Thailand Elite, a government-backed company, has announced major changes to its Privilege Card program starting October 2023.
This membership program grants foreign nationals special privileges and conveniences when visiting Thailand.
Out with the Old
Since 2003, Thailand Elite has offered Privilege Cards valid for 5, 10, or 20 years. Fees ranged from 600,000 to 2 million baht.
Members enjoyed VIP services at airports, discounts at hotels and malls, and most importantly, multi-year visas for Thailand. However, members could not apply for Thai work permits. The Privilege Card was for tourism only.
As of September 15, 2023, applications were closed for these old packages.
In with the New
Thailand Elite will unveil new Privilege Card packages on October 1st. Fees now range from 900,000 to 2.5 million baht for 5 to 15 year memberships.
The biggest change is that members can now apply for work permits through the “Flexible Plus” program.
Flexible Plus Program
To qualify for a work permit, Flexible Plus members must:
- Invest at least $1 million USD in Thai real estate or stocks within 1 year of membership. This investment must be maintained for 5 years.
- Provide yearly proof of sustained investment to Thailand Elite.
- Pay a membership fee of at least 1 million baht for a 10-year membership.
If these conditions are met, Flexible Plus members can legally work in Thailand.
Applying for a new Privilege Card takes 1-4 months:
- 2.5-3 months for Chinese and Indian citizens
- 1.5 months for US and EU citizens
- 2.5 months for Burmese citizens
After approval, members receive their official ID card and visa privileges within 1 week.
With their Privilege Card, members gain access to fast-track security and immigration lanes at Thai airports.
Benefits of long-term visas for Thailand
Thailand continues to be an attractive destination for expats and digital nomads. The tropical climate, low cost of living, rich culture and cuisine, and friendly locals are just some of the draws.
With a long-term Privilege Card visa, members can fully immerse themselves in all that Thailand has to offer.
They avoid troublesome visa runs, gain stability and the ability to put down roots, access healthcare and other services, open local bank accounts, get phone plans, and much more.
Thailand also has high-speed internet and modern amenities across the country, making it easy for remote workers to set up shop. The Privilege Card presents a unique opportunity to gain long-term residency in this exotic locale.
Thailand Elite’s revamped Privilege Card offers new elite packages and for the first time, a pathway to work permits.
The Flexible Plus program opens the door for members to live and work in Thailand long-term. Interested foreigners should review the updated packages and application process in detail at