Thailand has introduced a new program to attract highly skilled experts and investors. This program shall target several industries and enhance the scientific and technological sector. SMART Visa and its privileges will help to recruit various talents, senior executives, entrepreneurs and investors for the country’s development in the fields of next-generation automotive, smart electronics, medical and wellness tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, future food technologies, automation and robotics, aviation and logistics, biofuels and biochemicals, digitization and health technologies.
Depending on the qualifications the SMART Visa application requirements vary:
- Highly skilled experts in the fields of science and technology have to apply for Smart T. Smart T requires a minimum salary of THB 200,000 per month and an employment agreement which guarantees employment in Thailand for at least one year.
- Investors must directly invest at least THB 20 million in the targeted industries in Thailand, which apply technologies related to manufacturing or delivering services. Smart I is the relevant visa type.
- Senior executives of companies in the targeted industry which use technologies in manufacturing or delivering services must earn not less than THB 200,000 per month, hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and be engaged at least ten years in the relevant field. Senior executives must have an employment agreement with a company in Thailand or abroad, with a work assignment in Thailand. If the requirements are met, senior executives are eligible for the visa type Smart E.
- Smart S is suitable for foreign startup entrepreneurs who wish to invest and operate in the targeted industries in Thailand. Entrepreneurs must have a fixed savings account with at least THB 600,000. This amount varies if spouses and children follow. Health insurance must be concluded which covers the entire period of stay in Thailand. The startup must be set up within one year and participate in an incubation or accelerator program.
The qualifications of the targeted group must be certified by the relevant government agency, such as the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTA), Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), the National Innovation Agency (NIA) etc.
Privileges range from a 4-year visa without the necessity of a re-entry permit, no obligation to obtain a work permit, an extension of the 90-day Immigration reporting to one year and a right for spouses and children to stay and work in Thailand without a work permit.
The Smart Visa is a model which applies to companies that are promoted by the BOI. The Smart Visa unit under the BOI will issue a letter which certifies the qualifications. This letter is valid 60 days and is required for the Smart Visa application at Thai Embassies or the One-Stop Immigration Center for Visas and Work Permits in Thailand.