Thailand Elite Visa Review: What You Should Know Before Applying

Have you heard of the Thailand Elite Visa?

It was introduced in 2013 after the Thai government approved the Thailand Privilege Card project proposed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

It’s the most convenient visa to live in Thailand with.

How convenient is it?

In short, you can get a five- to 20-year visa straight away without having to deal with paperwork or visit the immigration office.

It’s also an underrated visa since people ignore it after hearing about the 500,000 baht application fee.

So, let’s take a closer look at the Thailand Elite Visa, including the benefits you get, packages you can choose, restrictions, and application fee.

You can fill in the form at the end of the article to apply or learn more about it.

Disclaimer: In this guide you’ll come across affiliate and partner links. When you click and use their services or buy their products, Expat Den gets a small commission. You won’t pay anything extra for these services or products, but the small commission helps us cover the costs of running this website.

What is it?

With Thailand Elite visa, you can stay in Thailand from five to 20 years without having to worry about your visa conditions, paperwork, and extensions.

The visa also comes with various privileges, including access to airport pick-up services, privilege passport lanes, airport lounges, visa assistance, golf club memberships, and discounts on various services in Thailand.

The Thailand Elite Visa is run by Thai Government and aims to attract affluent visitors, businessmen, investors, and expats to stay in Thailand long-term. 

Who is it for? 

The Thailand Elite Visa is for anyone who lives or regularly comes to Thailand but doesn’t want to deal with Thailand’s bureaucratic visa system.

This includes digital nomads that don’t want to do visa runs, retirees who don’t want to be stressed with the new complicated regulations that have been regularly introduced, or investors or business people who need to fly in and out of Thailand several times a year. 

Benefits

Let’s take a look at the benefits that come with the Thailand Elite Visa. 

Long-Term Stays

The best part about the Thailand Elite Visa is that you don’t need to worry anymore about your visa. You can stay in Thailand for at least five years straight without having to do border runs or repetitively abusing tourist visas, which can result in later bans. 

As of now, visa options for Thailand are quite limited for long-term stayers. There are a lot of people who can’t get a visa just because the Thai Government doesn’t have a suitable visa for them.

This is especially true for digital nomads. This group of people is having problems getting a legit visa. They aren’t employed by a company. They can’t get business visas. And they aren’t qualified for the SMART visa, which is the new visa that was first expected to be a visa for digital nomads.

Another group is those who want to retire in Thailand but haven’t reached the age requirements or other conditions required by the retirement visa.

There’s also another group like investors or a business people who need to visit Thailand many times a year and find none of the current visa options suitable for them.

Visa Assistance

Another great benefit of the Thailand Elite Visa is the visa assistance that can get you out of the bureaucratic system in Thailand.

Thailand is a land of paperwork. Everything you need to apply, renew, or extend your visa, you need to prepare at least five different sets of documents from various organizations.

Long-term visas normally require much more than that.

Then, you need to visit the Thai embassy or the immigration office early in the morning and spend at least half a day there.

In addition, visa regulations change frequently. For example, a retirement visa now requires you to have health insurance, and you need to put 800,000 baht in your bank months before applying for the visa.

For the Elite Visa, you only need to give a copy of your passport to the Elite Visa agent. They will handle everything for you.

Then, you can fly to Thailand and meet the agent who will take you to a privilege passport lane, where they will affix your Elite Visa to your passport.

You can get the Elite visa right at the airport when flying in or out Thailand.

If you are already here in Thailand, you still need to go to the immigration office. Again, you will meet the visa agent who will take you to a privilege passport lane, and handle everything for you.

The visa should be done within 30 minutes instead of spending at least half a day at the immigration office.

Once you get your visa, you won’t need to worry about it anymore. Also, the regulations of the Elite Visa barely change.

Because of the visa assistance benefit, there’s a group of people who go for Elite Visa despite being eligible for other long-term visas. They just want to avoid lines and the stress of dealing with visas.

Note that you still need to do 90-days reporting with the Elite Visa. But you can drop your passport at the agent’s office and let them handle it for you. 

Airport Services

The Thailand Elite Visa program comes with airport services. The elite visa agent picks you up right inside the gate and escorts you to the fast-track lane at immigration. You can’t get this service from a normal airport transfer service.

You also get access to airport lounges in both departure and arrival halls at Suvarnabhumi, Chiang Mai, and Phuket airports.

Discounts

Originally, the idea of the Elite Visa was raised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to bring high-end visitors to Thailand. Therefore, the Thailand Elite Visa program has partnered with many travel related service providers throughout Thailand.

These partners are golf associations, hotels, travel agencies, department stores, cooking schools, and even Muay Thai camps.

By showing your Thailand Elite Card, you immediately get discounts for you, your family, and your guests. 

Thailand Elite Card

You will get a Thailand Elite card once you are approved for the Thailand Elite visa program. It’s like a membership card. You can use it to get all the benefits from the Thailand Elite Visa program.

You will get this card once your Thailand Elite visa is approved. 

Other

With the 20-year visa package, you can play golf and have spa treatments 24 times a year free of charge at any golf associations or spas that are partners of the Thailand Elite program.

In addition, you can get one free health checkup a year and also have access to a member contact center who can provide support for anything you need while living your life in Thailand.

You also get access to the Thailand Elite Visa support center.

Restrictions 

You can’t get a work permit with the Thai Elite visa. Legally speaking, without a work permit, you can’t do any activity that generates income in Thailand. However, you are still able to hold company shares or invest.

You can still buy a car, invest in a condo, open a bank account, and get a driving license with it

Requirements

Everyone can apply for the Thailand Elite visa. You don’t need to find a job like with a business visa, reach a certain age like with the retirement visa, or marry Thai like with a marriage visa.

The only thing you literally need is the application fee, which should be paid in full during the application.

Other requirements are:

  • You need to obey Thai laws.
  • You need to have a passport that isn’t Thai.
  • You can’t have any criminal background in any countries.
  • You haven’t declared bankruptcy. 
  • You aren’t of unsound mind, incompetence, or quasi incompetent.
  • You haven’t overstayed your Thai visa more than twice in the past

Costs

Cost are the main requirements of the Thailand Elite Visa. The application fee for the cheapest program is 500,000 Thai baht–around $16,500. It gives you a five-year visa and other benefits mentioned above.

Although the number seems high, it isn’t as high as you may think. 500,000 Thai baht for a five-year visa means you pay 100,000 baht per year or 8,333.33 baht per month.

If you aren’t eligible for a long-term visa in Thailand and need to do a visa run, you need to pay around 10,000 Thai baht on average for a three day, 2 night trip to a nearby Thai embassy outside of Thailand. And each visa runs gives you 90 days here, all for around 3,300 baht per month.

It’s definitely cheaper. But it doesn’t count the time you need to spend traveling back and forth. Or the stress you need to deal with at immigration offices.

In addition, visa run aren’t entirely legal. Thailand can ban you from abusing it.

You won’t need to do border runs anymore with the Thailand Elite Visa. 

You can opt for an education visa by taking a Thai language course. However, this option is now only available to those who seriously want to learn Thai. You need to attend classes regularly every week.

And you need to take a Thai language test at the immigration office when extending your education visa.

With the application fee starting at 500,000 baht, the Elite Visa isn’t for everyone. But it’s a convenient choice for those who can afford it. 

Membership Packages

You have seven different packages to choose from. All packages come with visa assistance, airport services, discounts, and the Elite card.

Their main differences are the amount of years you get and other privileges like golf, spas, health checkups, and airport transfer services.

Here are the top three most popular Elite Visa packages. They are the most valuable in terms of the amount of money you need to pay and the years of stay.

Benefits/ProgramEasy AccessFamily AlternativeSuperiority Extension
Year5 years10 years20 years
Fee (VAT included)500,000 baht800,000 baht1,000,000 baht
Additional Family Member700,000 baht 
Short Haul Transfer Service (within 80 km from airport)*24 times/calendar year

*For international flights only.

Is it worth It?

The answer totally depends on you. If you‘re able to afford 8,333 baht a month and live hassle-free with this visa, then it’s totally worth it with all the conveniences you get.

On the other hand, if you’re eligible for other long-term visas and don’t mind dealing with paperwork and the bureaucratic system, then the Elite Visa isn’t for you.

Is it Legit?

Thailand Elite Visa is totally legit. The program itself runs by the Thai government. 

Applying for the Thailand Elite Visa

You can apply for the Thailand Elite visa anywhere. All you need to do is to send a soft copy of your passport to the Elite Visa agent. Then, they will work with Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the consulate from your country to do a criminal background check.

Once it’s done, you need to transfer the application fee, wait a few days, and then get your Thai Elite Membership ID number.

The whole process takes around three months. But it’s often much faster than this. In certain cases, it even takes less than two weeks.

After that, if you’re in Thailand, you can go to the immigration office, meet a visa agent, and get the Elite Visa right away.

If you’re outside of Thailand, you can fly here, meet a visa agent, and get the visa directly at the airport.

You can even do it while on a connecting flight from Thailand to another country.

You can also get the visa at a Thai embassy outside of Thailand. But it’s not as convenient as the aforementioned methods.

The process of applying for the elite visa is very easy and straightforward. It’s the most convenient visa option in Thailand.

Now, on to You

You can fill in the form if you want to apply or find out more about the Thailand Elite Visa. An official representative of the Thailand Elite Visa program will get back to you shortly.

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6 comments
  1. It seems that there are two 20 years different cards.
    One at 1 M is called Xuperiority extension,
    one at 2 M which is full package.

    If the first one is called “extension”, it does logically means that you have to get already one card before that one isn’t it ?
    Or do I understand wrongly, and I could opt for this 20 years card at first ? I don’t need at all the reductions and other prestations of the full package anyway.

  2. Hello, thanks for this clear presentation. But are you sure of the fee for the 20 years Elite card ?
    I red on some other pages that the price could be 2 millions bath, not 1 million. It’s a huge difference, so please confirm.

    1. There around 7 types of Elite visa in total. And there’s one option allowing you to stay here for 20 years for a one-million baht fee. And there’s also another option that you give you 20 years in Thailand but coming with 2 millions baht. But it also comes with other privileges.

  3. Too bad the Thai government rips off foreigners with their crazy rules and fee’s. Just think how much more money their country would take in if they did not cause so much hassle and scare folks away.

    1. Thailand has a difficult path to residency and citizenship – more so than many other countries. However, in terms of permission to stay in the country, it’s a lot more lenient than other places I stayed in. Something like the Elite Visa simply doesn’t exist (or, at least not legally and at that price) in pretty much any country I visited so far.

      In addition, Thailand has a lot of exceptions when it comes to taxing worldwide income, making the tax burden for a lot of expats a lot lower than in many other countries with a ‘more systematic immigration system’. Yes, the country has a bit of extra bureaucracy, but sometimes it also works in your favor.

      Staying in a country other than your home country always tends to come with a bit of extra hassle. There are some countries who have taken pretty big steps in reducing that (e.g. Georgia, Estonia) and I would hope that bigger countries will follow. For now though, I still think that Thailand is in the more ‘lenient with long-term visitors’ category.

  4. You have to do a 90 day report, you only get a 2 year driver licence with a 5 year visa. You still need to get an immigration stamo each year costing 1900 baht if you stay in Thailand for a year

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