Thailand is a magical place that has charmed so many people. And for those of you who are allured by its beauty, relocating and living your dream life is now easier with the new Long-Term Resident (LTR) visa. This new visa offers multiple benefits for its holders. These include a 10-year extendable stay and permission to work in the Kingdom. But what is it, what’s the benefit, and how can you obtain it? Here’s everything you need to know about the Long Term Resident (LTR) visa.
What is a Long Term Resident (LTR) Visa?
Thailand launched the Long-Term Resident (LTR) visa program which offers a variety of tax and non-tax perks. The government launched this visa to increase the country’s appeal as a regional hub for living and conducting business for “high-potential” foreigners. The government anticipated that this new visa program would draw fresh international talent, technology, and residents who would boost domestic spending and investment while promoting economic growth. The goal stated by the Thai government is to bring one million affluent or talented foreigners to the nation during the next five years. Qualified foreigners (more on that later) will be able to stay in the Kingdom for up to 10 years with the new visa.
The government anticipates a meagre 3.3% economic growth this year. Plus, they’re counting on affluent expats to drive a 4.2% growth the next year. Tourism has historically accounted for at least 12% of Thailand’s GDP. In addition to providing a direct economic boost from expat spending, the government is also hoping that the new LTR visa would draw in enough expertise to push Thailand to the forefront of emerging markets like electric vehicles, digital technology, and smart devices.
Who is eligible?
The LTR visa is targeted at four different groups of foreigners. These include:
- Foreign retirees aged 50 years and older who have a steady income.
- Wealthy individuals who have at least 1 million USD in assets.
- Digital nomads or remote workers who work for major overseas corporations.
- Skilled professionals who are experts in particular fields who are interested in working for training institutes, research centres, universities, big businesses, and government agencies.
Each LTR visa holder may have a maximum of four dependents, including their spouses and minor children under the age of 20.
Holders of the LTR visa will be able to enjoy numerous benefits and privileges. These include a 10-year renewable visa, fast-track service at international airports in Thailand, permission to work in Thailand, and a 17% personal tax rate for highly skilled professionals. Holders of the LTR visa can also benefit from a one-year report to Immigration rather than every 90 days. But that’s not all. Those who hold the LTR visa get an exemption from the 4 Thais to 1 foreigner employment requirement ratio. Plus, they’ll enjoy an overall ease of regulations concerning foreign residents. In addition, an LTR visa may make it simpler to obtain a tax resident certificate than the Elite visa program, which is essentially a special tourist visa.
How to apply for a Long Term Resident (LTR) Visa?
In terms of you can apply for an LTR visa, as well as do the registration and document submission online. Within 20 working days, you will be informed of the application’s result. If you’re qualified, you must apply for the LTR Visa within 60 days of the date of issue at the Royal Thai Embassy. You can also apply at the Royal Thai Consulate Generals abroad or Immigration offices in Thailand. The cost for the 10-year visa is 50,000 THB per person.
If you’re planning to work in Thailand, you can obtain digital work permits from the One Stop Service Centre for Visa and Work Permits or provincial labour offices. The digital work permit has an annual fee of 3,000 THB. Additional assistance is also available via the Board of Investment website.
Are there any downsides?
While the LTR visa sounds like a perfect choice for many people, it has several downsides. It may seem like the visa will allow you to stay for 10 years. However, it will not be issued at one time. It’s more appropriate to state that the LTR visa is issued for a maximum period of five years, extendible for another five-year maximum as long as you qualify at the time of the extension request. Additionally, LTR visa holders don’t have any special benefits when it comes to owning land and other real estate assets in Thailand. Holders with LTR visas are eligible to own freehold condominiums, just like other foreigners.
What if you’re not qualified for the Long Term Resident (LTR) Visa?
If you want the LRT visa but aren’t qualified for it, the SMART Visa and the Elite visa are the closest alternatives.
The Elite Visa is for everyone who can afford the high price; the lowest category is 500,000 Baht. The SMART Visa, on the other hand, is intended for investors, entrepreneurs, and skilled workers.
Offering these visas is a huge step for Thailand. It goes without saying that offering simplified immigration procedures and greater assurance that people and their families will be welcomed with open arms will appeal to “high potential” people.
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