What is Thailand Elite. Frequently Asked Questions.

About Thailand Elite

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The Thailand Elite Residence Program is a long-term privilege entry visa program managed by the Thailand Privilege Card Company Limited (TPC). TPC is a wholly-owned subsidiary under the Ministry of Tourism and Sport. The purpose of the program is to promote Thailand to foreigners through the issuance of a privilege entry visa, giving them the right to reside in Thailand for up to 20 years.

TPC registered its incorporation under the Civil and Commercial Code on 29 August 2003, having the Tourism Authority of Thailand as its sole shareholder and having the status of state enterprise under the Budget Procedures Act B.E. 2502 (1959).

The Thailand Elite Residence Program was initiated according to Article 17 of the Immigration Law B.E. 2522 (2003). It is supported by all government agencies and successful applications are irrevocable. The program has had over 4,000 approvals since inception.

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There are currently seven program options for the Thailand Elite Residence Program. All options have common features such as airport immigration express services (elite personal assistance through immigration and access to executive lounges), access to a 24-hour contact center, and government concierge services.

The main differences between the program options are the term of the visa (either five, 10, or 20 years), the nature of the airport transfer services, and other complimentary benefits included in the package.

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The key factors that an applicant must consider when deciding on which program option to select are:

  1. Does the applicant require a visa for five, 10, or 20 years?
  2. Is it a single applicant or multiple/family application?
  3. What additional benefits and complimentary services are required by the applicant?

Kindly note that the visa provided to Thailand Elite Residence Program members is not considered a non-immigrant visa and therefore does not allow the successful applicant to work in Thailand.

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No, an applicant is not required to make any investment in order to apply for the program.

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No, an individual is not eligible to acquire a Thailand Elite Residence Program privilege entry visa in this case. The individual is required to leave the country if they are overstaying on their current entry.

Any applicant who has more than one overstaying record will not be eligible to apply for the Thailand Elite Residence Program. Regardless of whether an approval letter has been issued, any member with a record of overstaying more than once will be rejected at the immigration office when they arrive to have their privilege entry visa affixed.

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The application fees range from a non-refundable payment of THB 2,140,000 (approximately USD 68,000) with a 20-year validity; THB 1,000,000 (approximately USD 32,000) with a 10-year validity; to THB 500,000 (approximately USD 16,000) with a five-year validity.

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The Elite Easy Access option is designed as a trial option for new prospects. Once the successful Elite Easy Access applicant gets familiar with and enjoys the Thailand Elite Residence Program and its benefits, the applicant is allowed to upgrade to the Elite Ultimate Privilege option for a fee of THB 1.5 million (approximately USD 45,000) excluding VAT.

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Successful applicants of the Elite Ultimate Privilege program option are allowed a one-time transfer of the remaining validity of the privilege entry visa to another person. A one-time transfer fee is payable at 20% of the prevailing application fee at the time of the transfer. Currently, the transfer fee is THB 400,000 (20% of THB 2,000,000 excluding VAT). After transfer, the term of the visa is subject to the remaining period.

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Both program options provide the applicant with a 20-year privilege entry visa and airport express services through immigration. The Elite Superiority Extension program option, however, does not allow for the one-time transfer of the visa nor does it provide the complimentary services such as golf, spa treatments, and the annual health check (which is included in Elite Ultimate Privilege). The Elite Superiority Extension program option does not have an annual fee payable and there is no age restriction for applicants. The Elite Ultimate Privilege requires a THB 20,000 (approximately USD 600) annual fee (excluding VAT) and applicants must be 20 years or older.

The application process

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We provide two different application processes. With the ‘Assisted Application’ you can take advantage of a convenient, fast and simple application process directly supported by our staff. Feel free to contact us for personal guidance via email or office number.

The ‘Apply Yourself’ option is apparent in the application section, where all process steps are clearly mentioned. Feel free to complete each online process step yourself.

Both application process options are free of charge.

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The applicant must have and maintain to have the following qualifications:

  1. Not having been sentenced by a judgment to imprisonment in any countries except for an offense committed due to negligence;
  2. Not having been adjudicated bankrupt;
  3. Not having been declared as a person of unsound mind, incompetence, or quasi-incompetence;
  4. Not having previously overstayed a visa in Thailand;
  5. Being allowed to stay in Thailand in accordance with the immigration laws or any related law of Thailand;
  6. Holding a foreign passport; and
  7. Being sui juris under Thai law
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The applicant must fill in and sign an application form and provide the following supporting documents:

  • Copy of each applicant’s passport biodata page*
  • High-resolution color passport-size photo or digital photo not exceeding 2 MB
  • Copy of birth certificate**
  • Copy of marriage certificate**

* The passport must have a minimum validity of six months and three blank pages

** This is only required for family applications to prove the relationship to the main applicant

All documents must be translated into English where applicable and such translations must be notarized.

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The application process and required documents for the Thailand Elite Residence Program visa are not onerous. The most important documents are the application form, a copy of the applicant(s) passport, and color photos of the applicant(s). For family applications, proof of the relationship between the core applicant and family members must be included in the submission. The applicant must sign as indicated on all pages of the application form.

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Dependents who can write must sign on the designated space on the application form. Dependents who cannot write, for example, children, must provide a fingerprint on the signature area (right thumb), whereby the parent (core applicant) must then initial upon the fingerprint.

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There are no quotas.

Please note that nationals of Afghanistan, Algeria, Cameroon, Central Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Guinea, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Palestine, Republic of the Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen are currently ineligible to acquire the Thailand Elite Residence Program Privilege Entry visa.

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Approval in principle will be received one month* from application submission.

*Background checks for nationalities that are listed on US and/or UN sanction lists and international watch lists may take up to three (3) months to complete.

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The process overview is as follows:

  1. Submission of completed and signed application form and relevant supporting documents (up to one month for processing and approval) -> issuance of approval and payment request
  2. Make payment (bank transfer, credit card) and submit proof of payment (allow five days for full payment transfer) -> issuance of a welcome letter from the Thailand Elite Residence Program
  3. Provide five days advance notice before visiting Thailand — visa affixed at designated international airports (Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Phuket, Chiang Mai)

Payment and getting your visa affixed

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Yes, the application fee can be paid by a third party. The relationship between the applicant and sponsor must be disclosed and supporting documents may be requested.

Kindly note that the proof of payment must always include the applicant’s name.

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The visa can be affixed to the successful applicant’s passport at various locations:

  • Overseas Thai embassies or consulates*
  • Immigration bureau (for foreigners living in Thailand and available during business days only.)*
  • Designated airports:
    • Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and Phuket airport**; service available 24/7 and available on direct international arrival flights
    • Chiang Mai airport**; service available 24/7 without EPA assistance
    • Should the successful applicant wish to have their visa affixed during transit in Thailand, they are required to ensure that there is a 4 to 5-hour gap between flights and must inform the Customer Contact Centre upon booking

* Processing time may take up to 30 days

** Five days advance notice must be given prior to getting the visa affixed at the airports. This is the most preferred and efficient option

For applicants who hold two or more passports, the Elite visa will be affixed to the passport provided during the application process only.

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Only applicants who hold any of the following visas are eligible to obtain the Privilege Entry visa without prior visa cancellation:

  • A tourist visa
  • A visa on arrival
  • An exempted visa

Some nationalities are required to apply for a Tourist visa before entering Thailand to be eligible to affix the Thailand Elite Residence Program Privilege Entry visa.

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An applicant who is staying in Bangkok, Thailand and holding a Non-Immigrant visa must complete the cancellation procedure of the Non-Immigrant visa and request to get the Thailand Elite visa to be affixed in the same day (cancel in the morning period and get Thailand Elite Visa in the afternoon). For applicants staying in other provinces outside of Bangkok, the applicant may apply for a 7-day extension as a buffering period to travel to Bangkok. These applicants may therefore obtain the Thailand Elite visa within the 7-day extension period.

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The Thailand Elite Residence Program Privilege Entry visa has a five-year validity and will be renewed according to the validity of the Thailand Elite Residence Program option chosen. The visa will be affixed to the applicant’s passport according to the remaining validity of the passport. Should an applicant’s passport expire prior to the five years, any years remaining on the visa will be transferred to the next passport. This is according to the immigration regulations of the Thailand Immigration Bureau, whereby if the validity of the successful applicant’s current passport is not at least five years, the Thailand Elite privilege entry visa will be affixed in accordance with the expiration date stated on the passport and the remaining validity will then be affixed to the new passport once obtained. The Thailand Elite Residence Program requires at least three blank pages of the current passport. For example:

  • Elite Easy Access program option with five-years’ validity
  • Passport expiry: 30 September 2020
  • Visa affix date: 1 April 2017
  • The validity of visa on the passport is from 1 April 2017 to 30 September 2020 (i.e. 3.5 years)
  • The remaining validity of 1.5 years will be affixed on the new passport at designated locations

In the event of a member having a new passport issued, the member is required to submit the personal detail page of the new passport to the Customer Contact Centre in order for them to update the information. A reservation will be required to affix the remaining period of the Privilege Entry visa on the new passport.

Complimentary services and benefits

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The services range from expedited immigration, visa processing, and airport transportation services to complimentary golf, spa treatments and annual hospital check-ups; as well as a host of shopping, hotel, resort and dining experiences. The exact nature and quantity of the complimentary services will depend on the program option chosen. This can include:

Airport services

Successful applicants will be welcomed by an Elite Personal Assistant (EPA) at designated Thai airports who will assist with all immigration formalities.

Transfer services

For all international flights, the applicant can make reservations with the Thailand Elite Residence Program Contact Centre for a short- and/or long-haul transfer service. Reservations must be made 48 hours before arrival in Thailand.

The short-haul distance is up to 50 kilometers from the airport.

The long-haul distance is up to 275 kilometers from the airport.

Health-check

One annual health check-up is provided at participating private hospitals.

Golf/spa

Applicants can enjoy free or discounted golf or spa treatments at participating golf courses and spa centers.

Kindly note that an Elite Personal Liaison (EPL) is free of charge on the first use only. Fees apply for any subsequent service.

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The successful applicant may simply send a request for service to the Thailand Elite Residence Program Contact Centre at memberservice@thailandelite.com or via +66 (0) 2352 3000 (24-hour service, seven days a week) in advance, as per the Thailand Elite Residence Program service policy. The contact center team will coordinate with the service providers for reservation and service confirmation, which will be returned to the successful applicant within 24 hours.

Complimentary airport transfer service is available for international flights only from these locations:

  • Bangkok International Airport (Suvarnabhumi)
  • Phuket International Airport
  • Chiang Mai International Airport
  • Samui International Airport

Reporting obligations

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Successful applicants can stay in Thailand as long as they wish according to the validity of the program option selected.

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Yes. Successful applicants that remain in Thailand for a continuous stay of more than 365 days per entry but will need to pay an Immigration Bureau fee of THB 1,900 (approximately USD 58).

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No, there is no requirement in any circumstances.

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As required by Thailand Immigration law, all foreigners and Thailand Elite Residence Program members must perform and file a 90-day report within 15 days before or seven days after your 90 days’ period expiry date. However, if the member exits Thailand at any time before the 90-day period, subsequently the day count will restart from the first day of re-entry into Thailand.

For Thailand Elite Residence Program Privilege Entry visa holders, the applicant merely needs to inform TPC 14 days in advance of the intention to stay over 90 days and request TPC to submit the 90-day report on their behalf. To do so, the Thailand Elite Residence Program Privilege Entry visa holder must drop off their passport at TPC’s head office in Bangkok on Tuesdays and collect it on Thursday. For members staying in Phuket, Chiang Mai, and Chonburi, the passport may be dropped off at TPC’s contracted agents in each province.

Living in Thailand

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Yes, applicants can own condominiums in their own name. If applicants wish to acquire land and build a house, they can obtain a long-term lease on the land (for up to 30 years). Applicants will need to apply for a construction permit to build the house in their own name, however, this way applicants can own the house and have a secured long-term lease on the land.

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Yes, successful applicants can buy a car in Thailand. The Privilege Entry visa includes government concierge services that also assist with the application for a driver’s license in Thailand.

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If the successful applicant already holds a driving license, the process of driving license conversion could generally be done within a day with the assistance of an Elite Personal Liaison (EPL). This service must be booked in advance.

A driver’s license can be obtained from the Department of Land Transport. The necessary documents are as follows:

  1. Passport with Thailand Elite Residence Program Privilege Entry visa, both original and two photocopies
  2. Good health condition with medical examination report within one month prior to application
  3. Two color photos; straight-facing, no glasses or hat
  4. International driver’s license or other driver’s license, both original and two photocopies (if any)

All documents must be translated into English and notarized.

The Thai driver’s license application process includes:

  • Paper test
  • Physical test
  • Mandatory instruction session for two hours
  • Application fees of USD 50

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Yes, successful applicants can open a bank account but only if they have a residential address, either purchased or leased, in Thailand.

Thailand Elite Residence Program members may open a bank account, subject to five business days’ notice, with the following banks:

  • Bangkok Bank
  • KBank

Bank account options available for Thailand Elite Residence Program members are:

  • Thai Baht account(s)
  • FCD (Foreign Currency Deposit) account(s)
  • Fixed-account credit card

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There are many international health insurance companies available in Thailand, such as Allianz, AXA, Generali, and AIG. A package providing world-class private hospital care in Thailand starts from an annual premium of USD 2,000 with maximum lifetime coverage of USD 2.25 million for an insured 45-year-old. The cost of annual premiums can be as low as USD 500; however, these are not recommended because top private hospital charges are higher than the coverage by low-premium insurance.

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Yes, this is possible subject to the specific school’s own rules. Thailand has many well-known international schools whose graduates include prominent people such as a former US Secretary of Treasury, Olympic athletes, actors, artists, and singers.

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The Thailand Elite Residence Program Privilege Entry visa itself does not entitle applicants to work in Thailand.

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In Thailand, as a foreigner, you are only allowed to own 49% of a company. Should the successful applicant wish to own 100% of the company, the applicant must apply for a Foreign Business License under the Foreign Business Act. In this way, the applicant can apply for business promotion by the Board of Investment Thailand, which allows 100% foreign ownership or gives incentives — such as tax exemption — on many promoted businesses. Thailand Elite Residence Program members are not allowed to work in Thailand, which means that while a company can be established, the successful applicant can only hold the position of owner (investor) or shareholder.

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In terms of the taxation in Thailand, individuals residing in Thailand may be subject to personal income tax in Thailand, depending on the source of income and the duration of their stay in the country.

Individuals are deemed to be tax resident in Thailand only if they stay in Thailand for an aggregate period of not less than 180 days within a calendar year. Any Thai or foreign individual who derives assessable income from sources in Thailand or for work performed in Thailand is liable to pay personal income tax, whether or not such income is paid within or outside Thailand.

In addition, a resident of Thailand is liable to personal income tax on assessable income derived from sources outside Thailand and remitted into Thailand in the same year in which such income is derived (remittance in the following year is not subject to tax).

The same logic applies to all types of income (including pensions, capital gains, interest, etc.). They are tax-free if they are earned abroad (from foreign sources/companies/shares) and not brought into Thailand within the same tax year.

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Successful applicants can get a tax resident certificate (TRC) only when they accumulatively spend more than 180 days in Thailand in any tax (calendar) year.

Applicants that receive income in Thailand (e.g. rental income from an investment property) can declare such income in that calendar year during the tax filing period (1 January–31 March of the following year) and a tax identification number (TIN) can be obtained.

In order to request a TIN, the applicant must have a residential address in Thailand.

Permanent residence and Thai citizenship

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A privilege entry visa obtained through the Thailand Elite Residence Program does not lead to either permanent residence status or Thai citizenship.

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To apply for permanent residence, the applicant must have held a Thai non-immigrant visa for at least three consecutive years prior to the application submission.

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A person who wishes to apply for Thai citizenship must hold Thai permanent resident status for no less than 10 consecutive years. Annual quotas for naturalization will be announced by the Ministry of Interior.

Apply for Thailand Elite

The Thailand Elite Residence Program offers you the opportunity to obtain a privilege entry visa, giving you the right to live in the country for up to 20 years, with a selection of additional complimentary services and benefits. The Thailand Elite Official Application Portal makes the application process quick and simple, allowing you to apply and track your progress online with complimentary assistance available upon request.

Apply now