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Sterling

Anyone been granted or have details on the Smart Visa?

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Hello all, I currently work from home and am talking with my employer (a large multinational) about the possibility of working from home in Thailand.

They are actually considering letting me make the move but I'm concerned because there doesnt appear to be a visa for a telecommuter or digital nomad.

I've read here that Immigration in Chiang Mai have said that digital nomads are not breaking the law by doing their remote work there but I dont know if my company would be ok with that.

I think they would prefer me to have an actual work visa (I dont think a Non-B would work as they have no presence in Thailand)

 

I did discover the Smart Visa (https://smart-visa.boi.go.th/smart/) which looks like it might work for me but I did a search here and didnt see ANYTHING about the Smart Visa in this forum.

I think I would qualify under the Smart T qualifications as I work in Cybersecurity but I'd like to know if anyone here has applied or been granted a visa and how it went for them.

Thanks!

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Right, I'm thinking its more for experienced professionals like myself.

I only mentioned the digital nomad thing since many of the people on threads i've read here before seems to apply that label to anyone "working from home".

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You have to be working for a company in Thailand to get the smart visa.

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1 hour ago, Sterling said:

Right, I'm thinking its more for experienced professionals like myself.

I only mentioned the digital nomad thing since many of the people on threads i've read here before seems to apply that label to anyone "working from home".

It is for professionals like you to start companies here in Thailand or bring your skills to Thai organizations.

It is not for you to work remotely for a foreign company enjoying life in Thailand. You should just get an Elite card.

Nobody cares what you do at your home office working online or making phone calls and teleconferencing.

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I've read here that Immigration in Chiang Mai have said that digital nomads are not breaking the law by doing their remote work there but I dont know if my company would be ok with that.

Chiang Mai Immigration has never said that. The Chiang Mai Work Permit Office is on record as saying they mostly only care if you're taking a job from a Thai person while also noting that it's still illegal. 

 

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If your company will insist on you being demonstrably legal then there is no practical solution.

 

As a digital nomad in Thailand, you are technically in violation of the labour laws. However, in practice, such activities are tolerated as long as you have no Thai employer or client. Immigration is aware that there is no practical way for you to be legal, and that your presence has no deleterious effects on Thailand. They never prosecute.

 

You would need a visa. Neither a tourist visa nor the Elite visa allows you officially to be a digital nomad. Both are fine in practice. The tourist visa becomes tricky to use for more than a few months. The Thailand Elite visa is a bit costly.

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I'm in the exact same situation as you, but I have a Thai wife 

 

I work from home, but frequently travel globally.

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Before being called "nomads" we were contractors and registered a company in Hong Kong or Singapore.  If you are desperate to live in the country with the worst, mind numbing, petty labor laws in Asia, you will have to open a company.   Malaysia and Vietnam might be better as they actually may want you there.  Thailand doesn't care that you give more than you take, as they just want more that is yours until you have nothing.    

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Posted (edited)

Smart visa requires huge investments and has nothing to do with smart working as someone pointed out. If you want to work remotely without being illegal you can set up a company and get a work permit (all taxes and accounting will be sorted by your lawyer, included in the monthly fee he will ask) total costs included trips to embassies will be in the 100-120k THB range (yearly). If you plan to stay long term elite visa make sense (500k/5 years and hassle free). Yes it's not a working visa but if you work online with not Thai clients, well...

Edited by Sundown

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11 hours ago, Captain Monday said:

It is for professionals like you to start companies here in Thailand or bring your skills to Thai organizations.

It is not for you to work remotely for a foreign company enjoying life in Thailand. You should just get an Elite card.

Nobody cares what you do at your home office working online or making phone calls and teleconferencing.

Can you link for me where on the Smart Visa website it says I have to start a company in Thailand or join a Thai organization?

I'm not trying to be a jerk, I honestly don't see where it says that's a requirement.

 

Under the Qualifications for the Smart T (which is what I would apply under, it says Requirement #2 is:

2. Having an employment or service contract with an entity in Thailand or overseas with an assignment to work in Thailand. The remaining term of such contract must be at least 1 year.

 

The way I read that is that an applicant would need to have a contract with an entity in Thailand (not in my case) OR an entity overseas (my employer outside Thailand) who would assign me to work in Thailand.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, Sterling said:

The way I read that is that an applicant would need to have a contract with an entity in Thailand (not in my case) OR an entity overseas (my employer outside Thailand) who would assign me to work in Thailand.

Yes, but the intent of the Smart T visa is that it facilitate transfer of technical knowhow to Thais. You can have a foreign employer, but to carry out a project in Thailand involving technology transfer. This is not a digital nomad visa with no interaction with Thai staff.

Edited by BritTim
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It's loks like it's pretty clearly outlined on the first page of the Smart Visa website :  

 

The SMART Visa is a new type of visa designed to attract highly skilled manpower and investors to help accelerate the development of the country’s targeted industries. SMART Visa is offered to foreign experts, executives, entrepreneurs and investors who wish to enter into the Kingdom of Thailand to work or to invest in the following “13 S-Curve industries” or the country’s targeted industries. 

 

 

 

 

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I wonder how many takers they've had for their "smart visa" so far. Does anyone know?

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