The Long Term Stay Visa in Thailand is an attractive package that provides foreigners with a 10-year residence visa in Thailand along with a work permit. It is a unique program that aims to attract wealthy expats, digital nomads, and highly skilled professionals.
The LTR is aimed at encouraging foreigners to invest in Thailand and to help boost economic growth. The Thai government has set a target of attracting a million high-potential expats to the country by 2022.
Applicants must meet certain criteria to be eligible for the LTR visa. They must possess assets worth no less than US$1 million, and their income must be at least US$80,000 a year. Applicants must also have health insurance coverage of at least US$50,000.
This visa is an extension of the Elite Residence program, which focuses on providing cost-free entry to expats who are willing to pay a flat fee. The new LTR program expands the scope to also welcome – at no cost – highly qualified professionals in sectors deemed of high value to Thailand’s economy.
As the economy has stagnated and Thailand struggles to recover from the coronavirus crisis, it is a crucial time for the Thai government to find ways to attract and retain foreign investors. The new LTR visa is a key component of the Thailand Government’s strategy to encourage foreign investment in the country and attract talent to key industries like electric vehicles, smart electronics, and digital technology.
To qualify for the visa, applicants must have a minimum of five years of work experience in the targeted industries. Those with a PhD or above in the relevant fields of the targeted industries are exempt from the work requirement.
The new visa is designed to draw wealthier foreigners into Thailand and boost economic activity by about a trillion baht (US$27.3 billion) per year, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. It will also attract professionals in a range of industries including digital tech and electric cars, boosting the country’s reputation as a regional hub for such services.
It is expected that the scheme will generate about 1 billion baht in tax income from expats each year, and could boost the GDP of Thailand by as much as 2.2%.
There are four groups that qualify for the visa: Wealthy retirees, digital nomads and talent, highly skilled professionals, and those who have a significant financial investment in Thailand. These groups all have a different set of requirements, but all have a common factor in that they must have health insurance coverage for expenses in Thailand of at least US$50,000.
These criteria are a bit of a stretch for the wealthier expats and digital nomads that the LTR is aiming to attract. They are more likely to have a substantial savings account and investments in Thailand that meet these requirements, but they are not likely to earn US$80,000 a year.
Those who qualify for the LTR visa are also required to report their residence status with the local immigration office every 90 days. This can be done in person or by phone, but it is best to do it when you first arrive in the country.