How can a foreigner do business in Thailand?

A foreigner can do business in Thailand subject to foreign business law.  If you want to do businesses restricted to foreigners, you must either get a foreign business license. If you are a foreign majority owned company, you will need to obtain either a Business Operations Certificate or Foreign Business License. If you are a US citizen, a US company or a US majority owned company, because of the Treaty of Amity between Thailand and USA, you can request for a Business Operations Certificate. Some Australian and Japanese citizens and companies may not have to apply for a Foreign Business License (thus only have to request for a Business Operations Certificate) if certain conditions are met under the Thailand – Australia Free Trade Agreement or Japan – Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA).

How to obtain a Foreign Business License?

To obtain a Foreign Business License, 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 Business Operations Certificate in case of American majority owned companies or Australian or Japanese under the trade agreements mention above. 

The application usually contains details of your company’s profile, type of applied business, characteristics of business and stages of operation, capital structure, and business structure, size of business, technology transfer plan, and employment.

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.

Getting a Foreign Business License is not easy  if you do not do it all the time. To prepare such application, you may want to hire good Thai lawyers with lots of experience in the field to obtain the Foreign Business License for you.

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