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The Thailand SMART Visa program was introduced in 2018 to attract highly-skilled workers and investors working in specific industries. The SMART Visa holder is granted up to four years in residence and a work permit exemption.

This is different from the Thailand Digital Nomad Visa in that the SMART Visa has different application procedures and allows you to stay in Thailand for up to four years, while the new Digital Nomad Visa allows you to stay up to 10 years with different requirements.

Thailand SMART Visa Categories

The Thailand SMART Visa program includes five categories:

  • Talent
  • Investor
  • Executive
  • Startup entrepreneur
  • Spouse and legitimate children of SMART Visa holders

We’ll look at the individual requirements for applying to Thailand’s SMART Visa program, but in general, you’ll need to put together some application materials for any category, including:

  • The appropriate visa application for the SMART Visa category for which you’re applying
  • A copy of your passport
  • A notarized and clear criminal record issued by the police authorities in your country
  • A medical certificate declaring that you have no prohibitive diseases outlined by the Thai government—the certificate must be notarized and the issuance date has to be no longer than three months prior to application
  • Depending on the visa, copies of your academic certificates and anything else that proves your expertise in your field—this can be recommendations, publications, or research projects and awards
  • Proof of previous employment (if applicable)
  • If you’re not submitting the application yourself, then you’ll need to include a power of attorney

Let’s take a closer look at the SMART Visa Categories.

Thailand SMART T (Talent) Visa

The Thailand SMART Talent Visa is for high-level professionals in specific industries related to science and technology. This is a maximum four-year renewable visa, and no re-entry permit is required. Your spouse and children are also granted permission to stay as long as you’re in Thailand, and your spouse can work with no prior permit required. Your 90-day reporting to Immigration is extended to one year on this visa, and as a bonus, you can fast-track service at certain international airports in Thailand.

You must meet the following criteria to receive a Thailand SMART Talent Visa:

  • You have to have a minimum income of no less than 100,000 Baht/month. If you’re an expert with an employment contract with a startup, or if you’re a retired expert with an endorsement from a relevant organization, your income must be no less than 50,000 Baht/month.
  • An employment or service contract with a Thai entity that works in one of the country’s targeted industries. The contract must be valid for at least an additional year from the date of your application.

You can find the detailed requirements for the SMART Talent visa here.

You can also find the complete list of documents required for the talent visa here.

Thailand SMART I (Investor) Visa

The Thailand SMART Investor visa is for investors who are willing to invest in the targeted industries in Thailand. This is a maximum four-year renewable visa, and no re-entry permit is required. Your spouse and children are also granted permission to stay as long as you’re in Thailand, and your spouse can work with no prior permit required. Your 90-day reporting to Immigration is extended to one year on this visa, and as a bonus, you can fast-track service at certain international airports in Thailand.

You must meet the following criteria to receive a Thailand SMART Investment Visa:

  • Direct investment in a Thai company, either individually or via VC, for at least 20 million Baht
  • Direct investment in a company endorsed by relevant Thai agencies as an incubator or accelerator, for at least 5 million Baht

You can find detailed requirements for the SMART investor visa here.

You can also find the complete list of documents required for the investor visa here.

Thailand SMART E (Executive) Visa

The SMART Executive visa is for foreigners who are executives in technology-based companies in one or more of Thailand’s targeted industries. This is a maximum four-year renewable visa, and no re-entry permit is required. Your spouse and children are also granted permission to stay as long as you’re in Thailand, and your spouse can work with no prior permit required. Your 90-day reporting to Immigration is extended to one year on this visa, and as a bonus, you can fast-track service at certain international airports in Thailand.

To qualify, you need to:

  • Have a minimum income of at least 200,000 Baht/month
  • Hold a Bachelor’s or higher with a minimum of 10-year work experience in relevant field
  • Hold a senior management role within your organization
  • Have an employment or service contract with a Thai entity that works in one of the country’s targeted industries. The contract must be valid for at least an additional year from the date of your application.

You can find the detailed requirements for the SMART Executive visa here.

The complete list of documents for the executive visa can be found here.

Thailand SMART S (Startup) Visa

The Thailand Startup Visa is for foreign entrepreneurs who want to start a business in Thailand’s targeted industries. This is a maximum two-year renewable visa, and no re-entry permit is required. Your spouse and children are also granted permission to stay as long as you’re in Thailand, and your spouse can work with no prior permit required. Your 90-day reporting to Immigration is extended to one year on this visa, and as a bonus, you can fast-track service at certain international airports in Thailand. If you change your job while working in Thailand under this visa, you’ll need to report additional endorsements from a qualifying entity.

To qualify for a SMART Startup Visa, you have to:

  • Establish a startup in Thailand certified as a targeted industry by the government
  • Hold a minimum of 25% of the company’s capital, or hold the director position of that company
  • Deposit at least 600,000 Baht in a Thai bank—and you must have held that bank account for at least three months prior to deposit
  • If you’re bringing a spouse or children, you’ll need to make an additional deposit of at least 180,000 Baht per person in a Thai bank account that you’ve held for at least three months prior to deposit
  • Provide proof of health insurance that covers your entire stay for you and any accompanying family members

You can find more details about the Thailand SMART Startup visa here.

The complete list of documents for the startup visa can be found here.

Thailand SMART O (Other) Visa

The SMART Other Visa category is for the spouse and children of a SMART Visa holder. Under this category, you as the spouse of a SMART Visa holder can work in Thailand without a work permit. Similar in some ways to the other SMART Visa types, there’s no re-entry permit required, 90-day reporting to Immigration is extended to one year, and can there’s fast-track service at certain international airports in Thailand. As well, you and your children can stay and work in Thailand with no work permit needed by a Thai company. If your SMART Visa holder spouse happens to change their job, you’ll need to get additional endorsements from qualifying entities.

To qualify for a SMART Other Visa, you have to:

  • Be a legal dependent of a SMART Visa holder type T, I, E, or S—in this case, both spouses and children qualify as dependents
  • As the child of a SMART Visa holder, be under 20 years old (although there are exceptions for children of SMART “T” visa holders)
  • For spouses and children of SMART “S” Visa holders specifically: Hold an amount of deposit by your SMART Visa sponsor of at least 180,000 Bahtper person to a Thai bank account  that has existed for at least three months prior to deposit
  • For spouses and children of SMART “S” Visa holders specifically: Have proof of health insurance for the entire family that covers the period of your stay

You can find more details about the Thailand SMART “Other” Visa here.

The complete list of documents for the “Other” Visa can be found here.

Thailand COVID Travel Requirements

As of October 1, 2022, Thailand has lifted its COVID travel restrictions. You don’t need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter, and you don’t have to stay in the sandbox. Of course we recommend exercising reasonable caution during travel to any destination and being respectful of your fellow humans.

Other Thailand Visa Options

Featured image via Unsplash.

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