The SMART Visa is a new type of visa, available since the 1st of February 2018, to attract foreign skilled employees in Thailand. It provides privileges to investors, executives and high-skilled professionals working within 10 specialized fields (the so-called “S-Curve” industries). Persons qualifying for the visa are allowed to stay and work in Thailand for up to 4 years, with once a year immigration reporting and no re-entry permits required. The same benefits apply to their spouse and children.
What are the eligible industries?
1. Next-Generation Automotive
2. Smart Electronics
3. Affluent, Medical and Wellness Tourism
4. Agriculture and Biotechnology
5. Food for the Future
6. Automation and Robotics
7. Aviation and Logistics
8. Biofuels and Biochemicals
10. Medical Hub
Who is eligible for the SMART Visa?
The SMART Visa is divided into 4 categories. It is designed for foreign experts, executives, startups/entrepreneurs and investors who want to work or invest in companies that should be certified as being in the above-mentioned targeted industries. There are additional requirements for each category:
- Experts and executives must earn a salary over 200,000 Baht a month ($6,350) and must be on employment contracts for at least 1 year. Executive must have more than 10 years’ experience and at least a Bachelor’s degree.
- Investors have to invest at least 20 million Baht ($63,500) and the investment must be maintained throughout the validity period of the SMART Visa.
- Entrepreneurs should have a fixed bank deposit of 600,000 Baht ($19,000) with the remaining maturity term of above 1 year, a health insurance policy for the entire stay and must participate in an endorsed, incubation, accelerator program or a similar program or having a joint venture or being endorsed by a government agency.
What are the benefits?
The SMART Visa reduces administrative burden and cost for both professionals and employers. It allows up to 4 years validity, once a year reporting to immigration (compared to the current 90 days), does not require work permits nor re-entry permits. Same benefits apply to spouses and children, who are allowed to stay and work in Thailand (except in prohibited careers).
What is the application process?
Eligible persons wishing to apply for the SMART Visa must obtain an approval from the relevant certifying authority (depending on the type of visa). The qualification endorsement process is expected to take approximately 30 days. Once approved, the application process is the same as for any other visa.