This is a country that is making a lot of progress in many different areas. Its economy has grown drastically as has the GDP, the economy has modernised and access to amenities like modern health care have expanded rapidly. Unusually, at the same time, Thailand has been able to keep its beauty and traditions. 

Poverty has declined drastically and within the next 20 years the country aims to earn a status of ‘developed country’. Thailand needs foreign experts to realize this goal and for years Thailand has been a popular place for expats to take advantage of the great career prospects available.

At the same time, luckily a lot of great things in Thailand remain unchanged. Street food can be found everywhere and many people agree that the best food in Asia is Thai. The great contrast between modern luxuries and rich traditions offers locals and immigrants the best of two worlds. Infrastructure, health care and education are of high standards, but traditional spas, temples and architecture can still be seen and enjoyed everywhere and aren’t expensive. 

Relationships built on trust are important in Thai business culture and hierarchy also plays a major role. Thai tradition does not include shaking hands in greeting, a small bow with clasped hands called a"wai" is more common. Exchanging small gifts is common and helps build a good relationship. Presents are not opened right away but later, privately. 

Foreigners need a work permit to work in Thailand, which states the immigrant’s position and the Thai company they’re working for. Starting work before the work permit is granted is not allowed and the foreigner must enter the country on a non-immigrant visa. 

The application, processed by the Ministry of Labour Office, takes 7 working days to complete. The work permit becomes invalid when the immigrant changes to a new job or position, even if the new position is with the same company. The employer must apply for a new permit in this case. 

Here are some of the ways to live in Thailand:

Thailand Elite Residence Program:

This program delivers residence visas and other privileges for a fixed fee. VIP privileges include an expedited immigration and passport control service, a dedicated Elite personal assistant for international flights and lounge access, fast track immigration, airport transfers, and a 24-hour member contact center which operates in several languages.  There are seven program options, each varying in validity, benefits and costs.  The following are the three most popular options available:

  1. Elite Easy Access gives you a renewable, multi entry five year residence visa.  There is a one time fee of THB 500,000 including VAT (approx. USD 16,000).
  2. Elite Family Excursion is designed for a minimum of two people delivering a renewable multi entry five-year residence visa for each member. The one-time fee of THB 800,000 including VAT (approx. USD 25,000) covers both applicants with an additional charge of THB 300,000 including VAT (approx. USD 10,000) per dependent.
  3. Elite Superiority Extension — delivers a 20-year renewable, multi entry residence visa for individuals who pay a one-time fee of THB 1 million including VAT (approx. USD 32,000).

Investment Visa

If you invest a minimum of ฿3,000,000 in Thailand and  have been resident for at least three years,  you can then apply for permanent residency.

Retirement Visa

If you can prove a monthly income of THB65,000 or a deposit account plus a monthly income totalling not less than THB800,000 and you are over 50 years of age, you can apply for a retirement visa in Thailand.

Through your Family:

  • If your adult child is a citizen or permanent resident of Thailand, you may apply for a parent residency visa.
  • If your spouse is a citizen or permanent resident of Thailand, you are eligible for residency.  If your spouse is a citizen, you can apply for citizenship after being resident in Thailand for a period of 3 years. Please note that your status of spouse needs to be legally recognised in this country.

Youth Mobility Visa:

If you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen between the ages of 18-30, you may be eligible under the Working and Holiday Visa programme. Note: you may need a letter of government support to undertake this type of visa.

Here are some of the ways to get citizenship in Thailand:

  • If one or both of your parents were citizens of Thailand when you were born, you are probably also a citizen of Thailand. 
  • If your spouse is a citizen or permanent resident of Thailand, you are eligible for residency.  If your spouse is a citizen, you can apply for citizenship after being resident in Thailand for a period of 3 years. Please note that your status of spouse needs to be legally recognised in this country.

The passport for Thailand allows you to travel to 78 countries without a visa.

Its global rank is 106.

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