Long Term Resident Visa (LTR Visa)

  • Categorizing to be under the tourist visa
  • Aiming to attract foreigners with capacity of wealth and talent to contribute and generate income to Thailand’s domestic market and support the local economic growth subject to the relevant regulations.
  • Targeting size of the LTR visa is about 1 million of wealthy or talented foreigners who aim to get resident in the kingdom for the next 5 years.
  • Revocation of the LTR visa can be due to incompliance to the Ministry of Interior’s announcement and unable to meet with the qualifications as prescribed.
five women sitting on tree trunk

Qualifications

TypesQualifications
Wealthy global citizens  1.       Owning at least 1 million USD assets globally; or
2.       Having at least 80,000 USD income for 2 years continuously; or at least 500,000 USD investment in assets in Thailand
Wealthy retirees  1.       Owning at least 80,000 USD assets globally; or in case of owning assets between 40,000 – 80,000 USD, they must invest in Thai property for at least 250,000 USD; or
2.       Having 50 years older with annual pension or stable income
Work-from Thailand professional  1.       Owning assets between 40,000 – 80,000 USD for 2 years continuously; or having at least master’s degree or owning intellectual property or receiving a series of funding; or
2.       Working for a SET-listed corporation or business operates for at least 3 years with total revenue of 150 million USD in the last 3 years; or
3.       Having at least 5 years of experience in the specified fields over the past 10 years.
Highly skilled professional  1.       Highly skilled professional holding of assets between USD 40,000 – 80,000 for 2 years continuously; or having at least a master’s degree in science and technology or having special expertise relevant to the job assignment in Thailand; or
2.       No work experience required for PhD degree in the relevant fields of the targeted industries; or
3.       Working in the business in any targeted industries with at least 5 years of experience 
Highly skilled professional working with government agencies  1.       No minimum personal income; or
2.       No work experience required; or
3.       Employing with higher educational institution, research institution, specialised training institution or Thai government agencies
Dependants  Spouse and children under 20 years old of LTR visa holder (maximum of 4 dependents in total per one LTR visa holder)  

Key privileges for LTR visa holders

  1. 10 years renewable visa.
  2. Fast track service at international airports in Thailand
  3. 90 days report extending to 1 year report and exemption of re-entry permit
  4. Permission to work in Thailand (digital work permit)
  5. Immigration and work permit facilitation service at one stop service center for visa and work permit

Relevant Authorities

Board of Investment, Immigration Bureau and Ministry of Labour.

AMC – Tools for solving NPLs

Asset Management Company (AMC) does business through purchasing or auctioning NPLs (non-performance loans) from commercial banks or financial institutions and manages such NPLs through restructuring of NPLs. The AMC business is governed by the Bank of Thailand (BOT), where the selective NPLs from the banks will be sold to the AMCs through auction. The banks will notify the debtors and creditors before and after the auctions of debt. AMCs that win such auctions have the duty to inform the debtors of their rights to claim the debt in place of the banks. Still, the original right to claim the capital, interest, and other relatives’ rights and obligations agreed with the banks are still enforceable. The debtors just have to perform their obligations with the AMCs.

buildings with glass windows

Under this current situation, a joint venture agreement between AMCs and commercial banks is to be entered into giving the banks more flexibility in managing bad debts and also helping AMC in playing a key role in the country’s bad asset management as some have capital limitations in terms of buying distressed debt.

According to the published news in May 2022, All Inspire Development Plc. is one of the companies operating AMC businesses. The company aims to buy the NPLs for about 500-1000 million baht with an estimated return of around 4 – 4.5 billion baht. 

Based on Bangkok Commercial Asset Management or BAM’s forecast, the value of NPLs from the banks will be around 200-300 billion baht, and other financial institutions will be around 9 billion baht.

Under the BOT rules and regulations, a limited company or public limited company with a registered capital not less than 25 million baht and having a purpose of business to be transferred of NPLs from the banks or financial institutions to manage the NPLs are able to apply for operating of AMCs business with the BOT. The AMC that did not comply with the regulations and rules set by the BOT will result in revocation of registration. 

The joint venture entities will be operated for not more than 15 years from the date of approval for their operation, and after that, those will need to be liquidated or changed of shares proportion held to be in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations governed their business. 

The booming of AMC business is the gravely additional tool or assistance for the banks to manage the NPLs during this downhill of economic due to the pandemic. However, this AMC tool is not a long-term resolution in which the government is needed to launch and implement the economic policy to solve this problem on a long-term basis.

Author: Panisa Suwanmatajarn – Managing Partner, The Legal Co., Ltd.

Foreigners: Land Ownership in Thailand

In response to the announcement of the Ministry of Interior allowing a foreigner to reside in the Kingdom on a special visa type and term (“LTR Visa”), the Land Department is currently considering and undergoing drafting of qualifications, conditions and methods of allowing the LTR visa holder to buy and own land.

The foreigner must continuously invest in Thailand for not less than 40 million baht for three years on targeted business such as investment in infrastructure funds or real estate investment trust to obtain land for a residential purpose only not exceeding 1 Rai.

However, private entities of the opinion that the minimum investment of 40 million baht is insufficient due to differences in currency, suggesting specifying specific and clear conditions and qualifications and zoning that the foreigner can own. The public also expresses negative feedback as it considers as bias decision towards the white collar which will make the price of immovable property jump to the point where the native cannot afford to own a residential house or land. On the other side, the real estate business operators are in favor of this proposal as it will endorse the business itself, including relevant businesses such as interior, construction and furniture businesses in which we will need to wait for consideration of the Land Department on this issue.

Author: Panisa Suwanmatajarn – Managing Partner, The Legal Co., Ltd.

Draft Announcement of the Prime Minister  Office and Ministry of Interior on Determining Numbers of Foreigner Who Will Have Residence in the Kingdom B.E. ….

The Cabinet has approved a draft Announcement of the Prime Minister Office and Ministry of Interior on Determining Numbers of Foreigner Who Will Have Residence Permit in the Kingdom B.E. …. (“Announcement”) as proposed by the Ministry of Interior.

man in black suit sitting on chair beside buildings

Many foreigners nowadays travel to the kingdom and they would like to have their residence permit for many purposes such as working , investment, marriage or family visitation. All of these foreigners’ entrance can enhance the nation’s economic stability.

According to the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979), the Minister of Interior under approval of Cabinet is able to announce for quotas of foreigners who will have residence permit in Thailand which are not exceeding 100 persons per nationality per year for the year 2021 and foreigners who have no nationality who will have residence permit in Thailand which are not exceeding 50 persons per year. However, those foreigners must receive approval from the immigration officer and Minister of Interior including complying with relevant rules and regulations before granting the residence permit in Thailand.

Board of Investment Actions according to Economic and Investment Stimulus Measures

On 10th May 2022, the Cabinet approved in principle a draft Regulation of Prime Minister Office on Setting up of Visa & Work Permit  Service Center (No. ..) B.E. …. and a draft Announcement of Board of Investment on Rules and Conditions for Special Non-Immigrant Visa (Long Term Resident Visa: LTR) and a draft Announcement of Board of Investment on Rules and Conditions for Special Non-Immigrant Visa (Smart Visa) No. .. B.E. …. as proposed by the Board of Investment.

Key summary of the above-mentioned draft rules and regulations are as follows:

four boats on sea
  • LTR visa holders and their dependents including foreign cinematographer staffs as proposed by the Creative Economy Agency are allowed to use the service of this visa and work permit service center. The Board of Investment will be in charge of this service center.
  • There are 4 types of foreigners who are eligible to apply for the LTR visa, i.e. wealthy global citizen, wealthy pensioner, work from Thailand professional and high skilled professional and their spouse and children.
unknown celebrity wearing black dress carrying black leather bag
  • The applicant under the LTR visa is required to show a health insurance having coverage of not less than 50,000 USD and having period of coverage not less than 10 months or holding a Thai social security or money deposited in Thai or foreign account for not less than 12 months in the amount of not less than 100,000 USD. The applicant is also required to show a personal income at least such as average of 80,000 USD per year within 2 years. The employment or service contract with an entity in Thailand or overseas is required. The documents showing experiences of working in target industries no less than 5 years except the applicant who will work for educational institute or research or special coaching institute operated by Thai government or government authority or applicant who graduates in doctorate degree or equivalent.
  • The applicant who would like to apply for a Smart Visa is required to be a specialist on science and technology in the target industries certified by the Strategic Talent Center or related organizations. There is a direct investment or through an investment company in the business from the applicant not less than 20 million THB in the industry using technology base for its manufacturing or service.

low angle photography of high rise building

Business Incorporation and Relevant Registrations in Thailand

Setting up a company in Thailand requires at least 3 or more individuals to subscribe their shares at the incorporation stage. Then, such subscribers shall conduct a statutory meeting for a company establishment to appoint the director(s) of the company and hand over the business to the director(s). The director(s) shall call for shares subscription either in kind or in cash and register for incorporation within 3 months from the statutory meeting.

The company’s director(s) can be both Thai and foreigner. This does not affect the ownership of shares in the company or types of the company whether it is a Thai company or a foreign company under Thai law. However, in the event that the director(s) is a foreigner and receive salary from the company, this shall be considered as an employee who is required to apply for a work permit in order to work in Thailand legally.

Once the company has already been established and if the company has an employee, social security registration is required. In addition, if the company has its income more than 1,800,000 baht per year, the company is required to register for value added tax (VAT) number.

money cash euro pay

Last but not least, other registrations or procedures may be required for any other specific types of business. For example, specific licenses are required for operating the restaurant business, securities business, tourism business, etc. The business owners need to seek consultation and check the relevant laws whether the business requires any other specific registrations or procedures.

Tax Relief Measures for Digital Asset Trading

The Cabinet, on 8 March 2022, has approved in principle drafts Royal Decree under the Revenue Code regarding VAT exemption (No. ..) B.E. …. (“Royal Decree”) and Ministerial Regulation (No. ..) B.E. …. (“Ministerial Regulation”) issued under the Revenue Code regarding VAT and income tax exemption as proposed by the Ministry of Finance.

close up shot of two people holding a gold coin

These drafts Royal Decree and Ministerial Regulations are measures to relieve the tax burden for people in trading digital assets by exempting VAT for transferring of cryptocurrencies or digital tokens in digital asset exchanges and transferring of digital currencies issued by the Bank of Thailand (“BOT”) as well as exempting personal income tax from the benefit of transferring of cryptocurrencies or digital tokens from the profits earned.

The main points of these Royal Decrees and Ministerial Regulation are as follows:

  • The drafts Royal Decree is applied for VAT exemption for transferring of cryptocurrencies or digital tokens in digital asset exchanges approved by the Minister of Finance and VAT exemption for transferring of digital currencies under the development and trial program for public sector usage issued by the BOT, starting from the 1st date of the next month that the Cabinet has granted its approval until 31 December 2023.
person holding gold and silver round coins in clear glass jar
  • The draft Ministerial Regulation is applied for personal income tax exemption on profits obtained from transferring of cryptocurrencies or digital tokens in digital asset exchanges approved by the Minister of Finance in the amount equal to losses in the same fiscal year (the other words, profits – losses = amount of income for tax calculation), starting  from 14 May 2018 onwards, in which rules, procedures and conditions announced by the Director-General of the Revenue Department will be applied.

Suspension of the Incentives for Owning Lands by Foreigners in Thailand

On 21 January 2022, it is official that the incentives for foreigners owning the lands and real estates in Thailand has been halted. It was previously controversial that the governmental body for economy drive under the Covid-19 situation is deliberating the additional incentives for foreigners to own the lands and real estates in Thailand (the “New Incentives”).

assorted color wall paint house photo

Prior to the deliberation on the New Incentives, foreigners, mostly individuals, are not permitted to own the lands in Thailand under general circumstances. Foreigners residing in Thailand are permitted to own only residential units in apartments or condominium with the regulated ratio that the foreign ownership in any specific condominium must not exceed 49% of the total space. The leasehold up to 30 years is also another option permitted by the laws.

Until late 2021, the economy driving body has proposed to deliberate on the New Incentives with details as follows:

  1. Lifting 49% restriction foreign ownership in condominium – this incentive is later halted due to the requirement to amend the Building Control Act B.E.2522. The amendment process will take approximately 1 year which will not be a swift action to tackle to economic crisis;
  2. Extending the leasehold from 30 years to 50 years – this incentive is not practicable. The 30-year leasehold is currently legitimated under the Thai Civil Commercial Code. The extension of the leasehold by foreigners to 50 years may require amending on Civil Commercial Code or passing a new act with a specific purpose to extend the timing limit of the leasehold by foreigners. This is not the swift response to spontaneous economic crisis; and
  3. Permitting foreigners to own the land for a space not more 1 rai (approximately 1,600 sq.m) – the responsibilities lie upon Department of Lands to work on the legitimation and the existing land laws of this incentive. As it is a sensitive issue, this incentive is now also suspended. 
family celebrating christmas dinner while taking selfie

The ownership of lands/real estates by foreigners in Thailand for residential purpose is still under the existing options stated above. For the business and commercial purpose, the land ownership by foreigners is based on the similar principles. It is however can be slightly different depending on the type of business which require specific consultations with competent bodies and authorities.

On 7 December 2021, the Cabinet has approved to remain the rate of land and building taxation and the draft Royal Decree Stipulating the Rate of Land and Building Tax B.E. …. (“Draft Royal Decree”) as proposed by the Ministry of Finance and reviewed by the Council of State.

The Ministry of Finance considered and has approved to remain the rate of land and building taxas specified in the transitory provision, i.e., Section 94 of Land and Buildings Tax Act B.E. 2562 for the collection of land and building tax from 2022 onwards under the following reasons:

calculators on the table
  • Most taxpayers, under hearings arranged by the Fiscal Policy Office of the Ministry of Finance, agreed with the current land and building taxation e.g., basis tax calculated by assessed value, different rates of tax depending on the types of utilization, and tax burden of the taxpayers are reduced or remains the same as compared with the tax burden by house and land tax or land development tax.
  • Progressive tax rates are fair and appropriate to the current situation. This makes people with higher land or building values have a greater tax burden than those with lower land or building values. It also does not create an unreasonable tax burden.
  • Due to mitigation of  impact of covid-19 epidemic, the Royal Decree on Land and Certain Types of Land Tax Reduction B.E. 2563 and The Royal Decree on Land and Certain Types of Land Tax Reduction (No.2) B.E. 2564 have reduced the amount of tax at a rate of 90% of the amount of tax calculation, in which the taxpayer has not yet been aware of the full real tax burden. Therefore, the same tax rate should be remained for a while.
  • Due to changing of tax administration and procedure, the Department of Local Administration does not have the database of land and building tax of each taxpayer that can be efficiently processed the  taxes Collection.

The rates of land and building tax under the Draft Royal Decree are as follows:

Types of utilizationTax rates in percentage according to the value of land and/or building
(1) Land and building used for agricultural purpose0.01 – 0.1
(2) Land and building used for residential purpose0.02 – 0.1
(3) Land and building used otherwise than in (1) or (2)0.3 – 0.7
(4) Land and building left empty or unused as otherwise reasonable for its condition0.3 – 0.7

On 19 October 2021, The Cabinet has approved in principle of the draft Notification of the Ministry of Interior regarding the Permission of Foreigners Granted Thailand Privilege Card to Stay in Thailand for Working as a Special Case (“Draft Notification”) and the draft Rules and Conditions for Allowing Foreigners Received Thailand Privilege Card to stay in Thailand for Working as a Special Case (“Draft Rules and Conditions”) as proposed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and considers this matter as an urgent matter.

beige temple reflecting on body of water

The main points of the 2 drafts are as follows:

  • Draft Notification
    1. The aliens who receive Thailand Privilege Card under the conditions as specified in  the Ministry of Interior’s Notification regarding permission of certain classes of aliens to stay in Thailand as a special case dated 22 February 2013 and have minimum investment of USD 1,000,000 per year, in a specified business, including their spouses and their under-20-year-old children, can request to change the type of visa to Non-Immigrant Visa for a term of 5 years throughout the investment period in the Flexible Plus Program.
    2. The aliens whom their types of visa have been changed as mentioned above, can apply for a work permit under the law on foreigners working management.
    3. The termination of the permission of aliens and their dependents to stay in Thailand according to this Draft Notification is under one of the following cases:
      • The minimum investment, in a specified business, does not reach USD 1,000,000 within one year from the date of entering into the program;
      • The work permit has been terminated under the law on foreigners working management; or
      • Such aliens have presumably into believing that their behavior that is danger to society, have been issued a warrant of arrest by a foreign government, being deported by the Thai government or foreign governments, or being revoked the right to stay in Thailand.
  • Draft Rules and Conditions
    1. Aliens must be a special member holding Thailand Privilege Card:
      • For the remaining members, Thailand Privilege Card must be validity at least 5 years; or
      • For the new members, they must apply for Thailand Privilege Card with a minimum card value of 1 million Baht and the validity of the card is for more than 10 years.
    2. An alien must receive a special Privilege Entry Visa (PE).
    3. An alien must invest in Thailand within 1 year from the date of requesting to join the Flexible Plus Program or from the date of approval to be a special member with a total investment value not less than USD 1,000,000 which consists of 3 types:
      • Investment in real estate according to the rights of foreigners;
      • Investment in a limited company or a public limited company; or
      • Investment in stock exchanges such as ordinary shares, debentures, or investment units which has been approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
    4. An alien must have all qualifications under the law on foreigners working management.