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Posts Tagged ‘Thailand Elite Card’

20th August 2014

The Thailand Easy Access Card

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In recent postings on this blog, the issue of immigration crackdowns has been discussed. Specifically, it appears that the so-called in/out 30 day visa run is a thing of the past and those overstaying their lawful immigration status could find themselves barred from reentering the country. Meanwhile, it appears that obtaining one year multiple entry Thai visas is becoming more and more difficult although not impossible where the applicant meets the requirements.

This brings this blogger to a related topic, in the past the Thailand Elite Card program allowed for long term stays in Thailand, but the price was usually not cost effective for the average traveler. It should also be noted that the initial Elite Card scheme allowed for a lifetime visa. Eventually the program went somewhat defunct, only to be re-vamped and reintroduced as a 20 year visa scheme. Those seeking an Elite Card must pay 2 million baht up-front with a yearly 20,000 baht administrative fee. Again, even the current Elite Card cost is not affordable for many. This may be why the Elite Card promoters have implemented a less expensive alternative: The Thailand Easy Access Card. This card allows the holder to obtain what is essentially a 5 year visa rather than a 20 year visa, but the cost is only 500,000 baht up-front as opposed to 2 million, there are other curtailed benefits that come with Thailand Easy Access Card obtainment which are more fully described in a pamphlet issued by the facilitators of the Easy Access card:

As a business traveler who frequently travels to Thailand you truly deserve the exclusive benefits the Thailand Easy Access Membership entitles. Your arrivals will be practically effortless with assistance by our professional Elite Personal Assistants who will be waiting for you at the plane’s door. From your first step into the Kingdom until your departure they will escort and guide you through the airport assisting you with all formalities and immigration procedures. In addition to the exclusive privileges within the airport your private limousine is available to drive you to your destination as quickly and as hassle-free as possible.

Those seeking a detailed breakdown of Easy Access Card benefits are encouraged to click HERE.

Clearly, the Easy Access Card provides benefits besides long term visa status, but for those wishing to remain in the Kingdom of Thailand for a period longer than one year this may be an option. It should be noted that those entering the Kingdom on either an Elite Card or an Easy Access card enter in tourist visa status. Those wishing to enter Thailand based upon marriage should do so on a Thai marriage visa. Retirees may obtain a Thai retirement visa, while those seeking an Education in Thailand should think about the Thai ED visa.

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29th July 2009

The Nation and Thai Visa are reporting some interesting developments with regard to Thailand’s Legal environment. First off, the all-but-abandoned Thailand Elite Card program is apparently still alive, but on life support. To quote the Nation via ThaiVisa:

“In November 2003, Mr Thaksin proudly presented 80 gold Thailand Elite cards to international VIPs and eminent people, including Japanese trade chiefs and US banking and financial supremos. The cards promised fast-tracked immigration, discounts at luxury resorts and golf courses, and many other perks. The optimistic estimates to attract the world’s wealthy were mind-boggling; a million subscribers to generate a trillion baht in revenue. But early signs were not encouraging. After four months, a meagre 400 memberships had been sold, barely a dent in the 100,000 target for the first year of operation. Panicky officials talked of targeting China’s nouveau riche, and predicted they would attract 30,000 Chinese within 12 months. But six years later, the total number of members is a risible 2,570, and the Thailand Privilege Card Company (TPC), set up by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), to run the scheme has a crippling net loss of 1.4 billion baht.”

As stated previously on this blog, the current government of Thailand has opted not to continue the Thai Immigration benefits accorded to Elite Card holders. As a result, the central pillar of the scheme has been toppled resulting in nearly no demand for the card. It will be interesting to see what the ultimate fate of the Elite Card will be, but at this time it appears that card holders are attempting to get as many benefits out of the card as possible in order to offset the cost of acquiring it.

In further reports from the Nation and ThaiVisa, it would appear that the Thai government is looking to crack down on Karaoke bars in Thailand, “The [Thai] Cabinet has approved new regulations that prohibit karaoke parlours from providing drinking or singing partners to customers, with their business licences being revoked if they do.” It will be interesting to see if these provisions will be stringently enforced and, if so, what effect this legislation will have upon the already crippled Thai tourism industry.

The government also is proposing regulations to limit the amount of time that Thai children can utilize computer gaming facilities. This seems like an attempt to reign in children who play computer games virtually non-stop. Finally, a proposed film rating system. The system would impose rating categories upon Thai films. The categories would span the spectrum from films which would be “encouraged” to those which would be “banned.”

(This post is merely opinion, no attorney-client relationship is created from reading this piece.)

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6th May 2009

Thailand O Visa

The Thailand O visa is something of an anomaly because it is truly a “catch-all” visa category. Generally O visas in Thailand are used by spouses of either Thai nationals or spouses of those present in Thailand on some other type of Thai Visa. The O visa confers work authorization insofar as it allows the holder of said visa to petition for a Thai work permit.

Although legally eligible to obtain a work permit, there are sometimes work permit difficulties for the O visa holder. As a practical matter, some Thai immigration officers and Ministry of Labour officials do not like to see work permits issued to those in Thailand on an O visa unless the O visa is based upon an underlying spousal relationship to either a Thai National, Permanent Resident in Thailand, or business visa holder (in the case of the spouse of a business visa holder, the O visa holder may have some difficulty obtaining a work permit).

Thailand Elite Card

The Thailand Elite Card program was a program designed with the idea of improving business tourism in Thailand. The card offered many benefits that would be convenient and useful for the prospective business traveler in Thailand. Most notably, there were some very positive immigration benefits conferred upon businesspeople holding a Thailand Elite Card.

At one time, there was a 3 year multiple entry visa conferred upon foreigners under the Thailand Elite Card program. Under this program applicants paid a one time fee of 1.5 million baht and received a card that entitled them to special benefits throughout Thailand. The program also had a special relationship with Thai Immigration that allowed card holder to obtain 3 year multiple entry non-immigrant B visas.

Recently, with governmental shakeups in Thailand the Elite Card program has been canceled with regard to immigration matters. Therefore, although one could conceivably still obtain the elite card, the immigration benefits of the card are no longer granted and therefore the special three year visa is no longer conferred upon card holders.

At present, it would appear to be quite difficult, if not practically impossible, to obtain a 3 year non-immigrant business visa to Thailand. That being said, one year Thai visas are still available for qualified applicants.

For more information please see:

Thailand Visa

Thailand Business Visa

US Visa Lawyer Thailand

(Note: All information in this post should be used for general purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is created between the reader and author of this post. This post should not be used as a substitute for individualized legal advice from a licensed professional.)

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