How to Get a Work Permit in Thailand
Is there a job waiting for you in Thailand? If this is the case, you will definitely need to get a work permit. A work permit allows you to legally work in Thailand with no need for you to worry that you will be deported or blacklisted.
It doesn’t matter whether you are an individual or even a company looking for help with your online marketing in Thailand, it is a must that you apply for a work permit in the country. Read this quick guide to learn how to obtain a work permit.
What is a Work Permit?
A work permit in Thailand is basically a type of legal document stating the description of your job and your position. This allows non-Thai individuals to legally start their own business or work in Thailand.
However, for you to be able to request a work permit in Thailand, first, you need to get a non-immigrant visa before anything else.
Based on your nationality and the kind of visa you have, you can apply for your non-immigrant visa directly from your own home country prior to coming to Thailand. You can also have your visa converted if you are already in Thailand or you can also go to the embassy near the country.
Requirements for Work Permit Application in Thailand
If you are planning to send in your application for a Thai work permit, both you and the company that you will be working for must meet several minimum requirements:
Requirements for the Company
In case the company you will be working for or the specific company you wish to start has already been registered in the country and would like to submit your application for a non-Thai employee’s work permit, the company should have a capital of at least 2 million Baht. If the specific employee that the company plans to hire has a Thai spouse, the capital requirement for the company is reduced to 1 million Baht.
On the other hand, if your own company or the specific company you hope to work for has not been registered in the country, the company is required to have a capital of 3 million Baht for every employee whose work permit they are applying for.
Every company is limited to 10 work permits only and should have four employees that are Thai nationals prior to hiring one employee who is non-Thai.
If the company has been promoted by BOI or the Board of Investment of Thailand, it will be exempted from all of these requirements. Also, you are allowed to hire non-Thai employees with no need for you to worry whether or not you have enough capital or if you have already hired the required number of Thai employees.
However, this particular rule is only applicable if your foreign national employee was able to meet the basic requirements that the BOI has set. You also need to make it clear as to why you need to hire a foreign worker in your company.
Requirements for the Individual
There are several requirements you need to meet if you wish to request a work permit in Thailand. You either need to start a business that will meet all of the above requirements or you should be offered a position by a business that was able to meet all of the above requirements.
This position should only be for jobs that foreigners are legally allowed to do in the country. Aside from that, you can just have a single job with the work permit you have as you are not permitted to have multiple jobs.
To be able to apply for a Thai work permit, the first thing you need is your non-immigrant visa. This non-immigrant visa can be obtained before leaving your home country, in Thailand itself, or in any country near Thailand.
Also, you need to have the skills required of the specific position that you wish to apply for, work experience, and a bachelor’s degree at least. There are also instances when positions require the applicants to be 25 years of age at the least.
When it comes to your physical condition, it is required that you are relatively healthy. It means that you shouldn’t have addictions or serious diseases.
There are different types of non-immigrant visas that you could apply for prior to getting a Thai work permit.
- Non-Immigrant Visa B
Commonly called a work visa, non-immigrant visa B is for those who wish to teach and work in Thailand. It is the most frequent type of visa given to those who come to the country to work in multinational corporations, work in legal job positions for non-Thai nationals, and to teach.
- Non-immigrant Visa IB
Non-immigrant visa IB is a visa meant for the purpose of business as well as other forms of investments. However, this visa is not commonly issued by most embassies, and instead, they just issue the non-immigrant B visa.
- Non-immigrant Visa B-A
This visa will be granted to you by the Office of the Immigration Bureau if you will be partnering up with or investing in a company in Thailand.
The involved company must apply at the Office of the Immigration Bureau on your behalf. Once your application receives the approval of the Immigration, the bureau is going to inform the respective Royal Consulate General or Royal Thai Embassy through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You will then be granted a B-A visa by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
However, Thai consulates or embassies don’t commonly issue this particular visa. This means that you might still want to submit your application for a non-immigrant B visa. The Australian Thai consulates such as Royal Thai Embassy located in Canberra, Australia are among the minority of Thai consulates or embassies that issue these B-A visas.
- Non-immigrant Visa M
You can submit your application for a single-entry media visa if you are working in media like in TV, print, or online. Often called the journalism visa, this covers film producers, news reporters as well as media correspondents that belong to overseas news agencies that work for printed magazines and newspapers, radio, TV, and online agencies.
There are several concerns with the use of media visas, though. First is that the media visa is just for those people who work for foreign news agencies. It means that you need a non-immigrant visa B if you are a journalist who works for a media company in Thailand.
Accreditation and application for a single-year media visa are exclusively done online through the website of MFA Media Online Service. Journalists who work on a short-term assignment must also apply for a non-immigrant B visa.
You can check out the online guide of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if you still need additional information regarding the requirements for short-term media assignments in the country such as how to obtain a work permit and press card; FAQs on accreditation; how to get visas for the freelance journalists; how to change visa types to media from a tourist that is not doable; how to go about with visa renewals; and how to obtain a visa for the family or spouse of a media worker.
- Non-immigrant Visa O
If you wish to retire, marry, or volunteer in Thailand, you need to apply for a non-immigrant visa O. Foreigners with Thai spouses and volunteers can send their applications for work permits using this particular type of visa. However, retirees are not permitted to do so.
Aside from this, not all NGOs or non-government organizations and social development and welfare organizations issue work permits that are required for this specific visa.
You can check with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to know all the required documents, validity period, fees, and embassies where you could send in your application.
How to Apply for a Thai Work Permit
If you are applying for the work permit for yourself or one of your foreign workers, there are a few documents that you need to prepare. Remember that the following list may change over time so it would be better that you inquire at BOI or the Ministry of Labor in advance.
Below is the list of the documents that your employer needs to submit together with your application for your Thai work permit.
- Company Registration Department Certificate
- List of shareholders of the company with the certification of Commercial Registration Document
- Vat filings Phor Phor 30
- VAT Certificate Phor Phor 20
- Factory License when applicable with the certification of the Ministry of Industry’s Factory Department
- Filings of Social Security payment
- Withholding Tax Form Phor Ngor Dor 1
- Employment contract that states a position, contract duration, salary, and job requirements
You have to take note that all of these documents should be stamped with the seal of the company on every page. All directors or managing directors should sign their name beside the seal of the company.
Here is the list of the documents that you need to submit together with your application for a Thai work permit:
- Non-immigrant visa complete with a signed copy
- Passport complete with each page’s signed copies
- College or university degree with transcripts
- Departure card TM.6
- Licenses or certificates when applicable
- CV or resume
- Three 5x6cm photos takes during the last 6 months
- Medical certificate that was issued for the past 30 days
- Married certificate for those with Thai spouse
You need to submit the signed copies of all original documents stated above. There are instances when officers at the Thai immigration might require the translation of some documents into the Thai language and must be notarized by the respective embassy. It is always best that you are prepared in advance.
You should visit the Ministry of Labor located in Bangkok to submit your application for your work permit. The address is Khwaeng Din Daeng, Khet Din Daeng, Bangkok 10400. As for companies promoted by the BOI, you have to visit the One-Stop Service Center at Chamchuri Square located at 319 Phayathai Rd, Khwaeng Pathum Wan, Khet Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330.
After a company has hired you or once you have hired a non-Thai national as a worker for your own company, you will then need to visit the Ministry of Labor to apply for the work permit complete with the above documents. After this, you need to go to the immigration office in Bangkok to have your visa extended from its present length to 1 to 2 years.
If you were hired to be an employer at a company promoted by the BOI or you hired a non-Thai national to be part of your company promoted by the BOI, you will need to request a visa extension and work permit through BOI E-Expert System. When you are approved, you need to proceed to One-Stop Service Center to get the permit and have your visa extended.
How Much Will It Cost You?
You need to have a non-immigrant visa prior to getting a work permit. The visa is going to initially cost you about 2,000 Baht for the visa for a single entry and 5,000 Baht to get a visa for multiple entries.
When it comes to working permit, there are a few fees that are involved in the process of application:
Application fee of 100 Baht
The Government fee of 750 Baht for 3-month work permits
The government fee of 1,500 Baht for a work permit ranges from 3 to 6 months
The Government fee of 3,000 Baht for a work permit for a 12-month work
There might be other fees required for work permits such as fees for changing job descriptions, adding multiple company branches, and more.
Extending Your Thai Work Permit
If you want your Thai work permit to be extended, you will need to prepare similar documents just like those that you submitted during your initial application. You will also undergo the same process of application.
The main difference here is that during your first application, you will get 1 to 2 years on the visa with no need to initially get the 90-day visa. This is what happens if you weren’t able to get a non-immigrant visa good for one year after or before entering Thailand.
Work Permits for the Freelancers
For the digital nomads in Thailand who wish to work in the country legally, there are several options available for you.
First, you can consider working as an employee of a company promoted by the BOI. It is legal to get hired by BOI-promoted companies. The requirements are also less stringent compared to starting a business of your own.
You might want to reach out to a relocation service provider to know more about this option. In case you are already a reputable digital nomad, these service providers will be able to help you get a business visa and relocate. Being their employee, all of your clients are going to send the payments to your relocation service provider that will be paying you your salary.
It is possible for freelancers to obtain a work permit in Thailand on a case to case basis. However, it is still dependent on the specific kind of work you are doing and it is also up to the officer at the Labor Department.
When applying for your work permit if you are a freelancer in Thailand, you need to submit the documents related to your freelance job including the kind of services, all licenses, as well as other documents that pertain to your specific practice.
The Work Permit Division officer at the Labor Department will go through your documents and decide what your fate will be. Renewal is still up for approval while the practice of the applicant will also be put through withholding tax.
In the event that these options don’t suit you, another option is applying for a Thailand Elite Visa that will let you legally live in the country for a minimum of 5 straight years.
Through this option, there is no need for you to extend the tourist visa you have or do border runs anymore. Should you opt to stay in the country much longer than this, you can choose the highest package that will give you 20 years of stay in Thailand.
But, a Thailand Elite Visa won’t get you a work permit.
What Will Happen When You Lose Your Job?
If you quit your job, are fired, or your work contract has expired, you need to leave the country at the earliest time possible. The only second choice you have is to visit the Bangkok immigration to apply for an extension for 7 days to buy some time. This will cost you around 1,900 Baht.
As for the company, whenever a worker leaves your business or company, you have to notify the BOI and Bangkok Immigration.
As for the company, whenever a worker leaves your business or company, you have to notify the BOI and Bangkok Immigration.
The Bottom Line
It is relatively painless to apply for a work permit in Thailand provided that you are armed with all the necessary documents.
You also need to meet the set requirements of the Board of Investment or the Ministry of Labor. It is also easier to re-apply every year. Just make sure that you follow all the requirements and rules when working in the country.