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December 5, 2021

Thailand announces new 10-year visa program for wealthy foreigners

Thailand, known as the land of smiles, is a popular destination in Southeast Asia renowned for its beaches, incredible landscape and friendly welcome. As the country recovers from tourism losses caused by COVID-19, the government has announced a new long-term visa programme that will allow ‘wealthy’ foreigners and certain highly skilled professionals to stay in the country for up to 10 years.

While some details of the new visa programme are still unclear, foreign nationals with at least US$1 million in assets and a minimum US$80,000 income over two years would be considered as a wealthy global citizen. Pensioners would also need to show a minimum income of US$80,000, as would remote workers and highly skilled professionals.

It is understood work permits would automatically be included, and those working remotely for foreign companies would be exempt from tax on their global income. Tax on foreign property and land would also be exempt. Spouses and children can also be included.

The Thai government says it is hoping to bring in at least a million foreigners on this scheme, which should generate more than US$60 billion for the country’s coffers.

Thailand Elite Residence Program unaffected

This new visa initiative is not to be confused with the long-established Thailand Elite Residence Program, which offers applicants the right to live in the country for up to 20 years. This program is run by the Thailand Privilege Card Company Limited (TPC) in conjunction with the Tourism Board.

With costs starting at just US$19,000 for a five-year visa, this exclusive residence program is the first program of its kind worldwide, offering unlimited access to Thailand as well as a range of complimentary VIP privileges. There is no minimum residence requirement and residents can stay in the country for as long as they wish within the limit of their chosen program.

Thailand Elite offers eight program options, each with a selection of additional services and benefits.

Three of the popular options include:

  1. Elite Easy Access — A popular option for expats or business people to enter and exit Thailand. With a five-year privilege entry visa, the one-time fee is US$19,000. 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 US$48,000 or the Elite Superiority Extension for US$12,000.
  2. Elite Family Excursion — Designed for a minimum of two people, with a five-year residence visa for each member. The one-time fee of US$25,000 covers both applicants, with an additional charge of US$10,000 per dependent.
  3. Elite Superiority Extension — 20-year privilege entry visa for individuals who pay a one-time fee of US$32,000. There is no annual fee and no age restrictions.

Further details will be added in updates from CBI Guide as we speak to expert partners in Thailand.