Digital Nomad Visa in Thailand
Until recently there were 5 different visas available to foreigners in Thailand: The Tourist Visa, the Education Visa, the Business Visa, the Dependant Visa, and the Retirement Visa. But more recently, a new visa has been introduced that we think will be very appealing to the everyday digital nomad – the “Smart Visa”. But what exactly is the smart visa and how does it work?
What is the “Smart Visa”?
Here’s the low down – the Smart Visa allows you to stay and work in Thailand for up to 4 years. While no re-entry permits are required, once a year checkins are compulsory. But the best part about the visa? It’s not just for singles. If you have a family, even your spouse and children are included on your visa.
Why was the Smart Visa released?
While all of us digital nomads would like to agree that the Smart Visa was released purely for our own benefit, that would just be unjustified thinking. Its actually aimed at improving the long term economics in Thailand. How? The Thai government hopes that by attracting experts and professionals to Thailand, a transfer of knowledge will take place and technology and innovation will be driven there. In other words, the Visas were put in place in hopes of pushing the country forward.
What does this mean for digital nomads?
Us digital nomads hear about the new Smart Visa and start to get excited. But slow down Sally. While the Visa may be handy to a small few extremely driven entrepreneurs, the reality is that it is aimed to bring in expensive foreign talent and investors. In other words, it is only meant to draw in those who work in a highly-skilled professional category. In fact, the Thai government has stated that there are only 10 different industries that are targeted by this visa:
- Smart Electronics
- Medical and Wellness tourism
- Medial hub
- Biofuels and chemicals
- Food for the future
- Aviation and Logistics
- Agriculture and Biotechnology
So unless you fall into one of these very specific categories, you probably won’t even qualify for a Smart Visa in the first place.
Should we be sad?
Not really. The visa is actually targeted towards people who want to base their work in Thailand. And if you want to set base in one place, than you probably aren’t as nomadic as you’d like to think.
Are all nomads out?
No. The Smart Visa is useless to most digital nomads. But the “digital” category listed above is very vague and may give a shine of hope to digital nomads. Anyone working in the areas of software and content, cloud computing, e-commerce, or media may be apply to jump on the Smart Visa bandwagon and enjoy all of the benefits Thailand has to offer.