Foreigners owning property in Thailand may soon get 10-year visas, pending government approval

The proposal would be a major victory for property developers since foreigners can only own condos now

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said Cesa approved the proposal in principle, but would be revisited in the next meeting. DifferR/Shutterstock

Based on the report by Bangkok Post, the Thai Government is currently deliberating whether they should provide a long-stay visa of up to 10 years to foreigners who own a property in Thailand.  

This new investment programme for affluent foreigners was first recommended during a meeting with the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (Cesa), chaired by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha. 

He said that the administration authorised the proposal in principle, but requested Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow to confer with affected agencies, especially regarding the tax reduction and the law improvement, to be revisited at the next meeting of Cesa. 

The long-stay visa will be given to four primary target groups, namely well-off retirees, wealthy global citizens, rich professionals working in the Kingdom, and highly-skilled professionals. 

An ad-hoc committee to manage investment acceleration, led by ML Chayotid Kridakorn, the adviser of the Deputy Prime Minister and former senior country officer and managing director for JPMorgan Thailand, prepared the wealth foreigner plan. 

The proposal is, however, being set back by the Finance Ministry because of the 17 percent personal income tax on local earnings that have not yet been resolved, insisting the tax cut will affect the revenue collection of the government. 

To be eligible for the programme, affluent retirees must be aged 50 and over, must receive USD40,000 annual income, must have USD250,000 investment in real estate or government bonds, and must have USD100,000 health insurance.  

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Wealthy global citizens with no age limit must have at least USD500,000 in government bonds, real estate, or foreign direct investments; must have received at least USD80,000 in income in the past two years; must hold USD1 million worth of assets; and must have USD100,000 health insurance. 

Professionals working in Thailand — either in the digital sector or as an employee of a huge corporation — must be close to the retirement age, must receive at least USD40,000 a year income, and must have USD100,000 health insurance.

As for rich foreigners, retirees will be given a 10-year visa, will be allowed to acquire property and land, will be able to work 20 hours a week without a work permit, and will have to pay a 17 percent tax rate on local earnings. 

Owner of Kay Estate in Chiang Rai Kaekwun Kanjanapungka told Chiang Rai Times that this proposal to allow foreigners to own land would be a great triumph for real estate developers since foreign investors are presently only allowed to own condominiums in the Kingdom.