‘Digital Nomad Visa’ finally introduced in Thailand with a 4 year duration

The Thai government approved a “Smart Visa” for business professionals today. It will be a major boost for Thailand as a Nomad hub, as it will invite more Digital Nomads and help them stay for longer durations than 3 months. They have currently limited the applicants to startup business owners, investors, high leveled executives, or other highly-skilled professionals. This visa may not work out for all Digital Nomads and all the details are not available at the moment. Currently, DNs can pay taxes as a foreign company or register the company in Thailand. (Thailand registered companies can get a tax holiday for 3 to 8 years)

A work permit won’t be necessary with this “Smart Visa”. Rather than reporting to authorities every 90 days now “Smart Visa” holders will only need to report to the immigration bureau every one year. This visa can also extend to family members. Although, it may not apply for all Digital Nomads, especially those working as content writers and other professions not fitting into the highly-skilled professional category.

This was long awaited by Digital Nomads as Thailand saw a sudden ‘boom’ of Digital Nomads since 2014. Most Digital Nomads are still working there on tourist visas without work permits. The work permit was considered as a major gray area, with some co-working spaces in Chiang Mai getting raided for unknown reasons. The government expects that this move would boost business growth leading to long-term economic benefits. Application for this visa would be available from January 2018. This is quite similar to the French Tech Visa introduced earlier this year.

More details available on PMDU Thailand.

Will be updating this post as soon as we find the application link/site.

For more on Visas for Digital Nomads: http://movingnomads.com/blog/visas-for-digital-nomads/ 

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9 Comments

  • LivinLOS
    August 20, 2017 at 9:24 am 

    It’s good that nomads are now recognising what the labour dept has said all along, which is that working online, in Thailand, without Thai clients is breaking Thai labour law.

    However there is no indication at all that this new visa class will be helpful for nomads. It’s for people investing in to Thailand, or high level executives to work in Thailand, and thier spouses. The idea this is going to be fine too benefit your average <5000 USD a month do shipper or content writer is pure fantasy.

    The correct channels exist, quite cheaply in fact, and anything else is breaking Thai laws.

  • Andy
    August 21, 2017 at 5:43 pm 

    +LivinLOS

    Surely it’s a good thing for Thailand that Westerners earning a few thousand dollars a month spend those dollars in Thailand

    It’s not like they are taking jobs away from local people – don’t really see the problem

    • Urban Legend Leather
      August 22, 2017 at 3:08 am 

      Andy i agree i think also they know attracting IT and Developers that in 10 years they could spawn a whole new industry putting Chiang Mai on the map globally.

    • LivinLOS
      August 23, 2017 at 4:13 pm 

      The issue isnt what I think or you think. Its a countries right to set its laws and the obligation of visitors to obey those laws, or go where they do agree with them. Telling lies on tourist visa apps, which specifically demand that work cannot be done on those apps, in full knowledge that is what is intended, is hardly a moral high ground.

      Thailand has been crystal clear, in all communication with the labour office that online work of any type is work, and requires a work permit. Thats thier rules, and up to them to set them. If they want to enable this as a visa class its trivial for them to do so, the fact that they dont, and are constantly adding new clampdowns and problems for tourists, demanding proof of cash to enable stays without work etc, is the answer to the question.

      Simply ignoring a countries laws, because they are too poor and too dependent on genuine tourists to enforce them properly, is pretty neo colonial.

  • Faruque Ahmed Khan
    September 9, 2017 at 10:08 am 

    Hello
    I would like to information about Digital Nomad Visa for 4 years. Where should i contact and whats the requirements . Please assist me.

    Thank You

    Faruque Ahmed Khan
    Mobile 88-01714092910 Whatsapp/Imo/Viber

    • admin
      September 9, 2017 at 10:13 am 

      You should be able to apply in Jan 2018!

  • Mike
    October 1, 2017 at 4:22 pm 

    @LivinLos: You clearly have something against digital nomads, and the interpretation that you make of the law is pretty unique.

    Yes, Thai law says that working without a work permit is illegal, but Thai law also defines work very broadly. For instance, mowing the grass without a work permit is illegal. And you need a specific work permit for mowing the grass by the way, a work permit for teaching English won’t make it.

    So, for starters, all foreigners (including you) are technically breaking labour laws, and by definition of the law most foreigners owe billions of baht in fines (think about it, you go to the supermarket, 20,000 bath fine, you pick up the trash, another 20,000 baht fine and so on, you can accumulate a million baht in fines in a couple of days).

    Now, nobody enforces that, because it would be ridiculous. And enforcing labour laws regarding online work is just as ridiculous. It has no benefit for the Thai economy to prosecute what in reality are tourists. Some countries, like Canada, made it specifically legal to work online on tourist visas, provided that the work performed is not for Canadian clients. And that is the global trend, and also the actual practice in Thailand.

    Furthermore, if Thailand was so clear about the illegallity of online work –like you claim–, you could rest assured that the thousands of coworking spaces across Thailand would be all shut down. So why aren’t they closed? These are not underground businesses, they are usually located in the main streets of big cities, and have big windows that allow all bypassers to see the hundreds of westerners working there “illegally”.

    Give it some thought.

    • LivinLOS
      October 1, 2017 at 4:35 pm 

      Thailand is too poor and too dependent on its tourist economy, one of the only strong legs left in its economy at all, to be able to enforce its law.. In fact Thailand in general barely enforces any laws properly, closing times, prostitution, speed limits, what does Thailand enforce.

      What I say is in no way unique, its precisely what every statement from the labour dept, the actual people responsible for labour laws, have made. Its exactly what happened around the recent scene with the western video blogger ‘my mate nate’.. Immigration isnt responsible for enforcing these laws so its not thier remit to worry about.

      Its just very neo colonial to be the big white bwana who can afford to do and break poor brown peoples laws with such disregard. If poor immigrants came and abused western ones the same way, lieing on thier visa apps, etc the nations would be up in arms.

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