The Thai government has announced the introduction of a new Long Term Resident Visa (LTR) scheme to “provide a range of tax and non-tax benefits to enhance the country’s attractiveness as a regional hub for living and doing business for ‘high-potential’ foreigners” on 1 September 2022. The visa will target wealthy global citizens, retirees and digital nomads.
The government is planning to attract at least one million high-potential foreigners in the next five years through the LTR visa programme, aiming to boost economic growth and stimulate investment. Unlike its previous “Thailand Elite” visa, the new LTR scheme will have fewer requirements and a lower application fee, which is estimated to draw in more highly skilled and qualified immigrants who previously were hesitant to apply for it.
Applicants for the LTR must have at least USD 80,000 in personal income, as well as a Master’s degree or higher from a recognized institution or a specific field of expertise. They can also demonstrate a minimum of 5 years of work experience in their targeted industries, except for those with a PhD or those working for a Thai government agency.
Retirees aged 50 and above may apply for this visa if they have a stable passive income or annual pension of at least USD 80,000. Alternatively, those with an annual income of up to USD 40,000 can also qualify provided they have invested in Thai government bonds, foreign direct investment or Thai property.
Professionals who have earned a Master’s degree or higher from an internationally recognised university or a specific field of expertise and are employed by an international company in Thailand will be eligible for this visa. They must also have at least 5 years of work experience in the targeted industries, and health insurance coverage of at least US$50,000 or a deposit of at least US$100,000 in a Thai bank account for at least 12 months before applying.
Remote workers of well established overseas companies
Individuals who are working from a location other than their usual home country in the past three years and hold a minimum annual income of US$80,000 or have an income of up to US$40,000 from employment for at least two years. They must also have a health insurance policy covering medical expenses in Thailand no less than US$50,000 or have an income of at least USD 100,000 from savings in a Thai or offshore bank account for no less than twelve months before applying.
Other beneficiaries of this visa include foreigners who are establishing businesses in Thailand, or those who are working remotely for a Thai company in any industry that is eligible under the program. They can obtain digital work permits at the Department of Employment at the One Stop Service Center for Visa and Work Permit, Chamchuri Square Building or provincial labour offices.
A digital work permit will be issued by the immigration authorities and is subject to a processing fee of THB3,000 per year. This is a more competitive rate compared to the previous THB100,000 per year fee. The processing time for the visa is typically between four to eight weeks.