New long-term options with the EEC visa

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Thailand has again expanded its long-stay visa options by introducing the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) visa. This new visa is tailored for foreign investors looking to invest in the three key eastern provinces of Rayong, Chonburi, and Chachoengsao, as well as Bangkok (peripheral) and Samut Prakan (peripheral).

Unlike the usual Non-B and Non-O residence visas, the EEC visa provides multiple entry benefits and streamlines work permit procedures for targeted industries. Additionally, like the LTR visa, holders of an EEC visa can benefit from a reduced income tax rate of 17% for specialists, executives, professionals, and their dependents, if applicable.

One of the key features of the EEC visa is that its duration is tied to the life of the holder’s work permit, categorizing it as an investor-type visa.

Who is eligible?

While there are similarities with the Long-Term Residence (LTR) visa, the EEC visa is geographically limited to specific EEC provinces. It focuses on high-tech industries and sunrise initiatives such as:

  • automotive,
  • electronics,
  • petrochemical,
  • agriculture and food, and
  • tourism

As well as the new next-generation sectors, including:

  • automation and robotics,
  • aerospace,
  • digital,
  • biotechnology, and
  • medical and healthcare.

The EEC visa is offered to three types of applicants in the targeted industries:

Specialists (S)

This visa category is designed to attract individuals possessing highly sought-after specialized expertise and skills within the targeted sectors.

Executives (E)

This visa category is tailored for senior executives in companies functioning within the EEC. It aims to draw in seasoned professionals capable of fostering the expansion and progress of businesses within the EEC.

Professionals (P)

This visa category is designed for professionals across diverse fields seeking to work and invest in the EEC. This visa category is aimed at individuals possessing specialized knowledge and skills deemed vital for advancing industries within the EEC.

Dependents (O)

This category is for spouses and dependents of those above visa classes.

Specific Benefits

Streamlined Work Permit Issuance

A primary perk of this visa lies in its streamlined issuance of work permits. This eliminates the arduous process foreign investors typically face when applying for work permits, saving them time and effort. Investors can effortlessly secure their work permits, enabling them to concentrate on business endeavors without bureaucratic hindrances.

Uniform Income Tax Rate of 17%

Foreign investors under the EEC visa umbrella enjoy a consistent income tax rate of 17%. This advantageous tax structure gives investors a competitive edge by lightening their tax load and bolstering their overall financial gains. The flat 17% income tax rate applies to income generated within the EEC, encouraging foreign investors to participate in the region’s economic landscape.

Extended Visa Validity up to 10 Years

The EEC visa offers an extended visa validity period of up to 10 years, ensuring long-term stability and assurance for foreign investors. Tied to the duration of the investor’s employment contract, this extended visa duration allows them to stay in Thailand for an extended period, actively contributing to the EEC’s growth and progress. Moreover, it eliminates the hassle of frequent visa renewals.

Flexible Multiple-entry and Online Reporting

An additional advantage of the EEC visa is its flexibility, allowing holders to enter and exit Thailand multiple times during its validity. Furthermore, the visa facilitates online reporting, simplifying regulatory compliance for investors and ensuring adherence to local laws.

Dedicated Expedited Channels at International Airports

The EEC visa comes with dedicated expedited channels at international airports throughout Thailand. These specialized channels streamline the immigration process, enabling investors to bypass lengthy queues and expedite their airport procedures efficiently.

Conclusion

Thailand has been actively diversifying its long-stay visa options in recent years to attract overseas wealth and encourage them to establish a base in Thailand. In addition to the newly introduced EEC visa, other long-stay visa options include the Elite visa, which has had a controversial history since its introduction in 2003, the O/X 10-year visa for retirees introduced in 2016 (known for its bureaucratic hurdles), and the Long Term Residence visa introduced just last year. The growing involvement of government agencies like the Board of Investment in issuing long-stay visas highlights Thailand’s desire to attract foreign investment and expertise in various sectors.

Overall, adding the EEC visa to Thailand’s long-stay visa options signals the country’s ongoing efforts to attract foreign investors, professionals, and retirees while showcasing its commitment to fostering growth in key industries through strategic visa programs.

For more information about our corporate and commercial practice and our visa and work permit services, please contact us at [email protected] or the contact form provided.

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