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visa in thailand

Thailand SMART Visa

smart visa

Thailand SMART Visa

On 1 February 2018, a new visa was launched in Thailand which is known as the SMART Visa. This Visa was introduced to attract new talents and technologies in order to further develop the targeted industries. The SMART Visa program is designed to enhance Thailand’s attractiveness in drawing science and technology experts, senior executives, investors and start-ups. The SMART Visa focuses investment on the “10-S Curve Industries” or the country’s targeted industry.


The 10-S Curve industries or the targeted industries include:

  • 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


The SMART Visa has five different categories that a person can apply for:

  • SMART “T” Visa is for highly skilled professionals in the science and technology aiming to work in the targeted industries
  • SMART “I” for investors in companies using technology in manufacturing or delivering services of being in the targeted industries.
  • SMART “S” for foreign start-up entrepreneurs who wish to invest in the targets industries in Thailand.
  • SMART “E” for senior executives working the companies using technology and manufacturing or delivering services and being in the targeted industries.
  • SMART “O” for spouse and children of SMART visa holders.


In order to be eligible, applicants must obtain a qualification endorsement letter from the SMART Visa Unit. During the process, applicants will also need to go through a technical endorsement screening by the designated agencies after which a letter will be issued by the Thailand Board of Investments which the applicants use in order to apply for their SMART Visa.


The benefits of applying a SMART Visa instead of any other type of visa are:

  • The visa is valid for 4 years instead of the usual 1 year.
  • There is no requirement of work permit
  • Spouse and children will have the same rights as the SMART Visa holder in Thailand (only SMART T Visa allows the dependents to work in Thailand)
  • Extension of Visa (annual reporting instead of 90 days)
  • No re-entry permits


To see if you are eligible to apply for Thailand SMART Visa, contact us for initial consultation.

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Work Permit Process for BOI Companies

In order to process a work permit for expats who work at a BOI company, first your Thailand BOI company needs to register in the BOI E-expert system online, where you will later apply for a work permit for your foreign employees, experts and specialists as well as extend their work visa.

Steps in processing work permits for BOI companies:

  1. The BOI company applies for approval from the BOI to hire the various job positions that it needs to have filled by foreigners. So in case just this one position has not been included in the list of positions approved before, then the company will have to do this step again just for this particular position. In some cases your BOI company may already have all of the positions approved including your position, then you will skip this step. This step takes about 3-5 business days.
  2. The BOI company applies for a visa letter from the BOI for the expat employee to take to a Thai embassy or consulate overseas. This takes 1- 3 business days. Then the company can print out the letter to attach with the visa package for the expat to apply for his non-immigrant “B” Visa.
  3. Preparing a Visa package, which includes a cover letter to the embassy or consulate, a Visa application form, 2 pictures, the company’s documents (certificate of incorporation, Memorandum of Association, Company Affidavit, List of shareholders, VAT registration certificate and VAT returns from the latest 3 months). In case your company is not newly set up, a copy of audited financial statements and corporate income tax return of the latest year must be included too.
  4. After the expat comes back into Thailand with a nonimmigrant Business Visa, the company applies with the BOI to hire the expat into the position from step 1. This takes about 3-5 business days. The expat needs to present his education certificate and work experience certificate at this step.
  5. The company prepares the forms to apply for a work permit and Visa extension for the expat.
  6. The company takes the expat to the one-stop service of the BOI in order to get the work permit book and extend his visa to 1 – 2 years. This usually takes the whole day at the one-stop service location.

MSNA is an expert in BOI work permit process. Contact us for any questions regarding your Thailand BOI company or work permit issues.

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Thai government focuses on private hospitals by its medical hub policy

Through its medical hub policy, the Thai government will serve as a facilitator for private hospitals in helping them to improve their medical services to foreign visitors seeking health care in Thailand. Thus, the Thai government ensures that the medical hub policy would not affect the availability of affordable health care for Thai people. The policy involves mainly the operations of private hospitals while government hospitals still focus on medical services for Thai nationals so it should not adversely affect Thai patients and the government would not spend national funds on private hospitals.

The government had recently organized the first workshop for hospitals under the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Education to work together in an integrated manner so that they would optimize the use of existing resources. In the workshop, they discussed the road map to proceed with Thailand’s medical hub policy which also includes the creation of more qualified physicians. More workshops will be held for further discussions on the issue.

Apart from serving as the facilitator, the public sector would help boost the image of the country in terms of medical advances. The medical hub policy would encourage health establishments in Thailand to improve their health services to higher standards. This will enhance the competitiveness of Thailand as a country as well.

In developing Thailand into a regional medical hub, the Thai government will emphasize four areas. In the first area, Thailand will be promoted as a wellness hub with full cycle services. The second area is that the medical service hub will link with spa services and health tourism. The third area aims to turn Thailand into an academic hub for health care. The fourth area aims to develop Thailand into a pharmaceutical and health products center.

Since 2012, the number of medical tourists visiting Thailand is continuously rising. In facilitating their trips to Thailand, the Government has granted visa extension from 30 days to 90 days for nationals of six countries in the Middle East in the initial stage so that they can stay in Thailand for a longer period for medical services. Visa extensions will later be granted to medical tourists from other countries.

More updates on this medical hub policy will be announced later. Visiting Thailand? Obtain a proper type of Thai visa before leaving your country. Contact ThaiLawyers for Thai visa application assistance.

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