Since 2003, Thailand Elite, an organization supported by the Thai government and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (“TAT”), has offered the opportunity to eligible foreigners to obtain a Thailand visitor visa for 5, 10 or 20 years, as applicable under the Thailand Privilege Card Program to attract more tourists, businessmen and entrepreneurs allowing them exclusive access to visitor privileges and additional complementary services and benefits such as concierge services and exclusive assistance at airports, complimentary limousine transfers, assistance with 90-day stay reports, special discounts at hotels, dining establishments, leading department stores and shopping malls all to promote greater tourism visits and foreign investments into the country.
To become a member of the Thailand Privilege Card Program, the applicant must have and maintain strict qualifications such as holding a foreign passport with 5-year remaining validity from an accepted country. In addition, the applicant must have no overstay records in Thailand, have no adjudications of bankruptcy and have not been sentenced by a judgement of imprisonment in any countries. In essence, there is no income and age limit requirements to apply for the Thailand Elite Visa, other than being at least 20 years of age and paying the applicable non-refundable membership fee.
Although from September 15, 2023, no further applications will be accepted to the current Thailand Privilege Card Program, Thailand Elite is offering memberships to new expanded membership packages.
New Membership Packages Offered by Thailand Elite
Starting effectively from October 1, 2023, Thailand Elite will start accepting applications for new membership packages different and expanded from the current packages.
Further information on the exact detailed privileges of each membership tier card type under the new membership packages and their expanded complementary benefits, as well as terms, conditions and guidelines, have been published on the website of Thailand Elite.
For ease of quick initial reference, we have extracted relevant highlighted information in the comparison table below between the current membership packages and the new membership packages. Some clarifications may be needed on some details from Thailand Elite as they are practically implemented.
|Current membership packages
available to apply until September 14, 2023
|New membership packages available to apply from October 1, 2023 onwards|
|Types of membership package and membership validity||Membership fee||Types of membership package and membership validity||Membership fee|
|Elite Easy Access – 5 years||THB 600,000 Net (VAT included)||Gold – 5 years||THB 900,000 Net (VAT included)|
|Elite Family Alternative – 10 years||THB 800,000 Net (VAT included)||Platinum – 10 years||THB 1,500,000 Net (VAT included)
For the primary membership card
|Elite Privilege Access – 10 years||THB 1,000,000 Net (VAT included)||THB 1,000,000 Net (VAT included)
For a supplementary membership card
|Elite Superiority Extension – 20 years||THB 1,000,000 Net (VAT included)||Diamond – 15 years||THB 2,500,000 Net (VAT included)
For the primary membership card
|Elite Ultimate Privileges – 20 years||THB 2,000,000 Net (VAT included)||THB 1,500,000 Net (VAT included)
For a supplementary membership card
Special Black Card membership packages for 20 year periods would be by invitation from Thailand Elite only.
Applications for new Thailand Privilege Card membership will be accepted through the online portal https://thailand-elite.com/application/. The completion of the application procedure for membership at Thailand Elite may take 1 to 4 months, depending on the number of applicants and the applicants’ nationality such as:
- For Chinese and Indian citizens, the application may take 2.5 to 3 months;
- For US or EU citizens, the application may take 1.5 months; and
- For Burmese citizens, the application may take approximately 2.5 months.
After completion of the applicant’s background checks, submission of all required documents and payment of the membership fees of the selected program, it may take approximately 1 week for the successful applicant to receive an official welcome letter and the Thailand Privilege ID card from Thailand Elite. With the Thailand Privilege Card membership, members would have a privileged entry visa for the period according to their Thailand Elite membership package and can access speedy security and immigration counter processing at Thailand airport Premium Lanes.
However, it should be noted that such members cannot apply for a Thai work permit to be employed to work in Thailand, nor can members operate a business in Thailand as the privilege entry visa under the Thailand Privilege Card Program is a tourist visa type specifically for the purposes of tourism visits only.
Non-Immigrant B Visa and Thai Work Permit
Normally, if a foreigner intends to legally work in Thailand, such person is required to originally apply for and obtain a Non-Immigrant B Visa at a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in his or her home country. Then, the Non-Immigrant B visa holders can apply for a Thai work permit at the Department of Employment of the Thai Ministry of Labor to legally work in Thailand.
Flexible Plus Program and Thai Work Permit
Alternatively, such foreigner who wishes to work in Thailand can apply for a Thailand Privilege Card membership under the Flexible Plus Program offered by Thailand Elite, which has investment terms and conditions. Upon obtaining membership under such Flexible Plus Program, the applicant would be able to apply for and obtain a Thai work permit to be able to legally work in Thailand.
Under the Flexible Plus Program, the successful Thailand Privilege Card member would have a 10-year or longer period, as applicable membership package with THB 1 million (or greater, as applicable) membership fee, and must fulfill the following conditions:
- The required investment into Thailand (under the terms and conditions of the Flexible Plus Program) must be made into Thailand within 1 year from the date of Thailand Privilege Card membership and sustained for a 5 year period;
- Investment value must be made not less than USD 1 million;
- Investment must be made in real estate, limited companies or public limited companies in Thailand and as listed in the Stock Exchange of Thailand.
In addition, the Thailand Privilege Card member (under the Flexible Plus Program) is required to present satisfactory sustained investment evidence to Thailand Elite on a yearly basis during the whole required 5-year period from the commencement of investment in parallel with the validity period of Thailand Privilege Card membership.
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This update is written for general information only. It does not constitute advice, and consultation with professional advisors is recommended.