Thailand Long-Term Resident (LTR) Visa: A Guide to Tax Benefits and Eligibility
Thailand has become an increasingly popular destination for foreigners seeking to live and work. The Thai government has introduced the Long-Term Resident (LTR) Visa program to attract high-potential individuals. This 10-year visa offers a range of tax and non-tax benefits, making Thailand an attractive regional hub for living and doing business.
This guide will explore the eligibility criteria and the various tax benefits associated with the LTR Visa.
- The Long-Term Resident Visa (LTR) is a visa that allows foreign nationals to reside in Thailand for an extended period.
- The LTR visa is available to 4 specific groups.
- The LTR comes with unique bonuses, including tax incentives.
Who is Eligible for the Long-Term Resident (LTR) Visa?
The LTR Visa is available to four categories of foreigners:
- Wealthy Global Citizens,
- Wealthy Pensioners,
- Work-from-Thailand Professionals, and
- Highly-Skilled Professionals.
Each category has specific eligibility requirements that the applicants must satisfy.
Wealthy Global Citizens
Wealthy Global Citizens are individuals who possess significant assets and an annual income. To qualify for the LTR Visa under this category, the applicant must meet the following criteria:
- Hold assets worth at least $1 million.
- Have an annual income of at least $80,000 for the past two years.
- Make a minimum investment of $500,000 in Thai government bonds, foreign direct investment, Thai property, or a combination.
The Wealthy Pensioner category is designed for individuals aged 50 or older with a stable pension or passive income. The eligibility criteria for this category include:
- At the time of application, have a personal income of at least $80,000 annually.
- For individuals with an income below $80,000 but at least $40,000 per year, a minimum investment of $250,000 in Thai government bonds, foreign direct investment, Thai property, or a combination of these is required.
The Work-from-Thailand category is designed to attract remote workers employed by well-established foreign companies. Eligibility requirements for this category include:
- Have an annual income of at least $80,000 for the past two years.
- Additional criteria apply for individuals with an income ranging from $40,000 to $80,000 per year, including:
- Holding a Master’s degree or above,
- own intellectual property or
- have received Series A funding.
- Current employers must be publicly listed on a stock exchange or a private company with at least three years of operation and a combined revenue of at least $150 million in the past three years.
- Applicants must have at least 5 years of experience in their relevant fields over the past 10 years.
The Highly-Skilled Professional category is for experts and professionals working in targeted industries in Thailand. Eligibility criteria for this category include:
- Have an annual income of at least $80,000 for the past two years.
- Additional criteria apply for individuals with an income ranging from $40,000 to $80,000 annually. They must hold a Master’s degree or above in science and technology or possess special expertise relevant to the job assignment in Thailand.
- Professionals working in government higher educational institutions, research centers, specialized training centers, or government agencies are exempt from minimum income requirements.
- The business entity must operate in one of the targeted industries outlined by the Thai government.
- Applicants must have at least 5 years of experience in the targeted industries, hold a PhD in relevant fields, or work for a Thai government agency.
What are the Tax Benefits for Long-Term Resident Visa Holders?
One of the key advantages of the LTR Visa program is the range of tax benefits it offers eligible individuals.
Highly-Skilled Professionals: 17% Flat Tax Rate
Highly-Skilled Professionals with the LTR Visa are entitled to a discounted personal income tax rate of 17%. This is a significant advantage, considering Thailand’s regular personal income tax rates range from 5% to 35%. To qualify for this special tax rate, the following conditions must be met:
- The individual must be an expert in targeted industries, working for business entities, higher education institutes, research centers, specialized training institutions in Thailand, or Thai government agencies.
- Earn assessable income under Section 40 (1) of the Revenue Code while performing duties for a company that satisfies the above criteria.
- File a personal income tax return (P.N.D. 95) for a tax year as required by the law;
- The employer can agree with the professional to withhold tax at a flat rate of 17%.
- If the foreign employee has been subject to withholding tax at a flat rate of 17%, they are exempt from including the income in their personal income tax return, provided they do not request a refund or credit for the tax paid.
- In cases where the foreigner has received assessable income subject to withholding tax under specific sections of the Revenue Code, they can treat the tax withheld as final tax and exclude the income from their personal income tax return.
If an employee fails to adhere to the rules, procedures, and conditions in any given tax year, they will not be eligible for income tax exemption in that specific tax year.
Other Categories: Income Tax Exemption
Wealthy Global Citizens, Wealthy Pensioners, and Work-from-Thailand Professionals eligible for the LTR Visa are entitled to an income tax exemption for income derived from a post or business conducted abroad or arising from assets located abroad that has been brought into Thailand.
It’s important to note that the tax concessions provided by the LTR Visa program are subject to rules and conditions prescribed by the Revenue Department.
Please note that this exemption does not apply to Highly Skilled Professional LTR holders.
What targeted industries are eligible for an LTR visa based on being a Highly-Skilled Professional in Thailand?
As of 2023, the following is the list of targeted activities for highly skilled professionals:
- Automotive Industry
- Electronics Industry
- AffluentTourism Industry
- Agriculture, food, and biotechnology industry
- Transportation and logistics industry
- Automation and robotics industry
- Aviation, aerospace, and space industry
- Biofuels and bio-chemical industry
- Petrochemical and Chemical Industry
- Digital industry
- Medical industry
- National defense industry
- Direct and significant supporting industries for the circular economy, e.g fuel production from wastes or water resource management, etc.
- International Business Center (IBC)
- Other industries in which the foreign applicants for the qualification endorsement must work with special expertise in one or more of the following areas:
- Research and development in targeted industries or technologies, such as Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, Advanced Material Technology, Digital Technology
- Human resource development in science and technology at vocational or higher education levels
- Application of artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics in business operations
- Planning and development of digital systems to enhance business productivity and services
- Financial or Marketing Analyst or Advisory Services.
- Environmental and energy management
- Management or Advisory of incubation programs, acceleration programs, innovation,and startup ecosystems
- Alternative dispute resolution services.
- Promotion and support of economic development, trade, and investment by foreign chambers of commerce and organizations promoting trade and investment from foreign countries.”
What are the other benefits available to LTR visa holders?
Apart from the tax benefits mentioned above, the following incentives are available to LTR visa holders.
Permission to work in Thailand
Holders of the LTR will be eligible to receive a Digital Work Permit. This is a significant attraction for those who wish to come to Thailand as a Digital Nomad and work legally. This is currently not possible through the existing visas on offer.
The Digitial Work Permit is available for both the holders of the LTR and their dependents as well.
Applicants must secure employment in Thailand before applying for the Digital Work Permit.
The removal of the requirement for employers to hire four Thai citizens per foreigner
Setting up a company in Thailand would be an attractive option for holders of an LTR who applied under the ‘Work From Thailand’ or ‘Highly Skilled Professionals’ options.
One of the drawbacks to forming a traditional company structure (Private Limited Company) in Thailand is the restrictions on hiring foreign staff. Typically, you must hire 4 Thai employees for each foreign staff member. This quota does not apply to LTR visa holders.
Fast track at international airports
LTR visa holders can take advantage of the fast track services available to travellers at Thai airports and avoid the often long and slow lines.
1 year reporting to Immigration instead of 90 days
Most visa holders in Thailand must submit a notification of their place of residence to the Thai Immigration Office every 90 days. This is not required for holders of the LTR who only need to do this report once per year.
What is the process for applying for the Long-Term Resident Visa?
To apply for the LTR Visa, prospective applicants must submit their application and supporting documents to the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI). The processing time for the LTR Visa may vary depending on the completeness of the application and the supporting documents provided. The BOI reserves the right to request additional documents during the application process as necessary.
Once approved, LTR Visa holders can enjoy the numerous benefits of the visa, including the tax advantages mentioned above. It’s important to comply with the rules and conditions outlined by the Revenue Department to continue benefiting from these tax incentives.
The full application process is as follows:
- Submit an online application with supporting documents such as evidence of funds, education documents, and relevant supporting documents issued by your employer.
- You will receive an endorsement letter once your application is approved, which should be processed within 30 working days.
- Submit the endorsement letter with your passport to get an LTR visa stamp on your passport within 60 days.
- If you are in Thailand, you can get it at your local immigration office.
- You can get it from a Thai embassy or consulate if you are outside of Thailand.
- Once you are in Thailand, visit the One Start One Stop Service Center to get a digital work permit (this applies only to those who want to work in Thailand).
How can Belaws help?
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Please note that this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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Frequently asked questions
Who is eligible for Thai Elite visa?
To be eligible for the Thailand Elite Visa, you must hold a valid foreign passport, have no deportation record in any country, and not have an overstay record in Thailand. Individuals from countries on the UN Sanction List, such as North Korea and Iran, do not qualify.
What is the 20-year elite visa in Thailand?
The Thailand Elite Visa offers a membership package called “Elite Superiority Extension” with a 20-year visa validity. It provides various benefits for an extended stay in Thailand.
How much does a Thai elite visa cost?
The cost of a Thailand Elite Visa varies based on the membership package. For example, the Elite Easy Access package costs THB 600,000 (approximately 17,000 USD), while the Elite Ultimate Privilege package costs THB 2,000,000 (approximately 57,000 USD).
Is Thai Elite visa worth it?
The Thailand Elite Visa offers a range of benefits, including multiple-entry visas, tax exemptions on foreign income, airport services, and more. Whether it’s worth it depends on your individual needs and preferences for staying long-term in Thailand.
How do I get a 10-year Thai visa?
You can get a 10-year Thai visa through the “Elite Family Alternative” or “Elite Privilege Access” membership packages offered by the Thailand Elite Visa program.
Can I buy a house in Thailand on elite visa?
While Thailand Elite Visa holders cannot work for a company in Thailand, they can engage in other investment activities, such as buying shares, investing in condominiums, or obtaining a driver’s license.
How much is Thailand elite residence?
The membership fees for the Thailand Elite Visa range from THB 600,000 (approximately 17,000 USD) to THB 2,000,000 (approximately 57,000 USD), depending on the chosen membership package.
Thailand retirement visa better than elite visa?
Both the Thailand Retirement Visa and the Thailand Elite Visa cater to different needs. The Retirement Visa is designed for retirees, while the Elite Visa offers a broader range of benefits for long-term stays.
What are the benefits of Thailand Elite visa?
The Thailand Elite Visa offers benefits like multiple-entry visas, tax exemptions on foreign income, airport services, elite personal assistance, limousine service, discounts on leisure activities, opening a bank account, and more.
Can I work in Thailand with a Thai Elite Visa?
No, Thai Elite Visa holders are not allowed to work for any company in Thailand. However, they can engage in other investment activities such as buying shares or investing in property.
Can I upgrade my Thai Elite Visa membership package?
Some membership packages are upgradeable, such as upgrading from the “Elite Easy Access” package to a 10-year or 20-year visa. However, specific upgrade options might vary.
Can I apply for a Thai Elite Visa if I’ve been previously deported from another country?
Applicants must not have a deportation record in any country. It’s important to review the eligibility requirements and consult with Belaws.
Can I bring my family with me under the Thai Elite Visa?
Yes, the “Elite Family Alternative” package, implies the possibility of including family members.
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