You Have a Job and Need to Relocate
Most expats coming to Bangkok will already have their employment in place. Foreigners who wish to work, do business or invest in Thailand need a Non-Immigrant Visa. You will need this visa in order to obtain a work permit in Thailand. Technically, you need to have the work permit before applying for the Visa, but as the paperwork needed for the work permit can only be done in Thailand, this is not usually possible. You will instead need a letter of recommendation from a Thai company stating that they either intend to employ you or invite you to do ‘research’ with the intention of that leading to employment.
Non-Immigrant ‘B’ Visa
- Passport valid for at least 6 months forward.
- Visa application form filled out.
- One recent photo of applicant (4×6 cm)
- Recommendation letter from the Thai company showing the position of the applicant within their organisation or limited company information and stating the intent to employ the applicant.
- Letter of approval from the Ministry of Labour. To obtain this letter, the applicant’s prospective employer in Thailand is required to submit Form WP3 at the Office of Foreign Workers Administration, Department of Employment, Ministry of Labour Tel. 02-2452745, or at the Provincial Employment Office in his or her respective province.
- Copy of Work Permit issued by the Ministry of Labour and alien income tax or Por Ngor Dor 91 (only in the case where applicant has previously worked in Thailand).
- Proof of Financial Means (20,000 Baht pr. person or 40,000 Baht pr. family/monthly)
Note: Proof of Financial Means is rarely enforced (if ever).
You should apply for the visa in your home country, although it’s possible to convert a different type of Visa to a Non-Immigrant ‘B’ Visa. The visa allows you to stay in the country for an initial period of 90 days after which you can extend the Visa for 1 year if you meet the requirements. If you apply for this Visa with the intent of doing business or investing in Thailand you will apply for either a normal Non-Immigrant ‘B’ Visa (For setting up business) or a Non-Immigrant ‘IB’ Visa (For certain investment projects). Consult the official MFA website for details or contact your local embassy.
Work Permit Process
The Thai company you will be working for should always take responsibility for acquiring your work permit. Applying for a Thai work permit is a fairly complex process and involves assembling and submitting a large amount of papers and documentation. Your prospective employer will hopefully take care of everything, but it’s always a good idea to read up on the process and get involved. Below is a detailed explanation of the work permit process in Thailand.
The work permit process can be divided into two distinct procedures:
- Applying for a Non-Immigrant Visa at a Thai Embassy or Consulate outside Thailand
- Applying for a Work Permit in Thailand after arrival
It’s possible to get a Work Permit after arriving in Thailand on any kind of Visa, but the normal, and advisable, procedure is to hold a Non-Immigrant B Visa on arrival.
Work Permit Eligibility
In order to apply for a Thai work permit, it is necessary that the applicant hold a Non-Immigrant Visa. For those looking to do any kind of paid work, a Non Immigrant B Visa is required. For volunteer work, a Non-Immigrant O Visa is necessary.
It is possible to arrive in Thailand on a different visa and still get a work permit, but it would still be necessary to convert the visa into a Non-Immigrant visa.
A work permit is stamped with a date and expiry date and it must be renewed before expiration. Any changes in your work description or employer must be approved in advance.
The work permit is also only valid for a specific job in a specific location with a specific company. In other words, the work permit is not a permission to work in general in Thailand, but only to work in the job specified in the work permit.
Documents need for a Work Permit
It is usually the employer’s full responsibility to apply and submit the Work Permit application. If it is necessary to submit the application by yourself, then it’s advisable to consult a lawyer experienced in Work Permit application.
The following documents are generally needed:
- Passport with Non-Immigrant Visa stamp
- Resume, CV, Education Certificates and often also recommendations and references from former employers
- Any relevant licenses
- Job Description – This must be clearly specified including the type of work and the location of the workplace. Additional documents may also be required.
- Medical Certificate issued in Thailand within the latest 6 months
- 3 Passport photographs 5 x 6 cm
In addition to these documents, the applicant also needs to include the following documents provided by the employer:
- Commercial Registration Department Certificate
- List of the shareholders that has been certified by the Commercial Registration Department,
- VAT Certificate – Phor Phor 20
All the documents may be required to be translated into Thai and in multiple copies.
Where to Apply
Department of Employment
Office of Foreign Workers Administration, Department of Employment, Mit Maitree Road, Dindaeng, Bangkok 10400
Tel: 02 245 2745
Spouse and Dependent Visa
As a working expat in Bangkok, your family can apply for and will be given a Non-Immigrant O (dependent) Visa. This visa is valid only as long as the expat is working and has a Non-Immigrant B visa. The work permit is only valid for one person and your spouse will have to apply separately for a work permit if needed. Children under 14 years are generally given a Non-Immigrant O visa, while older children are given a Non Immigrant ED (education visa) from their school.