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Smart Visas: What Are They & Why They’re Useful in Our Digital Age

Thailand

With the help of a Smart Visa, what was once difficult, complicated, and time-consuming can be avoided, whether you’re looking to bring your family from abroad to live in Thailand or just want to make 90-day reports less stressful. In this article, we’ll examine everything you need to know about Smart Visas. 

Thailand currently has an influx of working professionals from all over the globe. They often work for foreign companies that receive investment support and opportunities from the Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI). 

Many of these companies and the people who work for them face problems when applying for visas, and especially work permits, which have numerous requirements. As a result, employers and employees inevitably end up wasting valuable time.

However, with the help of a Smart Visa, what was once difficult, complicated, and time-consuming can be avoided, whether you’re looking to bring your family from abroad to live in Thailand or just want to make 90-day reports less stressful. In this article, we’ll examine everything you need to know about Smart Visas. 

What is the purpose of a Smart Visa?

A Smart Visa is a type of visa specially designed to better facilitate foreigners investing or working in Thailand, with the aim of attracting experts, senior management, and entrepreneurs with a high level of skill and expertise to work in a target industry known as S-Curve.

Thailand wants to attract foreign investors and highly skilled personnel in the following S-Curve sectors: 

  • Smart Electronics
  • Next-Generation Automotive
  • Agriculture and Biotechnology
  • Affluent, Medical, and Wellness Tourism
  • Automation and Robotics
  • Food for the Future
  • Biofuels and Biochemicals
  • Aviation and Logistics
  • Medical Hub
  • Digital 
  • Environmental Management and Renewable Energy
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Human Resource Development in Science and Technology

Foreign executives using Smart Visa

How many types of Smart Visas are there & what are the requirements for applicants?

Foreigners can apply for a Smart Visa to work in Thailand in all S-Curve target industries with 5 different types of smart visas as follows:

1. Smart “T” Talent/Highly-skilled Experts

Highly skilled professionals in science and technology, such as researchers, application developers, program developers, and engineers in various fields, etc.

Qualifications for Smart “T” Visa Applicants 

  • Receive a salary of not less than 200,000 baht per month or equivalent, excluding other compensation
  • Have an employment contract or service contract for at least 1 year
  • Have an accreditation of expertise from a government agency in the target industry (except in the case of specialists who come to work in government agencies)
  • Entities employing specialists must be certified as a business in the targeted industry in the country by the relevant government authority

2. Smart “I” Investors

Foreign investors who invest in businesses that use technology in production processes or services and are in the targeted industries of Thailand.

Qualifications for Smart “I” Visa Applicants 

  • Must be able to invest directly on behalf of individuals of not less than 20 million baht in the targeted industries, and must be able to invest in more than one business
  • Must invest in that business throughout the period of holding the SMART Visa
  • A business to be established or be invested in must be certified as a technology-based business in the production process or serve and become a business in the target industry by the relevant government agencies

3. Smart “E” Senior Executives

High-level executives working in businesses that use technology in the production process or service and are in the targeted industries of Thailand.

Qualifications for Smart “E” Visa Applicants 

  • Salary not less than 200,000 baht per month or equivalent (excluding other compensation)
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher and have working experience in related fields for at least 10 years
  • Having an employment contract with a business in Thailand or with a business abroad that is required to work in Thailand and must have a period of at least 1 year in the employment contract
  • Must work in a senior management position
  • The entity to be engaged must be certified as a technology-based entity in its production process or provide services and be a business in the target industry

4. Smart “S” Startup Entrepreneurs

Foreigners who own technology-based startups and are in Thailand’s targeted industries, such as finance, hospitality, and other related fields.

Qualifications for Smart “S” Visa Applicants 

  • Must have a fixed deposit in an account with a remaining period of not less than 1 year, not be less than 600,000 baht or the equivalent 
  • In the case of having a legal spouse and children, applicants must have a fixed deposit in the account with a remaining period of not less than 1 year, and an additional amount of not less than 180,000 baht or the equivalent per person
  • Must be certified for participation in an incubation program or a growth accelerator program or other similar project from relevant government agencies
  • If not participating in an incubation program, the company must be co-invested in by the government or certified by the relevant government agency
  • The applicant must establish a business in Thailand within 1 year from the date of permission to temporarily stay in Thailand and must be certified as a business in the target industry by the relevant government agencies

5. Smart “O” Others

SMART Visa O is issued to spouses and legitimate children of all types of Smart Visa beneficiaries.

Female professionals who received a smart visa to stay in Thailand

The Difference Between Smart Visas and Non-B Visas

There are many reasons that make the Smart Visa attractive to foreign investors, including companies that have set up businesses in Thailand. Smart Visas have many more benefits than Non-B Visas. Here’s a comparison:

Reporting

SMART Visa reports once a year to the Visa and Work Permit Service (OSS)

Non-B Visa reports every 90 days at the immigration office near the residential area

Traveling in & out of Thailand

SMART Visa unlimited number of times

Non-B Visa must get re-entry permit before leaving the country

Length of time allowed to work

SMART Visa no more than 4 years at a time

Non-B Visa no more than 1 year at a time

Work permit

SMART Visa does not require a work permit

Non-B Visa requires a work permit

The right to use special channels to enter and exit Thailand

SMART Visa can use special channels

Non-B Visa cannot use special channels

Legal follow-up of spouses and children

SMART Visa trackable

Non-B Visa trackable

Spouse’s work permit

SMART Visa does not require a work permit

Non-B Visa requires a work permit

Join the Startup Booster program with True Digital Park to help make applying for a SMART Visa easier

If you’re searching for further information about a Smart Visa to share with your company or acquaintances interested in investing in Thailand, True Digital Park is here to make the process easier. Whether you’re part of a large company that uses modern technology or a startup that sees opportunities in an era when Thai people are stepping into a fully digital world, you can always come and talk to our team of professionals at True Digital Park to get advice.

True Digital Park is ready to support investors and companies that want to invest in digital businesses in Thailand. Companies participating in the Startup Booster program with True Digital Park also have the opportunity to apply for a SMART Visa easier and faster.

In addition, companies registered to establish a business at True Digital Park that meet all the qualifications as specified by the BOI will also be entitled to an additional one-year corporate income tax exemption for a total of up to 8 years.

Source: True Digital Park

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