What is a Foreign Business License in Thailand?

A Foreign Business License in Thailand allows a foreign entity to operate a business with certain limitations or requirements under the Foreign Business Act Thailand implements. The country’s Foreign Licensing Department grants this license to a foreign company with a minimum capital of THB 2,000,000 unless the type of business is restricted by the Foreign Business Act and is meant only for Thai nationals. Don’t hesitate to contact Thai foreign business license specialist Vize for assistance with acquiring the license and any legal services you need. We will help make sure everything goes smoothly.

How the Application Works for a Foreign Business License

The Foreign Business Act Thailand has is not only intended to regulate foreign companies. With the Foreign Business Act, Thailand defines how a foreign company, investor or entrepreneur can acquire a business license in Thailand and do business in the country. It establishes what type of activity can be done by these non-Thai nationals and under which circumstances they should be able to conduct their businesses here. Thailand has harsh penalties for anyone who breaches any part of the Foreign Business Act with fines up to THB 1 million, and even imprisonment is possible. Vize is a Thai foreign business license service that, apart from being known for providing top-notch legal services. We ensure you acquire a business license in Thailand, and are also trusted for monitoring to ensure you’re always compliant under Thai laws.

Requirements for a Foreign Business License

If you’re a foreign entity filing for a Foreign Business License in Thailand, the business you want to start in the country must have THB 2 million as capital. This is the minimum requirement under the Foreign Business Act Thailand implements to govern foreign investments. Applicants must have permission to enter Thailand under the country’s immigration law and not be (quasi)incompetent, nor have been subjected to any court judgements or fines, especially involving fraud. With the advice of the Foreign Business Committee, the Minister of Commerce may issue regulations prescribing other conditions for an applicant of the foreign business licence. Solicitor assistance, especially from a top consultant business license Thailand respects such as ViZe, would prove valuable especially in complex matters involving acquiring the license. If approval has already been obtained from the Board of Investment, then the applicants can easily and quickly get their license from the Foreign Licensing Department.

List 1: Prohibited Activities for Foreign Business License

The Foreign Business Act, Thailand, categorises the industries or activities a foreign entity can and cannot engage in. The first category (list 1) are activities that foreigners are strictly excluded from, as they are entwined within the essence of Thai economic culture. These activities include:

  1. Press, radio broadcasting station or radio and television station business
  2. Rice farming, plantation or crop growing
  3. Livestock farming
  4. Forestry and timber processing from a natural forest
  5. Fishery, only in respect of the catchment of aquatic animals in Thai waters and specific economic zones of Thailand
  6. Extraction of Thai medicinal herbs
  7. Trading and auction sale of antique objects of Thailand or objects of historical value of the country
  8. Making or casting Buddha Images and monk alms‐bowls
  9. Land trading

List 2: Controlled Activities for Foreign Business Licenses

Chapter 1: Businesses related to National Safety or Security

  1. Production, distribution and maintenance of:
    • a. firearms, ammunition, gun powders and explosives;
    • b. components of firearms, ammunition and explosives;
    • c. armaments, ships, aircraft or vehicles for military use;
    • d. equipment or components of all types of war materials
  2. Domestic transportation by land, water or air, including domestic aviation

Chapter 2: Businesses Having Impacts on Arts, Culture, Traditions, Customs and Folklore Handicrafts

  1. Trading of antiques or artistic objects that are artistic works or handicrafts of Thailand
  2. Production of wood carvings
  3. Silkworm raising, production of Thai silk yarn, weaving of Thai silk or printing of Thai silk patterns
  4. Production of Thai musical instruments
  5. Production of goldware, silverware, nielloware, bronzeware or lacquerware
  6. Production of crockery or porcelains representing Thai arts and culture

Chapter 3: Businesses Having Impacts on Natural Resources or the Environment

  1. Production of sugar from sugar cane
  2. Salt farming, including non‐sea salt farming
  3. Production of rock salt
  4. Mining, including rock blasting or rock crushing
  5. Timber processing for production of furniture and utensils

List 3: Thai Nationals Are Not Ready To Compete With

  1. Rice milling and production of flour from rice and economic plants
  2. Fishery only in respect of the hatching and raising of aquatic animals
  3. Forestry from a grown forest
  4. Production of plywood, veneer wood, chipboards or hardboards
  5. Production of lime
  6. Provision of accounting services
  7. Provision of legal services
  8. Provision of architectural services
  9. Provision of engineering services
  10. Construction, with the exception of:
    • a. Construction of structures for delivery of infrastructure public services in the sphere of public utilities or transportation requiring the use of special apparatuses, machines, technology or expertise, with the minimum capital of five hundred million Baht or upwards from foreigners; b. Construction of other types as prescribed in the Ministerial Regulation
    • b. Construction of other types as prescribed in the Ministerial Regulation
  11. Brokerage or agency businesses, with the exception of:
    • a. being a broker or an agent in the sale or purchase of securities or in services related to futures trading of agricultural commodities or financing instruments or securities;
    • b. being a broker or an agent in the sale, purchase or procurement of goods or services necessary for the production or the provision of services amongst affiliated enterprises;
    • c. being a broker or an agent in the sale or purchase, procurement, distribution or acquisition of domestic and foreign markets for the distribution of domestically manufactured or imported goods, which is in character the operation of international trade, with the minimum capital of one hundred million Baht or upwards from foreigners
    • d. being a broker or an agent of other types as prescribed in the Ministerial Regulation
  12. Sale by auction, with the exception of:
    • a. a sale by auction which, in character, involves international bidding of items other than antiques, objects of antiquity or artistic objects that are artistic works or handicrafts or objects of antiquity of Thailand or of historical value of the country;
    • b. sales by auction of other types as prescribed in the Ministerial Regulation 20
  13. Internal trade related to traditional agricultural products or produce not yet prohibited by law
  14. Retail sale of goods of all types with the total minimum capital in the amount lower than one hundred million Baht or with the minimum capital of each store in the amount lower than twenty million Baht
  15. Wholesale of all types with the minimum capital of each store in the amount lower than one hundred million Baht
  16. Advertising business
  17. Hotel business, with the exception of the hotel management service
  18. Guided touring
  19. Sale of food and beverages
  20. Cultivation, propagation or development of plant varieties
  21. Other service businesses, with the exception of service businesses as prescribed in the Ministerial Regulation

To help navigate the complexities of the Foreign Business Act, seeking the help of a reputable foreign business license consultant can provide essential insights on the path to making sure you can meet all the requirements. Vize can provide in-depth clarification on the prohibited and allowed activities under Thailand’s foreign business license law. If you feel you need the services of a Thai foreign business license specialist, feel free to contact foreign business licence solicitor Vize.

Get Compliant Today with the Foreign Business License Lawyers at Vize Counselor

The application for a license in Thailand can be a complicated process for foreign investors or entrepreneurs; it would get you searching for the best “business license attorney near me” on Google. While the criteria that need to be met may seem daunting, foreign business licence solicitor Vize can help you navigate the entire process. We are committed to making sure you adhere to the Thai Foreign Business Act (FBA) from start to finish so that filing your application for the required license would not pose any problems. With the help of a foreign business licence lawyer from Vize, rest assured you will be able to comply with Thai laws and enjoy all their benefits. Don’t hesitate to contact Vize if there are any questions or concerns regarding setting up an office here in Thailand and enquiries on the legal services we have on offer.

Thailand Foreign Business License Lawyers FAQs

How can i get a foreign business license in Thailand?

Applications by foreign nationals for a business license in Thailand are submitted to the Foreign Licensing Department of the Ministry of Commerce. Apart from checking whether the applicants meet the requirements set forth by the Foreign Business Act, Thailand Cabinet or the country’s Foreign Business Committee will review and evaluate the application based on, among others, the significant benefits it can provide to the country. Under the Foreign Business Act, Thailand has a 60-day deadline to approve or deny the application. Within 15 days of approval, the Foreign Licensing Department will issue the Foreign Business License in Thailand.

How long is the application process for a foreign business license?

The entire process could take time, and the result could be unpredictable as many different factors are involved. This can make things difficult for those who are unsure where to start, which is why getting a foreign business licence lawyer to help you is essential. When you’re in Thailand and start looking for a “business license attorney near me” through Google, you will be led to a long law firm search result list. At the top of that list would be the Thai foreign business license service ViZe. As the consultant business license Thailand trusts, we have helped foreign investors and entrepreneurs get their licenses quickly and easily. This Thai foreign business license specialist will guide you through every step to expedite approval and ensure a more straightforward process during an appeal if needed.

How much is a foreign business license in Thailand?

Foreign companies will need to pay different government fees to obtain the license, and to understand how much a foreign business license in Thailand is, you should first start by researching your options (i.e. if you have the time, you may want to explore the application process independently, but most don’t) using guides like this and checking major search engines for keywords like “foreign business license attorney near me”. The experts you would help get you started with the process, including the amount of money you need to prepare for the application. The entire amount will depend on the type of business you plan to establish in Thailand and where it falls under the Foreign Business Act Thailand classification system. Our trusted Thai foreign business license service will happily discuss the specific amount that applies to your business.