Updated: Apr 17
When we initially started our research for possibly moving to Thailand we focused on Visas and how they would work for how we would be living. Essentially owing/operating businesses that wouldn't be based in Thailand and also not being of retirement age with a kid!
That's a lot to put it mildly and as such we found that the Visas weren't really built for our type of living and was the main reason that we didn't settle there. We didn't want to Visa Jump every 90 days to another country, get a stamp and come back to Thailand and hope they didn't stop us from entering. The stress of it all with a kid was to much and something everyone should consider.
And because we have went into detail on Visas, I won't duplicate that information here but please do read when you get a chance. This blog we will focus mostly on land ownership, business, education, medical and citizenship options for those who aren't at retirement age.
Below is a quick nutshell view for those that don't want to read the blog:
Land/Business Ownership/Citizenship - If you have the time and money, go for it but be prepared for changes in the middle of that may not benefit you. Also if you are African American, there may be additional under cover obstacles.
Medical - No issues here as Thailand has great medical care.
Education - School isn't free, add that to your budget if you are not planning on homeschooling any kids you have or may have.
*LGBTQI Friendly - Thai law does not currently recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships. That isn't to say that you will have issues, I found Thailand to be very friendly IN the bigger cities.
In a nutshell no, typically foreigners may not own land in their name but there are workarounds.
A. Their Thai registered company may own the land. --- You will need legal help and the process will be lengthy and possibly expensive.
B. Leasehold Agreements --- The max term of the lease is 30 years so you will not be able to leave anything to your kids/family.
C. Marrying a Thai
--- Essentially everything is theirs and in case of a divorce you are well, without a leg to stand on.
All our complicated with varying degree's of what in the heck have I gotten myself into so do your research on which one may work best for you.
Owning/Operating a Business
This one is a yes if you are a U.S. Citizen thanks to the Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations but you will be limited to the type of business. Expect it to be a slow and possibly expensive process.
Remember to get the appropriate work Visas!
Is not free for expats or rather children of expats though it is for Thai Nationals up to grade 9. This means you will have to pay for education or home school. If you were to marry a Thai and have kids, they should be covered.
Thailand's health care is ranked sixth best in the world. A definite plus and the costs are nowhere near what we pay in America. Health insurance is a mandatory requirement for long-term expats aged 50 and up along with being mandatory for certain Visas.
This one is another yes, though you will have to put in time and jump thru a few hoops.
"All applications for Thai Permanent Residency are processed by the Royal Thai Immigration Commission. The annual quota for granting permanent residency in Thailand is a maximum of 100 persons per country. The application period for Thai PR usually from October to the end of December of every year.
In order to apply to become a Thai Permanent Resident, you must meet the following criteria:
You must have had a Thai non-immigrant visa for at least three years prior to the submission of your application. Holders of multiple NON-Immigrant visas can not apply. You must have 3 consecutive yearly extensions in order to qualify.
You must be a holder of a non-immigrant visa at the time of submitting your application.
You must be able to meet one of these categories to apply for PR status in Thailand:
Investment category (minimum 3 – 10 Mil. Baht investment in Thailand)
Working/ Business category
Support a family or Humanity Reasons category: In this category, you must have a relationship with a Thai citizen or an alien who already posses a residence permit as a husband or wife; father or mother; or a guardian of a Thai child under 20 years of age.
Expert / academic category
Other categories as determined by Thai Immigration"
You can file an application to become a Thai naturalized citizen after holding Permanent Resident status in Thailand for 10 consecutive years.
If you are considering Thailand ignore the blogs that say it will be cheap and you only need $1000 in your pocket UNLESS you have a steady paying job or income of some sort. Costs add up if you want to live a "western" style life in a SE Asian country. And you will easily spend more than those who are comfortable with a more backpack way of living.
That's it in a very quick nutshell. Please read all the rules and regulations if you decided to gain citizen ship in Thailand and remember that laws and rules change quite quickly and may change during your process of applying.