If you are living in Thailand these days you might be one of the many foreigners that are stressing out with all the recent Visa rule changes. From restrictions on the tourist visa to the wild year of ever changing Education Visa rules you just might be pulling your hair out trying to figure out a less stressful way to stay in the Land of Smiles. Presently, I am on the ED Visa which has gone through so many changes this year that I am actually scared to leave the country thinking I might not get back and every 3 month check in I think I am going to be denied and sent home and the crazy thing is I actually am trying to learn the language.

A friend in a similar position as me on an ED Visa and has finally had enough and decided to look at other options. He decided he was not going to do his next ED Visa extension and jump on board the Thailand Elite Visa Option. This visa option has been talked to death over at some of the popular Thai Visa Forums with lots of positive and negative conversations about this Visa option. In a nutshell it is a high end Tourist visa that gives you a multi entry visa and stamp for one year. Allowing you to come and go as you please into Thailand for 5 years and up to 20 years depending on which package you take. It also comes with other perks such as free limo service from the major airports, bypassing the long immigration queues, discounts at hotels, golf courses, shopping and a number of other benefits. However, obviously the no hassle visa is no doubt the biggest advantage of the Thai Elite Visa option

The reason why so many people are not jumping on board the Elite Visa is obviously the price. The 5 year option is a 500 000 Baht fee and it has to be paid all up front and the 20 year option is 2 Million Baht with an annual fee of 20 000 Baht. Not everyone has that kind of money or the desire to drop that amount in a single payment. It certainly is a big commitment and a decision not to be taken too quickly. My friend is actually still going to go to school but now on his own terms and feels like this Visa will be less stressful. I suppose it is possible that the rules on this Visa can change as well and that puts the fear into a lot of people since you are dropping at least 500 000 Baht for this Elite Visa. What I can say is the program has been around for several years and though some of the benefits of the visa have changed the actually Visa has never changed.

In any case you can research the visa and see what you think but I would like to talk about the process of getting the visa as my friend shared his story. My friend just recently got this visa and I managed to get it while it was fresh in his brain.

Thailand Elite Visa 5 Year Option Process:

1. Contact the Elite Visa Team either by email or phone and tell them your interest in the program.

2. They will send you an application form and will require you to send it to them by mail or email with a scanned copy of your Passport, you will also need to scan a passport size color photo they can use for your Thai Elite Visa Card.

3. When they receive the form and Passport copy they will send your information to Immigration and do a security check on you to make sure you are not a criminal residing in the country of Thailand. About 4 to 7 Business days.

4. If you get approved you then have 7 days to send them the 500 000 Baht to continue the process.

5. My friend wired the money to their bank and he had to pay all charges and make sure that Thai Elite got exactly 500 000 Baht.

6. You also should send them a copy of the wire code to show them that you got the process started and to help them find your payment when it is sent to the bank. Most banks will issue you some sort of number, form, etc that the transaction has been started.

7. When the money is received you move on to the next stage of setting up an appointment with them to get your visa. You will need to bring your original application form with you and a passport size photo.

8. There are two ways to get your Elite Visa. If you are flying into the country internationally the Elite Thai Staff can meet you at the major airports of Bangkok, Chiang Mai and I believe Phuket. They will then whisk you off past the long line queues and take 30 minutes to an hour and get your brand new visa. If you are already in Thailand and want to do it domestically this is also an option but you have to do it at the Bangkok Immigration office and once again a staff of Elite Visa will take care of everything for you.

9. My friend was already domestic and made an appointment about 7 days later to meet at the Bangkok Immigration. He had to bring his actual passport of course and a scanned copy of his departure card, passport and recent stamps and the original application. He met with a Thai Elite member that took him past the long queues at the Bangkok Immigration office and presented him with his New Thai Elite Card, Thai Elite Luggage Tags and a manual on all the benefits, phone numbers etc.

10. Then the Thai Elite representative told him to sit and wait and they took his passport and documents and got the process started in getting the Elite stamps. Then about 40 minutes later they returned with his new Visa. The Passport had a new PE Visa Sticker and a year visa stamp.

So there you have it, his experience with the Thai Elite Visa. He is now on a 5 year visa that he feels gives him more peace of mind. He can travel in and out of the country, still go to school and not have to worry about the constant changes of some of the other visa options. The big question is now is will I do the same thing, I have to admit I am thinking it over but that 500 000 is hard to swallow and will I be here for 5 years is another thing to think about.

2 comments on “Thailand Elite Visa – The Process

  1. ric tatersall on said:

    with an elite visa do you still have to do a 90 day checkin?

    • LearningThai on said:

      Hello,

      Yes if you are talking about the 90 day report for notifying your address in Thailand you do still have to do this.
      If you happen to live in Bangkok I believe the Elite team will do it for you, do not think they will do it for you in any other area other then Bangkok

      You dont have to do a 90 visa extension though, the visa is stamped for a full year when you arrive and will be stamped with a full year everytime you enter the country. If you never left the full year then you do have to do a yearly checkin

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