Thailand Smart Visa: All You Need To Know

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Do you intend to settle in Thailand as an expat? Maybe a Thailand Smart Visa is a good option for you!

Smart Visa is a visa form created to attract highly qualified labor, investors, executives, and startup entrepreneurs who want to work or invest in Thailand’s selected industries. Smart Visa holders are permitted a maximum stay of four years and are exempt from the need for a work visa.

What Is Smart Visa Thailand

Thailand has made many efforts to drive the economy forward through innovation. The Thai government has taken another step in attracting talent and technology to further grow its targeted industries, often known as S-Curve industries. 

The program was introduced on February 1, 2018.

Statistics for Thailand Smart Visa

According to the One Stop Service Center for Visa and Work Permit (OSS) in Thailand, 924 smart visas were issued between February 2018 and September 2021.

Source © Smart Visa Thailand
Source © Smart Visa Thailand

Number of successful applicants by nationalities

Source © Smart Visa Thailand

Number of successful applicants by targeted industries

Source © Smart Visa Thailand

Benefits of Thailand Smart Visa

  • No need for an extra work permit
  • Extension of the 90-day reporting requirement to one year
  • No need for a re-entry permit
  • Your spouse and children are allowed to stay in Thailand
  • Your spouse is allowed to work without an additional work permit
  • Access to fast-track service in Thailand's international airports (if available)

Eligibility for Thailand Smart Visa

If you are a highly-skilled worker, investor, executive, or startup entrepreneur you might be qualified for a Thailand Smart Visa.

Qualifying industries are:

  • Next-Generation Automotive
  • Smart Electronics
  • Affluent, Medical and Wellness Tourism
  • Agriculture and Biotechnology
  • Food for the Future
  • Automation and Robotics
  • Aviation and Logistics

  • Biofuels and Biochemicals
  • Digital
  • Medical Hub
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Human Resource Development in Science and Technology
  • Environmental Management and Renewable Energy

You must also meet the specific conditions for each type of Smart Visa, which are listed below.

Thailand Smart Visa – Category T (Talent)

Requirements if you’re a highly skilled professional in a targeted industry

  • You have a minimum monthly salary of 100,000 Baht or equivalent
  • If you’re an expert with a startup contract or a retired expert with endorsements from a relevant agency, your monthly income is at least 50,000 Baht
  • You have a one-year (minimum) job or service contract with a Thai organization
  • You have appropriate scientific and technical skills in the targeted industries, as well as being supported by one of the Strategic Talent Center's (STC) network agencies

Employers in Thailand must be approved by relevant government agencies before they may work in the targeted industry. The National Innovation Agency (Public Organization) and the Digital Economy Promotion Agency are examples of these agencies.

Requirements if you’re an expert working in government agencies / higher education institutions / specialized training institutions / Alternative Dispute Resolution

  • You’re an expert working for a government agency, a higher education institution, and a specialized training institution; or you’re in Thailand to deliver Alternative Dispute Resolution services
  • You have a contract or proof of cooperation/employment issued by a government agency, higher education institution, specialized training institution, or arbitration institution. Thailand Arbitration Center and the Thailand Arbitration Institute are examples of these agencies
  • If you’re an expert working in a higher education institution or a specialized training institution in the private sector, you’ll need to prove your expertise in the fields of science and technology in the targeted industry. The certification is done by the employing agency in the Strategic Talent Center network
  • If you’re an expert working in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution, your expertise in the relevant field needs to be certified by an arbitration institute in Thailand

Thailand Smart Visa – Category I (Investor)

Requirements if you’re an investor in a technology-based business in a targeted industry

  • You make a qualifying investment: You invest a minimum of 20 million Baht in technology-based business in the country; or you can invest either an individual investor or through a venture capital company in Thailand
  • You, as an individual investor, invest a minimum of five million Baht in a startup or an incubator or accelerator program that is approved by relevant agencies. You can invest in more than one business but will be required to hold the investment throughout the validity period of your Smart Visa
  • Relevant government agencies (e.g. National Innovation Agency, the Digital Economy Promotion Agency, or the National Science and Technology Development Agency) must certify the business you’re going to set up or invest in as technology-based in manufacturing or delivering services
  • If you invest through a venture capital firm, the investment must be certified by the appropriate agencies as a venture capital firm investing in technology-based manufacturing or service delivery

Thailand Smart Visa – Category E (Executive)

Requirements if you’re a senior executive in a technology-based company in a targeted industry

  • Your monthly income is a minimum of 200,000 Baht
  • You have a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 10 years of work experience in the relevant field
  • You have an employment contract with an entity in Thailand. The contract should be valid for a minimum one year
  • You’re in senior management positions (e.g. chairman or managing director)
  • A government agency should certify the company you’re working for as a technology-based in manufacturing or delivering services

Thailand Smart Visa – Category S (Startup)

Requirements if you’re a technology-based startup entrepreneur in a targeted industry

Application for a 2-year visa: If you’re a foreigner who have already established a certified startup company in Thailand

  • You’ve established a qualifying startup company in Thailand.
  • You hold a minimum of 25% of the company’s registered capital or you’re a director in the company.
  • You have a minimum of 600,000 Baht or equivalent in a bank account in Thailand or your home country. The funds are required to have been held for at least three months (additional 180,000 Baht per dependent family member will be required)
  • You and your dependent family members have health insurances that cover your period of stay in the country

Application for 1-year visa: If you’ve attended an incubator or accelerator program; or received joint venture funding from the public sector or endorsed by relevant government agencies

  • You’ve either participated in an incubator program or you received joining venture funding with the public sector or affirmed relevant government agencies
  • You have a minimum of 600,000 Baht or equivalent in a bank account in Thailand or your home country. The funds are required to have been held for at least three months (additional 180,000 Baht per dependent family member will be required)
  • You and your dependent family members have health insurances that cover your period of stay in the country

Thailand Smart Visa – Category O (Other)

Requirements for spouses and children for Smart Visa Holders

  • If you’re under T, I, E, and S category, your spouse and children can be eligible (Except 6-month Smart Category holders)
  • Children are required to be under 20 years old (Older children of Smart T holders can be eligible to apply as “Smart O” under some circumstances)

Required Documents for Thailand Smart Visa

  • Smart Visa application form*
  • Your passport copy (first page and all pages with Thai visa stamps)
  • Criminal record from your home country or residency country
  • Certificate of incorporation can be requested on a case-by-case basis 
  • A health certificate showing you are not infected with one of the diseases (Leprosy, Tuberculosis, Elephantiasis, Addiction (Drug/Alcoholism), or Third Phase Syphilis). The certificate has to be certified by a Notary Public and not older than three months.

*Note that depending on the visa category, the application forms differ.

Additional Documentation

  • Copies of any academic degrees, certificates, or endorsements related to your competence (except for applicants of Smart Visa Type O)
  • Any publications, research projects, intellectual property, or prizes you may have (except for applicants of Smart Visa Type O)
  • A letter from your prior employer (except for applicants of Smart Visa Type O)
  • Your job or service contract, which must be for a minimum of one year and include information on your position and salary (for Smart Visa T applicants) 
  • The annual report of the employing company (for Smart Visa T applicants) 
  • A list of the company’s shareholders that is no more than three months old, or another document that demonstrates the ownership of the shares and the company’s valuation (for Smart Visa I applicants)
  • Your job or service contract, which must be for a minimum of one year and include information on your position and salary (for Smart Visa E applicants)
  • The organizational chart of the company (for Smart Visa E applicants)
  • The company’s shareholder list, which is no more than three months old (for Smart Visa E applicants)
  • An outline of your company’s strategy (for Smart Visa S applicants)
  • A list of the company’s shareholders and/or a transfer slip that is no more than three months old (for Smart Visa S applicants)
  • Acceptance into the accelerator or incubation program (for Smart Visa S applicants)

How To Apply for Thailand Smart Visa

#1

Submit your online application through the Smart Visa Thailand website.

#2

Complete an application form for your preferred type of Smart Visa and make sure you have a PDF version of all required papers to upload and submit after the application form and required documents have been uploaded. You certify that you have read, understood, and accepted the qualification endorsement requirements by completing the online application.

#3

One Stop Service Center for Visa and Work Permit will notify you of the result within 30 working days. They’ll also inform Immigration, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other agencies.

#4

After you receive your approval, you can visit the following spots to complete the visa procedure. You’ll need to do this within 60 days from the issuance date of your approval letter.

  • The Royal Thai Embassies/The Royal Thai Consulate Generals (if you’re living overseas)
  • The Immigration at OSS Center for Visa and Work Permit, Chamchuri Square Building, Bangkok
  • EEC Labour Administration Center in Chonburi

Fees

The processing fee is 10,000 Baht per year of visa authorization (cash only).

Conclusion

There you have it. We’ve tried to give you the basics of Smart Visa Thailand. Have you ever thought of living in Thailand? Let us know about your experience…

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