The United States-Thailand Treaty of Amity allows the U.S. citizens and businesses the ability to establish a company or branch office in Thailand on the same basis as a Thai company. There are restrictions on certain types of business activities that U.S. and foreign citizens may not engage in. These types of business include owning land, communications, inland transportation, banking, agriculture, or the exploitation of land or other natural resources.
To receive protection under the Treaty of Amity, the U.S. citizen or the U.S. entity must register with the Department of Commercial Registration in the Ministry of Commerce as an American owned and controlled business. The shares of the entity must be 51% held by Americans and a minimum of 50% of the directors must be Americans.
The Treaty of Amity does not grant Americans unrestricted freedom to work in Thailand or to live in Thailand. Americans have to obtain entry visa and work permits just like other foreign nationals. In order to obtain work permit for the U.S. citizen or foreign nationals, the entity must be a partnership or a limited company. In addition, they are required to have a minimum capital requirement of 2 million THB if the business is not restricted by the Foreign Business Act and 3 million THB if the business is restricted.
A partnership, branch office, joint venture, or limited company are required to submit the following documents to the U.S. Commercial Services at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok to be notarized. There may be additional documents required depending the specific type of entity.
- Articles of Incorporation
- Company Bylaws
- Affidavit of a Corporate Officer verifying the company information, shareholder nationality, and number of shares.
After the documents are certified by the U.S. Commercial Service, the documents are submitted with the registration form at the Department of Commercial Registration. Ownership can be transferred but the company will have to remain a U.S. majority shareholder and with a majority U.S. board of directors in order to qualify for the benefits under the Treaty of Amity.