Many people who go to Thailand expecting to stay there for a long time get disappointed. It quickly turns out that you can’t live there indefinetly without a proper visa, which is hard to get. Thailand Elite Visa allows you to stay in the Land of Smiles for a couple of years without the need of sorting out the formalities at the immigration office. One of my readers has been using it and was very kind to share his advice and experience.
Thai government makes it harder and harder for long-term immigrants to live in the country. You need to fill in a long list of documents and travel to Laos, or Malaysia to renew your visa every few months, or at least once a year. Then, there is the uncertainty of being refused another permission to stay. Many people move out of Thailand and start their lives somewhere else.
If you are one of the lucky ones and can spend a little bit of money to stay in Thailand longer, then you can apply for Thailand Elite Visa, which gives you the right to live in the Land of Smiles for 5 years.
What are the current rules for the long-term immigrants in Thailand?
I have written about long term visas to Thailand before. I recommend reading the post first. I will not repeat the same information. All you need to know is that there are very limited option for you to stay in Thailand.
- Do a TEFL course, become a teacher, get a work permit and work in schools. This is a potentially long-term possibility to stay in the country. However, the pay is low and the job is hard.
- Buy a Thai course and learn the language. This gives you an opportunity to stay in Thailand from a year to three years. Every few months you need to renew the visa and there’s no guarantee that it will be granted. You can also be asked some questions in Thai at the immigration office.
- Open a business in Thailand. This is only possible for people who have some extra money and are able to employ at least 3 Thai employees.
- Get married to a Thai citizen and get a marriage visa. This is a complicated and an expensive process.
- Apply for a multientry tourist visa, which should last a year. After that you might not able to get another one. You must apply for it in your country of residence every time.
There are a couple other possiblities. Some organisations offer self-defense visa, or an opportunity to volunteer once a month. However, I have not explored these options and don’t know much about them.
Thailand Elite Visa explained
I heard about Thailand Elite Visa a long time ago, when I still lived in Thailand. The idea of it sounded great, but I didn’t (and still don’t) want to spend so much money. However, there are some people who are willing to pay for the privilage to live in Thailand and below information is for them.
What is Thailand Elite Visa?
Thailand Elite Visa is a government programme for foreign visitors, who would like to stay in the country for longer. It provides VIP services as well as visas, which allows the member of the programme to stay in Thailand from 5 to 20 years.
Who is Thailand Elite Visa for?
It is for everyone, who would like to live in Thailand for longer and doesn’t want to worry about visas and all the formalities.
What benefits are included?
There are a number of benefits and privilages that are included in the membership from free massages, free entry to golf courses, private airport shuttles and special discounts for certain events and services around the country. There is even an annual medical check up included!
Have a look at the full list here.
How much is it?
The name says it for itself – it’s an elite offer, only for those that can afford it.
As you can see from the above table, the cheapest visa is 500,000 Bhat, which is around 13,000 Euros. However, this is one time fee, which gives you 2,600 Euros per year and over 200 Euros per month.
There are no installments available though.
How to apply for Thailand Elite Visa?
If you have decided that this is an option for you, here are the steps you need to follow to apply for the visa.
Contact the right agency
There are quite a few agencies that offer the visa to foreigners. You can shop around and choose the best for you. The prices are the same though. My reader did everything through this agency.
Write them an email informing them that you would like to apply. They will send you a list of benefits and a list of items they need.
Prepare your documents
You will need:
- A scan of your passport with your photo on it in jpeg.
- A scan of your photograph in jpeg and in colour.
- A scan of your current visa to Thailand.
- A scan of the application form hand signed by you.
- Information about your current visa and its expiration dates.
- Confirmation that you have at least 3 empty pages in your passport.
- Information if you have overstayed your visa. You can overstay your visa only once. If you have done it more than once, you won’t get the Elite Visa.
- Your criminal background check.
You can apply for the visa wherever you are, even if you are outside of Thailand. You can do it online
The verification of your documents will last from 1 to 3 months. When you get an approval letter, you have maximum 3 months to pay for your membership. You can pay it using Revolut, Transferwise, a transfer from one of the Thai banks, or on the site of your chosen agency.
The agency will then confirm receiving the transfer and it will take them a couple of days to register you in the system.
Getting the visa
When your membership is approved you have two choices of how you can get the visa in your passport:
- Arriving at one of the airports and receiving it at the immigration stand (only in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Phuket and Chiang Mai International Airports).
- Going to the immigration office in Bangkok.
If you choose the first option, you can also ask one of the staff from the agency to assist you when you land. You can also order a shuttle from the airport to your accommodation.
Remember to have your membership certification letter with you after landing in Thailand. The process of getting the visa at the airport will last from 10 to 45 minutes. Double check if you got the right visa!
Important additional information
- This visa is a tourist visa and doesn’t allow you to work in Thailand.
- You need to go to the immigration office every 90 days to fill out a form with your current address.
- If you want to leave the country, you don’t need to renew the visa, but you need to report it using the TM30 form. If you have a property in Thailand, you can do it here, or through this app.
- Every year you need to re-new the visa even though it has the expiry dates of 5-20 years. The cost each time is 1900 Baht.
- If your passport expires during this time, you will get a stamp with the validity of the passport. Once you get a new one, you will get a new stamp with new dates.
Thailand Elite Visa is definetly worth applying for if you love Thailand and want to live there undisturbed. It gives you great benefits, too.
I hope you found this post useful and that it will help you with applying for the visa.
Thank you to my reader, who provided me with great information. This person asked me not to mention their name.