Thailand is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, with more than 30 million visitors in 2019 and it should come as no surprise that many expats choose Thailand as a retirement destination, plus let us not forget that many digital nomads and entrepreneurs live in the Land of Smiles. More and more westerners are looking at Thailand as the perfect place to live and if you are thinking of selling everything and relocating to the Royal Kingdom of Thailand, here are a few tips.
Setting up a business in Thailand
In order to work legally in Thailand, you need a visa & work permit and talking to a leading Thai law firm is the best way forward. As with any country, there are specific protocols when registering a foreign business and the lawyer understands what is required. If you want to set up a limited company in Thailand, 51% of the shares must be held by a Thai(s) national; many expats put the company in the name of their Thai partner and they can hold the remaining 49% of the shares.
Thai law states that no foreigner can own land, yet there are ways around this;
- Set up a limited company and the land is owned by the entity. There are certain conditions to this, namely that the said company must be actively trading and pay taxes.
- Lease the land for 30 years, with a further 30-year option.
Of course, you can lease both residential and commercial real estate, which might be a better option if you have no plans to stay more than a few years.
Learn to speak Thai
Yes, Thai is a tough language to learn, mainly due to the fact that there are a whopping 22 vowels in the Thai language; that said, the benefits of being able to communicate with the locals are indeed many, there is nothing worse than having to rely on others to get things done. Not only that, if you can speak Thai, you get an insight into the Thai culture. On the topic of travel, here are some tips on choosing the right destination.
Bringing personal possessions into Thailand
Ask any seasoned expat in Thailand and they will tell you it simply isn’t worth the hassle to import used furniture and other possessions. You might have to pay import tax, which could be as much as 300% of the actual value and you can buy great furniture in Thailand. The cost of sending a container from Europe to Bangkok is not exactly small change, so once your home is finished, furnish it locally.
Never overstay your visa
As with most countries, Thai immigration takes visa overstaying very seriously; aside from a 500 baht per day fine, you can be jailed, deported and banned from ever returning. If you don’t want to have to deal with immigration, seek out an English-speaking visa agent, who can process visas and work permits.