Thailand relaxes its Digital Nomad visa rules: how to apply

Thailand’s new scheme will be one of the most accessible Digital Nomad visas in Asia for foreign remote workers.

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One of the world’s most popular destinations for remote workers has announced a new, more relaxed version of its Digital Nomad visa in order to stimulate a revival in tourist numbers.

The new ‘Destination Thailand Visa’ or DTV is valid for a period of five years and will allow internationals to work in the country for at least six months. This means it has a much lower barrier to entry than Thailand’s previous Long-Term Resident (LTR) visa for nomads, which costs £12,000 a year.

Thailand is expected to start accepting DTV applications in July. Below, we’ll explain how the new visa works, what you need to qualify, and when you’ll be able to apply for it.

Destination Thailand Visa: eligibility requirements

Thailand does not have an official Digital Nomad visa. Remote workers have previously relied on the country’s short-term tourist visa, or its expensive LTR visa, to work in the country. Both of these have significant time and cost drawbacks, however.

The DTV is Thailand’s most relaxed visa programme yet, and among the most accessible in the world for new applicants. To apply, you must:

  • Be at least 20 years old
  • Have savings of £10,666 (500,000 baht)
  • Pay an application fee of around £210
  • Not work for a company based in Thailand

These restrictions are light compared to other Asian countries. To qualify for Japan’s new Digital Nomad visa, for example, applicants must earn around £52,700 a year, whereas Thailand’s DTV does not appear to have any income requirements.

How does the Destination Thailand Visa work

Successful applicants will be able to live and work remotely in Thailand for up to 180 days. Should they want to stay in the country, they will be able to renew the visa for another 180 days at a cost of £210, at any time within a five-year period.

Holders of the new DTV cannot work for a company based in Thailand, as they would legally need a work permit to do so.

Excitingly, however, holders will not need to show an employee contract, which means self-employed workers such as sole traders can also base, and run, their business in Thailand through the scheme.

Despite its lax eligibility requirements, the DTV also allows holders to bring legal dependents (such as a spouse or children under 20 years old) with them to the country.

This is in contrast to the UK government, which recently raised the minimum annual income normally required to sponsor someone for a spouse/partner visa to £29,000, from £18,600.

Thailand is expected to fully legalise gay marriage by the end of 2024, so same-sex partners should qualify for the spousal visa by the time the application is accepted.

How to apply for the DTV

The DTV is not yet available and the government has not confirmed the application process. Likely, it will be similar to the LTR visa submission process, which asks interested workers to fill in a form on the Thai government’s online visa portal.

Reportedly, the Thai authorities will begin accepting applications for the new Destination Thailand visa in late June or early July 2024.

Tax implications of the DTV

Previously, if a person was working remotely in Thailand, they could avoid paying Thai tax on earnings. But last year, the Thai government confirmed it would begin taxing all international income for people who stay in the country longer than 180 days from January 1 2024.

Handily for Brits, Thailand has a double taxation agreement with over 60 countries, including the UK. This means if the income is already taxed in the UK, Thailand won’t tax it again. 

If you choose to extend your DTV to longer than 180 days then, as long as you complete a self-assessment tax return in the UK, you will not be liable to pay income tax and can instead claim credit when filing Thai taxes.

Fancy working abroad from somewhere a bit closer to home? Discover Italy’s new Digital Nomad visa programme, which launched in April.

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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