In 2018 the government approved a new type of Visa for professional that is still pretty much unknown to most of the expats. It is called SmartVisa and it includes 4 categories: experts, investors, startups, executives. Let’s have a look here at the startup category. Before we analyze the requirements, a quick list of advantages:

no bureaucracy: no work permit to work in Thailand, no need to report every 90 days, no need of a re-entry permit, a one stop service for the Visa, application can be submitted online and the list of documents to be provided is reasonably short. It seems that the TM 30 is not necessary if the company address is the same place where the Visa holder lives.

length: in most of the cases, it’s a 2 years Visa

price: at 10,000 baht per year, it is not cheap, but it is still convenient, considering

VIP service: fast lane at the airport when you enter the country and no need to deal with the immigration (the point of contact for the SmartVisa is the BOI. If you are in Bangkok, that means the convenient Chamchuri Square office of the Board of Investment)

Spouse and children granted permission to stay in Thailand. The spouse granted permission to work with no work permit required for the same duration as the Smart visa holder

To be truthful there are also a few disadvantages with this Visa. For example, some government agencies have not been dealt with and they struggle to recognize the validity of the SmartVisa. The Department of Transportation for example, does not acknowledge this is a non-imm Visa, and the driving licenses released under this Visa are the 2-years temporary ones instead of the normal 5 years license.

What are the requirements for a Startup SnartVisa? The company must be a startup, which means it’s been set up less than 5 years before asking for the Visa. If the company has not been setup yet, the founder has 1 year of time to do so. The company must be in a targeted industry (i.e. Food of the Future, Environment, Digital, etc). The person asking for the Visa should provide proof of:

– Fixed deposit of at least 600,000 baht on a Thai bank account (photos of the bank booklet are ok)
– Health insurance. Any coverage will do, a copy of the insurance contract is enough
– Participating in a startup incubation program or being endorsed by a relevant government agency. In the case of food for example, you may connect with FoodInnopolis or the National Innovaton Agency, the endorsement process is pretty simple
– Holding no less than 25% of the company’s registered capital or being one of the board directors

If you need help with the application, feel free to contact Tanawat.


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