The Ministry of Commerce has issued a ministerial regulation exempting commercial banking, representative offices of foreign banks, and life and non-life insurance operations from the restricted business activities under Schedule 3 of the Foreign Business Act ("FBA"). The change is effective beginning 19 February 2016.

The following service businesses are now exempted from Schedule 3 of the FBA. Foreign companies wishing to operate these businesses in Thailand will no longer require a foreign business license to operate, though will still be subject to licensing and foreign shareholding limit requirements under specific regulations.  

  1. commercial banking
  2. representative office of foreign bank
  3. life insurance
  4. non-life insurance

The “connected businesses” of commercial banking, life and non-life insurance, are not included in the scope of exempted businesses under this ministerial regulation. As a result, a foreign business license is still required prior to engaging in these activities, in addition to licensing requirements under specific regulations.