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Getting a Thai Work Permit - Thai Work Permit Applications


Updated November 2011


A foreigner who wants to work legally in Thailand needs to apply for a work permit with the Labour Department.


A Thai work permit will allow a non-Thai to work or operate a business in Thailand as either an employer or as an employed skilled professional. Working without a work permit in Thailand can carry a harsh penalty of a large fine and/or expulsion or even imprisonment.

As long as all papers are in order and the correct application process is followed, work permits are generally approved on the following capitalization basis:


- For Thai Businesses applying for a work permit for a foreign employee there must be a minimum registered and paid up capital in excess of 2 million Thai Baht.


- For a Foreign business carrying out business within Thailand, 3 million Thai Baht must be brought in and registered as capital per foreign employee application.


As long as these conditions are fulfilled then to apply for a Thai work permit you need to have a suitable Visa.



Visas Required for Thai Work Permit.

As long as these conditions are met, then all applicants must first apply and be issued with a non-immigrant visa. Non-immigrant ‘O’ and non-immigrant ‘B’ visas are both permissible visa types for Thai work permit applications.


Both Non-immigrant O and non-immigrant ‘B’ visas need to be applied for at a Thai Embassy outside of Thailand. This can be your home country but also can be in a country near Thailand; Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong all have Thai Embassies where these applications can be made. Please contact us directly for specific advice on Thailand Business Visa applications for foreigners.


Non-immigrant ‘O’ visas are acceptable for work permit applications and are for any foreigner married to or supporting a dependent Thai National. Normally though, any foreigner wishing to conduct business in Thailand woudl have a Non-immigrant 'B' visa.


Various categories of the Non-Immigrant 'B' Visa are currently provided to meet the needs and qualifications of individual business people. These include:

- business visa Category “B”,

- business-approved visa Category “B-A” and investment

- business visa Category “IB”.


The validity period of a Thai work permit is dependent on the holder having a current valid non-immigrant visa. Therefore, any Thai work permit will expire on the last day of the visa.


Required papers for a Thai work permit:

After you have your non-immigrant visa, you can now apply for a work permit. Here are the papers generally required from the prospective employee:


•a copy of the picture page/identification page of your passport, the one with your photo and passport number
• a copy of your non-immigrant visa page
• a copy of the passport page with your current entrance stamp
• a copy of your entry card
• a copy of your degree or resume/CV or transcript - sometimes they require it be certified by your country's embassy (this requires bringing your degree or resume to your embassy, declaring it is a true and original document and then paying an authentication fee.)
• a doctor's certificate stating you are in good health, you can apply for this certificate at any medical clinic
• 3 colour, 4 by 5 centimetre photos (this is the photo size used by most photo shops in Thailand for Visas. This is not a Passport photo size which is different.)
• additionally, your employer will be required to submit tax and legal documents concerning the nature of their business and employment.


(It is also worth mentioning that although not strictly required, any additional supporting documentation about financial status, character reference, employment records, employer details and so forth may help to speed up and smooth the process, so whenever visiting a labour department office or immigration department office to make an application for a Thai visa or a Thai work permit it is useful to take originals and copies of any such documentation that you have available.)


Applying for a Long Term Business Visa

After the Labour Department has approved a one year work permit, a foreign worker also can apply for a one year business visa at an Immigration Office in Thailand and need not to go out of the country  to make the non-immigrant visa at a Thai Embassy or Consulate in a foreign country any more. Family members are also entitled to apply for a non-immigrant visa in Thailand by the right of the work permit holder as dependents.  


Can I apply for a Thai Work Permit Myself

Yes, you can, but, unless you are very experienced and a qualified lawyer and can speak fluent Thai, we would not advise it. We would advise visiting or contacting a legal advisor prior to making any applications. A skilled and experienced Thai legal advisor can help you get all the papers in order, all the right copies, translations, signatures and stamps that will ensure a speedy and painless application process.


Any dealings with Thai officialdom is highly procedural and can be expensive and time consuming if this procedure is not followed to the letter.


Our legal department is experienced and skilled in making Thai Business Visa and Thai Work Permit applications. Please contact us directly either by email or visit our office. We will be able to advise you of your eligibility and of any changes to the law that may have occurred or are about to occur that may apply to you. A first consultation will be free of charge and with no obligation, any further work you require will then be charged at our very reasonable rate.

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