SMART VISA is a new type of Thailand visa that launched on February 1, 2018. It’s an attempt from the Thai government to bring in high quality, talented foreign people in technology and innovation field inside Thailand in the hope of that SMART VISA will boost business growth, and increase technical Know-How which will bring long-term economic benefits to Thailand.

This visa is unlike other long term visas as it’s not only granting your stay in Thailand for only 1 year maximum, but instead 4-year maximum and with many more benefits.

The Smart Visa Program is designed to draw science and technology experts, executives, startups entrepreneurs and investors, to work or invest in technology companies to help grow the 10 targeted industries.

What are the 10 targeted industries?

1. Next-Generation Automotive

2. Smart Electronics

3. Affluent, Medical and Wellness Tourism

4. Agriculture and Biotechnology

5. Food for the Future

6. Robotics

7. Aviation and Logistics

8. Biofuels and Biochemicals

9. Digital

10. Medical Hub

11. Alternative Dispute Resolution

12. Human Resource Development in Science and Technology

13. Environmental Management and Renewable Energy

Note: Some may wonder what’s number 9 “Digital” industry is about since in thai ear it’s easier to find what isn’t digital related but here, what the digital industry is about in this context: 1.) Cloud Computing 2.) Consumer Insight Analytics and Data Centers 3.) Creative Media and Animation 4.) Cyber Security 5.) E-commerce (Sell-Buy-Pay-Deliver) 6.) Embedded Software 7.) Enterprise Software & Digital content 8.) Internet of Things: Enabled Smart City

The privileges of the SMART visa

1.) Maximum 4-year visa instead of 1-year

2.) No work permit and no re-entry permit required

3.) Spouse and children permitted to stay and work equivalent to the SMART visa holder

4.) 90-Day reporting extended to 1-year reporting

5.) Priority lane at Thai International Airports

Types of SMART Visa

The 4-year SMART visa has four categories:

1.) SMART visa – Category T, T comes from Talent

SMART-T visa is available to science and technology experts with at least 200,000 THB salary. A Foreigner who is a skilled science or technology worker such as an app developer or hardware engineer may apply for this visa.If you are a business owner in these fields and currently a holder of a Non-Immigrant visa type B, you can transfer your Non-B visa to SMART visa as well.

2.) SMART visa – Category I, I comes from Investor

SMART-I visa is available to investors who invest directly as an individual for at least 20 million THB into companies that belong within 10 targeted industries. Work permit is for the company you invest in only, so it’s suitable for a Chairman or Board member role. This is also work wonderful for a high net worth individual who wish to fund a startup and get easy privilege Thai SMART visa as a bonus.

3.) SMART visa – Category E, E comes from Executive

SMART-E visa is available to high ranking executives with at least 200,000 THB salary. Must have Bachelor Degree and 10 years work experience. Same as SMART-T and SMART-I visas, foreigners who apply for this visa must be employed by companies that belong within 10 targeted industries.

Similar to SMART-T visa, if you are an entrepreneur in the ten targeted industries and meet the requirements with a Thai non-immigrant visa type B, you can switching your Non-B visa to this Thai SMART visa.

4.) SMART visa – Category S, S comes from Startup Entrepreneur

SMART-E visa is a 1-year or 2-year visa unlike other SMART visas that granted you a 4-year visa. This SMART visa is for startup entrepreneurs who desire to start a business in Thailand. In order to be qualified to apply for this visa, you have to deposit 600,000 THB in Thailand, own a health insurance, participate in the government’s incubator/accelerator project and will establish a business in Thailand within 12 months after SMART visa issuance.

Can my family members live in Thailand with me, if I’m a Thai SMART visa holder?

The answer is YES! and unlike Non-Immigrant visa, your family members have the right to stay and work equivalent to you. They’ll fall into special type of SMART visa — SMART-O.

SMART Visa Extension

The SMART visa extension must be applied for a renewal of qualification endorsement

at least 90 days prior the expire date.

Thailand Smart Visa Application Process

Foreigners who wish to obtain a Thailand’s Smart Visa must apply for a Qualification endorsement first. Your application will be checked by the SMART visa Unit and go through several department approvals. The government agencies involved in the endorsement process include the following: The Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI), National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), National Innovation Agency (NIA), Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT),

Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological (TISTR), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Immigration and Ministry of Labour (MOL).

The Qualification Endorsement process is supposed to take approximately 30 working days but in reality, there’s high chance that it’ll take much longer.

Each type of Smart visa has different departmental sign-off as the picture below shows.

thai smart visa

* For all aspects of the application process, please contact us for our advice and full support.

English brochure about Thailand smart visa