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Sun Legal Update: Long-Term Resident Visa Applications Open

Sun Legal Sunbelt Update

Thailand’s Long-Term Resident Visa program launched last week, open for “wealthy” pensioners, professionals and highly-skilled professionals.

Spouses and dependents of LTR visa holders also qualify for the same visa. The 10-year multi-entry visa offers holders permission to work in Thailand, a 17% personal tax rate for highly skilled professionals, tax exemptions for overseas income, exemption from the 4-to-1 Thai-foreigner employment ratio to obtain a work permit, fast-track service at international airports in Thailand, and immigration and work permit services at one-stop visa centers.

Applications can now be made at embassies overseas, but applicants must have health insurance with at least $50,000 coverage or Social Security benefits covering treatment in Thailand, or a minimum of $100,000 in the bank.

Ex-Im Bank Loans for SMEs Looking to Export

The Export-Import Bank is offering loans and training for small- and medium-sized enterprises and small merchants seeking to export and sell their goods on the global market.

The bank developed the Ex-Im Thailand Pavilion online trading platform for vendors to offer goods and the bank will provide loans of up to 200,000 baht per borrower with an annual interest rate of around 6%, depending on the applicant’s credit.

Borrowers without enough collateral may be eligible for a loan guarantee from the Thai Credit Guarantee Corp.

Dividing Marital Assets Upon Divorce

Many foreigners who marry Thais are unaware that, under Thai law, property belonging to either spouse before the marriage remains his or her personal property after the marriage.

If during the marriage personal property has been exchanged to other property, the new property remains a personal possession.

Property and assets acquired during the marriage become joint-ownership property, except inherited property or assets given as a gift to the individual. The giver may specify that the property or assets are jointly owned in the marriage, however.

Upon the end of the marriage, all joint property is divided evenly between the two parties. This includes the fruits of the personal property but not the base of the personal property that was acquired before the marriage.

Many people think a prenuptial agreement will protect them from this division of assets acquired during the marriage, but it cannot exclude the general property regime between the husband and wife. A prenuptial agreement must be registered at the same time as the marriage and both parties must consent. A good prenuptial agreement will set out terms for management of assets and delineate the personal property owned before the marriage.

It is important to note that foreigners cannot own land. If the money for the purchase of land by a Thai citizen comes from a foreign spouse, the foreign spouse must sign a document ceding any claim to the land.

The land is not considered joint property and would not be included in the division of assets in the event of a divorce. However, it is possible for the foreigner to own fully the house on the land, even owning the house jointly and registering it as such at the Land Department can prevent the Thai spouse from selling the land without consent, as Thai law requires that any joint property cannot be disposed of without the consent of both partners.

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