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Sun Legal Update: Foreigners Get Chance to Buy Land

Sun Legal Sunbelt Update

The Cabinet recently approved in principle a bill to allow holders of the new long-term visa permission to purchase one rai of land provided, they invest 40 million baht for at least three years.

The proposed bill would allow the purchase for residential purposes in Bangkok, Pattaya and other municipalities and zones specified as residential areas under the target city’s planning laws.

The long-term visa is available to “wealthy” individuals including pensioners, Thailand-based professionals and highly skilled specialists who meet certain requirements. There has been criticism of the bill, which is now currently being reviewed by the Council of State.

ATM card to be needed for deposits

The Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) recently introduced regulations requiring the use of an ATM card to deposit money in cash deposit machines.

However, there has been much criticism of the new laws as it will adversely affect those who do not have bank cards, which require an annual fee.

The Bank of Thailand has delayed the implementation of the new rule that was slated to go into effect on Nov. 15, saying its is working with banks to find ways to allow users to deposit. Solutions could include inputting an ID card number, one-time password or mobile banking app.

New targeted industries added for SMART visas

New targeted industries have been added to the Board of Investment’s SMART visa, which provides a renewable four-year visa without needing a work permit when working in specific industries.

The visa also allows unlimited re-entries, requires the holder to report to immigration only once a year, provides visas to spouses and children, and the spouse can also work without needing a work permit.

This specialized visa has four main categories: talent, investor, executive and startup. Additional targeted industries were added to the SMART visa raising, it to 18 targeted industries:

  • National defense
  • Industries that facilitate the circular economy directly and significantly, for example, fuel production from waste, water resources management, etc.
  • Environmental management and renewable energy
  • Technology innovation and startup ecosystem management
  • International business center

Each type of visa has specific requirements that must be met, including minimum income and length of contracts. In the case of investors, a minimum of 5 million baht invested in a startup or 20 million baht if investing in an already established technology-based business.

The startup category has more limited visa lengths, from six months for submitting a plan to create a tech-based startup to two years having established a startup in the targeted industries.

For more information on requirements and obtaining a SMART visa, contact us using the form below.

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