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Thailand: Four year SMART visa now available

Four year SMART visa for top talent is now available

As of 1st February 2018 the Thai Board of Investment has introduced the SMART Visa for highly skilled foreign nationals and investors. This SMART Visa is valid:

  • For four years if the foreign national is a highly skilled professional, senior executive or investor
  • For one year if the foreign national is a start-up entrepreneur. This type of visa will be renewable for two years

The main benefits for highly skilled foreign nationals to obtain the SMART Visa include:

  1. Not having to apply for and obtain a work permit
  2. Not have to register with the immigration authorities every 90 days
  3. Obtain a re-entry permit to exit and re-enter Thailand
  4. Spouses of SMART Visa holders are allowed to work in Thailand without a work permit
  5. Children (over 18) of SMART Visa holders can work in Thailand without a work permit

The Thai Board of Investment has targeted ten industries which will allow certain types of foreign nationals to quality for the SMART Visa. These are listed below:

  • Next Generation Automotive
  • Smart Electronics
  • Medical and Wellness Tourism
  • Food for the Future
  • Automation and Robotics
  • Aviation and Logistics
  • Biofuels and Biochemical
  • Digital
  • Medical
  • Agriculture and Biotechnology

Types of SMART visas are as follows:

TypeQualifying Criteria
SMART “T” (Talent)The foreign National must have an employment contract with at least one year
The foreign national must earn at least THB 200’000 per month
SMART “I” (Investor)The investor of a company (which falls into the 10 industries above) must make an investment of at least THB 20Million
SMART “E” (Executive)Must be a senior executive (i.e. CEO, Managing Director, Chairman)
Must have an employment contract for at least 1 year
Must earn at least THB 200’000 per month
Must have 10 years’ experience in the relative
SMART “S” (Start-up)The start-up entrepreneur must be participating in a venture that is endorsed by a Thai government agency
The entrepreneur must have a saving account (either in Thailand or abroad) with at least THB 600’00
The entrepreneur must set the company up within the targeted industry within a year
The entrepreneur must hold no less than 25% of the shares of the company

How to apply for the SMART Visa:

  • New applicants must obtain an endorsement letter from the SMART Visa Unit of the Thailand Board of Investment. This application can be submitted at a Thai Consulate.
  • If an applicant wields a “Non-immigrant” visa, they must apply for the endorsement letter at least 90 days in advance of the expiry of their visa
  • Within 60 days of receiving the endorsement letter, the applicant can apply at the Thai Consulate for the SMART Visa
  • If a SMART Visa needs to be renewed, the process must begin at least 90 days in advance of the SMART Visa expiry

More information

If you have any questions, feel free to contact our Immigration team at immigration@sterling.com or call +44(0)20 8836 3359.

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