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Does Elite Visa Status Provide a Guarantee from Thai Immigration?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Thailand Elite, Thailand Elite program associated with Thailand Elite Visas and a recent email from a viewer on this channel, and we always appreciate those. "Hi Benjamin, I have a question about the Thai Elite membership. Is it a legal contract you enter into with the Thai Government when you join? What if there is a change of Government? Will a 20-year Visa still be valid or if the Government makes changes to the rules, will the membership rules change?"

So the thrust of this video and we have made others contemporaneously with this one, but the thrust of this video is, is this some sort of guarantee from Thai Immigration? Long story short, no it is not. It is a Non-Immigrant Visa not unlike a Non-Immigrant Visa issued from Ministry of Foreign Affairs at a Thai Embassy or Consulate abroad, but simple issuance of one of those stickers does not even guarantee Thai Immigration will let you in the country, let alone let you maintain status in an ongoing basis. That is going to be determined on a case by case basis based on the facts of your situation. Is Thai Immigration looking to nullify people's Thai Elite status? No, not at all. But if somebody ends up being overstay inadvertently that can cause problems even if you are in Elite. Thailand Elite can't do anything about the law on overstay. If you commit some sort of crime in Thailand and you become deportable, Thailand Elite is not going to save you from that. So no it is not a guarantee of status by the Thai Government. More importantly, and I think this is where people get conflated, and I have done another video specifically on this topic, is people kind of conflate Thailand Elite with Permanent Residence. Now that is a guarantee from Thai Immigration that you now have Residence. It doesn't necessarily mean you can't be deported but you no longer have to maintain your residence when you are in Thai Permanent Residence. You no longer have to deal with things like renewal of visas for example, like you would have to deal with, with a Non-Immigrant Visa. 

The point of this video is Thailand Elite, no it is not a guarantee from the Government that you are going to have status. That said, it is an assurance from the Government that you have the ability to continue requesting status. There is a specific framework under which you can be extended status but the discretion for that extension still sits with Thai Immigration. For that reason, you still have to deal with things like extension every year as we have discussed and you have to deal with maintenance of status and if you don't do that, it is possible to lose status even Elite status, here in the Kingdom of Thailand.