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I'm currently in the process of bootstrapping an online business back in Europe (European citizen) and I want to travel to Thailand for some time and work from there for a few months, while enjoying the beaches.

I know that traveling with a tourist on-arrival visa will involve visa runs and I am not allowed to be working in Thailand. If I had a non immigrant B visa this would not be that big of an issue. But it seems that these are only for people that want to work for some company in Thailand, so it has to be sponsored by a Thai company.

Since I am not in any way taking up work from people in Thailand, but only servicing customers online back in Europe as a self employed individual, is there a need to get a visa? If so, which visa would be the right one for me and is it easily obtainable?

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closed as off-topic by Dirty-flow, HaLaBi, Mark Mayo, Vince, Geeo Oct 16 '13 at 7:37

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1 Answer 1

Yes, legally speaking, you need a visa:

Foreigners entering Thailand are not permitted to work, regardless of their type of visa, unless they are granted a work permit. Those who intend to work in Thailand must hold the correct type of visa to be eligible to apply for a work permit.

And as you've figured out, you can't get one as a self-sponsored online entrepreneur, at least short of setting up a Thai shell company with a local as director. Your options are thus:

  1. Go there anyway on a tourist visa, work away happily, do a few visa runs if you have to. If you're conducting all your business online and aren't doing child porn or something, and are happy with doing this for only a few months and not the rest of your life, the odds of getting caught are virtually zero.
  2. Go to a neighbouring country like Cambodia which has an even more lax visa regime. Although I'm not sure I'd bet my business on the quality of Internet access available there, especially at its beach destinations...

And obligatory disclaimer: this is not legal advice, so don't blame me or Travel.SE if you end up eating cockroach gruel at Bang Kwang Prison!

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what do you think of this situation but in Laos ? –  smonff Oct 21 '13 at 18:50
1  
Pretty much the same, and it appears they're happy to let you do visa runs pretty much indefinitely. –  jpatokal Oct 21 '13 at 22:21

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