Investment-Based Visa to Thailand
The country of Thailand has long been an attractive location for foreign investors seeking to take a piece of thriving international business and trade that flourishes in Bangkok. Thailand’s economy is consistently very strong, and rests on major exports such as rice, textiles, fishery products, cars, computers, and jewelry. In addition to its lucrative benefits, Thailand also offers beautiful scenery, tranquil countryside, a bustling metropolis, delicious cuisine, and a unique cultural heritage that is showcased in local markets, fairs, and festivals.
Thailand offers numerous benefits to potential investors, not the least of which being a pathway to Thai permanent residence and ultimately citizenship.
Temporary Investor Visa
Thailand’s temporary investor visa is called the Investment and Business or “IB” visa. It is issued to foreign nationals who are working on investment projects that have been approved by the Board of Investment of Thailand. The purpose of these projects is to benefit the country by increasing employment, promoting Thai exports, utilizing its raw materials, and encouraging technology transfers to Thai nationals.
Requirements for the Thai Investor Visa
To qualify for the IB visa, foreign nationals must possess a valid passport, and submit a visa application to the Thai Office of Immigration Bureau which includes proof that the investor possesses sufficient finances to support the investor during the stay in the country, a letter from the investor’s company that confirms the investor company position, duration of employment, salary, and reason for coming to Thailand, and any of the following documents that are applicable: correspondence with Thai business partners; invitation letter from Thai company to the investor; and/or corporate documents (such as business registration and license, etc.) for associated Thai companies.
Once approved, the investor will be issued a three-month IB visa that can be extended in year increments.
The Royal Thai Immigration Commission is the government agency that processes all permanent residence applications. Importantly, there is an annual ceiling on how many permanent resident permits the country will issue and that ceiling is 100 persons per country per year.
To qualify for Thai permanent residence, the investor must have held the IB visa for at least three consecutive years. Additionally, the foreign national must have invested at least 3,000,000 Baht. By submitting proof of these requirements, as well as proof that the investor has not violated any Thai criminal or immigration laws, the investor will receive the permanent resident permit for him/herself and family.
Benefits of Thai Permanent Residency
There are many benefits to obtaining Thai permanent residence. This status gives the foreign investor the unrestricted right to live, work, study, and do business in the country. Additionally, the investor can become a director of public company that is headquartered in Thailand. The Thai permanent residence permit never expires and is renewable every ten years. However, if the investor wants to travel internationally, the investor must apply for a re-entry permit before departing the country.
After ten years of Thai permanent residence, the investor can apply for citizenship and receive the Thai passport.
Interested investors are encouraged to contact knowledgeable business and immigration attorneys for further information on the tremendous investment opportunities in Thailand. Since there is a multi-step process to obtaining Thai citizenship (first the nonimmigrant visa, than the permanent resident permit, than the citizenship) careful long-term planning is essential.