Doing Business In Thailand

  1. Thailand is ranked 18th out of 185 economies in Doing Business 2013. Its overall score has declined by 1 point this year, reflecting lower scores for six indicators.
  2. Among the 87 countries covered by the Investing Across Sectors indicators, Thailand’s restrictions on foreign equity ownership are among the most stringent. The majority of the 33 industry sectors measured by the indicators are subject to restrictions on foreign equity participation. It takes 9 procedures and 34 days to establish a foreign-owned limited liability company (LLC) in Bangkok, Thailand. This is faster than both the average for IAB countries in East Asia and the Pacific and the IAB global average.
  3. Thailand’s economic freedom score is 64.1, making its economy the 61st freest in the 2013 Index. Its score is 0.8 point worse than last year due to declines in four of the 10 economic freedoms, including labor freedom, the control of government spending, and freedom from corruption. Thailand is ranked 10th out of 41 countries in the Asia–Pacific region, and its overall score is higher than the world and regional averages.

Source: World Bank


Visa Information

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs ( oversees immigration and visas issues. Check the website or the nearest Thai embassy or consulate for application procedures and costs.
Tourist Visas & Exemptions
The Thai government allows tourist-visa exemptions for 41 different nationalities, including those from Australia, New Zealand, the USA and most of Europe, to enter the country without a prearranged visa.
For those arriving in the kingdom by air, a 30-day visa is issued without a fee. For those arriving via a land border, the arrival visa is 15 days.
Without proof of an onward ticket and sufficient funds for one’s projected stay any visitor can be denied entry, but in practice this is a formality that is rarely checked.
If you plan to stay in Thailand longer than 30 days (or 15 days for land arrivals), you should apply for the 60-day Tourist Visa from a Thai consulate or embassy before your trip. Contact the nearest Thai embassy or consulate to obtain application procedures and determine fees for tourist visas.
Non-Immigrant Visas
The Non-Immigrant Visa is good for 90 days and is intended for foreigners entering the country for business, study, retirement and extended family visits. There are multiple-entry visas available in this visa class; you’re more likely to be granted multiple entries if you apply at a Thai consulate in Europe, the US or Australia than elsewhere. If you plan to apply for a Thai work permit, you’ll need to possess a Non-Immigrant Visa first.
Visa Extensions & Renewals
If you decide you want to stay longer than the allotted time, you can extend your visa by applying at any immigration office in Thailand. The usual fee for a visa extension is 1900B. Those issued with a standard stay of 15 or 30 days can extend their stay for seven to 10 days (depending on the immigration office) if the extension is handled before the visa expires. The 60-day tourist visa can be extended by up to 30 days at the discretion of Thai immigration authorities.
Another visa-renewal option is to cross a land border. A new 15-day visa will be issued upon your return and some short-term visitors make a day trip out of the ‘visa run’. See individual destinations for land border information and border formalities.
If you overstay your visa, the usual penalty is a fine of 500B per day, with a 20,000B limit. Fines can be paid at the airport or in advance at an immigration office. If you’ve overstayed only one day, you don’t have to pay. Children under 14 travelling with a parent do not have to pay the penalty.
Foreign residents in Thailand should arrange visa extensions at the immigration office closest to their in-country address.
Thailand's immigration offices
The following are two immigration offices where visa extensions and other formalities can be addressed. Remember to dress in your Sunday best when doing official business in Thailand and do all visa business yourself (don’t hire a third party). For all types of visa extensions, bring along two passport-sized photos and one copy each of the photo and visa pages of your passport.
» Bangkok immigration office (0 2141 9889; Bldg B, Bangkok Government Center, Th Chaeng Wattana; 9am-noon & 1-4.30pm Mon-Fri) 
» Chiang Mai immigration office (0 5320 1755-6; Th Mahidon; 8.30am-4.30pm Mon-Fri)

Business Etiquette

Relationships & Communication
Thais prefer doing business with people they respect. 
Relationships develop slowly and do not flourish after one meeting; it may take several meetings.   
Always be respectful and courteous when dealing with others as this leads to the harmonious relationships necessary within business.
Thai communication is formal and non-verbal communication is often more important than verbal communication. 
Rank is always respected. The eldest person in the group is revered. 
It is difficult for most Thais to say no, so you must be cognizant of their non- verbal communication. 
Watch your body language and facial expressions, as these will be believed over your words.
Business Meeting Etiquette
Appointments are necessary and should be made one month in advance. 
It is good idea to send a list of who will be attending the meeting and their credentials so that Thais know the relative status of the people attending the meeting and can plan properly.
You should arrive at meetings on time as it signifies respect for the person you are meeting. 
Although most Thais will try to be on time, punctuality is a personal trait. 
Always send an agenda and material about your company as well as data to substantiate your position prior to the meeting. Allow sufficient time for the material to be reviewed and digested. 
Remain standing until told where to sit. The hierarchical culture has strict rules about rank and position in the group. 
Written material should be available in both English and Thai. 
You must be patient.
Dress Etiquette
Business attire is conservative. 
Men should wear dark coloured conservative business suits. 
Women should wear conservative business suits or dresses. Women need not wear hosiery. 
Since Thai's judge you on your clothing and accessories, ensure that your shoes are always highly polished.
Business Cards
Business cards are given out after the initial handshake and greeting. In theory, you should give your card to the most senior person first. . It is advisable to have one side of your business card translated into Thai. 
Using your right hand, deliver your business card so the Thai side faces the recipient. 
Look at a business card for a few seconds before placing it on the table or in a business card case. As in most Asian countries, it is polite to make some comment about the card, even if it is only to acknowledge the address.

General Business Hours

Most government offices are open from 8.30am to 4.30pm weekdays. Some government offices close from noon to 1pm for lunch, while others have Saturday hours (9am-3pm). Banking hours are typically 9.30am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday.


Privately owned stores usually operate between 10am and 5pm daily. Most local restaurants are open 10am until 10pm, with an hour's variation on either side. Some restaurants, specialising in morning meals, close by 3pm.


Please note that all government offices and banks are closed on public holidays.