Drinking Water In Chiang Mai – A Survival Guide

The Thailand Elite Visa – A Privileged Way to Extend One’s Stay

The Thailand Elite Visa

One of the lasting immigration policies of the Thaksin Shinawatra administration is the “Privilege Entry Visa”, also called the “Elite Visa”.

The Elite Visa is a multiple-entry visa, valid for five-years, which can be renewed easily upon expiration. But here’s the caveat: as long as the applicant still holds a valid membership in the Thailand Elite program.

Thailand Elite Program

That caveat right there is enough to dissuade many retirees from pursuing the thought of getting the Elite Visa. The Thailand Elite program that is a prerequisite to obtaining the Elite Visa is a program that was first instituted by the Thaksin administration to encourage a wealthier class of tourists to visit Thailand.

Essentially the program rolls out the red carpet to foreign visitors having the necessary funds to pay for it by offering a range of services and amenities designed to appeal to high, net-worth individuals, whether they are short-term visitors or longer-term residents.

The benefits of the program, if you can afford it, are many and they start right when you first enter the country as long as you fly into the Bangkok, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai or Phuket airports.

The Thailand Elite Visa – A Privileged Way to Extend One’s Stay

Your Elite personal assistants will meet you at the gate and expedite you through the immigration and customs formalities, which dispenses with the need to wait in queues. You’ll also be offered a complimentary limousine service to and from the airport and your hotel or place of residence.

Once you’re in the country you’ll be able to take advantage of 24 complimentary green’s fees for the golfers and 24 spa treatments for the self-indulgent per year. Add to this the discounts at stores, hotels and restaurants you’ll have available to you simply by flashing your Thailand Elite card and the benefits can definitely add up. They even throw in a complimentary health check-up every year.

The Elite assistants can also arrange to take care of the mandatory 90-day reporting (if you’re in the Bangkok area), and can even help with business registration, work permits and driver’s licences.

No Age Restrictions

One thing that may appeal to the under-50 set is that there are no age restrictions with the Thailand Elite program. To those who are under the age of 50 and looking for an easy way to avoid visa issues and headaches, this may be your answer.

However, take into consideration the fact that if you plunk down the 2 Million Baht membership fee, you’re paying for a 20-year membership that doesn’t include the annual fee of 20,000 Baht. So, while the deal may hold a lot of appeal for wealthy 30 year-olds, it may be less appealing to someone who’s closer to 50 and will be eligible for a retirement visa in a just a few years.


Look at the Visa as an Added Bonus

The foreign visitors that the Thailand Elite program was designed for are people who want, and can pay for, an elite level of convenience during their stay in Thailand, not people who are simply looking for a way to stay in Thailand longer than a tourism visa would allow.

That’s the way people who are interested in comparing the financial aspects of the Elite Visa against other types of visas should look at it. You’re not paying for the visa per se. You’re paying for the services that go along with the visa.

If the qualifications for the program as a whole stretch your finances or you’re looking at the program from the perspective that obtaining the visa is your only choice to stay in Thailand legally, you shouldn’t even consider it. You’re not the type of person who the program was designed for and you’ll probably be throwing away whatever money you do have down the line.

On the other hand, if you are able to easily afford the membership requirements and can appreciate and utilise the benefits that the Thailand Elite program has to offer, no matter what your age, then it can be an easy way around Thailand’s visa restrictions as well. It’s up to you to do the research and decide.

We would love to hear your thoughts and comments on the Elite Visa below. Does anyone you know have one and what do they think of it?

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19 thoughts on “The Thailand Elite Visa – A Privileged Way to Extend One’s Stay”

  • Tod Daniels

    The lowest price point the Elite Easy Access is 500K (290baht a day over the 5 years). It gives unlimited entries/exits into thailand with each entry getting you stamped in for a new calendar year.
    I know a few people in Bangkok who have this visa and not one of them said it didn’t deliver exactly what it promised. To a person they are happy with the program.
    Many of these were foreigners who live in thailand but work overseas or online and didn’t fit neatly into any of the year long visa extension categories.
    IF you can afford it, the program is definitely the way to go.

    • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

      Hi Tod, Thank you very much for your thoughts and comments, It is basically unheard of for someone in Chiang Mai to have one.
      But I hear it is not uncommon for people to have them in BKK and other places like that.

    • Chang

      Hi Tod. If you have an old type Elite card membership, this is the best
      (Estimate 80 Baht a day over 30 years)
      This membership gives 5 years renewable special entry visa,
      daily complimentary golf and Thai massage, and complimentary annual
      medical check-up at hospitals

  • James

    I need to do some math on this. I wonder how the cost would compare to doing a tourist/education visa for five years? Including traveling, hotels, etc…. May be worth it!

    • zhanna

      education visa only for one year… with every 90 days immigration check-in

  • William C F Pierce

    I read on Thai Visa that the current Government introduced a 20 year Elite Vise @ 500,000 baht, so what is the difference between the 5 year and 20 year visa.
    The price and benefits seem to be the same.

    • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

      Hi William, It is our understanding that the 20 year Elite Visa is 2 Million Baht.

  • jak

    Has anyone done a price comparison , how the 500k out lay stacks up against the one year costs and annual renewals , would be fascinating to see how they compa TIA

  • Samuel Christopher isaiah

    Will I be eligible to buy a property – 3 rooms condo in Chiang Mai? I’m 66 years old Malaysian.

    • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

      Hi Samuel,
      You are always eligible to buy a condo in Chiang Mai as long the funds come from overseas, you can even do this on a tourist visa. I have sent you an email with additional information.
      Kind regards
      Perfect Homes

  • Sarah Falconar

    Do you have any information on The Elite residency programe $60,000 for 20 years etc… It’s all over Facebook at the moment. Where and what types of properties do you buy into? Is there an application process?

    • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

      Hi Sarah,
      I am sorry we are not linked to any particular company offering these visas. Though you can still only buy condos on this visa. This does not change.

  • Chang

    Hi Sarah

    Thai government had issued Thailand Elite card for lifetime.

    • Chang

      This original Thailand Elite card has special privileges
      So I recommend you to buy this

  • Ian

    Are there any better options for those of us who are 50+ but not in receipt of the state pension yet?

    • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

      Hi Ian,
      Have you read about the investment visa? Is that an option for you?

  • Tony

    The Malaysian 10 year visa does not require any visit to immigration during the 10 years . A relatively small returnable , interest earning deposit in the bank is all that is required.
    Does the Elite programme require visits to immigration and any bank deposit or earnings ?

    • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

      HI Tony, Thank you for your comments and questions, there are visits to immigration on the Elite Visa but it is all made very easy for you.

  • Chang

    Thai government does not issue Thai Elite Card for lifetime anymore.
    If you need, you can buy from the member who has it


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