Thailand is an affordable high-standard of living and favourable tax regime, an increasingly attractive destination for travellers and business professionals alike and now for many a second-home destination.
Thailand’s exclusive residence programme gives foreigners the right to live in the country for periods ranging from Five (5) to 20 years coupled with a range of complimentary VIP privileges.
The privilege-entry visa is issued by a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Tourism Authority of Thailand under the Ministry of Tourism and Sport.
The ‘Land of Smiles’, as it’s often referred to because of the friendly disposition of its citizens, has become one of the most sought-after destinations in Southeast Asia, with an increasing number of wealthy families and retired individuals wanting to take advantage of its pro-active business climate, and 1st-class leisure facilities.
There is no minimum residence requirement and residents can stay in the country for as long as the limitations of their chosen programme permit.
The Thailand Elite Residence Program offers Seven (7) program options, each of which vary in validity, benefits and costs. The following represent the Three (3) most popular options:
Elite Easy Access — a popular option for expats or business people to enter and exit Thailand. With a Five (5) year residence visa, the one-time fee is THB 500,000 including VAT (USD 16,000).
There is no annual fee and no age restriction. The residence visa cannot be transferred but can be upgraded to the ‘Elite Ultimate Privilege’ option for THB 1,605,000 including VAT (USD 50,000)
Elite Family Excursion — designed for a minimum of Two (2) people with a Five (5) year residence visa for each member. The one-time fee of THB 800,000 including VAT (USD 25,000) covers both applicants with an additional charge of THB 300,000 including VAT (USD10,000) per dependent.
The core applicant’s dependents may include legitimate parents, step-parents, spouse, children and step-children. There is no annual fee and no age restriction. The residence visa cannot be transferred.
The package includes complimentary VIP privileges such as airport transfers for international flights and government concierge services.
Elite Superiority Extension — 20-year residence visa for individuals who pay a one-time fee of THB 1 million including VAT (USD32,000+). There is no annual fee and no age restriction.
The package includes complimentary VIP privileges such as government concierge and airport services.
Processing time is currently 90 days to achieve a visa issuance and subject to the applicant’s country of origin the timeline may only be 30-to-60 days.
A due diligence check is a matter of standard procedure. An approval letter will be issued together with a one-time fee payment request. The residence-visa (5-to-20 year) can be issued within two-to-four weeks upon confirmation of receipt of the full application fee.
The Thai Elite Residence visa does not lead to permanent resident status or citizenship given that it is not classified as a ‘non-immigrant’ visa.
In order to apply to become a Thai permanent resident, applicants must have had a Thai non-immigrant visa for at least Three (3) years prior to the submission of the application and must have Three (3) consecutive yearly extensions in order to qualify.
The applicant must also be a holder of a non-immigrant visa at the time of submitting the permanent residence application.
An application for citizenship can be filed to become a Thai naturalized citizen after holding permanent resident status in Thailand for 10 consecutive years. Thailand does not recognize dual citizenship.