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How to get a 5 year Thai Visa

What I love about Thailand is they have all these rules but then they have all these loopholes and ways around things that you just don't get back home. If the bars are supposed to be shut at 1am then they are shut. But that doesn't mean you can't find a different venue to get a drink either. The rules are meant to be bent and that's how it works.

It's usually always the people at the bottom who don't have an opportunity to bend the rules that get pissy. Loi Kroh road in Chiang Mai is a perfect example. Every bar is supposed to shut up at midnight! WTF right? bit early especially since just on the other side of town the bars are still going to at least 1am. Spicy has to pretend it's not even open while on the other side of town Infinity is raging and they don't need an fake coffee shop out the front.

The point i'm getting at here is again that there are rules and bendable rules. Whoever has more money in Thailand has more privilege. This is why border runners are whining and elite members are laughing. Is it corruption or simple economics? I personally don't care to judge.

So if you didn't know there is this program Thai immigration have called Thailand Elite. If you become a member you'll get Visa privileges can come in and out of the country, no check-ins or immigration lined, golf buggies in the airport and limousine service. Sounds awesome till you see the 2 million baht price tag plus and another 20k a year for 20 years.

I do know 1 guy who showed me his card he claims he only paid 500k for 5 years for it but he doesn't get the free golf which he says he doesn't play anyway.

Is it a rip-off? Depends, Harvie mentioned yesterday that he wants to be in Thailand 9 months every year and I'm sure there's lots of people like Harvie who do something similar. If your plan was to do this for the next 20 years or if you can get that cheaper 5 year version than it would be perfect except for the upfront cost.

Now I don't know about Harvie but I don't have 2million to pay for a card and even 500k i'm still debating it but for now i'm happy going through the poor mans visa process, i'll save a few bucks, but I can see business people using this option especially if the company pays for it and individuals who earn more than $200 an hour.

I'm sure there is a price for anything including citizenship and again I'm fine with that. I'm not rich and don't work for a multinational so I can't afford to spend on an elite card right now but I would like to know that if I were I could have options like this that weren't available to everyone else.


If your interested in applying for the 5 year visa here is some more info:



- A renewable 5 years multiple entry visa with one-year-stamp at each arrival

- Stay as long as you like with 1-year-extendable - length of stay

- Extension fee of Baht 1,900.00 paid to Immigration Bureau (The fee is directly charged by Thai Immigration Bureau.)

Airport Services

- VIP greetings by Elite Personal Assistant (EPA) and escort on international arrival and departure

- Expedited immigration and passport control processing via Fast Track

- Complimentary round-trip limousine with 24 times per calendar year transfering from/to the airport only on international flights within 50 km. (Bangkok, Chiang Mai downtown, Phuket and Samui)

Government Concierges

- Elite Personal Liaison (EPL) to assist when dealing with any public agencies or private organizations such as Immigration service, Driver’s license and opening bank account

- Our EPL Service on a complimentary basis only for the first time. The 2nd time onwards, the rates are available upon request. This charge is subject to change without notice

And then some other things like discounts at restaurants but I doubt I will ever go out of my way to go to a particular restaurant just to hope they accept my card in exchange for a 5% discount.

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About Chris

Chris founded LivingThai.org in 2011 and has received over 3 million visitors. He has lived here for over 10 years and speaks reads and writes very good Thai.

10 Responses to How to get a 5 year Thai Visa

  1. Steve July 22, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

    As with anything here, spending that kind of money up front in a country that changes its rules every week is a risk. So for those who don’t have that kind of money to play with, I would refrain from betting it all on black. For those who have money to play with, it may be worth the risk if you are unable to get any other visa.

    Just as an FYI… people who can afford to blow 2 million baht to enter a country easily don’t care about free golf.

    A “Government Concierge” is laughable. Pretty much everyone is completely incompetent here, including those in the government, so I wouldn’t expect anything else from a Government Concierge. I would rather a 5 star Thai hotel staffed by educated Filipinos take care of me.

    • Chris July 22, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

      Anything is a risk, you could invest 2mil for your own work visa too, actually that’s probably more risky as you could lose more…I’m with you I’m not really going to pay this but I know many people who are going to really consider it. There’s plenty of people in Bangkok paying roughly 4k a month for an ED visa, this is only twice as much in the long run.

      I like your last point too, most Thai service blows and probably the only thing they can do well is smile, that’s why it’s called the land of smiles because they don’t know what else to do.

  2. Ian July 23, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    Yes, well, indeed. Thailand launches a ‘crackdown’ on repeat visas, and also offers a way for the well healed to stay as long as they want in the Kingdom. Somehow these seems both discriminatory and hypocritical, particularly as Buddhism is supposed to see merit in poverty and a rejection of materialism?

    I was happy to spend two, non-consecutive, tourist visas a year in Thailand. In this way, I brought money into the kingdom, spent some time volunteering here and there (Eng), and had an enjoyable six months touring Thailand. Now, what will happen to me? Will I be deemed ‘undesirable’?

    The ‘Elite” card? I don’t want to the effete assistance, which I suspect would be more trouble that it is worth. I don’t even want to stay one entire year.

    Overall, it seems like one more bureaucratic papershuffle, by the usual people in uniform, who have an ingrained fear and dislike of anyone and anything, which makes its own, independent way in the world.

  3. Matt August 14, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    The video is classic, commoners basking in the glow of the elite. “The best of Thailand is reserved for the elite” so the rest of you knuckle up and eat the turds.
    All that garbage in the promo could be done for less than a 100k.
    2 million + 20k/year x 20 will get you rent in a nice place, good food, support for a couple girlfriends and plenty of higher end hookers for years plus education visas until you die…what the fuck else do you need here?
    A bit of a scam but as it’s been proven over and over and over and over again, if you put something out there with a price tag on it way above its value there’s always some one with more money than sense who will happily fork it over.

  4. Kev August 27, 2014 at 12:27 am #

    So you say you have been on an ed visa for 5 years. What are you studying? Me and my girlfriend are moving out there and I have an internet business (big surprise) but we would like to stay out there with only the occasional visit back to the UK (Christmas, Birthdays). So I would like a full visa, maybe a yearly one. Was going to study Muai Thai but I think they won’t accept this any more so maybe learn Thai? But for 5 years??

    • Chris August 30, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

      Yes I’ve been studying Thai for that long, as long as you can speak it the authorities won’t give you a hassle. Apparently they just changed the rules so you have to fly out each year but that’s fine, I recommend just get a bus to Loas if you’re on a budget. You will need to learn some Thai but you won’t have any hassles you’re first few years.

  5. John September 18, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

    On the subject of a Visa. I have a retirement Visa. being from the USA all I need is a lease, a bank account with at least 14,000 Baht, a letter from the bank saying this is my account, An affidavit of income from the US Embassy stating that my income is at least $2,300.00 a month. (This costs $35.00 at the Embassy) two photos, copies of my entire passport, a copy of my boarding card that is in my passport. You fill out the form and every year you fill out a form #7 and all of the above. Every 90 days do you sign in and you have it made. Not at all hard just takes two hours or so in Pattaya.

  6. thailand elite December 19, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    Nice blog, i would like to say about “Be friend of Thailand be Elite member” When you become a member of Thailand Elite you will immediately notice a difference in the way you are treated once you touch down at the airport. Thailand Elite Privilege Card has been designed to offer you the highest possible experience when you are in the Kingdom of Thailand, what you are about to experience are not typically available in other memberships.

  7. dj May 29, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

    after 12 years doing the poor mans visas i got myself an Elite visa 3-4 years back… I get golf buggies and a free BMW to pick me up any international flights i book. I love it to be honest and after 12 years of visa runs its awesome… except for the price ofcourse, its expensive and about 100,000 a year, but im hoping if i time my exit correctly i should squeeze an extra year out. thus 6 years… not sure yet entirely.
    but it work out at around 7000 baht a month….

    When i used to do 3 monthly visa runs to vientienne i would spend easily 20k on flights, hotels, and a few days on the pish. these days i dont get the excuse to do the fun visa runs and the extra excursions that are always part of visa runs to make them worthwhile. so pehaps im saving more…

    if they dropped the price for the elite it would be great, shame they havent.
    The other garbage they offer, golf, spa, cheap hotels is just that. Garbage and complete crap, there are no perks… they assume your rich and have money to burn and are an idiot. but the BMW and gold trolley skipping ques and immigration, now that after a long 15 hour flight, oh and the airport lounge with free beer and snacks… thats worth it for sure…

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