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Thailand approves new 10-year visa to attract wealthy expats, investors, retirees

Thai Cabinet has approved in principle a new 10-year visa measure that is aimed at attracting wealthy long-stay expats to Thailand.

In order to revive the country’s battered economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the government is courting international investors, highly qualified professionals, and wealthy retirees. According to a report, a 10-year visa for long-term residents will soon be available, as will work permits for individuals who qualify.

According to government spokesman Rachada Dhnadirek, while the visa awarded to qualified individuals would be a 10-year visa, it must be renewed and extended after the fifth year. The extension is only valid for another 5 years.

10-year visa hopes to attract wealthy expats with the potential to boost the economy

Thailand’s Cabinet has authorized the implementation of a 10-year visa for wealthy foreigners or digital nomads, the target group that the government has emphasized as a remedy to the shortage of tourists caused by Covid-19. Other than this measure, the Thai government has also resumed the quarantine-free Test & Go entry scheme for tourists to boost the tourism industry.

Government officials believe that a few high-quality and big-spending tourists can outnumber the undesired budget-conscious tourists that flocked to Thailand prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thailand approves 10-year visa to attract wealthy expats, investors, retirees
Requirements of foreign arrivals are checked at a Thailand airport

According to a government official, the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of the Interior are already working on developing laws for a long-term visa enabling highly skilled digital nomads and wealthy expats to stay in Thailand for longer period. They claim that attracting these high-quality tourists will boost investment and economic stimulus measures.

The 10-year visa is meant to attract wealthy travellers from four groups that have been the backbone of the government’s tourism initiatives in recent months:

  • Digital nomads, professionals who work remotely online
  • Highly skilled workers who have the potential to advance Thailand with their talents and salaries
  • Wealthy global citizens which government officials predicted to possibly spend 1 million baht per trip
  • Wealthy pensioners or retired wealthy people with a lot of spare income per month

Thailand is recently ranked as the best country to live in Southeast Asia for expats. Expats looking for a new life in a warmer climate and at a lower cost of living may choose to consider this Southeast Asian country.

Qualification certificate requirement for 10-year visa

Foreign nationals who feel they fit the eligibility criteria first must apply for a “qualification certificate,” which requires them to show documents and proof of their status. Qualification certificates can be obtained from the Thai Board of Investment or from any Thai embassy or consulate.

Those who are coming to work in Thailand and hold a qualification certificate can apply for a work permit. Work permits will be granted for the length of the applicant’s employment contract, up to a maximum of 5 years. Then it can be extended for another five years. The work permit expires when the long-term residency visa expires. In compliance with Thai immigration laws, holders may convert to a different visa type.

Thailand approves 10-year visa to attract wealthy expats, investors, retirees
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha at the Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International airport in Thailand.

Cost of a 10-year visa

Foreign nationals who have been awarded the qualification certificate can subsequently apply for a long-term resident visa for themselves and their spouse.

The 10-year visa costs 10,000 baht per person each year, and holders must still declare their residency to authorities – but only once a year. If you will, consider this the 365-day report.

While the qualifying restrictions are still being worked out, they have disclosed some enticing price figures. The visa will be granted for 5 years at a fee of 10,000 baht each year, with the option of extending it for another 5 years.

It is significantly less expensive than the current long-term visa options of the Thai Elite Visa program, where a 5-year visa is 600,000 baht, a 10-year visa is 1 million baht, and a 20-year visa is 2.4 million baht including annual fees, which is quite a bit more expensive than simply purchasing two 10-year visas.

The rest of the regulations are still being finalized, but the Ministry of Labour assures foreigners will be able to begin working immediately upon arrival in Thailand and will not have to wait for their work permit application to be completed and a work permit to be issued if they apply for this new 10-year visa.

Once the remainder of the requirements is in place, the Ministries will make an official announcement, and the new 10-year visa will be available.

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