Why no Long Term Tourist Visa in Thailand?

The unflattering truth of why Thailand has no long term "Tourist" visa. And why we at Baan Smile do not complain about this.

Home   All Advice

Thailand has never had a long-term tourist visa. The longest a "tourist" could stay was and still is 90 days. That is a 60 day visa along with a 30 day extension. This has been pretty much forever.

The Covid period came and forced the hand of the government to stimulate travel, so the STV Visa was introduced. This allowed you to stay in Thailand for up to 270 days at a time.

This is the longest true "Tourist Visa" available for Thailand.

And the "Border Run" industry and techniques made people work around these 

Here at Baan Smile we theorize that the Thai people have certain goals and principles. We may not like these goals, but we came to this theory after observation of the rules in place, the facts on the ground and the history of Thailand itself.

#1 - Thailand is for Thai people.

If you look back at the history of Siam which stretches for around 20,000 years. It has always been a "whole" country. Unlike other countries that were occupied by western powers, Thailand has never been so occupied. Keep this in mind for the next points. 

#2 - You need to be working or learning in Thailand

If you are under 50 years old, you must be working or going to school in Thailand. Digital Nomads are a fairly new concept - going back only a decade or two. And Thailand is still a conservative country. The authorities are still in the mindset that someone who is not retired needs to be working in an office 9-5 6 days a week.

#3 - The Elite visa was designed for wealthy people

In line with the conservative nature of the country and adding up point #1 and #2, Thailand introduced a long term "Tourist" visa for the playboy set. But even then, an Elite visa has no extra rights above a normal tourist visa holder.

Will there be change?

We think so. The world is changing pretty fast. Now so many other people are able to work remotely and this has just accellerated in the last 2 years. You can see with the new "Nomad Visa" they are really trying, but the people who came up with the rules for that one are still in a way guided by #1 and #2 above. Hence the investment and degree requirements.

It is what it is.

We can complain forever about "Thailand not wanting foreigners".

But as Bruce Lee said, "Be like water ... Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it."

This is what guides us here at Baan Smile. If you love Thailand as much as we do, work with the rules in place and enjoy your life and time here. Whether its just 7 days of 7 years.

Click here to spend 90 days in Thailand.

Related From 30 day Tourist to Retired Visa in Thailand. Long term Health Insurance in Thailand? Can tourists and expats get vaccines in Thailand? How to work REMOTELY in Thailand Using Thailand's 30 day "Visa" Visa options in Thailand for a year or less?
WHAT CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING
"Informative, and knowledgeable in answering my questions on retirement visa promptly ."
~ Jon Hobson