Official information British people moving to and living in Thailand need to know, including residency, healthcare and driving.
Before you go
See our travel advice for Thailand for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.
Visas and residency
See entry requirements for Thailand in our travel advice.
If you need to apply for a visa before travelling to Thailand, contact your nearest Royal Thai embassy.
If you are already in Thailand, contact the Thai Immigration Bureau with all visa and immigration issues.
See also answers to common questions about visas by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
You risk a heavy fine, detention and other severe penalties if you overstay your visa.
See our travel advice for Thailand.
Thailand and the UK do not have reciprocal healthcare agreements. You should buy comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you enter the country.
You should also make sure you’re covered by health insurance for UK treatment or you’ll be charged by the NHS for any care you receive in the UK.
Most Thai insurance companies will only provide health and medical cover for people up to age 70.
The NHS has information for people moving abroad.
Most private hospitals in Thailand have an international liaison department with English-speaking staff who will assist patients, their relatives and insurance companies. Staff in public hospitals often speak little or no English.
You can find English-speaking doctors in Thailand.
You must apply for a permit to bring drugs containing psychotropic or narcotic substances into the country.
Working and volunteering in Thailand
If you plan to:
- conduct business or investment activities
you must apply for a non-immigrant visa at a Royal Thai embassy and, once you have this, a work permit.
You should make arrangements through your employer or volunteer organisation and ask your nearest Royal Thai embassy for advice and information.
Your volunteering organisation must be legally registered with the Thai Ministry of Commerce. You will need a recommendation letter from the volunteer organisation for your visa application and the work permit.
You should get your UK educational certificates legalised before you leave the UK.
You can apply for a Thai police clearance certificate, if you’ve previously lived or worked in Thailand.
You can apply for a police certificate, if you’ve been asked to provide your UK police records.
See information about taxes in Thailand from the Thai Revenue Department.
We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in Thailand.
You may be able to pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.
Life certificates for UK state pensions
If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible – your payments may be suspended if you don’t.
Find out which UK benefits you might be able to get while you’re abroad and how to claim them.
Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit can’t be paid if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.
Driving in Thailand
Also see :
- information on driving in Thailand from the Royal Thai Embassy, London
- video on how to get a driving licence in Thailand
- taking a vehicle out of the UK
See travelling with pets.
Thailand has the following emergency numbers:
- 1155 – tourist police bureau
- 191 – local police for a general emergency
- 1669 – emergency medical services
If you need urgent help, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.
Accommodation and buying property
Generally foreign nationals are not allowed to own land in Thailand. You should contact a lawyer if you are considering buying property or land.
Other useful information
- notarial and documentary services for Thailand
- lawyers and translators in Thailand
- International Schools Association of Thailand
- Age UK: living wills
- make, register or end a lasting power of attorney
Returning to the UK
To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.
Your right to free NHS treatment depends on the length and purpose of your residence in the UK, not your nationality. See NHS: cover your healthcare abroad.
Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Thai authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.