THAILAND – Smart Visa Qualifications Eased
Effective immediately, the Thai government has eased the qualifying criteria for the Smart Visa.
Smart Visa conditions have been adjusted in three areas: Eligible activities; Benefits for Smart Visa holders; and Qualifying criteria for applicants
The list of eligible activities or “targeted industries” has been extended to include services in alternative dispute resolution such as arbitration, science and technology-based human resource development and renewable energy and environmental management.
Smart Visa holders will now be able to use fast-track services at all international airports (where available).
- The minimum income required for highly-skilled experts has been lowered from TBH 200,000 to TBH 100,000, and to TBH 50,000 for experts in start-ups and retired experts.
- Investments can now be made through venture capital companies.
- In case of investment in start-ups, incubator programs or accelerator programs, the minimum investment requirement has been lowered from TBH 20 million to TBH 5 million.
- New criteria have been introduced for three different categories of start-up entrepreneur, who now qualify for a six-month, one -year or two-year visa depending on the progress of their start-up.
The Smart Visa, introduced in February 2018, is valid for up to four years (non-immigrant visas are usually valid for up to one year only) for qualifying highly-skilled professionals, senior executives and investors, and for up to two years (renewable) for start-up entrepreneurs.
Smart Visa holders are exempt from the usual requirements to:
- obtain a work permit;
- report to the immigration authorities every 90 days (extended to every year);
- obtain a re-entry permit to exit and re-enter Thailand.
Spouses and children of the Smart Visa holder are also granted residence, and spouses can work in Thailand without a work permit (dependent children of at least 18 years can also work without a work permit under the Smart "T" Talent Visa).
- Employers who may benefit from the Smart Visa are encouraged to contact their immigration specialist for case-specific advice.