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Learn more about Thailand SMART Visa

The Smart Visa is a new category of visa that allows its holder to stay in Thailand for four years. The Smart Visa, which is reserved for highly skilled professionals and investors, was approved in September by the Thai government as part of a plan to facilitate the recruitment of local start-ups. The smart visa can now only be applied for online through the service and can be obtained. The applicant must meet all the qualifications and requirements for the operation. Apart from its rather long duration, this visa has two major novelties as the visa holders will be able to work in Thailand without the need to apply for a work permit and will not be subject to the 90-day notification procedure.

Table of contents

What is SMART Visa?

The SMART visa is a type of visa specifically designed to encourage foreign investors to invest in Thailand. Holders of this visa will be allowed to stay for up to 4 years, will be exempted from the work permit requirement and will enjoy additional privileges. The sector targeted by this type of visa is industry: modern automotive industry, smart automotive industry, high-end tourism and medical, agricultural and biotech or digital industry. Experts, investors, CEOs, and start-ups are eligible for this type of visa. This type of visa allows eligible individuals to stay in Thailand for four years, and no work permit is required. SMART VISA holders are only required to report to immigration once a year.

What are the different types of SMART Visa?

The Smart Visa is a new type of visa. It was created to encourage highly skilled labor, business investors, managers and young entrepreneurs who wish to operate or invest in the following specific sectors in Thailand. Smart Visa holders can stay in the country for up to four years, do not need to apply for a work permit, and enjoy more benefits.

Specific sectors of activity:

➤ New generation vehicles
➤ Intelligent electronics
➤ Medical and wellness tourism
➤ Agriculture and Biotechnology
➤ Food of the future
➤ Automation and robotics
➤ Aeronautics and logistics
➤ Biochemistry
➤ Digital industry
➤ Medical Center
➤ Alternative dispute resolution
➤ Human resources development in technology and science
➤ Sustainable development and renewable energy

Smart visa applicants can obtain the type of visa according to the purpose or type of business they wish to do in Thailand. You can consult the following table:

➤ SMART T Talent
➤ SMART I Investor/Investment
➤ SMART E Executive/Manager
➤ SMART S Startup Company/Young Entrepreneur
➤ SMART O Spouse and children (other) of Smart Visa holder

How to apply for the Talent Visa?

Requirements and Characteristics:

Minimum income of at least 100,000 baht/month or equivalent. In the case of specialists with an employment contract with a start-up company or retired experts with approval from a competent authority, they must receive a minimum salary of at least 50,000 baht per month.

The applicant must have an employment contract or service contract with a company in the Kingdom of Thailand or a foreign entity with placement to work in Thailand. The duration of this contract must be at least one year.

The candidate must be an expert in technology or science related to the targeted sectors with the approval of an organization belonging to the Strategic Talent Center (STC) system.

Appropriate government organizations must certify to employers in Thailand that their contribution is in the targeted sectors. Examples of such organizations are the National Innovation Agency, which is public, or the Digital Economy Promotion Agency.

For specialists working in government organizations / higher education institutions / training institutions / alternative dispute resolution.

Requirements and Characteristics:

The applicant must be a specialist operating in a government organization, higher education institution, or specialized training. They may be individuals coming to Thailand to provide their services in alternative dispute resolution.

The applicant must have an employment or service contract or other document from a government organization, institution of higher education, training institution or arbitration institution that proves the employment or collaborative work. Examples include the Thai Arbitration Institute, the Thai Arbitration Center that supports foreign employment.

The recruiting or employing government agency must support expertise in the scientific or technological sectors in the case of specialists working for that entity.

If these specialists work in a specific higher education institution or training entity in the private sector, the Strategic Talent Center (STC) network must certify expertise in the science and technology sectors of the targeted industries.

In the case of specialists operating in the field of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), an arbitration institution in Thailand must certify this expertise in the relevant sectors.

How to apply for the Investor Visa?

Requirements and Features:

A minimum investment of one of the following amounts:

The investor must invest directly in the technology sector in the targeted areas, an amount of 20 million baht minimum. The investor can provide the funds individually or through the capital of a Thai company. The investor can invest directly and personally in a start-up, incubator or accelerator program for a minimum amount of 5 million baht. To benefit from these incentives, government agencies must support these programs/sectors. The potential investor can invest in more than one project but must hold the funds for the duration of the smart visa.

The relevant government agencies must certify that the company invested in or created is based on technologies manufactured or providing services in the targeted sectors. These government agencies or organizations include the National Agency for Scientific and Technological Development, the Agency for the Promotion of the Digital Economy, and the National Agency for Innovation (a government agency).

In the case of an investment made through a private equity firm, the relevant agencies must certify that a private company is the source of the investment in a business based on manufacturing or service delivery technologies in the targeted sectors.

How to apply for the Executive Visa?

Requirements and Characteristics:

Minimum salary must be 200,000 baht/month or comparable amount.

Applicant must have a Bachelor’s degree or higher or similar degree with ten years of work experience in the relevant sectors.

The candidate must have an employment contract or service contract with a company or organization in Thailand or abroad. This contract must be valid for at least one year.

The applicant must hold a management position such as general manager or president.

The relevant government organizations must certify the employing companies based on the technologies manufactured or services provided in the targeted sectors. These governmental organizations include the National Agency for Scientific and Technological Development, the Agency for the Promotion of the Digital Economy, and the National Agency for Innovation (a public agency).

How to apply for the Start-up Visa?

Applicants must be foreigners who have already established a qualified start-up in the Kingdom. After submitting the application form, the applicant is eligible for a two-year visa.

Requirements and characteristics:

The applicant must have established a new start-up entity in the Kingdom of Thailand. The relevant government authorities, such as the National Innovation Agency (a government agency) and the Digital Economy Promotion Agency, must have approved the start-up and verify that it belongs to the targeted sectors.

The applicant must own at least 25% of the company’s share capital or be a director of the company.

The applicant must have a savings account of at least 600,000 baht or the corresponding amount in a bank account in Thailand or in the state of his/her nationality or residence. This amount must have been in the account for three months.

If spouses and children accompany the applicant, they will have to transfer an additional amount of at least 180,000 baht per person or a similar amount to a bank account in Thailand or in the state of nationality or residence. This amount must remain in the account for three months.

The applicant must take out health insurance covering the period of stay in Thailand for himself, his spouse and his children.

What are the advantages of the SMART visa?

Once issued, the SMART visa provides the following benefits to the visa holder and his/her family:

➤ A longer period of residence: up to 4 years for SMART T, I, and E visas, which are renewable for an unlimited period, but not longer than the current duration of the work/service contract; for SMART S visas, one year for the first period, and extendable up to 2 years for unlimited periods
➤ SMART visa holder does not need a work permit
➤ The period of notification of address to the immigration office is changed from every 90 days to once a year
➤ You do not need to prepare a re-entry permit if you are going to leave and return to Thailand
➤ Spouses and children do not need a work permit to work in the country
➤ You can obtain a SMART Visa in Thailand from the One-Stop Service Center for Visa and Work Permit located in Bangkok or from your Thai Embassy/Royal Consulate. Government entities can also assist you in obtaining a SMART Visa, but it takes 30 working days from the receipt of all documents

How do I apply for the SMART visa?

To obtain a SMART Visa, all applicants must have the required skills, and the Board of Investment has defined the various criteria. Government agencies will verify the talents of all applicants. After the technical and non-technical approval, the Smart Visa department will issue a letter approving the applicants’ skills.

Applicants will bring this letter to the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate, if they live abroad, or to the immigration office of the One-Stop Visa and Work Permit Center. They can also take this letter to the EEC labor administration center in Chonburi City. They will need to apply for a smart visa.

Phase 1: Applicants who want to apply for a SMART Visa should carefully read the information about SMART Visa on this website. You need to create your account to apply for approval of your qualification through the SMART Visa system online. You can go to https://smart-visa.boi.go.th after receiving an automatically generated email. You must click on a link you received in that email to activate your account.

Phase 2: Log into your account on the SMART Visa online process. You will need to download a SMART Visa approval form in pdf format. You must then complete the application form by entering the pdf file. You will need to print the form with your photo and then sign it.

Step 3: Make sure you have all the necessary documents to apply for the SMART visa category you want to use. You can see the list of documents at the end of the application form. You will need to scan all documents except the pdf application form.

Step 4: After scanning all the documents, you will need to upload them, including the application form and any attachments in pdf format, into the SMART Visa website system. You must then click on the “Submit” icon.

Please also note that the online submission is only intended to assist government staff in their administrative work. It does NOT constitute an official record of your application. The overall processing time for approval is 30 business days from the date of official acceptance of complete documents.

Notes: The applicant must enter the application form in PDF format and upload it to the system. They cannot manually fill it out and scan it, as this may delay the process.

Phase 5: The applicant must provide all relevant documents and data with the completed and signed application form. The applicant can either send or hand deliver all documents to SMART Visa Unit, One-Stop Service (OSS), 18th Floor, Chamchuri Square Building, Phayathai Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, or drop them off at the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate General of Thailand in his/her place of residence. Please note that the BOI office has the right to refuse any application for insufficient documentation. In this case, the BOI officer will promptly inform the applicant.

Phase 6: After receiving a letter of approval that certifies the applicant’s qualification, the applicant who lives abroad can then apply for a Smart visa at Thai embassies or consulates. If the applicant lives in Thailand, he/she can apply for a SMART visa at the Immigration Office of the One Stop Visa and Work Permit Center (OSS) in Chamchuri Square within 60 days. Indeed, the approval letter from the OSS has a validity of 60 days.

Where do you need to provide your address?

Smart visa holders must notify the address of their actual residence to Immigration at the One Stop Visa and Work Permit Department (OSS) or the UNECE Labor Administration Center in Chonburi, only once a year since their permission to stay in the Kingdom. The Smart visa holder can proceed 15 days before or seven days after the expiration date.

However, in case of returning to Thailand, the visa holder must notify their address counting one year since their last arrival in the country.

In addition, Smart Visa holders must report their health status to the One Stop Service Center, Smart Visa Department, every year from the date of issuance of their Smart Visa.

How to extend your SMART Visa?

Smart Visa holders who wish to extend their Smart Visa must request a renewal of their qualification approval from the One-Stop Visa and Work Permit Service Center (OSS) at least 60 days prior to its expiration. This allows the Smart Visa Unit to process the renewal approval. Foreigners who receive such an approval letter may renew their Smart Visa at the Immigration Department of the One-Stop Service Center or at the EEC Labor Administration Center in Chonburi.

Smart VisaApplication Form

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