In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thailand is rebuilding its tourism sector in creative ways. A new tax initiative and visa, known as a Long-Term Resident (LTR) visa was introduced in September 2021. This visa is meant to attract foreigners with “high capability or potential”. The program authorizes foreigners to remain in the country for up to ten years and a total of four dependents may be granted a visa as well, including a spouse and children under the age of 20.
LTR visa holders enjoy several privileges. Holders are not required to report to Thai immigration authorities every 90 days and enjoy duty-free tax exemption. Additionally, long-term residents benefit from modified laws and regulations regarding foreigner-owned land in Thailand.
High-potential foreigners are placed into four groups: wealthy global citizens, wealthy retirees, Work-from-Thailand Professionals, and highly skilled workers.
Wealthy global citizens are individuals who have invested at least USD 500,000 in Thai government bonds, Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), or Thai property. Additionally, they must have earned a minimum of $80,000 per year for the past two years and possess assets totaling at least USD 1,000,000.
Wealthy retirees are individuals who have invested a minimum of USD 250,000 in Thai property, FDI, or Thai government bonds and have an annual pension of at least USD 40,000. Applicants with a minimum annual pension of USD 80,000 are also eligible for long-term residency.
Work-from-Thailand Professionals fall into two categories. Individuals in the first category must have earned a minimum of USD 80,000 per year for the past two years. Those in the second category must show that they earned a minimum of USD 40,000 per year for the past two years and have a master’s degree or above, own intellectual property, or receive series A funding. A professional in either category must be currently employed by a public company on a stock exchange or a private company in operation for a minimum of three years with combined revenue of at least USD 150 million in the last three years.
Highly skilled workers fall into three categories. The first includes those who have earned at least USD 80,000 per year for the past two years. The second includes individuals who have earned a minimum of USD 40,000 per year for the past two years or prior to their retirement and hold a master’s degree or above in science and technology or have special expertise relevant to the job assignment in Thailand. The third category includes individuals working for the Thai government or other state-owned agencies. There is no minimum income requirement in this third category.
It is expected that this initiative will attract 1 million new foreign residents over the next five years. To facilitate the application process, Thailand’s cabinet decided in May 2022 to reduce the visa application fee by half, to THB 50,000. This change will come into effect 90 days after the decision’s official publication in the Royal Gazette.
Additional guidelines stipulate that applicants must meet one of three conditions for visa eligibility. The first option is to maintain insurance coverage for at least 10 months in an amount of USD 50,000 or more. The second option is that they must hold a social security certificate that covers all medical expenses. Lastly, they may meet the requirement if they maintain a minimum of USD 100,000 in a domestic or foreign bank account for the 12 months preceding the visa application.
These guidelines further stipulate that Work-from-Thailand Professionals produce an employment contract from a business located in Thailand or abroad and evidence that they have worked in the target industry for at least 5 of the proceeding 10 years prior to applying for a visa. The same applies to highly skilled workers. However, exceptions may be made for highly skilled workers with a PhD or above in fields relevant to the targeted industries or applicants working for the Thai government or state-owned agencies.