Thailand’s cabinet just approved the introduction of a 10-year visa for wealthy foreigners or digital nomads, the demographic the government has targeted as a solution to the lack of tourism caused by the Covid19 pandemic. At first, the politicians in Bangkok thought that a few high-value (read: “rich”) tourists might outweigh dozens of the unwanted budget-conscious tourists who have been coming to Thailand for decades.
A government spokesman said yesterday that the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Interior are in the process of drafting regulations for long-term visas for highly skilled digital nomads and wealthy ex-pats for long-term residence in Thailand. They say that attracting these high-value tourists will lead to economic and investment stimulus.
The 10-year visa aims to attract wealthy travelers from 4 categories, which have been the cornerstone of the government’s tourism efforts in recent months:
- Digital nomads – professionals who work remotely online.
- Highly trained professionals who can advance Thailand with their skills
- Rich folks
- Wealthy retirees
While the eligibility rules are still being finalized, they’ve announced some promising pricing details. The visa is initially issued for 5 years at a cost of 10,000 baht per year and can be extended for another 5 years thereafter.
With a total cost of 100,000 baht for 10 years, it is significantly cheaper than the current long-stay visa options of the Thai Elite Visa program, where a 5-year visa costs 600,000 baht, a 10-year visa 1 million baht, and the 20 -annual visa costs 2.4 million baht including annual fees.
The rest of the regulations are still being worked out, but the Ministry of Labor assures that foreigners who receive this visa can start work immediately after arrival in Thailand and do not have to wait for their work permit application to be completed. Once the rest of the rules are fully settled, the ministries will make a formal announcement and the new visa can go live.
Individuals who wish to start the application process for the new 10-year visa can submit their paperwork and qualification certificates to the nearest Thai embassy or consulate or, if already in Thailand, to the Thai Board of Investment at Chamchuri Square in Get Bangkok.