The government of Thailand has announced that the 10-year visa scheme aimed at digital nomads and other internationally-mobile people has been approved by the Thai Cabinet.
After discussions and assessments lasting several years, the 10-year visa is now in its final stages of becoming a reality, and Thai Embassies around the planet are now taking applications for pre-approval for the program.
Open to all nationalities, the government hopes to attract “wealthy” foreigners – the numbers being quoted are an annual income of USD 40,000 or more – with a particular desire to attract IT experts, cryptocurrency specialists, and FinTech start-ups.
Thailand has had its “Elite Visa” program for decades, which has made it easy for wealthy expats to live in the Kingdom, with visa durations ranging from five to twenty years, although at a much higher initial cost. Additionally, Thailand has hosted a huge number of foreign “tourists” throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, many of whom are also either working remotely, or building online businesses whilst they travel.
The cost for the new Digital Nomad Visa is slated to be 10,000 Thai Baht per year (approximately USD 300), paid up-front for five years, and then renewable for another five years (so approx 1,500 USD per 5-years). This compares to the current options of an extendable “covid visa” for those already inside the country which costs 1,900 Thai Baht every 60 days (approx $350 per year), or the elite visa, which starts at 500,000 Thai Baht (approx 15,000 USD).
One thing which really stands out about Thailand’s approach – and something we love – is that they’re not messing around with a “one year” visa or similar like many other nations are initially doing. There is huge variance among the globally-nomadic community – i.e. we’re not all the same(!) – and as such, a longer-term visa just makes it some much easier for everyone, whether they are the type to move to a new location every month or two (but would always have the option to come to Thailand again at any time in those 10 years), or have a long-term “base” from which they travel out to nearby countries and regions over several years.
There has been no official confirmation of what the tax status would (or could) be for people living in Thailand under the new visa scheme, although it is likely to stay the same as it is currently for anyone on a long-term visa. Thailand has a unique, and slightly unusual, taxation rule which exempts foreign-earned income from Thai taxation, as long as there is a one-year gap between when the money was earned, and when it was transferred to Thailand.
As with many other nascent digital nomad visa programs from other countries, there is no singluar definition of tax treatment – not least because tax rules in different countries are complex. As ever, a “visa” is not the same as a “residency” or a “tax residency” (or a “citizenship” etc), and will require some research and planning on your part to fully optmise.
Either way, in addition to the favourable tax regime for global nomads, Thailand is an amazingly beautiful and diverse country with a population who genuinely welcome foreigners.
From the mountains of Chiang Mai in the north, to the adrenaline-pumping hedonistic organised chaos of Bangkok, to the sleepy coconut-tree-lined beaches of the south, to weekend-long raves in the middle of the jungle, Thailand has it all!
As a relatively advanced “emerging economy”, Thailand has very good infrastructure, excellent healthcare, a wonderful standard of living in many cases, and is an inexpensive place to live by global standards.
If you’ve never been, you should! And if you’ve been before, come again! Maybe stay a little bit longer this time, with a 10-year permit to come and go as you please, staying as long as you like 🙂
One requirement for applicants of the new 10-year visa is that they have private medical insurance which covers them in Thailand. We recommend MedicalForNomads, which has four cover levels to choose from, all of which meet and/or exceed the government requirements for any Thai visa – and any other country, except the USA. For more details, visit www.MedicalForNomads.com