In a bid to lure foreigners to invest in property in Thailand, and until December 2022 only, Thai-based property developers are giving investors who acquire a condo worth US$333,000 or more a Thai Elite visa, allowing them residency in Thailand for five years.
This temporary offer, extending from January 2021 to December 2022, means overseas investors can obtain a Thai Elite visa, giving them residency in Thailand for five years, upon the purchase of an approved ready-to-move-into Thai condo for a minimum of THB10 million (US£333,000)
This government-approved offer has been put in place in order to bring much-needed investment to Thailand’s real estate development sector, which has been struggling during the pandemic and is currently drowning in unsold condos.
A number of large Thai property developers involved in the temporary offer have purchased Elite Easy Access memberships, attaching one to each condo, and thereby giving any overseas investors who invest in a condo (minimum US$333,000 spend) a residency visa for five years. The minimum US$333,000 investment will get investors a two-bed, two-bathroom condo in the centre of Bangkok, for example.
The five-year Thai Elite visa is part of an extensive package of residency visa options that are available under the Thailand Elite Residence Programme, which provides foreigners with residency in Thailand from between 5-20 years, priced from THB600 (US$16,000) to THB2.14 million (US$68,000). As well as being able to reside in Thailand, additional benefits of such residency visas include a multiple entry residency visa with no minimum stay requirements and an attractive tax regime. Investors also have the chance to upgrade from this five-year residency permit to a 20-year one for an added cost.
Further benefits of such an offer include the fact that Thailand has excelled in the handling of the COVID-19 crisis. “Thailand is an even more attractive place to live as a result of its excellent handling of COVID-19,” states Georg Chmiel, executive chairman of Juwai IQI. “Economic growth is likely to bounce back at very high rates after travel and trade recover. The outlook for the property market is good.”
According to Somsak Chutisilp, MD of real estate agency IQI Thailand, “foreign buyers “will have to act fast, because the program will only be available for two years, from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2022” and the buyer must “choose a property that is already completed or can be handed over before the end of December 2022”.
Thailand issued 2,398 Elite visas in the first three quarters of 2020, a record number.
This temporary offer comes on the back of the Thai government having recently rolled out a new 60-day tourist visa and a renewable special tourist visa. The country has also considered the idea of giving work permits to foreigners who invest USD1 million in the country,