I have repeatedly raised the options for resolving the visa issue in the Kingdom of Thailand on the pages of my blog. Obtaining a single entry visa, a long-gone tourist double entry visa, newly invented half-year multivisa - you can view information on them by following the links.
And the option that I decided to cover today, although not suitable for everyone, radically solves all the problems of entering and leaving Thailand for the next 5, 10 or 20 years from the date of purchase of a membership in an elite club. Yes, from the title you already understood that it will be about Thailand Elite, and if you have not heard anything about this club, and if you are not confused by the price range from 500 thousand to 2 million baht, then the information below may interest you ... Honestly, I myself thought about this visa, if I went to Tai for years, otherwise I got these visaranes and news about tightening at the border.
The content of the article
- one Thailand Elite Program
- 2 Let's calculate and compare with other visas
Thailand Elite Program
What it is
Thailand Elite is an official state program issued as part of the company's activities «Thailand Elite Card Co, Ltd.», which is 100% owned by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, which in turn is a division of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
The program was approved in 2003 by the Thai government at the suggestion of Thaksin Chinnawatra, the country's former prime minister. The goal of the program was to attract funds to the state treasury by simplifying the visa issue for people with income. True, from the moment the program was launched, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra became a criminal who fled the country. The program was closed in 2009, leaving the question of returning funds to club members suspended, but later it was revived. In the updated version, package offers were adjusted, in which the list of services was slightly limited.
If we translate everything that is written on the Tai Elite website from a selling language into a human language, then we get a fairly simple picture: wealthy foreigners are invited to pay for one of eight packages, that is, to make a one-time contribution to join the elite club «special guests of Thailand», members of which are issued a special five-year Privilege Entry Visa, as well as a number of additional luxury services corresponding to the paid package. Issues with government agencies are resolved through the involvement of personal assistants provided by the club. That is, you do not need to do anything personally, Thailand Elite will do everything for you..
How to buy a visa
The process of obtaining Privilege Entry Visa fully reflects the essence of the program - easily and naturally. You call the company, and according to your words, they fill out an application for a visa. Or fill out the application yourself, the form is on the program's website. By the way, only this site is official, where all contacts for communication and consultation are indicated. Don't fall for middlemen.
Then you will be invoiced for payment, and details will be sent both for international SWIFT transfers and for internal transfers in baht. If you are in Thailand, you can also pay in cash without any problems, and an assistant will take your passport for inserting a visa. When paying by SWIFT transfer from abroad, you will receive a visa upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi airport.
How Privilege Entry Visa works
The visa is valid for five years. It is worth paying attention to the fact that the Privilege Entry Visa (I will sometimes call it abbreviated as NON-PE) is not a tourist visa. This type of visa was created exclusively for the participants of the program, and in principle it cannot be obtained by anyone other than the members of the club. The validity of the visa is not regulated by immigration law, but by a special order of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Thailand dated February 22, 2013. According to this special order, NON-PE visa holders are allowed to stay in the country for 1 year at each entry. You can cross the border, during this year, an unlimited number of times, and it is also allowed to extend your stay without leaving the country.
To summarize: upon arrival, the border guards put a stamp for 1 year in your passport. After this period, the personal assistant will extend your stay at the local Immigration Office for another year, without any border runs and visa runs. And so - for five years in a row, during the validity of the visa.
After five years, the visa expires, but if you are a cardholder for 10 or 20 years, then your visa will be automatically extended for another five years. You yourself, or with the hands of an assistant, bring your passport to the immigration office of Suvarnabumi Airport, or to the Chaengwattana immigration office in Bangkok, where they paste a new five-year visa and put a stamp for one year.
With all the privileges of Privilege Entry Visa, the owners still need to make reports every 90 days (decided by an assistant), and the annual renewal costs the same 1900 baht, which are not included in the cost of the club card.
Thailand Elite Program packages
It will be more convenient to compare the package offers in the form of a table, which I took from the Thailand Elite Program website. They are a little confusing, but you can figure it out..
Price range: 500,000 baht to 2 million baht. What do they offer for this money? The program provides four types of club cards, three terms of stay (5, 10 and 20 years) and as many as eight packages for all occasions. I will not consider everything, I will highlight a few main.
- Elite Easy Access Package. Visa for 5 years, with a minimum of options, costing 500 thousand baht. Solution with the lowest entry threshold.
- Elite Superiority Extesion Package. Visa for 20 years, with a minimum of options, cost 1 million baht. This is the cheapest solution if you recalculate the cost of each code (only 50 thousand baht per year). For those who want to hang out in Tae for a really long time.
- Elite Ultimate Privilege Package. Visa for 20 years, with all options, cost 2 million baht. For those who don't like compromise.
- Elite Property Partnership Package. Provided for property owners. Unlike previous options, it applies to both the main cardholder and two members of his family, at no additional charge.
- Family packages. For example, Elite Family Excursion, which allows you to buy a 5-year visa for two for 800 thousand baht (400 thousand baht per person), pay only 300 thousand baht for each additional family member. But the option with a visa for 20 years for 1 million baht is still more profitable in terms of a year. Although I agree, 20 years is too long for most.
Additional services for visas
Depending on the chosen membership option, you have access to various pleasant program bonuses. The network still does not subside disputes even between the owners of Tai Elite cards themselves, how relevant and necessary these buns are. I will write as it is, and you yourself draw your own conclusions..
- A personal assistant who will accompany you from the day of arrival until the expiration of the club card. He also assists in the preparation of documents, resolves quickly issues in the immigration office, helps with obtaining a driver's license, and obtaining a work permit.
- The privilege of expedited passage of passport control. Previously, Suvarnabhumi airport even had its own separate Thailand Elite counter, but now an assistant meets you and leads you through the diplomatic corridor.
- Personal transfer from the airport to the hotel. Transfers are divided into short (50-80 km) and long (up to 275 km). Provided only for international flights, and the number of transfers for each package is different. If you decide to travel around the kingdom on domestic airlines, then such a transfer is not provided..
- Every year, 24 visits to the golf club. Each resort in Thailand will have its own establishments, so I see no reason to list them. 24 visits are for holders of the most expensive card, for the rest - see the table.
- Annually, 24 visits to the SPA-salon, one visit - one hour, other services are paid additionally. As in the previous paragraph, 24 visits are available only to Diamond Card owners.
- Annual health check-up. They write about this in all advertising texts, but in fact, it is only available to the owner of the main card for UP and PA packages, and does not apply to his family members.
- Special discounts in hotels. Not in all, of course, but only in program participants.
- Special Price Shopping at Emporium Department Store, The Mall Department Store and King Power Chain.
- Special discounts at restaurants. Not all, but only program participants.
- 24/7 informational support in four languages: English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. As you can see, there is no Russian language.
- Nice bonuses from Bangkok Bank, which takes a minimum commission for international transfers and offers a number of other advantages in service.
- Legal assistance of experts provided by a partner company.
- Discount VIP services. A private jet or yacht can be obtained at more favorable prices than an ordinary well-to-do tourist.
A NON-PE holder is not allowed to work in Thailand, but in addition to it, he can obtain a NON-B visa, on a general basis, with the help of a Thailand Elite personal assistant. He also helps with the accelerated receipt of a work permit - within one working day. But given the cost of NON-B, which I have described below, I doubt that someone would want to combine these two not the cheapest visas.
Considering the cost of the card, resale is a very topical issue for those who, for whatever reason, cannot or do not want to continue their exclusive relationship with Thailand. So, out of the eight existing packages, you can issue the transfer of your membership to a new member only for two: Elite Ultimate Privilege and Elite Family Premium. For this you will have to pay 20% of the initial cost of the package offer.
There are some downsides to the program. In the provided visits to the golf and spa there are restrictions on the time and number of services, everything that is not included is at your own expense. Medical check-ups are not for everyone, transfers are limited, and it seems petty, especially in contrast to the total cost of the membership. Also, the indicated cost of the most expensive club card does not include VAT, which is another 7% on top. In fairness, I will note in the rest «cheap» VAT is included, so you can get a visa for exactly 1 million baht for 20 years.
But the most important plus of the program always remains - a problem-free and long stay in the country. At the same time, you do not need to burden yourself with the purchase of real estate or the creation of your own business. I agree, it's an expensive decision, because you don't invest money, you practically bury it. But the high cost and the need for comfort are personal concepts. Especially against the background of the constantly tightening nuts on the part of the Thai government. All these visas, student visas, crossing the border with a passport covered with stamps really take time, nerves and money. Plus, throughout the entire period of validity of a regular visa, the counter of days until the next trip is spinning in my head..
Let's calculate and compare with other visas
In Runet, I met attempts to calculate the financial adequacy of membership in Tai Elite, and, as a rule, there are examples with an investment visa or a business visa. The most desperate debaters try to argue about the cost of tourist visas. But it is incorrect to compare with tourist ones, because no one guarantees that for the whole five years you will receive one-time tickets without hindrance, and will not get problems at the border. Even a student visa will not be given for 5 years. It is more relevant, after all, to understand the costs of investment and business visas, so let's look at the numbers, first of all, for them. I took the numbers from open sources and from people who have these very visas.
For comparison, let's take the most profitable Tai Elite program, which is given for 20 years and has practically no additional bonuses. Such a visa costs 1 million baht, or 50 thousand baht per year..
Business visa (NON-B) and work permit (Work Permit)
Speaking of official, and not fake, registration, these should be: registration of a company, search for five Thai employees (their registration with social insurance), obligatory rent of an office, where authorities can come with a check, plus visa and other expenses. This is an option for those who want to do serious business..
When starting a company, 117 thousand baht will be required: registration of the company 42 thousand; work permit 35 thousand; NON-B for 1 year 25 thousand; social insurance and registration 5 thousand; a deposit for renting an office, even for one month, although usually they ask for much more than 10 thousand.
Add to them the annual expenses: balance sheet 15 thousand; extension of the work permit 15 thousand; extension of a business visa for 1 year 25 thousand; payroll tax 815 (x12) = 9.8 thousand; deductions in Social Insurance 3.6 thousand (x12) = 43 thousand; salary for Thai employees 36 thousand (x12) = 432 thousand; accounting services 5 thousand (x12) = 60 thousand; office rent 10 thousand (x12) = 120 thousand.
A total of 720,000 + 117,000 baht in the first year, and then 720 thousand baht every year. A year, Karl! I think you can multiply by five yourself, but it is obvious that the difference is not in favor of NON-B.
Okay, let's take the option when the business is still being conducted, but the Thais are not paid salaries, they are not airborne (for a bribe). It turns out, about 290 thousand baht per year.
And let's take a completely semi-legal option, when a visa is obtained for the sake of the visa itself, and business is not conducted at all. Such services cost an average of 70 thousand baht for the first 15 months, then 35-45 thousand baht per year. By the way, a student visa will cost about the same (training + extensions + travel for a visa).
This visa is issued to foreigners who have invested at least 10 million baht in the Thai economy. It has a validity period of 1 year and is renewed each time by 1 year for the duration of the ownership of the property. I understand that you can invest in the economy not only by buying real estate, but this is the most popular option among wealthy people who have decided to associate themselves with Thailand for a long time. An investment is also considered to be the purchase of government bonds or securities of Thai companies. Well, or a fixed deposit in a Thai bank account, in which more than 50% of the share capital is owned by Thais.
In general, of all the above, we are only interested in one figure - 10 million baht. So, for these ten million you get an unlimited multivisa for yourself and your spouse, with whom you are officially married. Is it profitable? Indisputably. The longer you own the property, the cheaper such a visa will cost you..