Navigating between the variety of immigration programmes and visas Thailand has to offer can be confusing. The purpose of this article is to presents on the pros and cons and offer a comparison between the Thailand Elite and the Long-Term Visa (LTR), to help expatriates select the best programmes suitable to their current needs and situation.
The Thailand Elite is a well-established membership programme since 2003, operated by a state-owned enterprise within the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) as its shareholder. Its continuously growing membership community of expatriates all over the world has proven the Thailand Elite membership programme a success. The Thailand Elite Visa Privilege Programmes originated with a singular mission: to present esteemed foreign guests the finest way of life in Thailand. For over 19 years, Thailand Elite has gained both popularity and reputation- becoming the world’s first country membership package with exclusive benefits to immigration, lifestyle, business, and much more.
The Long-Term Resident Visa (LTR), on the other hand, is a newly launched programme operated by the Board of Investment (BOI), starting on 1st of September 2022.
While both programs grant long-term visa to their applicants, with a multiple re-entry permit, and are renewable, there are clear differences as explained below. So, what are the differences between Thailand Long-Term Resident Visa and Thailand Elite Visa?
Both the Thai Elite and the LTR visas offer long-term solutions to live in Thailand. However, the LTR is limited to a 10-year visa option, while the Elite offers the choice between a 5, 10 and 20-year with a possibility to extend the 5-year membership to a 20-year membership at any time.
The Long-Term Visa (LTR) is, in fact, reserved for very specific categories of foreigners: wealthy global citizens, wealthy pensioners, digital nomads, and highly skilled professionals. The Thailand Elite Visa does not have such limitations based on the applicant’s educational background, work experience, and wealth. There are no investments or a health insurance requirement. Contrary to the LTR visa, no proof of current income or residing years requirements to apply to Thai Elite visa.
LTR visa holder are limited to 4 dependents, while Thailand Elite offers packages designed for families and are not limited in the number of dependents. All direct family members can apply as part of Thailand Elite under a main Thailand Elite Visa Holder with additional cost per person.
Both the Thailand Elite and the LTR visa grants fast-track immigration airport service. Only the Thailand Elite membership will be offered VIP airport limousine service (up to 24 trips per year) and a special Thailand Elite lounge access.
A health insurance of minimum USD 50,000 in coverage, a social security insurance in Thailand, or a deposit of USD 100,000 are required to apply to the LTR visa, while no health insurance is required to apply to the Thailand Elite member- no matter the situation or age of the applicant.
For both programs, the submission can be conveniently done online. The clear difference happens when affixing the visa. Indeed, the LTR visa is issued at the Royal Thai Embassies/the Royal Thai Consulate Generals overseas, or at the Immigration offices in Thailand.
The same process is available for Thai Elite member- only with an additional option. Thailand Elite members can decide to affix their ‘Privilege’ multiple-entry visa at international airport on arrival. Additionally, a Thailand Elite Personal Assistance will be sent on site, either at the immigration office in Bangkok or at the airport, to ensure your seamless (and fast) process with the immigration officer.
Depending on the applicant’s lifestyle, it’s best to evaluate which option works best for you. The Long-Term Resident Visa fee is of the Thai Cabinet 50,000 THB and an additional THB 3,000 for the work permit to be processed and renewed every year. Obtaining a Thailand Elite Visa starts from THB 600,000 – THB 2,000,000, granting you from 5-20 years stay in the Kingdom, and saving you the headaches of the 90-days visa runs and other immigration matters. The Thailand Elite membership fee may be higher, however it does offer the luxury of comfort through numerous benefits such as airport immigration fast-track, VIP limousines, special discounts at golf, spa, hotels, shopping malls and so much more.
Highly skilled professional holding an LTR visa will be taxed at the flat rate of 17% and benefit from a tax exemption for overseas income. Thailand Elite does not have such incentives; however it is to note that Thai tax law already exempts taxation on overseas incomes as long as they are not transferred to Thailand within the same fiscal year as they have been generated.
LTR Visa holder can get a work permit with the BOI and benefits from an exemption of the normal company requirements of a ‘registered THB 2,000,000 Capital and 4 Thai employees per work permit’. In 2021, Thailand Elite launched the Elite Flexible Plus package to allow 10-year or 20-year Thailand Elite members who invested at least USD 1 mil. in an approved real estate project or stock exchange in Thailand, to receive a work permit.
As a Thailand Elite member, individuals and their family members have access to- not only renewable Privilege Multiple-entry Visa- but also a 24/7 call center in multiple languages, immigration fast-track at the airport, and access to The Thailand Elite Lounge. Each Thailand Elite member can get the assistance of an Elite Personal Assistant to affix their visas, open a Thai bank account, access to a government concierge, and even obtain a driver’s license. The benefit of a great lifestyle awaits you.
If you’re looking to relocate or planning a long-term residency in Thailand, Thaielite-express.com is here to assist you in obtaining a LTR or a Thailand Elite membership. Thaielite Express has been an authorized General Sales and Services Agent since 2013. If you are interested in applying for a Thailand Elite Visa, please find our online application portal here and submit your Thailand Elite application within minutes!.
Contact us today to start your journey: +66 2 670 1848 or email: email@example.com. We support English, French, German, Japanese, and Chinese languages. We reply within 24 hours.
Foreigners can get a 10-year visa either with the Thailand Elite or the Board of Investment (BOI). While the Thailand Elite welcome all applicants (except certain nationalities), the Long Term Resident Visa is limited to wealthy investors, retirees, experts or digital nomads.
Apart from the classic 1-year non-immigrant visas (such as retirement visa, business visa, family visa), there are 2-way to hold a long-term visa either with the Thailand Elite or the Board of Investment. The Thailand Elite offers 5, 10 and 20-year membership to single applicants or families. Foreigners can choose the package fitting their needs best. On the other hand, the Board of Investment can grant a 10-year visa to wealthy investors, retirees, experts or digital nomads.
To apply to the Thai Permanent Residency, a foreigner must comply with preliminary requirements such as holding a Thai non-immigrant visa for at least three years prior to the submission, hold a non-immigration visa at the time of the submission, demonstrate an ability to speak Thai and qualify to one of eligible categories.
Foreigners can obtain a 5-year Thailand Elite membership thanks to the Elite Easy Access package at 600,000 THB for a single applicant. A 5-year family package, the Elite family Excursion, is also available at 800,000 THB for a couple and 300,000 THB per additional dependent.
There are 2 Elite packages valid for 10-years. The 10-year Elite membership, with the Elite Privilege Access would cost 1,000,000 THB for a single applicant and an additional 800,000 THB per dependent. While the Elite Family Alternative would cost 800,000 THB for a main applicant, plus 700,000 THB per additional dependent.
There are two 5-year Elite membership packages available. For a single applicant, the Elite Easy Access is at 600,000 THB. For a family, the Elite Family Excursion is at 800,000 THB for a couple, plus 300,000 THB per additional dependent.
Thailand offers various types of 1-year visas depending on the applicant's situation such as a family visa, a retirement visa, a business visa. Depending on the selected category, the requirements would be different.
The length an expatriate can stay in Thailand would depend on the type of visa held and the stamp from the immigration officer in the passport. Visa exemption can be granted for 15 or 30 days, temporarily extended to 30 and 45 days for some nationalities since 1st October 2022. Tourist visa could be up to 3 months. Most non-immigration visas have a length of 1-year. The Board of Investment could grant a Long-Term Resident (LTR) visa for 10-years length. Otherwise, only the Thailand Elite offers 5, 10 or 20-year membership. While the LTR is limited to specific wealthy categories of foreigners, the Thailand Elite welcomes all applicants (except certain nationalities). No visas equal the ease of the Elite process.
Applying to a Thailand Elite program is a viable and easy solution to stay and live for a long period of time in Thailand. Only Thailand Elite can offer a 5,10 or 20 years membership and ensure the renewal of the visa during the validity of the applicant membership. As of today, all other non-immigrant visa options are limited to a validity period of 1 or 2 years.
The Thailand Elite Visa is a legal and legit program under Thai law to stay long-term in Thailand. The “Thailand Elite” is operated by Thailand Privilege Card Co., Ltd. It has been initiated in 2003 by the Royal Thai Government itself. The company is fully owned subsidiary of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, under the Ministry of Tourism and Sport.
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