One of the main drives of the Royal Thai Government is to attract not only foreign tourists into the Kingdom, but also foreign investors and skilled workers.
These foreign nationals are important in order to develop Thailand’s industrial capacities, and, of course, to boost the economy. In order to give them an incentive to come over to the Kingdom and infuse capital into the economy, the Thai government in Feb 2018 launched a special visa meant exactly for these individuals – the SMART visa.
In a nutshell, the SMART visa is a set of visas meant for skilled workers, potential investors, a company executive or a startup proprietor in Thailand. We’ll look at each of these SMART Visas in a bit but, first, let’s take a look at what benefits SMART visa holders can exclusively enjoy.
Perks of the SMART Visa
Here are the following perks of the SMART visa as opposed to other conventional visas in Thailand, like the Non-Immigrant Visas and the Tourist Visa:
- Validity of up to 4 years
- One-year reporting instead of the regular 90-day reporting to Immigration
- Waiving of the re-entry permit and work permit requirements
- Extension of benefits to family members
Now, let’s see the different types of SMART visas that are available.
The Five Types of SMART Visa
There are five types of SMART visas, namely:
- SMART Visa T
This SMART visa is intended for “foreign talents,” another word for skilled professionals in a specific industry. To qualify, one must be earning at least THB50,000 or THB100,000 monthly from the job and must have a contract for at least 1-year.
- SMART Visa I
The SMART Visa I is for investors. You must be an investor in a technology firm in a targeted industry in the program. The amount of investment should be at least THB 5 million or at least THB20 million, and can be made either as an individual or through a venture capital company.
- SMART Visa E
The SMART Visa E is intended for foreigners who are working in Thailand in a senior management position in a tech company in one of the program’s targeted industries. Salary requirement is at least THB200,000 a month, and you must hold at least 1-year contract validity with the employment.
- SMART Visa S
If you’re looking to establish a startup business within one of the targeted industries of the SMART Visa Program, then the SMART Visa S is for you. You must be an investor of at least 25% of the startup’s registered capital, with a directorship position.
You must also have THB600,000 deposited in a Thai bank account or equivalent in your home nation’s currency, and held for at least 3 months. You also need health insurance as well.
- SMART Visa O
The SMART Visa O is for family members to whom the main visa holder would like to extend his or her benefits to. Family in this case is limited to the legally wedded spouse and legitimate dependent child or children of the visa holder.
These visas are the government’s way of raising foreign capital into its economy. These visa holders could also become local tourists who can support and patronize the country’s tourism, which is its main economic contributor.