If you’re thinking of working in Thailand, you will need a Thailand Work Permit. However, before that, you also have to obtain a Thailand Work Visa in order to enter the country and be able to apply for the permit in the first place.
Additionally, you must also get an extension of the right to stay in Thailand, if you want to live there long-term. As such, the process of working in Thailand is as follows:
- Apply for a Thai Work Visa in your country from an Embassy or Consulate
- Apply for a Thai Work Permit at the Department of Employment in Thailand
- Get an Extension of Stay Permit at the Thai Immigration Bureau
Thailand Work Visa Basics
A Thailand Work Visa is a Category “B” of Thailand Non-Immigrant Visas which you have to apply for when you enter Thailand with the intention of working.
However, regardless of the fact that the Category “B” Non-Immigrant Visa is issued for work purposes, you cannot actually work with just the visa. In order to be allowed to live and work in Thailand, you have to get a Work Permit and an extension of stay once you enter the country.
Who Needs a Thailand Work Visa?
Everyone who is not a Thai citizen and wants to work in Thailand has to get a Thai Work Visa from their home country. You must be in possession of a Thai Non-Immigrant Visa in order to apply for a Work Permit and Extension of Stay, so even those who are exempt from Thai Tourist Visas have to get a Work Visa.
Thailand Work Visa Requirements
When you submit an application for a Thailand Work visa, you need the following documents:
- Your passport, which is valid for at least another six months and has at least two blank visa pages. If you’re applying for a one-year visa, your passport should be valid for at least another 18 months.
- A completed and signed Thailand Work Visa application form. You may be able to download it from the website of the embassy/consulate or get it there if you apply in person.
- Passport-sized picture of yourself, with the following specifications:
- Dimensions: 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm
- White background
- Taken within the last six months
- You must have a neutral facial expression, staring straight ahead
- Your entire face must be fully visible
- Headgear is only allowed for religious purposes and even then, only if it does not cover the face
- Glasses are allowed only if they do not cover your eyes and do not have heavy frames
- Proof of sufficient financial means to cover the duration of your stay. You need 20,000 Thai Baht if you are traveling alone and 40,000 Thai Baht if you are traveling as a family.
- Police clearance certificate
- A Letter of Approval issued by the Thailand Ministry of Labour. Your employer in Thailand has to submit an approval request at the Office of Foreign Workers Administration in the Department of Employment of the Thai Ministry of Labour.
- If you will work as a school teacher at a pre-university level:
- Letter of acceptance from the educational institution
- A Letter of Approval issued by a relevant Thai government agency, such as the Office of the Private Education Commission or the Office of the Basic Education Commission.
- The school’s license or business registration along with the list of stockholders and the school’s profile
- Your CV
How to Get a Thailand Work Visa?
You have to apply for a Thailand Work Visa from one of the diplomatic mission offices of Thailand (an Embassy or Consulate) in your country or in a neighboring country before you travel.
- Contact the Thailand Embassy or Consulate where you will submit the application or visit their website if one is available. Make an appointment and inquire about the opening hours, working days, and their preferred method of Thai visa fee payment. You can find a list of the diplomatic mission offices of Thailand here.
- Collect the required documents for a Thai Work Visa.
- Submit the documents and visa application. Depending on which Embassy/Consulate you apply in, you can submit the application:
- Through the post, in which case you have to enclose a pre-paid and self-addressed envelope
- Wait for the application to be processed
- Collect the passport and visa. If you applied by mail, they will be mailed back to you.
If your Thailand Work Visa is approved, you have to enter the country within the time stated on your visa, otherwise, it will expire.
Note: If you are in Thailand already using a Tourist Visa, you may also be able to change its category into a Non-Immigrant Visa “B” Category from the Immigration Department Offices in Thailand. However, this is not always a sure option.
How Much Is the Thailand Work Visa Fee?
The fee for a Thailand Work Visa is as follows:
- Single-entry Thailand Work Visa fee is 2,000 Thai Baht (about USD 65)
- Multiple-entry Thailand Work Visa fee is 5,000 Thai Baht (about USD 164)
The fees can change slightly from one country to the next, based on the local currency, as can the method of payment. Some offices will only accept cash, while others may require you to pay through bank transfer.
Thailand Work Permit Basics
The Thailand Work Permit allows the holder to work in Thailand legally.
In order to be eligible to obtain a Thai Work Permit, you have to work for a company which fulfills conditions set by the Ministry of Labour, such as:
- The company has a registered capital of at least 2,000,000 Thai Baht.
- The company has paid income tax to the Revenue Department in the past 3 years of at least 5,000,000 Thai Baht.
- The company is an export business that has has a foreign remittance of at least 3,000,000 Thai Baht in the past year
- The company employs at least 50 Thai nationals.
Additionally, there is a limit regarding the number of foreigners a company can employ, in line with the company’s capital. E.g. Companies can hire one foreign worker per every 2,000,000 Thai Baht of registered capital or one foreign worker per 50 Thai nationals.
The Thai Work Permit is tied to a specific occupation and employer. If you want to change your employer of the address of your office has changed, then you have to notify the Ministry of Labour and make the necessary revisions.
Thailand Work Permit Requirements
When submitting an application for a Thailand Work Permit, both you and your employer must have several supporting documents, such as:
- Your passport, and copies of all the pages in your passport
- Your Thai Work Visa
- Your academic degrees and certificates
- Your Letter of Employment / Work Contract which states your salary, position, and work responsibilities
- Any relevant certificates and licenses
- Your CV/Resume
- Three pictures of you with 5 x 6 cm dimensions
- Proof of accommodation in Thailand
- A Health Certificate
- If you are married to a Thai citizen: Marriage Certificate
- The company’s Company Certificate
- A list of the company’s Stakeholders
- VAT Certificate
- The company’s Withholding Tax
- Any additional documents that the Ministry of Labour staff handling your application requests.
The documents you submit from your home country have to be legalized before submission as well as translated into Thai.
The documents which your employer submits have to be stamped with the company seal on every page as well as signed by the company’s Managing Directors.
How to Apply for a Thailand Work Permit?
You, or your employer, have to apply for the Thailand Work Permit at the Ministry of Labour after you receive your Non-Immigrant (Work) Visa and travel to Thailand. Both you and your employer must have the necessary documents to support the application. The application for the work permit has to be submitted before your visa expires and before you start to work.
Once you have submitted the application, it generally takes about 7 ways for the Ministry of Labour to process the work permit. Once a decision has been made (and you have received the work permit), you must go back to the Ministry of Labour to receive it and finish the necessary formalities.
Once you have obtained the Work Permit, you must keep it with you at all times, in case the Immigration Officers make visits to your workplace and ask to see it. If you do not have your permit on you, you could be fined.
How Much Is the Fee for a Thai Work Permit?
The fee for a Thai Work Permit changes depending on the duration of the permit:
- Thai Work Permit for up to three months: 750 Thai Baht
- Thai Work Permit between three to six months: 1,500 Thai Baht
- Thai Work Permit longer between six to 12 months: 3,000 Thai Baht
What Is the Duration of a Thai Work Permit?
A Thai Work Permit is issued for a maximum duration of 1 year. If your work contract is for a period of less than one year, your work permit will also be issued for that duration.
Extending a Thai Work Permit
If your Thai Work Permit is issued for a period of up to 1 year, then you can apply to extend it for another year, provided that you fulfill the necessary requirements (ie. you have a valid work contract, a sufficient salary, etc.)
Extending Your Thai Work Visa (Extension of Stay)
If your Work Permit application is approved, then you can start working. However, in order to be allowed to stay in Thailand long-term, you have to request an extension of stay at the Immigration Bureau. You have to submit the request for the extension of your Work Visa before the current one expires, meaning within 90 days of entering Thailand. The extension of stay is given for 1 year starting from the day you entered Thailand.
After the extension period expires, you can apply to extend it again for another year. After at least three years of living with a Work Visa, you become eligible to apply for a Permanent Residence Permit.
Getting a Thai Re-Entry Permit
In addition to extending your visa, you also have to get a Thai Re-Entry Permit at the Immigration Department.
The Re-Entry Permit allows you to leave Thailand during the validity of your visa without the visa becoming void. If you don’t have a Re-Entry Permit and you leave Thailand, then you won’t be able to re-enter without getting a new visa.
Mandatory 90-Day Check-In
Everyone who stays in Thailand for over three months – for whatever reason – has to report their presence to Thailand’s Immigration Department every 90 days. You can report your presence starting from 15 days before the exact date and up to 7 days afterward at one of the following:
- The nearest Immigration Office in person
- The nearest Immigration Office through registered mail
- Online through the Immigration Department’s electronic system
However, most people choose to apply in-person because the process is the most forward and fool-proof.