I’m writing this as I’ve spent part of my week trying to help a western woman who wants to stay longer than just a few weeks in Thailand. For some reason, she seemed to think she could easily stay long-term in Thailand, without doing the things most of the rest of us have to do to manage just that. In fact, she couldn’t, as she soon found out.
Nowadays, other than marriage to a Thai (and even that comes with some complications so it’s not ‘easy’), there are only three real ways you can easily stay long-term in Thailand. Unless, of course, you suddenly inherit a few million dollars and want to buy expensive property here — in which case, yes, the Thai government will let you stay as long as you want.
Get a Job — If you want to spend more than a few months in the Land of Smiles, working is the easiest way to do that. With westerners in demand at schools around Thailand as English language teachers, even without training, you’ll find a job in just a few days.
Do be aware, though, while it used to be that any westerner could walk into a teaching job at most Thai schools, that now has changed. The new teaching rules and regulations say you must have a university degree in any subject and, preferably, TEFL or CELTA certification.
You can get certified in TEFL at many training schools around Thailand in just 4-6 weeks. Then, once you are, check out Ajarn.com’s excellent Job Board for plenty of schools you can apply to.
Learn Thai (Get an Education Visa) — If you have money and don’t need to work, learning Thai in Thailand can be a great way to stay here long-term. All you need to do is find a school that currently offers Thai language lessons.
Sign up, pay the fee for a year’s worth of classes and let them walk you through the paperwork you will need to complete to satisfy Thai immigration. You must then leave the country to go to a Thai embassy to get your education visa paperwork processed.The embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malysia is excellent and only a couple of hours away by plane, by the way.
Once back in Thailand and once the Thai immigration has approved your education visa, the only two things you have to do from then on are a) Attend Thai language classes every week (usually no more than 4 hours per week) and b) visit the immigration office once every three months with a fee of 1,900 baht, to confirm your current address.
With an education visa, you can remain in Thailand for up to three years as long as you remember to renew the education visa every year and, of course, keep taking those Thai classes as the government does check.
You can find out more about how to get an education visa in Thailand right here.
Retire in Thailand — If you’re over the age of 50, you can officially retire in Thailand. All you need is proof of income of at least 65,000 baht a month or a deposit of at least 800,000 baht in a Thai bank account.
Then, travel to Thailand with a non-immigrant O visa (which you can get at any Thai embassy overseas before you come). Once you arrive in Thailand, go to the closest immigration office along with your passport, several photographs, and proof of the income immigration requests.
After a wait of only a couple of weeks,usually, you should be given a retirement visa that can then be renewed annually as long as you continue to meet the retirement requirements.
By the way, other ways to stay long-term in Thailand include starting your own business and marriage to a Thai. Neither of these is particularly ‘easy’, though, so let’s stick with the fast stuff for now.
Meanwhile, here’s more information about how to apply for a retirement visa for Thailand.
Where to Get a Visa to Easily Stay Long-Term in Thailand
No matter which country you’re currently living in, there is a Thai embassy you can go to or write to that will give you the visa you need for your initial visit to Thailand.
Here’s the official list of all Thai embassies and consulates that, as long as you submit the correct paperwork and are follow the rules, will have no qualms about giving you the right visa to help you easily stay long-term in Thailand.