Thailand Just Announced a Major Change for Travelers (“White Lotus” Fans Will Love It!) 

published Jun 14, 2024
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Backpack Asian man on the mountain see view panorama the beautiful nature landscape of the sea adventure on vacation travel leisure to Asia on Mu Ko Ang Thong island National Park background, Thailand
Credit: Yongkiet Jitwattanatam / Shutterstock

Good news for if you want to channel your inner White Lotus dreams (or just dream of working remotely from Thailand’s white sand beaches and vibrant cities). As of June 1 it’s way easier to stay in the popular Southeast Asian country for longer, thanks to a new visa extension specifically for digital nomads, according to Reuters. 

Interest in visiting Thailand has skyrocketed in recent years. While it’s probably not because of the highly anticipated, Thailand-based third season of White Lotus, an extension to Thailand’s digital nomad visa means remote professionals can work, live, and travel in Thailand for up to five years — so if it’s been on your bucket list, you can pretend you’re a star on the show (minus all the murder).

Remote workers in Thailand were previously only able to stay in the Southeast Asian country for 60 days straight with the earlier version of the digital nomad visa, so this is a huge change. 

Whether you’ve daydreamed of sampling food from Bangkok’s famed food markets during your lunch hour, or taking a Zoom meeting next to the crystal-clear water of Koh Samui, here’s what to know about applying to Thailand’s digital nomad visa and the changes you should be aware of. 

How to Qualify for Thailand’s Five-Year Digital Nomad Visa

Despite its name, you don’t actually have to be a remote worker to qualify for the new visa. As long as you’re at least 20 years old, don’t work for a company that’s based in Thailand (being self-employed is fine), and can meet certain income or savings requirements, you’re welcome to apply. In addition to accepting remote workers and freelancers, travelers who are interested in learning Thai cultural activities and traditions are also welcome to complete an application. Just keep in mind that you’ll be paying Thai taxes.

Thai officials didn’t share whether there are new income requirements for the visa extension, but digital nomads previously had to make at least $80,000 to qualify. You can also be eligible if you can prove that you have 500,000 Thai baht ($13,600) of savings to live off of.

How to apply for Thailand’s Five-Year Digital Nomad Visa

Thailand’s new digital nomad visa extension is in effect as of June 1, but that doesn’t mean you can just book a one-way trip there and start making Tanya McQuoid your new personality. You’ll need to apply by making a visa appointment, which you can do online or in-person at a Thai Embassy, and pay a $270 fee. You can check the website to see if your country is eligible for completing the visa application online.

Another important thing to know about the digital nomad visa is that you won’t be able to stay in Thailand for five years straight, and that fact racks up hidden fees. You will need to leave and re-enter the country every 180 days and pay a $270 fine each time you do so. 

With its new visa extension, Thailand has one of the best digital nomad visa policies for travelers who want to stay and immerse themselves in a culture the longest. However, with over 50 countries around the world offering some kind of permit for remote workers, there are plenty of options if Thailand isn’t on your travel radar. Tokyo, Japan, Da Nang, Vietnam, and Seoul, South Korea, were named the three fastest-growing locales for digital nomads last year.