The SMART visa program greatly simplifies life in Thailand  for individuals setting up, investing and working in Startups

A major obstacle for farang looking to start a business in Thailand is the pain of obtaining a work permit and a non-immigrant type B visa. No less painful are reporting requirements (90 days). The recently implemented SMART visa program has greatly simplified this for individuals setting up, investing and working in Startups.


Thailand 4.0

The Thai government developed this program to encourage foreign investment in targeted industries believed to progress the Thailand 4.0 objectives. Support of startup is explicitly an objective, and to show their commitment to this endeavor, the government designated the expedient One Stop Service Center for Visas and Work Permits (OSS), located in central Bangkok, to process applications.

While the OSS is attached to Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI), you do not need to have, or be employed by a company with BOI privileges to apply.


SMART Startups are S-Curve

SMART visa applicants must be in an S-Curve industry as defined by the Thai government. Startups must belong to sectors deemed beneficial to Thailand’s economic and technological growth to apply. Specifically:

While many of these industries are covered under the BOI, there are fewer requirements and lower investment thresholds for the SMART visa program. This way, investors or startups that may not be able to achieve BOI promotion can still receive benefits for contributing to Thailand’s development.


SMART Startup Visa Categories

There are four different SMART visa categories



Applicants must:

To receive:



Applicants must:

To receive:



Applicants must:

To receive:



Applicants must:

To receive:

*A list of government-endorsed incubator programs is currently being compiled. Please contact GPS Legal for the current list.


Certified S-Curve Industries?

As part of the application process (which includes a record of your education, experience, publications, etc.) the OSS will contact the relevant ministries to obtain a determination whether your industry qualifies. But for a one-time fee of 10,000 Baht for each year for each person (e.g. a family of four applying for a four-year visa would have to pay 160,000 baht), any initial cumbersome document compiling will be rewarded with a relatively hassle-free stay in Thailand.


Think a SMART visa is the right path for you?

GPS Legal & Consulting is happy to answer your questions to help you decide whether you qualify and should apply for a SMART visa. Please contact us for a consultation so that we can help you start on your journey to doing business in Thailand.

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