In the 2014 Expat Explorer Survey of over 9300 people between the ages of 35-54, Thailand emerged as the “best destination for expats looking for an improved lifestyle at a low cost.” Thailand is the third favorite over all destinations in Asia and seventh in the world. Sixty-nine percent of expats say that they have a higher quality of life and seventy-two percent say that they have more disposable income in Thailand than from their home country.
It is not surprising that many foreign nationals want to move to Thailand. However most non-immigrant visas to Thailand are for a limited period of 30-90 days with a limited numbers of extensions. For longer term visas, foreign nationals generally have to fit into certain visa categories. The most common are employment visas, family visas, and retirement visas.
For information on how to obtain a Thai retirement visa, visit thaiembassy.com’s Retire in Thailand page.
An overlooked visa is the investment visa. According to an Order of the Immigration Bureau 237/2557 which became effective on August 29, 2014, a foreign national will be granted a non-immigrant one year visa if the foreign national has transferred minimum of 10 million baht into Thailand and purchased a condo for no less than 10 million baht. If the purchase price of the condo is less than 10 million baht, the foreign national can purchase Thai government bonds to make up the difference.
A foreign national can purchase part of a condominium as long as the project is not more than 49% foreign owned. The foreign national has to transfer funds used for the purchase of the condominium into Thailand from outside Thailand. The remittance must be recorded on a Foreign Exchange Transaction Form and state the purpose for the transfer. The buyer will have to place a deposit and sign a contract for purchase for the condo unit.
After purchasing the condo, the foreign national can apply for an extension of their investment visa. The minimum requirements for the foreign national obtaining a one year investment visa is the following:
This article provides a general overview of the process for investment visas. When purchasing property or applying for the investment visa, it is recommended that foreign nationals seek the assistance of experienced professionals. Business is generally formalized in Thai. Contracts, government forms, and due diligence requires the use of Thai professionals to assure that non-Thai nationals complete the process without delay or being defrauded.
Mr. Robert R. Virasin serves as legal manager of Siam Legal’s Immigration Division. A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor Degree in Political Science, Mr. Virasin completed his Juris Doctorate at the University of Houston and a Masters of Laws (Business) from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. Mr. Virasin is a member of the State Bar of Texas and is a licensed U.S. attorney with over 15 years of legal experience. Robert is a regular contributor and author of a number of immigration related articles.
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