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Thailand Elite: initial arrival date

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The Thai embassies in Europe accept visa applications for O-A or O Marriage visas only 3 - 10 weeks before the reserved flight. And applications for new Non-O visas are only processed after the embassy approves a seat on a flight. Flights are still prioritized for Thai citizens; and for a few foreigners like those with an existing marriage/family visa.

If I applied for a Non-O visa in a few months, 10 weeks before the planned flight, that would be a tight time window: both my employment contract and my rental contract have a period of notice of 3 months. I´m living as an expat in my current European country of residence. So cutting these local ties 1 month before I can even apply for a Non-immigration visa makes me a bit fidgety. Should new lockdowns be imposed, I´d perhaps face visa issues in my current country to remain as a then unemployed foreigner without an appartment.

I´m wondering if the first arrival on an Elite visa can be 3-4 months after visa approval? (I know I may be fretting too much about unknown future risks, but just accept that I might spend 500,000 Baht to buy some peace of mind during the transition period between 2 visas and 2 countries). The Elite website states that the processing time may be 2-3 months.

So: application in September, visa approval in December. I´ll notify my employer about my resignation in December; last working day in March 2021. Flight to Thailand in late March 2021.

Future lockdowns may prevent flights to Thailand in next March. But at least I´d have a valid visa that would put me on some waiting list for embassy-approved flights later in 21Q2 - provided that the Elite visa permits a first arrival within 12 months after the issue date (rather than expiring like a Non-O visa within 70-90 days).

Does anyone know if an Elite member is allowed to arrive in Thailand in any of the first 12 months of validity?

 

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I'm pretty sure you can. I don't think you get the visa itself until you land. I'm not a member though - still weighing it up. No doubt somebody who knows for sure will chime in.

 

Are you sure those visa arrangements are still the same? If so, is there no chance of your employer agreeing to accept 2 months' notice in the circs, or agreeing that you can withdraw your notice if your O-A visa doesn't go through? Maybe you live in Monte Carlo or somewhere, but I would guess the amount of rent you stand to lose is quite a bit smaller than the elite fee, so the situation with your employer is probably the main thing.

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Posted (edited)

Once you join you can come almost immediately (assuming you can get a flight and quarantine booking!) and have the visa inserted at the airport on arrival. I think they request something like a 5 day notice for visa insertion appointments at the airport but that's something I would check with them. There is no need to wait months, once you're a member you get your visa and that's it.

 

I would say it's a good idea to keep the visa insertion / arrival date as close to the joining date as possible.

 

The approval might be the bottleneck here but I have my doubts that they are really too busy right now. They seemed to be on a 'go slow' back when applications really were taking many months earlier in 2019.

 

Anyway, once approved your membership does not begin until you've paid the fee....so you have full control over when your membership start date which is something to keep in mind when you apply.

 

I really doubt they care at all if you join up and only come once or twice during the entire membership or come on day 1 and stay for the entire duration.

Edited by ukrules

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Once you are a member you can get the visa anytime later. 

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I applied yesterday -  the agent suggested there would be a  4-6 week wait. I am already in TH  and  already have a retirement visa - perhaps that speeds up the process?...

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A elite visa holder still needs to follow the COE procedure, no COVID-19 check 72 hrs b4 boarding, fit for travel cert, insurance and upon arrival 14-day quarantine

Seemed some Elite card holders for the UK were refused boarding at the airport. They might have just buy a ticket and went directly to the airport w/o going thro' the application procedure via the Thai embassy. 

 

  Elite card is not a free pass to return to Thailand. (Pattaya Mail, August 4, 2020)

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6 minutes ago, roadpeople said:

A elite visa holder still needs to follow the COE procedure, no COVID-19 check 72 hrs b4 boarding, fit for travel cert, insurance and upon arrival 14-day quarantine

Seemed some Elite card holders for the UK were refused boarding at the airport. They might have just buy a ticket and went directly to the airport w/o going thro' the application procedure via the Thai embassy. 

 

  Elite card is not a free pass to return to Thailand. (Pattaya Mail, August 4, 2020)

Story is a bit thin on details.  Wonder which flights they bought tickets for, considering there are none other than the repatriation flights.  They'd have to be pretty dim and uninformed to think they could just turn up and fly.

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I have retirement visa I had to come back to UK on March 1st. Booked flight to go back to Thai on 2nd June flight cancelled. My visa expired 19th June so need to start the process all over again problem is embassy in London not interested in retirement just now. So I applied for elite just try to cover all angles not sure how long elite visa takes to come through. Anybody have some advice

thanks in advance

 

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Also anybody have any idea when airport in BKK will reopen for commercial flights 

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I applied in june, it took about 3 weeks for approval and i am in USA

I havent paid my fee yet as im waiting to see when general opening may be. I have 90 days from approval to make payment or reapply. 
i was also told new members can’t come in yet. This is what my agent sent me yesterday

 

Now the Thai Government allows 200 Elite Visa members to enter Thailand first by following the quarantine steps. If no more new infected cases occur, They are going to allow the new members to enter.

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2 hours ago, Peeba boy said:

Also anybody have any idea when airport in BKK will reopen for commercial flights 

The airport IS open for commercial flights. I guess you're asking when Immigration will allow general re-entry of foreigners and Thai nationals without pre-clearance. The answer to that is "nobody knows" and I wouldn't bet that any non-pre-clearance tourism will be possible in 2020.

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If you have an approved elite application can you get a Certificate of Entry/COE from a Thai Embassy in int US

even if you don't get the visa sticker until you arrive in Thailand?

 

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21 minutes ago, VIPinLanna said:

If you have an approved elite application can you get a Certificate of Entry/COE from a Thai Embassy in int US

even if you don't get the visa sticker until you arrive in Thailand?

The confirmation from Elite that you have been approved and paid is, in principle, sufficient. However, there appears to be high demand for seats on repatriation flights from the US. It is unclear how long it would take for you to reach the top of the (prioritised) waiting list for foreigners. I think you will need to wait until key workers, and those with Thai spouses and Children have been handled.

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I was told the same thing by Elite staff that it is not yet finalized under which conditions we (new members) can enter and the maximum quota.

 

I already applied because the process could take weeks/months even if faster for some here.

 

Nevertheless I need clarity before making the payment.

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I'm still not sure when the 5 years starts. Say you apply and get accepted, but then things change and you can't actually travel to Thailand for say 9 months, what happens ?  Have you lost that time ? It seems that you would. The membership starts on day of approval and issuance of the membership card doesn't it ?

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