Emigrate to Thailand – System Exit & Plan B?

Thailand is one of the favorites in Southeast Asia for many expatriates. I am currently back in this beautiful country to find out the current pros and cons.

What are the points in favor of a Plan B residence or even a longer-term residence? What aspects might argue against it?

After four years, I came back to the country. I wanted to know what has changed and what options there are to emigrate to Thailand. I will give you my assessment of whether this destination is suitable for an exit from the system.

In addition to the advantages, I'll also tell you the points that may not be arguments in favor of residency. I spent two months checking the country and like to give you my impressions.

The advantages of Thailand

One of the pluses you will find in this country is the tax system. If you organize your life optimally according to the flag theory, you can live here tax-free under certain circumstances. I will discuss this further below.

NOTE: the tax rules have changed since January, 1st 2024. You'll find further information here.

This advantage applies to both retirees and location-independent entrepreneurs as well as investors.

A low tax rate is important, but there is more to a comfortable life. One important aspect is the quality of life.

In Thailand it is normal that service providers offer you a comprehensive service. I would like to give you a few examples:

Surely you know the situation when you want to fill up at a German gas station. No one from the staff would have the idea to take the fuel gun and fill up your car.

In Thailand, this appreciation of the customer is a matter of course. You have time to do other things while the attendant takes care of your car.

Of course, you can experience this service in other countries as well. One example is South Africa, which also achieves quite a high level of service. In Thailand, however, the level is one step higher.

It is normal that a room maid comes every two days to tidy up the house. The pool is kept in good condition by the pool boy. You don't have to have a huge fortune in the bank to afford this.

If you don't feel like cooking, you can have food delivered via a delivery service. Alternatively, you can go to one of the many soup kitchens or small Thai restaurants.

You can get a simple meal for as little as 40 Thai baht. That is a little more than one Euro. For this you get a full plate of rice and a curry or something similar served on top.

For the equivalent of about 5 euros you get a full meal including a drink. This example shows you how cheap it is to live in Thailand in 2024. Of course, there are also exclusive restaurants that are correspondingly more expensive.

A third argument for a long-term stay in Thailand is safety. In Thailand you don't have to be afraid to go out on the street at night. People are very friendly and their culture is characterized by mutual respect.

This makes life here very pleasant. You can experience culture everywhere and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. In addition, the weather is pleasantly warm.

The disadvantages of Thailand

However, you have to like the weather. Thailand is located in the tropics. The heat is not for everyone, especially since the humidity is very high.

This is one of the few disadvantages, especially if you want to work location-independently here.

This can quickly become an ordeal outdoors. It is recommended to move the work to an air-conditioned room.

Another issue is limited rights for foreigners. For example, you are not allowed to buy land in property.

It is possible to own a house or open a bank account, but you are not allowed to buy land. An alternative is the lease for 30 years, which may be extended for another 30 years.

There are also other constructions through companies. We will gladly support you with this topic through our contacts. In general, however, as a foreigner you cannot register land as your property in Thailand.

On the other hand, you don't really need it. The housing market is very simple organized and it is easy to rent something on a long-term basis at favorable conditions. This is more difficult in other countries.

Thailand residence permit

It is not so easy to get a visa for a long-term stay in this country.

This can be considered as another disadvantage. However, there are options for long-term living in Thailand.

Two options are particularly interesting. For the first one, you must be at least 50 years old. Then you can be classified as a pensioner.

The Retirement Visa

To obtain the residence permit, you must deposit 800,000 baht (about 21,000 euros) in an account in Thailand.

After that you can apply for the retirement visa, which I have presented to you in detail in a separate article

The visa is valid for one year and can be extended for another year as often as you like. The condition is that you replenish the account to 800,000 baht three months before the application.

Only three months after the extension you are allowed to dispose of half (max. 400k Baht) of the deposit.

Alternatively, you can prove 65,000 baht pension per month, but the bank deposit is the less bureaucratic solution.

There is also an O-X visa that Germans, Swiss, Canadians and Americans among others, can apply for. For this you deposit 3 million baht into your account and get a right of residence for 10 years (2x5 years). 

So the possibilities of a long-term stay are not that bad for the over 50s. For the younger ones there is also an option.

Thai Elite Visa

First, you can gain your first experience in the country as a tourist. For a longer stay, the Thai Elite Visa is the best solution.

It is primarily aimed at independent entrepreneurs and investors who have a good income and assets.

For the first five years you pay 900,000 Baht. After these 5 years you can extend your stay up to 15 years. Therefore, the program contains of various tiers as follows.

A Program, which runs for five years plus three times five years extension (only in invitation). It contains of 120 Privilege-Points per year as well.
Fee: 5,000,000 THB
Length: all in all 20 years
Privilege-Points: 120/year

Fee: 2,500,000 THB
Length: all in all 15 years
Privilege-Points: 55/year

Fee: 1,500,000 THB
Length: all in all 10 years
Privilege-Points: 35/year

Fee: 900.000 THB
Length: 5 Jahre
Privilege-Points: 20/year

You can find more information in my detailed article

As a disadvantage you have to note, that you have to spend these fees. However, consider also the advantages. You can stay in Thailand for 20 years without any problems.

The authorities will largely leave you alone and if you structure your income correctly, even under the new tax rules, you can live here nearly tax-free. Over 20 years, the costs are negligible.

The low cost of living, the good tax environment and the high quality of life justify this investment from my point of view.

There are other options for a long-term stay, which I would like to mention briefly. We will be happy to help you with your elite visa application.

The Business Visa (B)

The residence permit is intended for people who want to be employed by a company in Thailand or make an investment in a company.

The visa is issued for a stay of up to one year. It can be extended an unlimited number of times for one year at a time. However, you never know how the conditions will change in the future.

Marriage Visa

The O visa for family members is initially valid for 90 days and can be extended for up to one year at the immigration office.

The original marriage certificate, the Thai spouse's ID card and a household registration must be presented.

You can repeat this process as often as you wish. The visa does not include a work permit.

You can also apply for the visa to carry out family reunification. For example, one scenario would be that you have a child who is a citizen of Thailand.

Visa for digital nomads

Thailand also offers a visa for digital nomads, but it has high requirements for applicants.

For the "LTR Visa" you have to prove at least five years of professional experience and an annual income of at least 80,000 US dollars. 

If you have at least a master's degree, and income of 40,000 to 80,000 USD is also sufficient. The visa allows a maximum stay of two years.

Taxes and exit from the system

Thailand is even under the new tax rules quite interesting, if the money is brought to Thailand in an appropriate way.

You can find more information here.

If you have concerns about the Great Reset and possible blackouts, we have written our great analysis on supply security. Thailand came in 62nd out of 106 countries in my comprehensive statistics, a mid-table ranking.

The country undoubtedly has a few weaknesses. However, it is interesting that a neighboring country is in the top five.

One advantage for moving to Thailand is that opening an account is relatively easy. Even for tourists, for example, Bangkok Bank offers the possibility of opening an account.

The condition is your personal presence. This way, you can easily expand your portfolio of international bank accounts.

There are also no major hurdles when it comes to transferring your driver's license. The possession of a Thai license has advantages if you get into a traffic control.

Foreign driving licenses are not always recognized. Also the penalties are partly lower with a Thai document.


As a conclusion, Thailand has many advantages to strive for a long-term residence.

Whether you can accept the disadvantages such as the difficult property regulations for foreigners depends on your individual goals.

If you are interested in Thailand as a Plan B residence or if you wish to live tax free, please contact my team for a consultation.

We will be happy to help you with your international setup, whether in Thailand, for other countries or to set up as a perpetual traveler.

The Thai Elite Visa is a good Plan B option in your international residency portfolio. A Thai bank account and driver's license round things out nicely.

The country is safe and offers you a high quality of service, which in my opinion is very important for entrepreneurs and investors, so that they can focus on the essentials.

The tax advantages are not to be underestimated and offer you advantages with the right arrangement!

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