Thai Visa At A Glance

Moving To Thailand

Publish Date: 2021-12-03

Immigrating to Thailand - Visa

Nowadays, more and more Hong Kong people choose to migrate to nearby countries with short traveling distance. In addition to flying back to Hong Kong to visit families, it is easier for them to adapt to the Eastern culture than the Western culture. Thailand, Malaysia, and Taiwan are the most popular destinations among Hong Kong people. However, the way of getting immigrant visas of different countries and regions are all different. How do we choose the ideal location that suits us best?

Immigrant Visas Comparison

Essential steps to get an immigrant visa:

The immigrant visa of Thailand is the cheapest among the three locations. The Thai Elite Visa starts from HK$140,000, then applicants can apply for a five-year long-term residence in Thailand, overseas capital certification is not required. Compared to Taiwan's investment immigration and Malaysia's MM2H, which often require more than 1 million, the entry barrier in Thailand is comparatively low.



In addition, Thailand is famous for its tourism and attracts a large number of foreigners. Bangkok is very international in terms of amenities. There are many well-known international schools all over Bangkok, among which Harrow Bangkok International School is the most familiar to Hong Kong people. Medical treatment has reached the top international level and won the sixth best healthcare country in the world. Moreover, the cost is more reasonable and cheaper, and many foreigners also fly to Thailand for treatment. Therefore, Thailand has corresponding quality living packages for young families or retirees.

List of popular Thailand visas

The Thai government intends to attract all age groups and has introduced multiple immigration visas. Thailand Retirement Visa, Thailand Elite Visa, and Smart visa are the most popular types.

Thailand Retirement Visa

Thailand's Retirement Visa is a Non-immigrant Visa, valid for only one year, but as long as the visa holder meets the requirement, the visa can be renewed and the holder can stay in Thailand. Retirement Visa holders are not allowed to work in Thailand. You must report to the relevant department (Immigration Bureau / Police Station) every 90 days.

  • 50 years old or above
  • Deposit at least 800,000 baht and monthly income at least 65k baht
  • Provide a physical examination report proving that there is no leprosy, tuberculosis, elephantiasis, drug addiction and third-stage syphilis
  • Provide a certificate of no criminal record

Thailand Elite Visa

The Thailand Elite Visa is a club established by the Thai government to promote the economic development of Thailand. The membership includes a five-year multiple entry visa (Thailand Elite Visa), which can be renewed every year as long as the membership has not expired.

  • Condition: Become a Thailand Elite member
  • Validity period: 5 years / 10 years / 20 years, depending on the membership card plan, renew every 5 years
  • Family Visa: Visa holders can apply for membership for his or her family at a preferential price
  • During the stay in Thailand, Stay Extension Report and 90-day check-in are required at regular intervals (3 months or 1 year). If you wish to work, you need to apply for the Non-immigrant Visa Category B and a Work Permit. Thailand Elite Visa is not a Non-Immigrant Visa, so it is not possible to apply for permanent residency in Thailand merely by the Thailand Elite program.
  • The general services available to all members include handling miscellaneous tasks, (driver's license, bank account, 90-day registration) and enjoy hotel and shopping discounts. In addition, Thailand Elite also provides 24-hour support services in different languages.

Smart Visa

To attract foreign talents in the advanced technology field, and to work in the target industries suggested by Thailand, the Thai government established the Smart Visa program in 2018, which is divided into four categories. Except for the start-up Smart Visa, which has a validity period of up to 2 years, the validity period of the remaining 3 types of visas can be up to 4 years and can be renewed. However, because Smart Visa is not a non-immigrant visa, applicants cannot apply for permanent residency in Thailand.

There are 4 categories of applicants:

  1. Talent
    Requirement: Science or technology professionals with a monthly salary of 200,000 baht
  2. Investor
    Requirement: Invest at least 20 million baht in BOI target industry
  3. Executive
    Requirement: Bachelor's degree, 10 years of work experience, monthly salary of 200,000 baht, work contract with employers in the S Curve industry, senior administrative level, and contribution to the science and technology projects in the BOI target industry
  4. Startup
    Requirement: iIvestment of 600,000 baht fixed deposit, medical insurance, participation in approved Incubation or Accelerator projects, government approval or establishment of a joint venture company, establishment of the company within 1 year and holding at least 25% ownership or becoming a director of a BOI target industry company

Holders of this visa are free to enter and exit Thailand multiple times. Applicants do not need to register for every 90 days, they would only need to report to the immigration office once a year. Moreover, the accompanying spouse and dependent children can stay and work in Thailand without applying for a Work Permit. In addition, if the applicant wants to change jobs, he needs to declare to the Immigration Bureau and submit additional documents to obtain certification again.

The Latest Long-stay Visa

The Thai government hopes to increase overseas investment as to improve the local economy, which is affected by the pandemic.  An enhanced 10-year long-stay visa has been launched! It hopes to attract foreigners to live in Thailand longer to boost the local economy. These new measures include a 10-year long-term residence visa for applicants, their spouse and children, they could enjoy the same tax rate as local citizens, tax exemption on overseas income, and land real estate ownership rights.

However, it should be noted that since Thailand is not a traditional immigration country. In terms of naturalization, unless they are the spouses or children of the locals, generally speaking, foreigners can only obtain permanent residency in Thailand.


If you would like to know more about migrating to Thailand, please feel free to contact us.

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