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Is the Thailand Elite Visa Legal?

Investing money in services that involve immigration into another country is no simple matter. Not only do you have to discern if the service is actually worth it – you’d also have to find out if the service itself is legal. You don’t want to buy into something that could send you behind bars in a foreign nation.

So, the question here is: “Is the Thailand Elite visa legal?”

It’s a Government Project

This should take out whatever doubts you have in mind about the service. The Thailand Elite Visa is actually an initiative by the Thai government to encourage foreigners not only to expatriate in order to retire in Thailand for the long term, but also to encourage investment into the local economy.

It’s a relatively recent project, since it was only offered starting in 2013. The project carried the name Thailand Privilege Card, and was spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. The card entails a lot of benefits for the expatriate, which is certainly why the Kingdom approved the undertaking.

So, that’s the answer to your question. The Thailand Elite Visa project is 100% legal, and fully backed by the government of the Kingdom of Thailand. That should dispel much of your doubts but, of course, it’s only prudent that you will want to know more about the project.


The benefits of signing up for the visa are discussed in depth in a previous article. Let’s recap each perk to make sure we’re all in the same page:

  1. Complimentary services in hospitality establishments like hotels and spas
  2. Elite service upon arrival and departure in the airport, including transfers via luxury limousine
  3. Access to personal elite assistants in tasks such as immigration, opening a bank account, and government appearances

Basically, you enjoy all the perks that are deserving the elite members of society. Your membership in Thailand Elite Visa will ensure that you get access to everything that you need to make your stay in Thailand comfortable and convenient.

Scope and Restrictions

Just like any service, of course, the Thailand Elite Visa provides for a scope of activities that are allowed under Thai law.

As a member, you can legally do the following during your stay in the Kingdom:

  • Purchase a unit in any condominium project in the city that you’re living in.
  • Invest in an automobile that you will use to get around the city or in the locales around it.
  • Apply for a driver’s license in Thailand, provided that you have a driver’s license from your country of origin.
  • Open a bank account in the local currency (Baht).
  • Invest in shares of stock in local businesses.

As a member, you cannot do the following:

  • Invest in land under your name. Foreign ownership of land is illegal in Thailand, unless it is under the name of a company that invested significantly into the company. An individual expatriate, however, can obtain a long-term lease to a land-based property, which gives one similar rights to the property owner.
  • Apply for work

The Thailand Elite visa is based on rules set for tourist visas. If you plan to gain employment after obtaining membership in the program, you will have to apply for a separate work permit.

So, to summarize, the Thailand Elite Visa is a government initiate and is fully legal. With all its perks, it’s certainly a worthy investment to make if you’re thinking about moving to Thailand for the long term, whether for retirement or business.


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