American nationals living in Thailand have the privilege of registering their businesses under the Thailand – US Treaty of Amity. On this page, you will find some basic information about the registration requirements and process. Please contact us for further discussion to explore the possibility of registering your business under the Treaty of Amity.
The Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Thailand (often referred to as the “Amity Treaty” or “Treaty of Amity”) was established to promote friendly relations between the two countries and to encourage mutually beneficial trade and closer economic and cultural association between their citizens. Pursuant to the Treaty of Amity, American nationals are entitled to certain exceptions on the restrictions laid out in the Foreign Business Act.
Benefits of Thailand – US Treaty of Amity – 100% Foreign Ownership
The Thailand – US Treaty of Amity allows American companies and individuals the following benefits:
- To maintain complete or majority ownership over their American owned business that are registered in Thailand or in the United States of America under the Treaty of Amity, whether in the form of a sole proprietorship, limited company, branch office or a representative office
- To receive national treatment which means that American legal entities and individuals are entitled to carry out almost every type of business which are generally prohibited to foreign investors holding other nationalities in Thailand, pursuant to the benefit provided by the Treaty of Amity
Restrictions Applied to American-Owned Companies
Thailand restricts American operations and investment only in the following business activities:
- Fiduciary functions
- Banking involving depository functions
- Exploitation of land and natural resources
- Owning land
- Domestic trade in agricultural products
Business activities not restricted under the Foreign Business Act require a capital investment of no less than 2 million THB. Activities that fall under protection of the Foreign Business Act will require a Foreign Business License and an investment of no less than 3 million THB for each business activity. The 3 million THB minimum capitalization also applies to companies certified under the Amity Treaty.
Application Process for Newly-Registered Companies
Once the initial preparation of documents has been completed, the registration process consists of four major steps:
- Registration of the company at the Department of Business Development as a majority foreign entity
- Application for Certificate at the US Embassy in Thailand
- Application for Approval of the Director of the Ministry of Commerce
- Application for the Foreign Business License
Moreover, applying companies must meet the following requirements:
- The US shareholder must posses no less than 50% of the shares (up to 100%)
- Director(s) of an American-owned company under the Thailand – USA Treaty of Amity may be only Thai or US nationals
- In case of multiple-director company and presence of both Thai and US nationals, the US director must possess greater power than the Thai director
Benefits for Existing Companies
The above-mentioned benefits of the Thailand – USA Treaty of Amity do not only apply to newly registered companies. Instead of incorporating a new company, existing US businesses wishing to expand their presence to Thailand are eligible to receive the same rights and benefits also when registering a branch office.
Whether you are looking to apply for certification under the Thai – US Treaty of Amity to operate an existing business or to incorporate a new legal entity in Thailand, Umpire Legal can assist you from the initial preparation of documents and the entire application process through till the collection of the Treaty of Amity certificate and Foreign Business License. Although the application for certification under the Treaty of Amity can take between 4 – 6 weeks to be considered by the US Commercial Services office in Thailand as well as the Thai Ministry of Commerce, it is a fairly straightforward process and approval can easily be obtained with proper guidance from the lawyers at Umpire Legal.