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work visa / digital nomad ?

work visa / digital nomad ?

Old Mar 3, 18, 10:34 pm
  #1  
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work visa / digital nomad ?

My job allows me to work remotely and the time difference is a plus for the company. I'd really like to book a month or two working remotely and enjoy the nice weather.

There seems to be a lot of mixed information floating around. If I work for a Thai company, a work visa is a MUST. However, If I'm working on the "internet", a tourist visa is OK. Can anyone point me in the right direction or give me some advice based on your experience?
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Old Mar 4, 18, 12:42 am
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Hi amw3000

There are almost a weekly posting on another forum (Thai Visa Forum) asking the identical question. To save you the time and trouble trawling through the thousands of post on this subject allow me to give you a simple breakdown of the situation.

Legally, any work that is undertaken within the Kingdom by a non-Thai requires an appropriate visa and a work permit. That includes working on line for a company that is not based within the Kingdom for which you may or may not be receiving payment. Obtaining an appropriate visa (either a non-B or a non-O based upon marriage to a Thai) will be difficult enough in the first place but getting the work permit to suit your situation is going to be dam nigh impossible.

The general consensus from TVF is that if you work discreetly then it is highly unlikely that you will have a problem. As far as I am aware, no one has been arrested for digital nomad working in the Kingdom. The general advice is don't tell anyone that you are doing work of any kind because if for some reason you upset someone the chances are they may report you to the authorities and then the sh!t will fall upon you big time (arrest + prosecuted + fined + deported + banned). It is suggested that you do your work in the privacy of an apartment or hotel room. If you do work outside in a café, bar, free work stations etc. don't do it all day and move from one location to another each day. It's really a matter of using common sense.

Hope that helps.
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Old Mar 4, 18, 4:50 pm
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Originally Posted by Oldtiger View Post
Hi amw3000

There are almost a weekly posting on another forum (Thai Visa Forum) asking the identical question. To save you the time and trouble trawling through the thousands of post on this subject allow me to give you a simple breakdown of the situation.

Legally, any work that is undertaken within the Kingdom by a non-Thai requires an appropriate visa and a work permit. That includes working on line for a company that is not based within the Kingdom for which you may or may not be receiving payment. Obtaining an appropriate visa (either a non-B or a non-O based upon marriage to a Thai) will be difficult enough in the first place but getting the work permit to suit your situation is going to be dam nigh impossible.

The general consensus from TVF is that if you work discreetly then it is highly unlikely that you will have a problem. As far as I am aware, no one has been arrested for digital nomad working in the Kingdom. The general advice is don't tell anyone that you are doing work of any kind because if for some reason you upset someone the chances are they may report you to the authorities and then the sh!t will fall upon you big time (arrest + prosecuted + fined + deported + banned). It is suggested that you do your work in the privacy of an apartment or hotel room. If you do work outside in a café, bar, free work stations etc. don't do it all day and move from one location to another each day. It's really a matter of using common sense.

Hope that helps.
Thanks - I found that forum right after posting this. A lot of good resources on that site.

Sadly, the risk isn't worth the reward at this time.
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Old Mar 4, 18, 7:03 pm
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Originally Posted by amw3000 View Post
Thanks - I found that forum right after posting this. A lot of good resources on that site.

Sadly, the risk isn't worth the reward at this time.
Many of us when visiting / holidaying in Thailand keep up with work online. Sometimes for hours a day, in apartments, hotel rooms, coffee shops. With everyone constantly online these days, the chances of being pursued for working online in Thailand with your overseas office - even if being paid specifically for that work - are zero ... unless you are interacting business-wise with others in Thailand, or your company requires you to prove your legal working status, or you overstay your tourist visa, or you or your company trumpet what you are doing.

If you are concerned, use a VPN.
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Old Mar 6, 18, 8:14 pm
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Originally Posted by amw3000 View Post
My job allows me to work remotely and the time difference is a plus for the company. I'd really like to book a month or two working remotely and enjoy the nice weather.

There seems to be a lot of mixed information floating around. If I work for a Thai company, a work visa is a MUST. However, If I'm working on the "internet", a tourist visa is OK. Can anyone point me in the right direction or give me some advice based on your experience?
Echoing other opinions expressed here, you are required to have a work permit if you are working, regardless of whether you are being compensated, and regardless of whether your employer has any presence at all in Thailand. That said, the chances of being caught or reported while you are working online in your hotel room are infinitesimal. Not zero, but extremely small.

Most people who carry laptops "work" in their hotel rooms, checking their work email and the like. I just don't see the authorities starting to crack down on this, absent other circumstances which might attract their attention.
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Old Mar 8, 18, 10:17 am
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Why not go to Vietnam instead? They are actively encouraging this behavior. There are shared spaces and all that stuff. Checkout the YouTube videos.

Cost of living is lower in Vietnam and the coffee is better.
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Old Mar 8, 18, 5:28 pm
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Thanks for everyone's input.

I can see I can stay 30 days without a visa and even longer if I apply for a tourist visa. I've done my lurking on Thai Visa Forum but i'd like a non-visa forum option on this as well. 30 days is a lot for a vacation so staying that long would raise flags if I was working the immigration booth and it would raise even more flags if a tourist is asking for a tourist visa. Will they poke and prod me asking why or is this simply a cash cow/formal process? I agree I most likely won't have any issues while im in the country but im interested in the actual process of getting a tourist visa.

I will check out Vietnam as well - thanks!
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Old Mar 8, 18, 6:17 pm
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Originally Posted by amw3000 View Post
30 days is a lot for a vacation so staying that long would raise flags if I was working the immigration booth and it would raise even more flags if a tourist is asking for a tourist visa.
You are WAY overthinking this.
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Old Mar 8, 18, 8:37 pm
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Originally Posted by amw3000 View Post
30 days is a lot for a vacation so staying that long would raise flags if I was working the immigration booth and it would raise even more flags if a tourist is asking for a tourist visa. Will they poke and prod me asking why or is this simply a cash cow/formal process?
Hi amw3000

As dsquared37 has indicated above, you are way over thinking this situation.

As you have already realised, if you qualify for a visa exemption that will allow you to stay in the Kingdom for 30 days. You just present your passport to the immigration officer at the port of entry and he/she should stamp you in without any fuss. Occasionally the IO may ask a couple of basic questions like where are you staying and how are you funding your stay.

If you obtain a single entry tourist visa from the Thai Embassy or Consulate office in your home country this will allow you to stay in the Kingdom for up to 60 days, and it is possible to get an extension for a further 30 days at the local immigration office for 1,900 Baht. Again, occasionally the IO at the port of entry may ask a few basic questions but normally this is not a problem.

I have indicated that entering the Kingdom on either a visa exempt or a single entry tourist visa is not normally a problem. That said, it is recommended that you have sufficient funds on you to support your stay should the IO if they ask you. The rules indicate that you should have 20,000 Baht cash, or equivalent, on you. The 'cash' may be in any form of exchangeable currency (US$, UK £ etc.) or travellers cheques. Credit cards are not accepted.

The time when people experience problems (close scrutiny) is when their passport is full of back-to-back visa exempt stamps and tourist visas covering a period of several years.
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Old Mar 8, 18, 9:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Oldtiger View Post
As you have already realised, if you qualify for a visa exemption that will allow you to stay in the Kingdom for 30 days. You just present your passport to the immigration officer at the port of entry and he/she should stamp you in without any fuss. Occasionally the IO may ask a couple of basic questions like where are you staying and how are you funding your stay.
Indeed. The OP may be thinking that entering Thailand is like entering the USA or UK, where you can be subjected to what seems like an interrogation - why are you here, how long are will be here, where are you going, etc etc. Thailand is not like that, unless you have alarm bells in your passport. Fill in the arrival card (you can ignore the stuff on the back about your salary etc if you want ... that's just tourism demographics), making sure you have an address and phone number entered (eg your first hotel). In my many entries at BKK the number of questions I have been asked is exactly zero. I have often been on 30-day vacations, but they never asked. I always have an onward ticket, but again I've never been asked for it.

Never been asked for the 20,000 baht thing either. AFAIK that is a recent thing which has been asked for rarely, for people who fit a perceived 'demographic' who look like they might not be able to support themselves and/or have multiple previous tourist visa entries over short periods. I have never carried it. If you're worried, carry say US$750 cash.
Thailand tourist visa: Country cracks down on begpackers as visitors asked to show 20,000 baht before entering country The Independent

Last edited by timster; Mar 8, 18 at 9:53 pm
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Old Mar 8, 18, 10:00 pm
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Thanks everyone.

Yes - I am comparing this to the US and even more so the UK. I remember entering the UK and they just grilled me - why are you here, what hotel are you staying at, what is your flight #,etc. Both of these countries think everyone entering the country is trying to steal their jobs
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