Sunbelt Asia Weekly Column
30 March 2018
Converting a long stay retirement visa OA to a married to a Thai national extension
I am an unmarried American citizen. I apply for and receive a non-immigrant O-A “long stay” visa and move to Thailand. Two months later I marry a Thai woman and decide that I want to open a business. The conditions of the original visa do not allow me to work but if I had an extension of stay based on marriage I would be allowed to work. Can I apply for an extension of stay based on marriage right away, or do I have to wait another 10 months at which time the O-A visa would normally be renewed. As an American citizen, are there any special conditions that apply to me if I want to open a business?
Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors responds:
Once you are married it may be possible to convert your non-Imm OA to a non-O based on marriage to a Thai national in Thailand but that will depend on the officers discretion. The officer may choose to do the conversion in Thailand or may require you to leave the country and obtain the non-O visa in another country.
If the officer will not convert the visa then you will need to travel to another country and apply for the non-O visa based on marriage to a Thai national. However, they usually will not grant it unless you have been married for at least 6 months.
Once you have been married six months and obtain the visa from the Thai Embassy or Consulate you will be allowed three months to remain in Thailand. You can extend that to one year on a year by year basis by having 400,000 baht in a Thai bank in your name. You can also obtain the extension by having income of 40,000 baht a month– so the second year you can show you have a work permit and are paying taxes on income of at least 40,000 baht a month and get the extension that way without needing 400,000 baht in the bank
You will need to apply for the one year extension at least 15 days before the non-O visa expires.
Once you have the marriage visa/extension you can obtain a work permit in your own business. As an American you have two options to open your own business; a private Thai Limited Company in which at least 51 percent of shares must be owned by Thai nationals or a private Limited Company formed under the Thai Amity treaty which allows American citizens to hold majority shares in the company and there is no requirement for a Thai shareholder.
There are certain special requirements for the Amity treaty company, like a higher registered capital requirement than the Thai Limited Company but the greatest advantage to an Amity registered company is that it allows you to maintain full control of your company as the majority shareholder.
Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors has an experienced team that can help you through the visa process and in forming the company that best suits your needs.
Sunbelt Asia offices will be closed on Friday, April 6 for Chakri Memorial Day. Friday is a public holiday that commemorates the founding of the Chakri Dynasty by King Rama I. All government offices will also be closed.
The first coins marking the reign of King Rama X will be issued on April 6 and will replace the old coins which will not be put back into circulation. The Finance Minister said it would take about 4 -5 years to replace all the old coins with the new ones. The coins, which are the same size and weight as current coins, bear the portrait of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun will be in nine denominations: 10, 5, 2 and 1 baht as well as 50 and 25 satang. New banknotes bearing HM the King’s image will also be launched on April 6.
The Cabinet last week approved the 200 billion baht high-speed train project that will connect three international airports; Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang in Bangkok and U-Tapao in Rayong. Investment in the project will be public-private-partnership (PPP), with the private sector investing in the engineering work, railway system, train carriages, land development to support train services, management of train service and maintenance as well as revenue collection from development of land under the project while the government’s investment would total 119,425 million baht to be paid in instalments within ten years.
The Cabinet also decided to incorporate land on both sides of the train routes from Don Mueang to Suvarnabhumi airports as part of the Eastern Economic Corridor project, the train project is predicted to add economic benefits to the country by adding value to U-Tapao airport, reducing fuel costs and pollution, increasing employment and tax collection, and development of areas around train stations. A public auction will be held to select the builder of the project.
Last week the Cabinet approved a 15 percent withholding tax on transactions involving cryptocurrencies, including digital tokens. The 15 percent tax includes the value-added tax (VAT) that would be collected on digital-currency transactions. If no profit is generated in a digital-currency exchange then only the VAT would be levied.
Thai AirAsia has begun daily flights to Chumphon province in the South. The airline will begin offering an island transfer to Koh Tao in April. Koh Tao is a popular tourist destination famed for diving. There will also be discounted fares on the shuttle transfer until the end of May. Bangkok Airways started the direct Chiang Mai – Hanoi flight on March 25, the airline flies to the Vietnamese capital city daily. The Director – General of the Harbour Department announced that the department will build a new pier near Phuket airport and open five ferry routes linking Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga. The first route will link Ao Por pier in Phuket to Chong Lad pier on Koh Yao Yai in Phang Nga and to the Tha Lane pier in Krabi. The second route will link Chong Lad pier to Manoh Pier of Koh Yao Noi in Phang Nga while the third route will link Ban Hua Hin pier in Tambon Koh Klang of Koh Lanta in Krabi to Klong Mad pier in Tambon Koh Lanta Noi in Koh Lanta district. Ferryboats will travel from Ao Thong Lang pier on Koh Lanta to Koh Jum in Krabi for the fourth route and the fifth route will link Koh Lanta Yai to Koh Por in Krabi. The new boat services are expected to start later this year.
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Please feel free to contact us if you are in Thailand on (+66) 02-662-7004 to discuss any of these listings.
Well-known top end furniture business
This long-running furniture company has been in the business of importing and supplying modern classic furniture and lighting. In addition to a large showroom for retail sales to the public, the business also supplies furniture and lighting to many of the five star hotels, restaurants and property developments. The company is a mature, well-known brand in Thailand and has earned a top reputation in its ten years of business.
The showroom/warehouse/office is in a good location on upper Sukhumvit, the 1200sqm space has a 140,000 baht month a rent and a 6 year lease. There are ten full-time staff with monthly wages of 250,000 baht. There is a large database of active customers and the company is a regular exhibitor at many of the furniture fairs in Thailand.
Sales have reached an average of 25 million baht a year for the past 3 years, with yearly earnings of 5.8 million for the same period. Inventory valued at 4 million baht is included in the sale.
The owner is moving back home and so wishes to sell the business
ASKING PRICE: 16 million baht
Large bar and restaurant near Nana
In a great location a short walk from the Nana BTS station, this bar and restaurant has earned good reviews on Trip Advisor for its good food and great atmosphere. The business has been open for 4 years and offers a top menu featuring popular American dishes; recipes and training are included in the sale. The restaurant also uses two delivery services to send out its popular food.
This 425sqm space has inside and outside seating, as well as private space for meetings and parties. The restaurant can seat 65 people and offers three big screen televisions and an outside projector for the terrace. There is office and living space on the 3rd and 4th floors of this double shophouse. There is no key money in the takeover of this lease.
The owner has spent a considerable amount of effort in marketing the business, making it highly ranked on Google search and an active Facebook page. Last year the business took in 3.9 million baht with a profit of 1.1 million baht. Although the business is highly profitable, the owner wishes to retire and so is selling the business.
ASKING PRICE: 3.5 million baht
Gorgeous spa in high end hotel for rent
This beautiful spa is located in a popular and well regarded high end Sukhumvit hotel in a busy area with several other hotels as well as condo buildings. The large space is 135 sqm and has two rooms with two beds and two rooms with one bed each. All rooms have a shower for the customer. This spa is serene and beautifully decorated to ensure a quality experience for the guest. All equipment is included in the rental agreement. Five months deposit is required.
RENTAL PRICE: 100,000 baht a month
Popular franchise in busy Bangkok mall
Located in a busy mall in a popular Western suburb of Bangkok this American franchise is well-known but the owner is forced to sell as he has no time to manage and grow the business. A new owner could easily grow sales and profits with this popular franchise.
The 18 sqm restaurant is set in the food court of a busy mall and has a rent of 17 percent of gross profit. The business sold over 4.1 million baht in its first year and could easily grow with a dedicated owner/manager. There are three full time employees with a monthly payroll of 29,300 baht. The business has made a profit of around 20,000 baht a month.
The franchise fee and deposit with the suppliers is not included in the sale price.
ASKING PRICE: 2.5 million baht
Large hostel in popular Bangrak neighborhood
In the popular Bangrak neighbourhood, this hostel has 90 beds in 20 rooms with an in house café. Potential for this business is quite high but the owner is not able to manage on site, an active manager on site could easily grow this business as this is a popular tourist area and the hostel concept remains popular with travellers. Payroll is currently 100,000 baht a month and rent on the location is 151,750 baht a month with a 9 year lease.
All assets are included in the sale including furniture, CCTT, website and online booking system.
ASKING PRICE: 9.5 million baht
Retail business with unique concept around Thailand and Cambodia
With a unique and fun concept, this retail store has expanded rapidly and now has 39 branches around Thailand and in Cambodia. The stores are a destination and always have something new and fun to explore. Offering low priced fashion products and unique gifts that resonate with tourists and residents, the owners of this store have found that their success has outstripped their ability to manage the business. The company sources their products direct from the factory both locally and around the region. With an ever changing trendy offering of fun products, the company has created a popular and well-known brand image.
The business has 39 locations of which one is the headquarters and warehouse in Min Buri, and a company owned store in a popular tourist district as well as one licensed store. Total rent and services on these locations is around 5 million baht a month. There is 188 staff with a total monthly payroll of 3.17 million baht. Annual sales reach 344 million baht giving a profit of 38 million baht. Inventory valued at 100 million baht is included in the sale.
The company is debt-free would offer the new owner a good income but this is ideal for someone seeking to grow the business through franchising and owner-operated stores as the retail concept has proven to be quite popular.
ASKING PRICE: 225 Million baht
Small food shop in busy Rama 9 area
This charmingly decorated small shop is in a busy area filled with offices in the booming Rama 9 neighborhood. With a great location and near a Starbucks, this shop offers ready made snacks to go, spicy salad, salad rolls and more. There are also 8 seats for some eat in customers. The business has only just started and already sells 4,000 – 5,000 baht a day. A small franchise, this business is turn-key ready for someone looking to walk into a business that can easily grow.
Rental on the 10sqm shop is only 13,500 baht a month, great for this popular location. There are two staff with monthly wages of 24,000 baht.
ASKING PRICE: 880,000 baht
Long-running Chaweng Beach bar on Samui
The owner of this popular long-running bar on Koh Samui has dropped the price for a quick sale. The bar is located in the heart of Chaweng and has built up a good reputation over the years it has been open. Highly rated on Trip Advisor and with great word of mouth, this bar is one of the top nightlife destinations on Samui.
This fun bar can seat 40 and is open from 7:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. There are three full time dedicated employees with monthly wages of 37,300 baht per month. Rent on this top location is 560,000 baht a year or 46,666 baht per month and the lease expires in March 2019. This busy bar saw sales between 4.5 to 5.5 million baht in the last years with a net profit of 2.5 million baht.
The owner has owned the bar for more than ten years and is ready to retire and so is selling the business. This is a truly turn-key business. Walk in and take over a thriving bar in the heart of Chaweng.
ASKING PRICE: 1.5 million baht