• Business Visitors’ Permissible Activities Expanded to Include Business Meetings, Other Activities
  • April 7, 2015
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • The Employment Department of Thailand has expanded the list of permissible business activities to include attending business meetings, conferences, seminars or board meetings, among other activities that previously required work permits or Urgent Work Permits (UWP). As such, visitors for these purposes no longer require work authorization as of March 13. Individuals entering Thailand for such activities can do so on the basis of visa-exempt status, visa-on-arrival, or on a Non-Immigrant B Visa.

    The following is the expanded list of permissible business visitor activities:
    • Attending conferences or seminars or gathering information;
    • Visiting/viewing exhibitions or trade shows;
    • Visiting businesses or holding business discussions;
    • Participating as an audience member in special lectures or educational forums;
    • Participating as an audience member in technical trainings or seminars;
    • Buying products at a trade show; and
    • Attending board meetings or director meetings in the foreign national’s own company.
    The Employment Department will not entertain UWP applications filed for these activities. Note, however, that activities such as participating in a conference as a speaker or representing a company at a trade show still require work authorization.

    This development comes in line with the promotion of Thailand as a center of trade and investment and to encourage foreign companies to set up Regional Operating Headquarters in the country.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    The announced changes reverse long-standing rules regarding business visits to Thailand, which required work authorization even for activities generally assumed to be permissible under business visitor status, such as business meetings.

    The expanded list of business activities means many trips to Thailand will require fewer administrative steps for both the foreign national and the employer as even a UWP is no longer required.

    Foreign nationals who plan to conduct the listed activities under a business visa are advised to strictly limit their activities during their visit to those listed above.