When comparing the Thailand Elite Visa with the newly launched LTR long-term resident Visa, the first question to address is whether the new 10-year Visa was designed as a replacement for the Elite Visa. The Elite Visa offers many of the same perks: airport fast-tracking, work permits after 12 months, and a multi-entry permit. But at a much cheaper price of 50,000 THB. 

The answer to that question is no, that’s not the case.

Although there are a few major overlaps, they are each designed for a different purpose, which is evident in the visa requirements and what each is allowed to do.

Basically, the Elite Visa is for those who wish to live or retire in Thailand over a long period of time without dealing with the bureaucratic hassles and having to worry about their visa status.

An upfront membership fee of 600,000 to 2 million THB gets you a 5 year, 10 year, or 20 year visa with nice extras like airport fast tracking, a multi-entry permit, and assistance with your 90-day reporting.

Getting online work done or managing your investment portfolio while you’re in Thailand is possible, but you aren’t allowed to work for a company or run your own business. 

Meanwhile, the LTR visa is for people who want to work or invest in Thailand, and if your skills or investments meet the Thai government’s requirements, they’ll sweeten the deal with a 10-year visa for just  50,000 THB.

The visa was widely criticized by foreigners for its demanding requirements such as proving a source of income, investing a lot of money in Thailand, and getting health insurance, when it was announced this year. However, the intent of this visa is to attract individuals with highly desired skills and who are looking to invest abroad anyway and then convince them to do so in Thailand with its incentives.

You can be qualified for an LTR Visa If you are:

A wealthy individual holding assets of at least 1 million USD

  • Assets worth at least 1 million USD

  • Two years of personal income of at least 80,000 USD

  • Investments in Thai government bonds, foreign direct investment, or Thai properties of at least 500,000 USD

  • An insurance policy with at least 50,000 USD of coverage or a social security benefit that covers your treatment in Thailand or a deposit of at least 100,000 USD is required

A retiree who has an annual pension or a stable income after age 50

  • One year of personal income of at least 80,000 USD OR One year of personal income of at least 40,000 USD + Investments in Thai government bonds, foreign direct investment, or Thai properties of at least 250,000 USD

  • An insurance policy with at least 50,000 USD of coverage or a social security benefit that covers your treatment in Thailand or a deposit of at least 100,000 USD is required

 

An employee of well-established overseas companies who work remotely

  • Two years of personal income of at least 80,000 USD OR Two years of personal income of at least 40,000 USD + Must have a Master’s degree or higher or own intellectual property or receive Series A funding

  • Public company on a stock exchange OR privately held company with a combined revenue of at least USD 150 million for at least three years.

  • A minimum of five years of relevant work experience over the last ten years in the current field of employment

  • An insurance policy with at least 50,000 USD of coverage or a social security benefit that covers your treatment in Thailand or a deposit of at least 100,000 USD is required

Professionals or experts in targeted industries who work for companies, higher education institutions, research centers, or specialized training institutions in Thailand, or for Thai government agencies.

  • Two years of personal income of at least 80,000 USD OR Two years of personal income of at least 40,000 USD + Must have a Master’s degree or higher in science and technology or special expertise relevant to the job assignment in Thailand

  • Professionals working for Thai government agencies are not required to have a minimum income

  • A minimum of five years of relevant work experience in the targeted industries except for applicants with a PhD or higher in the relevant fields of the targeted industries or applicants working for Thai government agencies

  • An insurance policy with at least 50,000 USD of coverage or a social security benefit that covers your treatment in Thailand or a deposit of at least 100,000 USD is required

Due to its simplicity, more people will qualify for the Thailand Elite Visa than the long-term resident visa as long as you pass the background check and pay the membership fee.

For retirees over 50 years of age who wish to retire in Thailand, the typical route is to apply for a retirement Visa, which requires reapplying every year and includes requirements like maintaining an annual income and savings of at least 800,000 Thai Baht. Many people are opting instead to pay up-front for the Elite Visa in exchange for 5 to 20 years of Peace of Mind, a multi-entry permit, assistance with government paperwork, and VIP perks like airport fast tracking, annual health checks, spa treatments, golf outings, etc.  

However, if you earn at least 80,000 USD a year or at least 40,000 USD so long as you invest 250,000 USD in Thailand and have at least 50,000 USD in health insurance coverage, you might be able to obtain a long-term resident visa for 50,000 THB instead of the steep upfront fee of an Elite Visa. 

Is it possible to work in Thailand while holding Elite Visa?

It can be a complex and confusing topic, but if you’re actively participating in the Thai economy and earning Thai baht for yourself, then this is not permitted under an Elite Visa or any other visa without a work permit. In other words, being a Thai employee or a managing director of a Thai company is definitely not allowed.

Investing and becoming a shareholder in Thai companies is legal as long as you aren’t a manager who is involved in day-to-day operations or signing legal documents.

Digital Nomads living in Thailand who work online for foreign companies or run overseas businesses are eligible for the Elite Visa if the income is deposited directly into their foreign bank accounts.

In the same way, you can collect dividends or trade online as long as your capital gains are deposited in a foreign bank account.

If you change your mind during the duration of your Elite Visa and wish to work or run a business in Thailand, you would have to apply for another visa, either the non-immigrant B visa or the long-term resident visa, but you would have to relinquish your Elite Visa since you can only hold one visa type at a time.

Is it necessary to report every 90 days?

Those with LTR long-term resident visas will be exempt from 90-day reporting, and will instead report once a year to the One-Stop service center.

Elite Visa holders will still need to do their 90-day reporting, but if they live in a major Thai city, they can drop off their passports at an Elite Visa office.

Those in other locations will have to complete their 90-day process at their local immigration office the first time, but they can do it online after that.

The 90-day reporting requirement resets each time you enter Thailand, so if you leave on day 89, there’s nothing you need to do when you return because the 90-day clock resets. 

Some more tips 

It is technically necessary to apply for an extension every year if you are an Elite Visa holder, but if you leave before the year is up, you will automatically receive another one-year stamp when you return. If you stay in the country for the entire time, it is very easy to apply for an extension, and your Elite Visa will be extended.

Make sure your passport is valid for at least one year to avoid getting your Elite Visa application rejected.

Applicants who overstayed in Thailand in the past are eligible to apply three years after their last overstay period. In addition, they must consent to a background check conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Bureau.

It has not been announced by Thailand Elite which types of criminal backgrounds or bankruptcy conditions will still be rejected if it is a felony misdemeanor or how long ago your bankruptcy was. However, the application is very short, and you will not be required to pay the membership fee until after you have been approved, so you could apply and cross your fingers and before wasting too much time and money.

If you are looking to stay in Thailand for an extended period of time, then you will need to apply for either a Thailand Elite Visa or a Thailand LTR Visa. Both visas have their own benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to weigh up your options before making a decision. The Elite Visa gives you access to a number of privileges and perks, but it is also more expensive than the LTR Visa. Ultimately, the decision comes down to what is most important to you and which visa will better suit your needs.

 

Check your eligibility for Thailand Elite Visa Now:

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