This article is for folks who are planning on moving to Thailand fore more than 6 months and under 50 years old. If you’re not married to a Thai person, you don’t work for a company operating in Thailand or you don’t own a business in Thailand and you want to stay in Thailand more than 6 months. This article is for you.
Moving to Thailand
Don’t start looking for some moving companies in Thailand or the cost of moving to Thailand until you read this article. There are a few things you need to understand before you can do that.
If you’re under 50 years old and you are thinking of moving to Thailand for more than 6 months or more than 1 year. You’re options are limited. You will need to run some hoops to stay long term here. I’ll give you some of my insights on what to expect when you move to Thailand.
First, if you’re over 50 years old, you can apply to obtain the retirement visa and you don’t need to pay a visa specialist to do this for you. You can do this yourself. I have a chapter that explains everything, with easy step-by-step instructions on my membership website and it won’t cost you more than $10.
If you have $15,000 or $30,000 USD (500k to 1 million THB) to spare, you can get something called the Elite Visa and get up to 20 years of multiple entry, but most of us don’t have that kind of money.
I remember about 10-20 years ago – you can get a 1-year tourist visa for $100. Today, it will cost more than doubled, and you’ll only get up to 6 months. After that expire you will have to go back to your home country to get a new Multiple Entry Tourist Visa. Things used to be much cheaper and easier back then.
Why more costly and harder to obtain a tourist visa?
Because Thailand is now such a big tourist attraction with more people wanting to visit or wanting retire or thinking of moving to Thailand. While that is great for the Thai tourist industry and the economy, but the large amount of tourists put a strain on the airports.
This is why I think there will be more restrictions with the Thai visa because Thailand wants a different class of tourist to come to Thailand. Thailand wants higher income tourists and not the bag packers making boarder runs every 30 to 60 days.
It was just 5 or 10 years ago when Thailand get less than 10 million foreign visitors per year. Today, Thailand gets over 30 million foreign visitors per year, Thailand can now choose who they want. They want people who can pay for the elite visa or people that are over 50 years old and match all of their financial requirements for a retirement visa. Because they know people at the age of 50 and older are more likely to accumulate enough wealth.
Thailand does not want some bag packer types staying in the country for too long. Bag packers and other lower income tourists are still welcome to stay for 30 days but if they want to stay longer, they will need something else. If they can’t afford or they can’t qualify to get something else to stay longer in Thailand. Then they probably don’t have enough money to spend in Thailand.
So if you’re planning on moving to Thailand and under 50 years old. Expect the visa restrictions to become more costly and harder to obtain for long-term stay or for the multiple entry tourist visa.
Choice for people under 50 years old moving to Thailand
Your Visa options are limited
*information may change without prior notice
Cost $15,000 USD (500,000 THB) and up, with $300 USD (10,000 THB) annual fee.
Multiple Entry Tourist Visa
Allow you to stay up to 6 months, but if you exit out of Thailand and return on the last day before it expire. You can stay up to 9 months.
If you need another Multiple Entry Tourist Visa after the first one expires, you will need fly home to your home country to get another Multiple Entry Tourist Visa. You can no longer to get that in the bordering country. Because the Thai authority believe, if you can’t fly back to you home country, then you probably don’t have enough money to spend.
You can apply for a 1-year education visa to learn muay Thai, martial arts, train self-defense or to learn Thai at the local university or school.
Average cost is around $800 to $1,000 USD (25,000 to 35,000 THB) per year and you will need to show up for class a few hours per week.
You can work for an international company that can help you obtain a work permit.
You can still teach English but schools are now require to get train teachers with teaching certificates and not someone that can speak or read English. Of course, there are exceptions to this. For me, I wouldn’t consider a job I wouldn’t do at home.
I wouldn’t want to teach English just because I want to live here. Working at something I am good at, to me it is already work and working on something I don’t like will make me miserable. If you are starting in your career, and you did not went to school to become an English teacher. It is not going to help you move forward in your field.
You are better off living at home for some time to build up your experience and your career. Come to Thailand for a holiday to save up money, then consider moving to Thailand once you have saved enough money.
It’s not practical to open a business in Thailand just to stay here. If you really want to open a business, a bar, restaurant, or a shop in Thailand and that is something you want to do. Then that’s fine, but I wouldn’t open a business just to stay here.
The reason for that – you’ll need a certain amount of capital, hire a certain amount of Thai employees; have a business premise just to open a business. You will also require paying tax on your business and those reasons make no sense to someone who has no intention to open a business.
Those are your real 5 options if you are under 50 years old, not married to a Thai, don’t work for a company in Thailand and don’t have a business in Thailand.
The good old days when you can just use the 30-day visa except are gone. I think Thailand does not want a person that doesn’t have money for their visa to live in the country for too long; Thailand want a different class of tourist visiting, living or moving to Thailand.
What to expect once you’re working and living in Thailand
Ok, let say you manage to land a job for some big international company in Thailand with good salary. Perhaps you have saved enough money that can live of it when you move to Thailand.
If you landed a job, it is still a job, you are expected to do a good job and come on time. Do not treat it as if you are still on a holiday.
Since you’re working in Thailand, you will likely have Thai coworkers or Thai subordinates and it is likely that you might get higher salary or higher position in the company. Your Thai co-workers as well as your Thai subordinates will expect you to behave so they can respect you.
Meaning you don’t want them to know all you do during your free time is taking home a girl from Nana Plaza or Soi Cowboy or something like that.
If somehow you lost respect from your Thai co-workers or subordinates, you might get the silence treatment or something call losing face when they give you the cold shoulder. When that happens, it is going to be very hard to get your job done. You might just find a new job or go back home, there is very little and pretty much impossible to get that respect back. The lose face thing is not just Thailand; it is pretty much in very Asian culture.
Often you’re better off leaving Thailand
If you are living in Thailand and things don’t work out, usually people ran out of money or something change. Maybe you last that magic feeling, or maybe you were laid off, or you’re visa is expiring or for whatever reasons. You need to realize that you might be better off leaving Thailand.
To sum this up, moving to Thailand is for the following type of people.
If you are well off and good with your money, then go for it. If you are working for an internationally company paying you good salary, then you’ll be fine. People over 50 years old, you’re retired with 401k, pension, retirement savings and other savings to fund your life style, no problem. If you are young and adventurous who want to travel the world and teach English to get experience, that’s fine also. But if you don’t fall into any of the category, you better watch out. It’s going to be very hard to live long-term in Thailand.