Thailand Digital Nomad Visa: Eligibility, Taxes, & More

Thailand landscape

For remote workers seeking warm weather, beautiful nature, and a low cost of living, the Thailand digital nomad visa may sound like a dream come true. While Thailand has long been a US expat hotspot, previous long-term visa options had higher fees and stricter income requirements. With the new digital nomad visa, moving to the Land of Smiles is easier than ever.

But who exactly qualifies for Thailand’s digital nomad visa? What does expat life in Thailand look like? How does it affect US expats’ taxes? We’ll go over all of that and more below.

Snapshot of expat life in Thailand

  • Population: 71.7 million
  • Capital city: Bangkok
  • Currency: Thai Baht (THB)
  • Official language(s): Thai
  • Approximate number of American expats: 100,000

Background of the Thailand digital nomad visa

Thailand has been home to a large US expat community for years, particularly in cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket. This is due in large part to the 2003 launch of the Thailand Privilege Card (formerly called the Thailand Elite Visa), an investor visa. Today, the costs of the Thailand Privilege Card range from 900,000 THB (~$25,000) to 5 million THB (~$136,110).

Thailand saw a large influx of American workers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic when remote work became the norm, but many pandemic restrictions had been lifted. Most of them came in on tourist visas, with stays limited to 30 days or 60 days.

Taking note of these visitors, Thailand launched a long-term residence visa in 2022 to attract high-income remote workers, retirees, and highly skilled professionals. Still, the requirements were fairly strict, requiring at least $80,000 of income per year to qualify unless applicants met additional savings, investment, or educational requirements.

With the June 2024 announcement of the Destination Thailand Visa — the digital nomad visa — Thailand will soon offer a more accessible, affordable visa alternative for a much broader audience.

Why you should consider the Thailand digital nomad visa

Some of the top benefits of applying for the digital nomad visa and living in Thailand include:

  • Climate: Thailand has a tropical climate with warm weather year-round
  • Natural beauty: From idyllic beaches to dense rainforests, cloud-covered mountains, steep waterfalls, impressive caves, and picturesque rice paddies, Thailand is full of breathtaking sites
  • Affordability: The cost of living in Thailand is approximately 51.5% lower than that of the United States, allowing for great work-life balance
  • Safety: The Global Peace Index 2024 ranks Thailand as the 75th-safest country (11 places up compared to 2023) in the world, 57 places above the US
  • Culture: Whether you want to explore ancient temples, sample delicious curries and noodle dishes, take a Muay Thai class, or buy traditional crafts at a market, Thailand offers plenty of rich cultural activities
  • Expat community: With tens of thousands of Americans calling Thailand home, US expats living there are in good company
  • Ease of travel: Living in Thailand gives residents easy access to the rest of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines

Understanding the Thailand digital nomad visa requirements

Eligibility & requirements

To qualify for Thailand’s digital nomad visa, you must:

  • Be at least 20 years old
  • Work for a company located outside of Thailand
  • Have at least 500,000 THB (~$13,599) in savings

Application process & documentation

While detailed application information for Thailand’s digital nomad visa is still pending, most digital nomad application processes involve: 

  • Gathering the required documents, such as:
    • Passport 
    • 2 passport-size photos
    • Completed visa application forms
    • Proof of employment (e.g. offer letter, contract)
    • Proof of savings (e.g. bank statements)
    • Criminal background check
    • Application fee of 10,000 THB (~$272) 
  • Submitting your application at your nearest royal Thai embassy or consulate (appointment may be necessary)
  • Receiving approval and collecting your visa


Within 30 days of your arrival in Thailand, you may need to apply for a residence permit.

Duration & renewal options

Thailand’s initial digital nomad visa lasts for 180 days and allows for multiple entries (i.e. you don’t have to stay in Thailand the whole time). Upon expiration, you can request a visa extension for an additional 180 days by paying the 10,000 THB (~$272) visa fee.


You can stay for up to five years total on the Thai digital nomad visa.

Digital nomad lifestyle in Thailand

Cost of living in Thailand

As mentioned earlier, the cost of living in Thailand tends to be significantly lower than that of the US. While exact figures will depend on your location and lifestyle, many expats can live comfortably in Thailand for under $2,000 per month. 

Average monthly prices for common expenses in Thailand include:

  • Apartment in city center
    • 1 BR: ~$453
    • 3 BR: ~$1,006
  • Apartment outside of city center: 
    • 1 BR: ~$234
    • 3 BR: ~$619
  • 3-course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant: ~$24.48
  • Utilities: ~$71.17
  • Gym membership: $45.13
  • Public transportation pass: $32.65

Best places in Thailand for digital nomads

While there are many great places to live in Thailand, a few of the top digital nomad hotspots include:

Chiang Mai

Nestled among the mountains of northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is a serene yet lively city that has become home to one of the country’s largest digital nomad communities. 

Chiang Mai offers the best of both the old world and the new, with ancient ruins, temples, and street markets existing alongside trendy co-working spaces and chic bars. When you need to recharge, head just outside of town for excellent hikes, wildlife sanctuaries, and national parks.

A few of the most popular areas in Chiang Mai for expats include Nimmanhaemin, the Old City, and Riverside.


City lovers will feel right at home in Bangkok, home to a metro population of over 11 million people. 

Thailand’s capital has a little bit of everything, from world-class museums to rooftop bars, luxury malls, and sprawling parks. Creatives will appreciate the thriving arts scene, while foodies will enjoy the Michelin-starred restaurants and endless street food vendors.

Some of the top expat neighborhoods in Bangkok include Ekkamai, Sathorn, and Phrom Phong.

Koh Samui

If you’re seeking island living, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than Koh Samui. With endless white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, and palm trees, Koh Samui has a distinctly paradisiacal feel to it. 

If you’re feeling up for an outdoor adventure, try scuba diving, ziplining, parasailing, or even swimming alongside the island’s famous pigs. For a more leisurely option, head to one of Koh Samui’s many resorts, beach clubs, or spas.

A few of the most popular expat areas on Koh Samui include Lamai, Chaweng, and Bophut. 

Healthcare system & insurance requirements

Thailand has not explicitly stated that digital nomad visa applicants need private health insurance, although they may do so as more details on the visa become available. Even if you don’t need to purchase private health insurance, it may be a good idea.

Typically, digital nomads can choose from a few different kinds of plans:

  • Travel medical insurance (e.g. SafetyWing): Costs around $40 to $80 per month, depending on your age and health. Often covers accidents and illnesses only. 
  • International health insurance (e.g. Cigna, GeoBlue, IMG): Costs around $500 to $8,000 per year depending on age, coverage, and health.
  • Local health insurance (e.g. AXA Insurance Thailand, The Viriyah, ThaiLife): Costs around $1,532 to $7,462 per year depending on age, coverage, and health. Typically only offers coverage within Thailand.

If you do end up needing to use the Thai healthcare system, you should be in good hands. Thailand tends to have high-quality facilities, well-trained staff, and modern treatment options. This is particularly true in big cities and areas frequented by expats and tourists.

5 things to put on your Thailand bucket list

In Thailand, you’ll have a nearly endless list of things to do and places to go — but a few that should take top priority include:

  1. The Grand Palace: An up-close look at how Thai royalty lived. Don’t leave without checking out the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred temple in all of Thailand.
  2. The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Bangkok: Buy snacks and souvenirs from boats floating along a 19-mile canal.
  3. Khao Yai National Park: For unbeatable hikes, waterfall views, and wildlife spotting. Some of the many wild animals you can find there include elephants, gibbons, crocodiles, and jackals.
  4. A trip to the Phi Phi islands: For unspoiled beaches, sunset cruises, spelunking, and even shark-watching tours.
  5. The Yaowarat night market in Bangkok: For the best street food in the country. Some of the most popular dishes include noodle soup, grilled seafood, and sweet stuffed buns.

Tax implications for digital nomads in Thailand

Thailand taxes for US expats

Whether or not you owe taxes in Thailand depends primarily on how much time you spend there.

The Thai government considers anyone who stays in Thailand for more than 180 days out of the year to be a tax resident. Tax residents are subject to Thai taxes on worldwide income, while non-tax residents are subject to Thai taxes only on Thai-sourced income.

Tax rates in Thailand vary from 0% to 35%, depending on overall taxable income. Some income—like employment benefits, certain types of retirement/social security/long-term equity funds, and certain types of gift income—is exempt from taxation.

Anyone who pays Thai income taxes must complete a Thai tax return, most commonly Form PND 91 (regular employment income only) or Form PND 90 (employment plus other income).

Other common types of taxes in Thailand include:

  • Value-added taxes (VAT): Thailand’s VAT — the tax placed on the sale of most goods and services — is 10%, with certain items (e.g. staple foods, real estate, education/healthcare expenses) exempt 
  • Capital gains taxes: 10% to 15%, depending on asset type. Some types of capital gains — such as those derived from the sale of Thai stock and certain securities — are exempt

US taxes for expats

Unfortunately, just because you don’t live in the US anymore doesn’t mean that you aren’t subject to US taxes. The US’s citizenship-based taxation system requires all Americans who meet the minimum income reporting requirements — even those living abroad — to file a federal tax return, and possibly pay US taxes. 

It’s not all bad news, though. American expats can claim almost all of the same tax breaks that they would if they were in the US, as well as a few additional ones:

However, living abroad may add to or change your reporting obligations. A couple of reports US expats must commonly file include the:

  • Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR): Mandatory for anyone with over $10,000 across foreign financial accounts.
  • Statement of Specified Foreign Assets (Form 8938): Mandatory for anyone with over $200,000 in foreign assets by the end of — or over $300,000 in foreign assets at any point during — the tax year.
    • Note: Americans living stateside must sometimes file this report as well, but the thresholds are significantly lower ($50,000 instead of $200,000 and $750,000 instead of $300,000).

Set your US expat taxes to easy mode

Don’t let complex taxes hold you back from your dream of living abroad. At Bright!Tax, we’ve helped thousands of clients in hundreds of countries around the world navigate US expat taxes. Partner with us, and we’ll assign you a CPA who’s uniquely qualified to help you file your taxes easily, accurately, and optimally.

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  1. Thailand Elite Visa
  2. Thailand Long-Term Resident (LTR) Visa
  3. Cost of Living Comparison Between United States and Thailand
  4. Global Peace Index 2024
  5. A Guide to the New Destination Thailand Visa (DTV)
  6. Cost of Living in Thailand – Example Table of Expenses in 2024
  7. Cost of Living in Thailand
  8. How Much Medical Travel Insurance Do I Need?
  9. International Health Insurance Plans
  10. Thailand Health Insurance For Long-Term Visitors

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Thailand Digital Nomad Visa FAQs

  • Is it legal to be a digital nomad in Thailand?

    Working in Thailand as a digital nomad is perfectly legal as long as you have the right visa. Technically, the standard 60-day tourist visa doesn’t allow for a work permit. While some digital nomads visiting Thailand on a tourist visa work while there regardless, they risk fines if caught.

    The safest, most legal way to be a digital nomad in Thailand is to apply for a visa like the Destination Thailand Visa, Long-Term Residence Visa, or Thailand Privilege Card.

  • When will the Thai digital nomad visa be available?

    While Thailand has announced the digital nomad visa, they have not yet officially launched it. The visa will likely go live very soon: in late June or early July 2024.

  • Is 30 too old to be a digital nomad in Thailand?

    No! Thailand is home to digital nomads of all ages. As long as you go into the country with an open mind and a sense of adventure, you should have no problem fitting in.