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The next thing you will need to do is organise a Visa to be able to stay all year round and permanently. A Visa is the thing which allows you to be in Thailand and is one of the most important aspects to organise.
Depending on how you will sustain yourself and what you will be doing will depend on the type of Visa you will need to apply for, here are your options.
Working / Having a Job
Your employer should have a work permit available under their company for you and with this goes a Non-B working visa. Usually if you are an employee of a company then you will get three months Non-B visas, meaning that you will need to leave the Country every 3 months to make a new working visa. It’s just a short and easy trip though!
Your own Business or Company
By setting up your own business, depending on the size/value of your business, you will be entitled to one work permit under that business ( or 2 or more if you have set up a larger company).
As it is your own business, you will be the Managing Director, meaning that you will be entitled to a One Year Non-B Visa. This visa means you can stay and work in the Country for one year, however, they will still only stamp you for 3 months at a time which means you will have to do a quick border bounce every 3 months. There is an option to not have to leave the Country every 3 months but it is more costly and you need to have certain things in place for your business, this is something your Lawyer will be able to tell you about.
Living off of Pension / Retirement
If you are living off a pension from your home Country, in retirement then you will qualify for a Retirement visa which is different to a Tourist Visa. You must meet some requirements such as; be over 50 years of age, have a valid passport with at least 18 months left, show a certain amount in the bank and also show an income coming in (usually your pension). Retirement Visas allow you to stay in the Country for one year at a time.
Having enough savings / being rich enough so you don’t have to work
This is where it’s a little tricky. Although you do not need to work, a Tourist Visa will not be enough to allow you to live in the Country full-time. Tourist visas in a row are cut off after 2 or three also.
You have a few options however, you could get an Education Visa which allows you one year at a time by enrolling in a language school here. This way you also get to learn Thai Language which will help your life greatly on Koh Phangan. Otherwise you will have to set up your own company to get a Non-B Visa for the year. Even if you don’t use this company for work purposes it will still allow you to have the longer-term visa and also you will need your own company if you ever wanted to build your own house or buy land for example so it could always be handy in the future!
Have an income from home such as investments or online work
If you have an income from your home Country or work online then you will be needing to look at getting a Non-B Visa too. See the above info on setting up a business.
Visas for Thailand can be obtained either in your home Country before you arrive or from Asian and other Countries close by from the Thai Embassies.
Once you have your Visa, then you are allowed to enter and stay in the Country! - Yay!
But the planning doesn’t end there, join us in Part Three where we will talk you through finding a place and area on Koh Phangan to live and decide what is right for your personal Phangan lifestyle and how to adjust!