Thailand launched the SMART Visa on February 1, 2018. It is an effort from the Thai government to develop the country’s targeted industries (ie. the 13 S-Curve industries) by attracting highly-skilled foreign workers or investors.

This type of visa offers benefits that other types of visas for Thailand do not if you are eligible.

Who Is Eligible for a Thailand SMART Visa?

You are eligible for a Thailand SMART Visa if you are a highly-skilled worker, investor, executive or a startup entrepreneur who wants to work and/or invest in one of the following industries:

  • 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

Additionally, you must also fulfill the specific requirements of each type of SMART Visa, as detailed below.

How Many Types of Thailand SMART Visas Are There?

The Thailand SMART Visa is categorized into the following types:

  • SMART Visa “T”, for foreign Talents
  • SMART Visa “I”, for foreign Investors
  • SMART Visa “E”, for foreign Executives
  • SMART Visa “S”, for foreign technology-based startup Entrepreneurs
  • SMART Visa “O”, for the family members (dependents spouse and children) of one of the main SMART Visa holders above

How do I qualify for a SMART Visa “T”?

To qualify for a Thailand SMART Visa T, you have to fulfill the following requirements:

  • You must be a highly-skilled professional in one of the targeted industries
  • You must be skilled in science and technology which is related to one of the targeted industries
  • You must have a monthly income of at least 100,000 Thai Baht
    • If you will work for a startup or you are a retired expert who has endorsements from a relevant agency, the monthly income should be at least 50,000 Thai Baht
  • You must have a work/service contract with a validity of at least 1 year

How do I qualify for a SMART Visa “I”?

To qualify for a Thailand SMART Visa I, you have to fulfill the following requirements:

  • You must directly invest at least 20 million Thai Baht in a technology-based business in one of the targeted industries in Thailand, individually or through a venture capital company.
  • Invest at least 5 million Thai Baht in a startup or an incubation/accelerator program in Thailand endorsed by the relevant agencies.
  • The business you invest in has to be technology-based in manufacturing or delivering services in one of the targeted industries

How do I qualify for a SMART Visa “E”?

To qualify for a Thailand SMART Visa E, you have to fulfill the following requirements:

  • You must have a senior management position such as a Chairman or a Managing Director in a technology-based company in one of the targeted industries.
  • You must have a monthly income of at least 200,000 Thai Baht.
  • You must have at least a Bachelor’s degree and at least 10 years of work experience in one of the relevant fields.
  • You must have a work/service contract with a validity of at least 1 year

How do I qualify for a SMART Visa “S”?

To qualify for a Thailand SMART Visa S, you have to fulfill the following requirements:

  • You must have established a startup company in Thailand in one of the targeted industries
  • You must hold at least 25% of the company’s registered capital or be in the position of a director in the company
  • You must have a deposit of at least 600,000 Thai Baht or its equivalent in a bank account in Thailand or in your country of residence, which you have held for at least 3 months.
  • You must have health insurance covering the duration of your stay in Thailand

How do I qualify for a SMART Visa “O”?

To qualify for a Thailand SMART Visa O, you have to be the spouse and/or the dependent legitimate child (biological or adopted) of the main SMART Visa holder.

What Are the Benefits of the SMART Visa?

If you qualify for a Thailand SMART Visa, you can enjoy benefits which are greater than those of other types of Thai visas, such as:

  • Your visa can be issued for up to fours years, provided that that’s the duration of your work or service contract
  • You do not need to apply for a Thai Work Permit to work in one of the eligible companies.
  • You do not have to report your stay to Immigration every 90 days. Instead, you have to report your stay every year.
  • You do not have to apply for a Thai Re-Entry Permit.
  • Your spouse and children over 18 are allowed to work in Thailand without having to get a work permit, provided that the job is not on the list of occupations and professions prohibited to foreigners.

SMART Visa Requirements

When you apply for a SMART Visa, you need the following supporting documents:

  • The printout of the SMART Visa application form, as per the specific type of visa you are applying for.
  • Your passport.
  • Proof of a clean criminal record. Police Certificate issued by the police authorities in your country of nationality. The certificate has to be certified by a Notary Public.
  • If you are in Thailand, also include a Police Certificate issued by the police authorities in Thailand.
  • Health Certificate. It must be issued in the past three months showing you are not infected with one of the prohibited diseases (Leprosy, Tuberculosis, Elephantiasis, Addiction (Drug/Alcoholism), or Third Phase Syphilis). The certificate has to be certified by a Notary Public.
  • Copies of any academic qualifications, certificates, or endorsements you have that are related to your area of expertise (not required for SMART Visa O).
  • Copies of any publications, research projects, intellectual property and awards you may have (not required for SMART Visa O).
  • Proof of previous employment, such as a letter from your previous employer (not required for SMART Visa O).
  • If someone else is submitting the application on your behalf: include the power of attorney.

Additional documents required for SMART Visa T

  • Your employment or service contract, showing a minimum duration of one year as well as the details of your employment, including the position and salary.
  • The hiring company’s annual report

Additional documents required for SMART Visa I

  • The company’s list of shareholders, which is not older than three months, or alternatively, another document which shows the ownership of the shares and company value
  • The company’s annual report, brochures, catalogs, and the latest annual financial statement of the corporate (if applicable)

Documents required for SMART Visa E

  • Your employment or service contract, showing a minimum duration of one year as well as the details of your employment, including the position and salary.
  • The corporate’s organization chart
  • The company’s annual report, brochures, catalogs, and the latest annual financial statement of the corporate (if applicable)
  • The company’s list of shareholders, which is not older than 3 months

Additional documents required for SMART Visa S

  • An overview of your business plan (Pitch Deck)
  • The company’s list of shareholders and/or a transfer slip, which is not older than 3 months
  • The company’s annual report, brochures, catalogs, and the latest annual financial statement of the corporate (if applicable)
  • Proof of acceptance into the incubation or accelerator program.
  • Proof of participation in startup promotion activities
  • Proof you have a deposit of at least 600,000 Thai Baht or its equivalent in a bank account in Thailand or in your country of residence, which you have held for at least 3 months.
    • If you have dependent family members with you, the deposit should be an additional 180,000 Thai Baht per person.
  • Proof of health insurance covering the duration of your stay in Thailand

Additional documents required for SMART Visa O

  • Passport copy of the main SMART Visa holder
  • Proof of family relationship
  • If you will work in Thailand: Your employment or service contract, showing a minimum duration of one year as well as the details of your employment, including the position and salary.
  • If you are accompanying a  Smart Visa “S” holder:
    • Proof of health insurance covering the duration of your stay in Thailand
    • Proof of the deposit of at least 600,000 Thai Baht with an additional 180,000 Thai Baht per dependent person.

How Can I Apply for a Thailand SMART Visa?

The process for obtaining a Thailand SMART Visa is different than it is for other types of visas, because you need to have your qualifications verified and endorsed by the relevant agency in Thailand. The application process is as follows:

  1. Create an account and submit the online application through the SMART Visa website.
  2. Attach electronic (PDF) copies of all the required documents for the SMART Visa.
  3. The relevant agencies in Thailand who will endorse your qualifications notify the One-Stop Service Center for Visa and Work Permit (OSS) of the decision.
  4. The OSS then informs you of what the outcome of your application is.
  5. You take the Qualification Endorsement Letter and physical copies of the required documents and apply for a visa at one of the following:
    • If you are living abroad: A Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate. You can find a list of the diplomatic mission offices of Thailand here.
    • If you are living in Thailand:
      • The Immigration at One-Stop Service Center for Visa and Work Permit(OSS) in Bangkok
      • The EEC Labour Administration Center in Chonburi

How Long Does It Take to Process a Thailand SMART Visa?

The application processing time for a Thailand SMART Visa is as follows:

  • Processing time for the initial online applications: 3 working days
  • Processing time for the endorsement of your qualifications: 30 working days
  • Processing time for the SMART visa application at an overseas mission/OSS/EEC: Depends on the specific office in which you apply. Anywhere between 2-10 working days.

How Much is the Thailand SMART Visa fee?

The processing fee for a Thai SMART Visa application is 10,000 Thai Baht per year. However, the exact amount can change depending on the local currency of the country in which you apply.

What is the Duration of a Thai SMART Visa?

The Thailand SMART Visa can be issued for a minimum duration of one year and a maximum of four years.

Can you Extend a Thailand SMART Visa?

Yes, you can apply for an extension of your Thailand SMART Visa at least 60 days before your current visa expires. You have to re-apply for an endorsement of your qualifications and then submit the application for extension at the Immigration Bureau at the One-Stop Service Center for Visa and Work Permit (OSS).

The cost of renewal of the SMART Visa is 10,000 Thai Baht per year.

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