Buying a condo or investing money in Thailand? You may qualify for an investment visa

Thailand is growing in popularity as a destination for expats to call their new home. However, many foreigners believe they must be employed with a work permit, marry a Thai, or wait until they are 50 years old to apply for a retirement visa, or otherwise risk being denied entry by immigration officials by making multiple visa runs across the border. In fact, there are other options for those with reasonable means. While not a solution for everyone, investment visas are available to those who have five, ten, twenty, or forty million baht in qualified investments in Thailand.

Apply for a SMART visa with THB 5M or THB 20M in qualified tech investments

Through the recently implemented SMART visa program, investors in targeted industries may qualify for the “SMART I” (Investor) visa with a THB 5 million or THB 20 million investment.

The THB 5 million applicant must invest this amount as an individual directly to a qualified technology-based start-up or accelerator or incubator program endorsed by certain Thai agencies. These agencies include the National Innovation Agency, the Digital Economy Promotion Agency, and the National Science and Technology Development Agency.

For a THB 20 million investment, the parameters are not as narrow. You just need to invest that amount in technology companies qualified as belonging to certain BOI-targeted industries, either as a direct investment or through venture capital funds. As of this date, the targeted industries are varied and range from medical tourism to aviation to robotics to human resources development.

SMART I visas are renewable for four years and include spouses and children. Holders and their spouses may work without the need for work permits and are exempt from the need for re-entry permits for the entire family.

Please note that since the SMART visa program is relatively new, you should check with a trusted advisor, such as GPS Legal, to confirm whether any of the qualifications have changed.

Get a one-year (renewable) visa for a THB 10M investment

Since 29 August 2014, foreigners who invest THB 10 million or more may qualify for a one-year renewable visa to stay in Thailand. This THB 10 million can be in the form of 1) a legitimate condominium purchase (i.e. subject to the condo’s aggregate foreign quota limits), 2) funds in a fixed deposit account in a Thai bank, or 3) investment in government or state enterprise bonds.

There are additional requirements, including proof that the THB 10 million was transferred in from overseas and that the foreigner entered on a non-immigrant visa issued by a Thai embassy or consulate (i.e. not a tourist visa or visa exemption on arrival). Once received, the applicant can reapply while the investment is maintained at THB 10 million baht. Additionally, investment visa recipients can also apply for dependent visas for their spouses and minor children.  You are not entitled to work with this visa.

A THB 40M investment gets more than a visa

For an investment of THB 40 million or more, you can apply for the right to purchase up to 1 rai of land for residential purposes. While there is no specific visa for this amount, it would show a sizeable commitment to the Kingdom, which should facilitate visa applications either under the 1-year traditional or 4-year SMART investor programs, depending on the type of investment.

GPS Legal is expert in Thailand’s investment visa requirements

GPS Legal has a team with many years’ experience handling visa matters of all types, including investment visas. If you are interested in moving to Thailand and want to explore your options, contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.