SMART Visa to be Launched on 1 February 2018

The SMART visa programme was approved by the Cabinet on 16 January 2018 and aims to attract foreigners for more investment in technology-and knowledge-based industries to facilitate economic development towards Thailand 4.0. SMART Visa holders will receive the following benefits.

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08 February 2018

  • A visa for a maximum of four years
  • No need for a work permit
  • Notification of being in Thailand to the Immigration Bureau on a yearly basis instead of notification every 90 days
  • No need for re-entry permits to travel in and out of Thailand
  • SMART visa holders' family members will receive similar benefits, and be able to work in Thailand without a work permit

The SMART visa will be issued to foreigners working or investing in technology-based production activities and services, as well as in the 10 targeted (S-Curve) industries below:

First S-Curve

 

 

1. Next-generation automotive

 

 

2. Smart electronics

 

 

3. Medical and wellness tourism

 

 

4. Food for the future

 

 

5. Agriculture and biotechnology

 

Next S-Curve

 

 

6. Automation and robotics

 

 

7. Aviation and logistics

 

 

8. Biochemicals and eco-friendly petrochemicals

 

 

9. Digital

 

 

10. Medical hubs

 

How to Apply for the SMART Visa

Effective 1 February 2018, foreigners residing outside of Thailand or foreigners who are currently in Thailand can submit an application and all required documents to request an endorsement of qualifications letter from the SMART visa Unit at the One Stop Service Center in Bangkok, or a Royal Thai embassy or Thai consulate abroad. There are 5 categories for SMART visa applicants:

SMART Visa Type Criteria Visa Privileges

T

 

Highly skilled experts (Talents in science and technology)

 

  • Having a salary of at least THB 200,000 (not including any other benefits)
  • Having an employment contract for at least 1 year
  • Having expertise in a science or technology field relevant to the targeted industries and endorsed by a government agency

 

  • A visa for a maximum of four years, but not exceeding the period of the employment or services agreement
  • Spouses and children will also have the right to stay and work in Thailand without a work permit
    • Children wishing to work must be at least 18 years old
I

Investors

 

Direct investment of no less than THB 20 million in a company in a target industry as an individual investor

A visa for a maximum of four years

 

E

Executives

 

  • Being an executive or member of senior management in a company in a target industry with a salary of at least THB 200,000
  • Having a minimum of 10 years work experience in the related field
  • Having a bachelor’s degree or higher
    • Having an employment contract for at least 1 year

A visa for a maximum of four years, but not exceeding the period of the employment or services agreement

 

O

Spouses and children of SMART visa holders

 

Having a proven family relationship

 

A visa privilege same as the SMART visa holder
S

Start-up entrepreneurs

 

The business or investment activities must be certified by the appropriate government agencies as being in one of the targeted industries

  • Participating in an incubator or accelerator programme, or a similar programme endorsed by a government agency, or having received joint-venture funding, or having been endorsed by a government agency such as the National Innovation Agency (NIA), or the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA)
  • Having a fixed savings account in Thailand or a foreign country with a balance of at least THB 600,000 (or the equivalent) and a remaining maturity term of at least 1 year
  • If accompanied by spouses and children, having an additional amount of fixed savings of at least THB 180,000 per person (or the equivalent)
  • Having health insurance coverage for the entire stay in Thailand
  • Setting up a company in Thailand within one year
    • Holding 25% of the company’s shares, or being a director of a company

A one-year visa for first-time approval, with the possibility of obtaining a visa for more than two years upon renewal in the second year

 

Once the applicant meets the qualifications, the application will be passed on to the appropriate government agency, such as the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), the National Innovation Agency (NIA), or the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), to verify and certify the applicant’s qualifications, then the applicant, the appropriate government agencies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Immigration Bureau, and the Department of Labour will be notified about the results of the endorsement of qualifications. All process will take approximately 30 working days from the date that the SMART visa officer receives all properly completed documents.

After obtaining the endorsement of qualifications letter from the SMART visa Unit, it will be valid for 60 days. The applicant must then apply for the SMART visa at a Royal Thai embassy or Thai consulate outside of Thailand, or if the applicant is already residing in Thailand, he must contact the Immigration Bureau at the One Stop Service Center in Bangkok to change his current visa to a SMART visa.

For more information, please visit the Secretariat of the Cabinet and the Board of Investment of Thailand website. 

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