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Guidebook Doing Business and Investment in Thailand 2019

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Visa and Immigration Services


The Foreign Business Act in Thailand divides businesses into three categories:

 

List 1:

Breakthrough those businesses listed in list 1 are totally prohibited to foreigners unless there is an exemption
contained in a special law or treaty.


List 2:

Refers to businesses owned by foreigners that were in existence and actually operating prior to the enactment
of the Foreign Business law. These businesses were permitted to apply for a special Alien Business license
and to continue operating. Foreigners, however, are not permitted to start new businesses listed in this
category unless they obtain special permission from the Minister with the approval of the Cabinet.


List 3:

These businesses are treated in a manner similar to those in list 2 except that the power to grant an Alien
Business License to foreigners who wish to start a new business is vested with the Director General and a
committee. Exemptions are possible under the Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations between the
Kingdom of Thailand and the United States of America. Also, the Board of Investment may grant exceptions
for businesses covered by Lists 2 and 3.

 

Foreign Business Act B.E. 2542 (1999)

 

Section 35. Any foreigner, being grated the license to operate any business under this Act, takes part in a
business owned by other foreigners not permitted to operate the business under this Act or operates the
business jointly owned by such other foreigners by showing that he is the sole owner of the business in order
for such other foreigners to avoid or violate the provisions of this Act, shall be punished with an
imprisonment of not exceeding three years or a fine from 100,000 Baht to 1,000,000 Baht or both and the
Court shall order the dissolution of such joint business or business operation. Any violation of the Court's
order, it is punishable with a fine of 10,000 Baht to 50,000 Baht per day throughout the period of violation
Section 36. Any Thai national or juristic person that is not a foreigner under this Act, aiding or abetting or
taking part in the business operation of the foreigners whose business falls under the Lists attached hereto
and the foreigners are not permitted to operate the business or taking part in the business operation of the
foreigner by showing that he or it is the sole owner of the business or holding shares on behalf of the
foreigners in any partnership or limited company or juristic person in order for the foreigners to operate the
business in avoidance of or violation to the provisions of this Act, including the foreigners allowing Thai
nationals or juristic persons that are not foreigners under this Act to do so, shall be punished with an
imprisonment of not exceeding three years or a fine from 100,000 Baht to 1,000,000 Baht or both, and the
Court shall order a stoppage of the aiding or abetting or order a stoppage of the joint business operation or
order a stoppage of share holding or a cessation of the partnership as the case may be. Violators of the
Court's order shall be subject to a punishment with a fine of 10,000 Baht to 50,000 Baht per day throughout
the period of violation.

 

Section 37. Any foreigner who operates a business in violation of Sections 6, Sections 7, and Sections 8
shall be punishable with an imprisonment of not exceeding three years or a fine from 100,000 Baht to
1,000,000 Baht or both and the Court shall order a stoppage of the business operation or the dissolution of
the business or order a cessation of the shareholding or partnership as the case may be. Violator of the
Court's order shall be subject to punishment with a fine of 10,000 Baht to 50,000 Baht per day throughout
the period of violation.
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