Aiming to attract international talents whose expertise can play an important role in driving digital and tech startups and all other targeted industries towards using modern smart technologies,

the Thailand Board of Investment is granting its “Smart Visa” to qualified professionals. Since 2018, the professionals and their family members who pass the evaluations set by the BOI and the National Innovation Agency (NIA)1 have been granted permission to stay in Thailand up to a maximum of four years, with exemption from the need to acquire a work permit.

Professionals working in the following thirteen industries are eligible for the Smart Visa program:

• Next-generation automotive

• Smart electronics

• Affluent, medical and wellness tourism

• Agriculture and biotechnology

• Food for the future

• Automation and robotics

• Aviation and logistics

• Biofuels and biochemical

• Digital

• Medical hub

• Alternative dispute resolution

• Human resource development in science and technology 

• Environmental management and renewable energy

Professionals in these industries can apply for any of the five categories of the Smart Visa program: T for Talents, I for Investors, E for Executives, S for Startups, and O for spouses and children of smart visa holders.

To be considered eligible for the Smart “Talents” Visa program, the key criterion for expatriates is that they have a minimum monthly salary of 100,000 baht or a 50,000 baht monthly salary for those employed by startups or as retired experts.

Individuals applying under the Smart “Investors” category must invest at least 20 million baht either in an industry using technology as the foundation for manufacturing or the provision of services, or in a venture capital company accredited by Thai government agencies. Those investing a minimum 5 million baht in startups or incubations are also eligible for the visa.

Those applying for the Smart “Executives” Visa program must receive a minimum monthly salary of 200,000 baht and have at least ten years of experience in their profession. The applicants must hold a senior management position and have an employment contract for an assignment to work in Thailand with the remaining term of the contract being at least one year.

Applicants eligible for the Smart “Startup” Visa must meet one of the three following criteria: 1) has founded a startup in Thailand that adopts technology or innovation, and is endorsed by NIA or Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) or has participated in startup bootcamps endorsed by the NIA or DEPA, and has held a minimum of 25% of the company’s registered capital or held a position of director in the company; 2) has attended an incubation, accelerator, or similar program endorsed by the NIA, DEPA or related agencies; or 3) has a plan to found a startup in Thailand in one of the targeted industries with the startup endorsed by the NIA or is engaged in activity aimed at promoting startups and is endorsed by the BOI, NIA or related government agencies.

Persons eligible for the Smart Visa type “O” are the spouses and legitimate children aged 18 years old or under of Smart Visa holders.

Smart Visa holders are entitled to an extended period that they are required to report to the Immigration Bureau at the BOI’s one-stop centre from every 90 days to once a year with a maximum permission to stay of four years.

Current residents or experts who wish to enter Thailand on the Smart Visa program can submit their applications via the “Smart Visa Online” system at with the results due within 30 business days after the completed application has been received.

With the mission of driving innovation and tech startups in Thailand, the NIA has collaborated with the BOI in supporting the Smart Visa program. The NIA is currently operating two locations as one-stop service centres which provide consultation for anyone applying for a Smart Visa or running a business in Thailand. The two centres are located at True Digital Park, “Bangkok Cyber Tech District”2 and “Chiangmai&Co”3 in the country’s northern province of Chiang Mai, which is popular with international digital nomads.

For further information, please contact the BOI’s “One Start One Stop” investment centre by telephone at +66 82209 1100, by email at or by visiting




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