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Has anyone entered on an Elite visa after July 2020?


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And if so, where are you from? Any other details?

 

I've been on an Elite visa since well before the pandemic. I've applied to return under the TEMQ (Thailand Elite Members' Quarantine) program. The first step after submitting the application is to wait for Thailand Elite to submit the application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for approval. This application includes basic identification including visa number, along with 5 choices of ASQ hotel. It's not clear to me whether the Ministry or Thailand Elite actually does the ASQ booking, but in any event, I just have to wait for an approval or denial in my inbox. Easy enough.

 

What I'm wondering is: how long is the wait? (I'm referring to the initial reply from the Ministry. After that, there are still plane tickets, fit-to-fly cert, insurance, etc.) The larger question is: has anyone entered on an Elite visa (not merely with an Elite membership, but on some other visa)? I'm unable to obtain any further information, so I'm just assuming that at some point I'll get an official reply, even if only to deny my application.

 

It's been quite a while since I applied under TEMQ. There are a million possible reasons for the delay: the announcement of the STV overwhelming the Ministry (from people with deep social ties to Thailand -- not so much actual tourists), admission discrimination by country COVID rate (instead of just demanding longer quarantine from riskier countries), the 250-per-month quota on Elite admissions (where "quota" might have been a mistranslation of "estimate"?). Nevertheless, I have zero insight as to which, if any, of these reasons is accurate.

 

I have money to spend in Thailand in order to meet my needs and support my lifestyle, while providing income to the locals in a time of serious need. I have no problem with the requirements of the deal, including all the COVID testing and quarantine. However, with absolutely no insight whatsoever as far as when (or in what year!) I might reenter, I've begun to look at alternative places to spend my money. Hopefully, this is all an overreaction on my part, and I will receive preliminary approval tomorrow. But in the meantime, creating Plan B has become necessary.

 

It probably deserves another entire thread, but those of you with no other means to return to loved ones in Thailand might consider countries where you can meet up with them and be assured that everyone involved is able to stay long term with no significant risk of visa hassles, or at least a situation where you can border bounce indefinitely. Hint: go to Wikipedia and search for "visa policy of X" where X is a country on your list. Don't worry, it won't take very long because there are likely very few countries where both of you can go! That's all I'll say about that, unless someone wants to start an "Alternative places to meet Thai partners" thread.

 

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This has been a topic of discussion for a while. The last position was that elite visas were not eligible. Now it appears that they are about to open TEMQ along with the STV and under similar terms.

 

I do not know of anyone that has gained entry yet.

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1 hour ago, BradFinch said:

I've been on an Elite visa since well before the pandemic. I've applied to return under the TEMQ (Thailand Elite Members' Quarantine) program.

What kind of timescale are we talking about here? Have you been waiting for weeks or just days?

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Now it appears that they are about to open TEMQ along with the STV and under similar terms.

I would say this happened long ago, specifically on August 19, but let me know if I'm missing something here: "We, Thailand Privilege Card Co., Ltd. would like to announce that we have received permission from Thailand’s Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) for Thailand Elite members stranded abroad to be able to return to Thailand for long stay. Members will be approved under conditions and procedures of CCSA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Health. Under the program called Thailand Elite Members Quarantine (TEMQ), members who have been stranded abroad for a long period will be able to travel back to Thailand using Elite Visa along with few other documents required by Thai government. It is also important to give full cooperation to the government to prevent the second outbreak of COVID-19. Therefore, the process of 14 days quarantine is a must."

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What kind of timescale are we talking about here? Have you been waiting for weeks or just days?

Weeks.

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This question has come up a few times but there have been no reports of people entering on the elite scheme. In fact, what you've just posted is probably the most detailed info we've had. There was a guy who posted a few days ago saying that he had been told by Thai Elite and the London embassy that if he applied the process would take 60-90 days, but he wasn't a current member and it wasn't clear whether the 60-90 days was just the application process or whether he'd been told he'd actually get in to Thailand within 90 days.

 

We do know that existing members who have been stranded out of Thailand the longest are going to be given priority, but how that works out in practice is anyone's guess.

 

However long it's taking now (if it's even happening now), the new visa is bound to shake things up because there will be more competition for ASQ places.

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I wonder why the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thailand are not doing their job and approving these applications in a proper and timely manner?

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6 hours ago, JHicks said:

This question has come up a few times but there have been no reports of people entering on the elite scheme. In fact, what you've just posted is probably the most detailed info we've had. There was a guy who posted a few days ago saying that he had been told by Thai Elite and the London embassy that if he applied the process would take 60-90 days, but he wasn't a current member and it wasn't clear whether the 60-90 days was just the application process or whether he'd been told he'd actually get in to Thailand within 90 days.

 

We do know that existing members who have been stranded out of Thailand the longest are going to be given priority, but how that works out in practice is anyone's guess.

 

However long it's taking now (if it's even happening now), the new visa is bound to shake things up because there will be more competition for ASQ places.

 

The 60-90 days sounds to me like a translation of the "8 to 12 weeks" that's given as a standard estimate for signup latency (and I believe is accurate). I don't expect that Thai Elite would have enough statistical backing, given no known entries, of such a time period for approval from the Ministry, not to mention the rest of the process. At least, it's useful to know that we have yet to read of anyone on this visa actually arriving.

 

It seems to me that the number of ASQs is growing at a rate of about 6 a week. That's a lot of rooms, but it's linear growth. It can't possibly keep pace with the exponential growth in applications. I don't see this as something that can be accelerated much, either, considering the very handson certification process that has to happen on the hotel premises.

 

A travel bubble would significantly alleviate the ASQ burden, but I see no indication of a deal on that front anytime soon.

 

Has anyone with an existing Elite visa gotten the initial Ministry application approved?

Edited by BradFinch
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9 hours ago, ukrules said:

I wonder why the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thailand are not doing their job and approving these applications in a proper and timely manner?

My guess is that TE isn't very high in the priority queue when it comes to repatriation.

 

I'd imagine it to be something like

 

1. Thai Nationals

2. Foreigners Married to Thai Nationals / Parents of a Thai Child

3. Work Permit Holders

4. Education Visa Holders at Government Universities

5. "Dirty Foreigners" on Thailand Elite Visa

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Surely the Thai Elite and current Non-O (retirement) visa holders should be given priority as they already have strong ties to Thailand (have lived there for a long time, property owned or rented long term) and there would be no visa paperwork involved. 

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11 hours ago, farmerjo said:

Sounds like you would be better off to go through your embassy and state what type of visa it is on the COE application.

It would make a lot of sense to visit the embassy in order to sort things out, but you can't because the embassy COE comes after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs approval. ukrules posted this flowchart of the process over here.

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I believe the elite visa is a scam, its not even a priority now, maybe before the pandemic it worked, but now, its a scam. I now I don't think any elite visa holders had entered thailand which is crazy, and now this new special visa is the priority.  If you outside the country, don't pay for a elite visa at this time. 

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It actually doesn't matter to me, as an Elite member, where exactly my visa stands in the priority ranking. What matters, ultimately, is latency from application to quarantine. Right now, I have exactly zero data points from which to estimate this.

 

When (if) I finally succeed, I'll come back here and post an update, so click "follow" if it matters to you. Meanwhile, hopefully, somebody from somewhere will show up and beat me to the punch, thereby proving that it's at least possible.

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