term visa would be suitable for you. I’ve gone ahead and outlined many of the options below with more information on each hyperlinked in the official name of the Visa…

1) Non-Immigrant Visa (Category O-A): This visa is intended for retirees aged 50 and above. It allows for a stay of one year and can be renewed annually. Applicants need to meet certain financial requirements and provide proof of funds. If you are over 50 and meet the very basic financial requirements (ie. Thai bank account showing 800K THB or monthly income of at least 65K THB or a combination of monthly income + funds in Thai bank account equalling 800K THB), then this is one of the easiest visas to obtain.

2) Non-Immigrant Visa (Category O): This visa is for individuals who have a Thai spouse or family member. You will need to do an online report every 90-days, and it can be extended for one year at a time. Requirements include providing proof of relationship and meeting financial criteria.

3) Non-Immigrant Visa (Category B): This visa is for individuals who are employed or have been offered employment in Thailand. It is typically sponsored by a Thai company. The visa allows you to stay in Thailand for 12-months at a time with online reporting done every 90-days. This is ideal for foreigners looking to set up a company here in Thailand. 

4) Non-Immigrant Visa (Category ED): This visa is for students who wish to study in Thailand. It is typically issued for the duration of the educational program usually 9 months). It is an easy way for those to live in Thailand who are looking tolerant Thai or enrol in an accredited Muay Thai school. 

5) Non-Immigrant Visa (Category O-X): This visa is designed for individuals aged 50 and above who wish to stay in Thailand long-term. It permits a stay of up to 10 years and requires meeting specific financial criteria. You must be a national of one of the 14 countries that the visa is open to and is another solid route for those to stay in Thailand long-term. 

6) Thai Elite Visa: The Thai Elite Visa is a special program that offers a range of long-term visa options, including five, ten, and twenty-year visas. It provides privileges such as multiple entries, visa extensions, and expedited immigration processes. However, it comes with a significant membership fee which ranges from 800K THB to 2.14M THB depending on the level of Elite visa you’re looking to get. 

7) SMART Visa: The SMART Visa is designed to attract highly skilled professionals, investors, executives, and startups to work and invest in targeted industries in Thailand. It is divided into four categories

  • SMART T: For highly skilled professionals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields

  • SMART I: For investors, executives, and entrepreneurs looking to establish businesses or invest in targeted industries

  • SMART E: For executives and highly skilled professionals employed by companies in targeted industries

  • SMART S: For startups and entrepreneurs who want to establish a business or invest in the targeted industries

The SMART Visa offers extended stays of up to four years, streamlined processes, and additional benefits such as the ability to work without a work permit, bring family members to Thailand, and more.

8) Long-Term Resident (LTR) Visa: The LTR Visa  is a new visa scheme introduced in Thailand. It aims to attract wealthy individuals, investors, and retirees to live long-term in the country. The LTR Visa offers a stay of up to 10 years and comes with certain financial requirements, such as a minimum investment or deposit amount, and offers privileges such as long-term stay, multiple entries, tax benefits, and access to various services. It is designed to provide an attractive option for individuals looking to reside in Thailand on a long-term basis

I know that this is a lot of information to take in as there’s so many options and the Thai Visa system is notoriously confusing, but to be honest, the Government here is actually quite generous when it comes to the sheer amount of options that foreigners have at their disposal. 

I’d highly recommend working with a Visa Agent or Agency no matter what long-term visa you think you might want to apply for. A consultation where you explain your situation + desired outcome would go a LONG way in determining the best fit for you.