American and Chinese nationals have made the most applications for Thailand’s 10-year Long Term Resident (LTR) visa since its launch in September, according to the secretary-general of the Board of Investment (BOI) Narit Therdstreerakul.
Thailand introduced the LTR visa on September 1, 2022, to lure ‘high potential,’ talented foreigners and investors from around the world into the kingdom to boost Thailand’s economy.
In three months, the LTR visa has attracted a rather measly amount of applications…
“Since the launch on September 1, up until the present, over 1,600 applicants have submitted applications,” said Narit during an interview in Tokyo, Japan, this week.
Americans made the most applicants so far, followed by Chinese, British, and Germans, said Narit.
In November, Chinese media reported that Chinese nationals were the number one applicants for the LTR visa, claiming that Chinese citizens made up 60% of the total 2,500 applications made so far.
However, this figure directly contradicts Narit’s figure. “Over 1,600 applicants” is perhaps more reliable information as it comes directly from the BOI.
Before the pandemic, Chinese nationals topped Thailand’s list of foreign arrivals, often arriving in big groups on guided tours. However, bus-loads of Chinese tourists have been missing from Thailand’s major tourist destinations this year thanks to Beijing’s strict Covid-zero policies and restrictions.
Determined to get to Thailand and escape China’s ceaseless strict Covid-19 restrictions, Chinese nationals have applied for 10-year LTR visas as well as Elite Cards.
Holders of Thailand’s LTR visa can stay in the kingdom for 10 years and are granted a work permit and a preferential income tax rate. The five-year Elite Flexible Programme does not offer a work permit but offers similar benefits, does not require health insurance, and excuses tax on foreign earnings.
Cambodia’s My Second Home Programme launched at the same time is attracting a similar amount, if not more, applicants than Thailand’s LTR visa. Cambodia’s version grants a 10-year stay with unlimited entry and exit to Cambodia and the option to apply for Cambodian citizenship after five years. It’s the only way a foreigner can apply for a Cambodian passport.