The Thai government has implemented a new Smart Visa that is valid for four years for foreign executives, specialists, and investors involved in ten targeted industries. The government began taking applications for this visa beginning February 1, 2018. The requirements and qualifications for this new visa are quite specific so be sure and contact Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors for detailed information and assistance in applying.
The SMART Visa is a new visa category issued to foreigners working or investing in technology-based production activities and services as well as in the 10 targeted (S Curve) industries:
- Next Generation Automotive
- Smart Electronics
- Affluent Medical and Wellness Tourism
- Agricultural and Biotechnology
- Food For The Future
- Automation and Robotics;
- Biofuels and Biochemical
- Digital Economy
- Medical Hub.
Smart Visa Categories
The Smart Visa targets four categories; specialists, investors, executives, and entrepreneurs in the targeted industries. Applicants must meet certain criteria and hold certain qualifications; they will also need to be certified by relevant Thai government agencies such as the National Innovation Agency, the Digital Economy Promotion Agency, and the National Science and Technology Development Agency before obtaining the four year visa. The entrepreneur visa will be valid for one year and then for a further two if requirements are met.
Specialists in scientific fields in which Thailand lacks. The foreigner must have a salary of at least 200,000 baht a month and an employment contract for a minimum of one year. They must have science and technology expertise relevant to the targeted industries and endorsed by a government agency (Except for experts who work for a government agency). Employers in Thailand must be certified for being engaged in the targeted industries by a relevant government agency. In case the employer is a government agency, the certification of being in the ten targeted industries shall be done by the relevant agency.
Investors in S-Curve industries of no less than 20 million baht and invest throughout the four year visa period in technology –based companies using technology as a base in manufacturing or delivering services in one of the targeted industries. . The investment must be maintained throughout the validity period of the smart visa. The business to be set up or invested in must be certified as being the ones using technology in manufacturing or delivering services and in the targeted industries by a relevant government agency.
Executives in S-Curve industries with at least a Bachelor’s degree, ten years of experience in the relevant field, hold a senior management position such as Chairperson or Managing Director, a minimum salary of 200,000 baht a month, and an employment contract of at least one year. The employing companies must be certified as using technology in manufacturing or delivering services and in the targeted industries by a relevant agency.
Startup - Entrepreneurs must have a fixed deposit account of at least 600,000 baht with a maturity term of at least one year, health insurance and the applicant must participate in an endorsed incubation, accelerator program or similar program endorsed by a government agency, or obtain joint venture status, or be endorsed by a relevant government agency. The applicant must set up a company in Thailand in one of the targeted industries within one year with at least 25 % ownership or be a board member of a company in one of the targeted industries. The applicant is given a one year visa which is then renewable for a further 2 year period if requirements are met. If the applicant is accompanied by a spouse or children then an additional 180,000 baht is required in the fixed deposit account.
Benefits of a Smart Visa
Four year visa for Smart T, Smart I, and Smart E applicants
One year visa for Smart S with a renewable 2 year period
No Work Permit for the applicant
Annual report to Immigration – no 90 day reporting
No re-entry permit required
Spouse and children receive same visa benefits
Spouse and children eligible for work permits as long as the job is not on the prohibited list
How to apply
The applicants for the SMART Visas must have qualifications according to the criteria specified by the government. Their qualifications will be verified by designated agencies. For example, a qualification of high expertise in science and technology must be verified and endorsed by the Ministry of Science and Technology. The list of certifications/endorsements required and the relevant agencies is detailed below. We can assist you in determining your eligibility for the new Smart Visa as the requirements are quite specific.
Procedure for application process
You must submit an application for qualification endorsement for SMART Visas first– the process will take up to 30 working days before the visa is submitted. Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can walk you through the process and ensure you have all the relevant documentation for the new Smart Visa application.
Be aware that holders of non-immigrant visas must apply for the qualification endorsement at least 90 days before the expiry of the nonimmigrant visa.
Once you are approved as qualified we can assist you with applying for the Smart Visa in Thailand. You can also apply for the Smart Visa at yourThai Embassy or Consulate. The endorsement letter issued by the Office of the Board of Investment will be valid for 60 days.
Contact [email protected] or call : +66 (0)2642-0214 for more information