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Government to raise 5-year Elite visa fee by 20%, as foreigners flee Covid countries

Maya Taylor




As more foreigners opt for one of Thailand’s “elite” visas, allowing stays of between 5 and 20 years, and costing anything from 500,000 baht to 2 million, the most popular version is in for a price hike. The cost of the 5-year “Easy Access” visa will go up by 20% from January, to 600,000 baht.

It’s understood there were a record number of new applications for the visa this year, as foreigners sought refuge in a country that appears to have pretty much suppressed the Covid-19 virus. Nikkei Asia reports that an additional 2,674 applicants signed up for an elite visa during the company’s 2020 financial year, which ended in September. That’s an increase of nearly 25%, with the scheme generating revenue of 1.6 billion baht.

Somchai Soongswang from Thailand Privilege Card, which sits under the umbrella of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, says applications were received both from tourists stranded in Thailand, and people overseas who wished to escape Covid-19 in their own country. To date, Thailand has recorded just over 4,000 cases of the virus, significantly lower than the numbers logged by other south-east Asian countries.

It’s understood that as of the end of September, over 11,100 people hold an elite visa, as part of 9 different packages offered by Thailand Privilege Card. Most of them are from China, Japan, South Korea, the UK, and the US. The company plans to sign up at least another 2,700 for the fiscal year 2021, and is currently working on its latest offering, which will be the 10th visa package in the scheme.

The “Flexible One” elite visa is aimed at property investors who spend at least 10 million baht. For their investment, they will be offered a 5-year visa, either for free or at a discount, in a move aimed at boosting the Kingdom’s flailing property market.

SOURCE: Thai Visa | Nikkei Asia


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  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 11:15 am

    But they still go into quarantine when they arrive, right?

  2. Avatar


    Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Bunch of crooks !!!
    Anyway who wants their useless elite b.s. ????

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 11:57 am

      Obviously over 11,100 people want the “elite b.s.” and are happy to pay for it!

      • Avatar


        Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 12:57 pm

        11000 is total number .Most of them before Covid era.And for more than 7 months nobody can come to Thailand.Personal choice BTW.But increase price only because demands slight increase sucks.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 7:01 pm


          That’s how economies work, for crying out loud.

          It’s not a charity!

          • Avatar


            Friday, December 4, 2020 at 12:56 am

            Expat will remain expat and one fine get hit by a thai , like they hit a old Russian in pattaya

      • Avatar

        James Pate

        Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 1:50 pm

        I agree. There is no free size visa that fits everyone. If 11,100 wanted one, let them go ahead and sell more. If someone looks at 600,000 the way I look at 6,000 baht, so what? Good for them!

  3. Avatar


    Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    I saw nothing in this article which would make one believe the increase is caused by a desire to flee Covid. In a prior article on this site the majority of holders and applicants are Chinese. A country we are all told has the virus under control. In fact the same would apply to those from Japan and South Korea too. Isn’t it much more likely the increase is for economic reasons? Thailand is still an emerging market country, one in a historic recession. Bargains are to be had, buy low sell high kind of thing.

  4. Avatar


    Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    I asked, never OK for 500,000Bhat. First step is 1 million Bhat. That is Ok, the problem is the million sorts of fees and documents. I prefer boarder run and pay undertable.

    • Avatar

      James Pate

      Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 1:44 pm

      Good luck with that.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 7:05 pm

      You obviously asked the wrong person, as the option IS available if you meet the requirements.

      • Avatar

        Preesy Chepuce

        Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 10:57 pm

        It does seem a rather ridiculous waste of money, when you can buy or rent a wife for a tenth of that, and get the same access.

    • Avatar


      Friday, December 4, 2020 at 9:59 am

      You’re asking the wrong person. Contact Thailand Elite directly and not an agent who only cares about their commission.

    • Avatar


      Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 9:53 pm

      best of luck entering again after you’ve made your border run

  5. Avatar


    Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 1:55 pm

    I only think people are using the elite visa program to set up own businesses in Thailand
    Otherwise anyone with that kind of money to waste would not spend all their time in Thailand ( and not need long visa)
    After a month in Thailand I find myself wanting for something different!

    • Avatar


      Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 3:22 pm

      Much to your surprise, then there are plenty of individuals which dont need to work and set up biz in Thailand and is too young to be eligible for a retirement visa and is not married to a Thai and dont want the hassle with border runs, immigration etc etc.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 7:08 pm


        • Avatar

          James R

          Friday, December 4, 2020 at 2:43 am

          Oops, it seems there is more than one James making comments, I will have to change my name to James R as I did not write the ‘James’ comment above.

          The 20-year visa for 1 million baht seems like the best option, you do not get the fancy car service but taxis are cheap in Thailand anyway.

          But for me, the 880k in a Thai bank retirement visa is the best.

      • Avatar

        James Pate

        Friday, December 4, 2020 at 5:37 am

        Yep, that’s why they call it “Elite”. I think you described the Elite Visa applicant very well.

      • Avatar

        Alte Ledertasche

        Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 3:15 pm

        Nonsense, a ED-Visa cost 50K or one year, can be renewed 3 times, than change your passport and start the procedure again. All this can be set up in the country if you use a reputable language school with good contacts to the immigration. No hassle at all.

        If you were eligible for 1 30 day stamp you could do it in and out. I did it myself for 5 years and it worked very well for me as I anyway had to travel regularly out of Thailand. Never a problem, only once but than I used my second passport and was clear again.

        In my opinion the Thai Elite scheme is nothing else than a waste of money.

    • Avatar

      Preesy Chepuce

      Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 11:00 pm

      I tend to agree, anyone with that much money as many more options worth considering. It would be fascinating to see the profiles of these characters, and how clean their backgrounds are.
      Surprised there aren’t more Ruskies, given how economically polarised and shady a country it is.

    • Avatar

      James Pate

      Friday, December 4, 2020 at 5:43 am

      An Elite visa would not be the correct choice for one setting up a business. You are not allowed to work on an Elite visa because it falls w/i the catagory of visas for tourism.

  6. Avatar

    Mickey Mouse

    Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    Let’s free up property ownership and see Thailand really take off.

  7. Avatar


    Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    I wouldn’t say 2600 applications fits with the headline “fleeing covid countries” haha

    There’s safer places the be than Thailand,maybe not in terms of “fake numbers” but in terms of support and healthcare if you do get covid

    • Avatar

      Preesy Chepuce

      Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 11:02 pm

      They are tiny numbers, but I guess it’s the amount of “investment” that’s attached to each one that is of interest.

  8. Avatar


    Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    The world helped thailand when their was a tsunamo with money.
    The world helped thailand when children were stuck in a cave.
    NOW thailand can do something back!!
    Help stranded people get back to their loved ones.
    But NO!!
    They want more….. money
    Thank you

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 7:12 pm

      It’s not only about “money” but about health and welfare as well as the economy.

      If you were married to a Thai or had family here you’d be able to come here anytime as you would if you had a work permit or enough time and money.

      You don’t. You just miss your g/f or b/f. Tough.

    • Avatar


      Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 7:38 pm

      Well said. Typical Thai behaviour.

  9. Avatar


    Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    The increase is not due to “people fleeing countries with high number of covid cases”, but because Elite visa was basically the only option to return to Thailand.

    No visa runs are possible , unmarried couples cannot return, and until recently it was not possible to enter with the retirement visa either , etc.

    If Thailand opens up after the pandemic, and visa runs will be possible again, then much fewer people will buy the Thailand Elite card .

    The majority of Farangs just spend the winter months here, and they can easily do it with extensions and visa runs, or with the retiremenet visa.

    • Avatar

      Jack Sombra

      Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 8:32 pm

      It was useless as a method of return except for a period of about 2 weeks, they were only letting in about 20 elites per week, and even when other non thais could come on ‘semi commercial’ flights elites could not. They only removed all the restrictions when started letting in normal tourist visas, so much for being ‘elite’

  10. Avatar


    Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 11:37 am

    Typical Thai behaviour.
    When things are not runnings so good or times are bad, guess what? They think that rising prices will compensate for loss. How stupid is that? It makes me laugh…

    • Avatar

      Robert Elliot

      Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 1:25 am

      Why not? There seem to be plenty of even more stupid farang willing to pay the higher prices.

  11. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 2:58 am

    Economies work by being open….not on Lockdown! The poor suffer inordinately . Lockdown Locals are morally deficient.

  12. Avatar


    Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    UK friend with a so-called elite card obtained in 2019 just got out of BKK quarantine. He had to go thru the same paper chase with perfect timing and quarantined for 2 weeks in a shit hotel. Like all returning foreigners. Spent around US$8,500 not counting all the traveling to and from UK thai embassy, doctor visits, etc. Said elite card was a waste of money- didnt help him a bit. One must be almost desperate to get back here

  13. Avatar


    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 4:32 pm

    Well,speaking of things that did not age well. Yikes.

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