Investing in Thailand: Getting A Foreign Business License

by Siam Legal International on February 6, 2013

Registering a business in Thailand is governed by Thailand Foreign Business Act B.E. 2542 (FBA) which restricts foreigners to a maximum of 49% of the issued capital in most business operations (other than manufacturing).

According to the Foreign Business Act, business activities are generally divided into 3 types:

List 1: Business Not Permitted to Foreigners

List 2: Business Permitted to Foreigners under Conditions

List 3: Business Not Yet Permitted to Foreigners

List 1 is strictly prohibited to aliens. In order to be authorized to exercise a business under List 2 and List 3, wherein the company’s majority of shares are held by foreigners (it means that a foreigner owned more that 50% of the share equity  of the business), you have  to apply for a Foreign Business License (FBL).

Foreign Business License (FBL)

This license will allow a foreigner to set up business in Thailand where majority of the owners are foreigners.

To be  granted a Foreign Business License, the official of the Ministry of Commerce will review if:

  • Your proposed business could not be competently carried out by a majority Thai-owned company;

  • It is not contrary to Thailand’s safety, security and stability, good morals or public order;

  • It is beneficial to Thai economy (which will be depend on how the business affects the natural resources, social development, conservation, energy and environment, consumer protection, size of the enterprises, employment);

  • It is beneficial in terms of technology transfer, research, and development;

  • It provides significantly more benefits and protect and promote Thai interest.

  • The initial minimum capital requirement has been satisfied. Under foreign business license it shall be either THB 3 million or 25% of the annual expenditure projection of the business for a period of 3 years, whichever is greater;

  • The number of foreign directors who shall have domicile in the country;

  • The ratio between capital and loan to be used to finance the business.


1. Get the Foreign Business  License application form from Commercial Registration Department.

2. Prepare your company corporate documents.

Your company corporate document needs to be notarized, all foreign document (such as power of attorney; affidavits) needs to be certified by the Thai Embassy before filing to the local foreign ministry. You can get assistance from a reputable law firm such as Siam Legal International, this could help you assure that your documents are in order.

3. File the foreign license application under the proposed name of your company. This will be reviewed by Cabinet or Foreign Business Committee.

Siam Legal International
Siam Legal International is one of Thailand´s premier full-service law firms with its headquarters in Bangkok. It has offices strategically located throughout the major cities in Thailand including Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Samui and Phuket along with international representative offices in London and Las Vegas. Siam Legal has an extensive range of corporate and real estate experience accessible to clients both domestically and internationally. It has more than 40 multi-national legal staff with a track record of providing highly effective legal solutions to both local and international clients delivering a high degree of expertise at reasonable cost.
Siam Legal International
Siam Legal International
Siam Legal International

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