US and Australian applications for the Thailand Elite Visa, which grants residency for 5-20 years, have increased considerably since the start of 2020 and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Already, the number of US applicants in Q1 2020 has exceeded 50% of the total US applicants in 2019, with Henley & Partners reporting an increase of 100% relative to Q1 2019 and Q4 2019 figures. The number of Australian applicants in Q1 2020 has also swelled by 228%, relative to the same period last year, and has increased by 130% when compared to Q4 2019.

“The uncertainty and instability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are driving more wealthy individuals to reevaluate their priorities and seek alternative options for residence,” Dominic Volek, Managing Partner and Head of Southeast Asia at Henley & Partners, comments. Coronavirus-induced travel restrictions have also incentivised US citizens currently in Thailand to seek longer-term residency options.

“Entrepreneur investors remain the largest category of applicants for the Thailand Elite Residence Program, thanks to Thailand’s excellent global reputation as a business centre and innovation hub,” Dominic adds. 

According to International Monetary Fund 2019 figures, Thailand has the second-largest economy across Southeast Asia with a nominal GDP of USD 529,177 in 2019, which is projected to increase to 700.151 by 2024.

The recent rise in Thailand Elite Visa applications bodes well for Thailand as it opens up the opportunity for wealthy individuals to inject funds into the country’s economy. “Investment migration is a win-win solution for global investors and sovereign states alike,” Henley & Partners’s CEO Dr Juerg Steffen says. “Over and above the obvious benefit of providing a home in a different and possibly safer location of their choice, it also helps individuals and their families secure access to new markets, top educational institutions, better healthcare systems, and a suite of investment and personal opportunities for both present and future generations.”

With an application fee that ranges from THB 500,000 (approx USD 16,000) to THB 2.14 million (approx USD 68,000), the Thailand Elite Visa aims to attract high-net-worth individuals, including investors, businessmen and expats, to take up residency in Thailand.


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