Foreigners are prohibited from operating specific businesses in Thailand that are set out below in three lists from the Foreign Business Act (FBA).  

A foreign business license can be obtained to operate businesses under Lists Two and Three.  

The process to obtain a foreign business license in Thailand is long and expensive without any guarantee of positive results.  

Most foreign owned businesses in Thailand are structured using a Thai majority shareholder or Board of Investment (BOI) privileges to avoid application of the Foreign Business Act.  

The only types of businesses the foreigners can own 100% in Thailand without a license are manufacturers and exporters.

Generally, we would not recommend to apply for a foreign business license in Thailand except in the case of large well known multinational companies investing large sums of capital and creating numerous jobs for Thai citizens.  

List One

  1. Real estate trading
  2. Newspapers
  3. Radio broadcasting
  4. Television station 
  5. Farming
  6. Gardening 
  7. Forestry
  8. Wood fabrication from natural forest 
  9. Fishing in Thai waters
  10. Fishing in special economic zones 
  11. Extracting Thai herbs
  12. Trading or auctioning Thai antiques 
  13. Trading or auctioning Thai historical objects
  14. Creating Buddha images 
  15. Creating monk alms bowls 

List Two

  1. Firearms 
  2. Ammunition
  3. Gun powder 
  4. Explosives
  5. Firearm accessories 
  6. Ammunition accessories
  7. Explosive accessories 
  8. Armaments
  9. Ships
  10. Aircraft
  11. Military vehicles 
  12. Domestic land transportation
  13. Domestic water transportation 
  14. Domestic air transportation including airline businesses
  15. Trading antiques 
  16. Trading art objects and handicrafts
  17. Production of carved wood 
  18. Silkworm farming
  19. Producing Thai silk yarn
  20. Weaving Thai silk
  21. Weaving Thai silk patterns 
  22. Producing Thai musical instruments
  23. Producing goldware, silverware, nielloware, bronzeware, or lacquerware
  24. Producing Thai art or cultural crockery
  25. Manufacturing sugar from sugarcane 
  26. Salt farming
  27. Rock salt mining 
  28. Mining such as rock blasting or crushing
  29. Wood fabrication for furniture 
  30. Wood fabrication for utensils

List Three

  1. Rice milling and flour production 
  2. Fishery, specifically marine animal culture
  3. Forestry
  4. Production of plywood, veneer board chipboard or hardboard
  5. Lime production 
  6. Accounting
  7. Legal 
  8. Architecture
  9. Engineering
  10. Construction except for rendering basic services to public utilities or transportation requiring special tools, machinery, technology or expertise, but the foreigner must have a minimum capital of 500 million Baht
  11. Broker or agent except for the following: a) Underwriting securities or services connected with futures trading of commodities or securities; b) Trading or procuring goods or services necessary for production or rendering services amongst affiliated enterprises; c) Trading, purchasing, distributing or seeking domestic and foreign markets for selling domestically manufactured or imported goods, but the foreigner must have minimum capital of 100 million Baht
  12. Auctions except for international bidding excluding Thai antiques, handicraft, historical artifacts or art objects having historical value
  13. Internal trade relating to native products or produce not prohibited by law 
  14. Retail of goods having capital less than 100 million Baht or 20 million Baht per shop
  15. Wholesale of goods having capital less than 100 million Baht 
  16. Advertising
  17. Hotel except hotel management services 
  18. Guided tours
  19. Restaurants 
  20. Farming
  21. Service businesses  

Our foreign business license application service includes the following:

  • Advise client on all required information and documents to apply for a foreign business license.
  • Prepare a foreign business application with the assistance of the client.
  • Filing the application with the MOC.
  • Assist in communicating with the MOC.
  • Accompanying the representatives of the client in meetings with the MOC if necessary.
  • Make presentations to the MOC in regards to the business plan.
  • Follow up the application with the MOC officers.
  • Submit any additional information or documents required by the MOC with the assistance of the client.
  • Receive the foreign business license.
  • Provide an English translation of the foreign business license.
  • Correspondence by email, telephone and in person meetings when necessary.