Magna Carta Law Firm > FAQ Section > Business Operating Licenses in Thailand


Business Operating Licenses in Thailand

Business Operating Licenses is necessary in doing business in Thailand.  You can obtain these from the relevant government offices in the locality where you will establish your business.


You must obtain an alcohol license from The Excise Department (Ministry of Finance) for any of the following purposes:

  • selling alcoholic beverages
  • producing alcohol and possess related equipment
  • importing more than one (1) litre of alcohol
  • transporting untaxed alcohol from a factory
  • transporting more than ten (10) litres of alcohol, or more than one (1) litre but less than ten (10) litres of alcohol between specified territories (provinces)


Establishments that require liquor licenses include:

  • Pubs
  • Bars
  • Restaurants
  • Distillers, Importers, Distributors and Wholesalers
  • Hotels
  • Clubs
  • Theaters
  • Grocery and Convenience Stores
  • Liquor stores


Alcohol license holders are prohibited to sell alcoholic beverages:

1. to people younger than 20 years or those people who lose consciousness when they drink;

2. between 12:00 midnight and 11:00 am, and from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm;

3. in close proximity to educational and religious areas; and

4. at or within petrol stations and dormitories, public parks provided by the government for public recreation, State Public Health Service Units, as well as Public Offices, except in the areas designated for the establishment of shops or clubs.


In case you intend to sell cigarettes, you need to apply for a Cigarette License to The Excise Department.  You must renew your Alcohol & Cigarette Licenses at the end of the calendar year (December 31).  However, applications are accepted for renewal starting from the month of October.


Opening a food business has its own set of legal considerations, including a variety of licenses and permits to obtain before starting to operate your business. The type of licenses to obtain depends on the type of products or services that you intend to sell. Serving or selling food must first obtain a Food License from the Municipality or District where you will establish your business.


The entire procedure may take about two months from the date of submission of the application.  An officer from the Municipality or District shall set an appointment to inspect the location, restaurant facilities and over-all sanitation to consider the approval of the license application.


Food License is valid for one year and it is then renewable yearly.


The tourism business is regulated by the Tourist Business and Guide Act. ‘Tourism Business’ refers to a business operation providing services for tourists such as sightseeing tours and tourist guide services. Before engaging in this type of business, one has to apply for a TAT license (Tourism Authority of Thailand) with the Tourist Business and Guide Registration Office.


Companies who intend to provide or engage in any of the following services must obtain an Entertainment License:


Entertainment Venues
  1.  Place providing shows or other activities for the purpose of entertaining customers and allowing staff to socialize with customers;
  2. Venue with entertainment equipment enabling patrons to sing and allowing staff to socialize with customers;
  3. Venue that has no dance floor but allows customers to dance on the premises;
  4. Other places with lights and sounds facilities
Dance Venues

Venues such as discotheques and other venues that stage folk and country dancing.



Restaurants that provide entertainment.


Entertainment License holders must renew their license at the end of the calendar year (December 31).  However, accepting of renewal applications start from the month of October.


Massage License must first be obtained from the Municipality or District where the proposed establishment or business will be located for the purpose of engaging in a Spa or Massage services.


The establishment applying for this massage business operating licenses must:

  • have staff/massage therapists with a valid massage certificate from a registered massage school, with at least 60 hours of training;
  • display a sign that bears information about what medical conditions are worsened by massage;
  • pass the sanitation inspection conducted by the Municipality officer;
  • have an enclosed changing room; and
  • must have First Aid Medicine supplies inside the premises.


Massage License is valid for one year and is then renewable yearly.