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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawChanges to Thai Retirement Visa Rules: A Second Look at Elite Status

Changes to Thai Retirement Visa Rules: A Second Look at Elite Status

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the retirement visa and the Elite status of the so-called Elite Card. 

We have done many videos on this channel with respect to the Elite Program and the reason I am making this video is because recent changes to the financial requirements associated with the Retirement Visa leads me to think that it might not be a terrible idea for foreigners who are looking to remain in the Kingdom long-term, to maybe take a second look at the retirement visa and the reason for this is the financial requirements now for a Retirement Visa are such that an Elite Visa may be only marginally less convenient; let's put it that way. 

What am I talking about? A recent change with respect to the lump sum amount that needs to be in a bank account in order to prove eligibility for a retirement visa extension, is that not only does one have to 800,000 baht in a bank account, the individuals appear to need to go ahead and show that that amount has been in the bank account for over two months as of the time of application and remained until three months after the initial extension is granted.  So presumably, it looks to me like further scrutiny is going to be applied to Retirement Visa at the time a 90-day report is done. Namely they're basically going to want to go ahead and see that that 800,000 is still sitting in that bank account. Moreover, on top of these two requirements, it also appears that throughout the course of a given calendar year, the applicant for a Retirement Visa must have maintained a minimum balance of 400,000 baht with another 400,000 being added two months prior to application for renewal and then again the 800,000 has to sit there 90 days after the application for renewal at which point it can drop to no less than 400,000 but it can be less than the 800,000 needed to extend Retirement Visa status. Okay so minimum balance of 400,000 all year round and for 5 months out of the year you have to go ahead and show 800,000.  

So when I was reading these rules I thought to myself, you know all things considered, the Elite Program is maybe looking a little better to certain individuals who basically don't want to go through the inconvenience of dealing with the banking requirements and also it is possibly more convenient for some, because effectively there is 400,000 baht per year that just has to sit in an account here in Thailand.  In Elite status, one can get into status and obtain five years of lawful status for 500,000 baht paid into the Elite Program.  A million baht can get up to 20 years here in the Kingdom. 

So someone who has to go ahead and essentially keep 400,000 baht in Thailand year-on-year-on-year might be looking at a million baht for 20 years, which comes out to 50,000 baht a year, as being possibly a viable alternative to maintaining the level of financial obligation that is necessary to simply maintain a Retirement Visa renewal year-on-year-on-year moving forward.  Moreover, the Elite card, the five year status is inherent to the visa sticker itself so on a yearly basis there is no need to go ahead and renew ones visa; it is simply inherent to the visa status itself. 

So the thing to take away from this video is with the financial requirements changing, the financial requirements for the Elite Visa become a much more viable alternative, in my opinion, and it may even in fact be more convenient now to use the Elite Program rather than the Retirement Visa scheme depending on one's financial situation and depending on the situation that they want to maintain moving forward with respect to their lawful status in Thailand.