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Thailand’s Smart Visa: Entry Made Easy

Wednesday , 11 April 2018 ARTICLES

Thailand has posed as an attractive destination for migrants over the last few years due largely to its relatively affordable standard of living and attractive property prices as well as eclectic, vibrant and highly hospitable culture.

With the country’s recent announcement of its new Smart Visa launched in February of this year, the entry-process for foreign talent, investors, executives and startups, has gotten even easier:

The visa targets 10 industries that cover the areas of automotive, electronics, tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, food, robotics, aviation and logistics, biofuels and biochemical, digital, and the medical sector.

We take a look at the nation’s new Smart Visa and find out what it entails:

Overseas Talent Category

The first of the four categories caters to experts in the science and technology industries who earn a minimum monthly salary of 200, 000 Baht and have gained employment within a company in the abovementioned list.

The visa allows holders to stay in the country for up to 4 years or until the employment contract expires, whichever comes first. There is no need for a re-entry permit during the span of the visa, with both working and living benefits extended to spouses and children.

Investor Category

This category requires an investment of at least 20 Million Baht in technology-based companies across targeted industries – allowing for a 4-year visa extended to spouses and children.

Other benefits revolve around a waiver of any further work permit necessary and similar working rights extended to spouses.

Executive Category

This one is for those who have a minimum educational qualification of a bachelor’s degree with at least 10 years of working experience in their field of expertise. The visa holder is required to earn a minimum monthly salary of 200,000 Baht and be working for a company that is covered in the abovementioned list of industries, holding a senior management

position such as Chairman or Managing Director

The visa holds the same benefits as the Investor one.

Startup Category

For all budding entrepreneurs who want to make the move to Thailand, this category requires the holder to be participating in an endorsed incubation, accelerator or similar program, obtaining joint-venture status, or being endorsed by a relevant government industry. He or she should also setup a company certified as being in the targeted industries by relevant government agencies in Thailand within 1 year of obtaining the visa, with at least 25% ownership in it, or be a board member of a company across a list of targeted industries.

The holder should also have their own health insurance policy and maintain a fixed deposit of 600,000 Baht in an onshore financial institution with a maturity term of one year and upward. If the applicant is accompanied by spouses and children, an additional amount of fixed savings of at least 180,000 Baht per person or equivalent is required.

Benefits of this visa category are a bit different in terms of visas being granted for a year, after which are then renewable for 2 years. No work permit or entry requirements are required, with resident rights afforded to children and spouses with the latter given the same work rights as the other categories.

The visa’s provision of a larger pool of talent and focus on technology will only further strengthen the overall Thai economy, creating an attractive environment for expatriates to move to. The influx of those entering the country to find employment or to start a business will boost property prices considerably, strengthening demand across an already buoyant  rental yield market that has been  on an upward trajectory.

Applications are open for both foreigners hoping to migrate or for those currently working in Thailand and wanting to extend their resident rights.  To find out more about the Smart Visa, visit the Thai Embassy’s website here.


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