Visa options for long-term stay in Thailand
There are three types of visas that allows a person to stay in Thailand on a long term basis.
Tourist visas are issued by a Thai embassy or consulate abroad. Tourist visas are valid for 60 – 90 days depending on the country of issue and the nationality of the applicant. After 60 or 90 days you can leave the country apply for a new tourist visa and come back in again. This type of visa is good as long as you are solvent and not engaging in any type of business in Thailand.
There are different non-immigrant visas, these visas are issued at a Thai embassy or consulate abroad and are usually valid for a period of 1 year.
You can qualify for a non-immigrant visa by owning a Thai limited company that provides you with a work permit, or you can qualify if you are being employed by a company that provides you with a work permit. You can also qualify for a non-immigrant visa if you have Thai family. If you are retired and you can prove adequate financial means to support yourself you can also apply for a non-immigrant retirement visa.
Resident visas are really hard to obtain and they are rarely issued. To qualify for this type of visa you need to read and write Thai, one will also have to have strong local financial influence and influential Thai references.