If you are a foreign majority owned company, you will need to obtain a License to Operate Business. If you are a US majority owned company, because of the Treaty of Amity between Thailand and USA, you will request for a Certificate of Business Operation. Some Australian and Japanese citizens and companies may not have to apply for a Foreign Business License (thus only have to request for a Certificate of Business Operation) if certain conditions are met under the Thai – Australian Free Trade Agreement or the JTEPA (Japan Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement). An application must be submitted to the Bureau of Foreign Business Administration, Department of Business Development of the Ministry of Commerce, Thailand with applicable fees. Usually it takes a few months to get a Foreign Business License but only less than a month to get a Certificate of Business Operation in case of American majority owned companies or Australian or Japanese under the trade agreements mentioned above.
The application usually contains details of your company’s profile, type of applied business, characteristics of business and stages of operation, capital structure, business structure, size of business, technology transfer plan, and employment. You may want to hire a lawyer or a good Thai accounting firm with lots of experience in the field like MSNA to obtain the Foreign Business License for you. It is not an easy task if you do not do it all the time to prepare such an application.
In June 2010, the Department of Business Development issued an application preparation handbook to help foreign businesses understand what they need to submit to get the Foreign Business License.