Work Permit And Visa Application Process in Thailand

The following article outlines the application procedures and criteria for: Thailand Non-Immigrant ‘B’ and ‘O’ visas and visa extensions at the Thailand Immigration Bureau; Work Permits at the Thailand Ministry of Labour; Re-entry Permits and Notifications of 90 day stays. Examples of key documents required are also noted, for example: Company Affidavit; Shareholders List; Financial Statements (audited).

Before entering Thailand

A foreigner wishing to work in Thailand will need to obtain a Non-Immigrant Category “B” Visa before entering the country. Any accompanying family members (i.e. spouse and/or children) will be required to obtain a Non-Immigrant Category “O” Visa.

Typically, applications for both types of visa are made at Thai Embassies or Consulates abroad.

Numerous supporting documents are required as part of the application, including:

For Type “B” Visas:

  • Passport or travel document with at least 6 months validity remaining
  • Visa application form
  • Copy of the employment contract between the applicant and the employer company
  • Various corporate documents of the employer company, such as the Certificate of Incorporation, Shareholder List, Company Affidavit, etc.

For Type “O” Visas:

  • Passport or travel document with at least 6 months validity remaining
  • Visa application form
  • Marriage/Birth certificates

Note: The document listings above are non-exhaustive and the documents required may vary from Embassy to Embassy.

After entering Thailand

A foreigner entering the country on a Non-Immigrant visa will be granted permission to stay in the country for a period of not more than 90 days. The Work Permit application and Visa extension must therefore be submitted and approved within this 90 day period.

There are two categories of application and extension procedures:

  • General applications
  • Applications under BOI promotional privilege.

In the following section, the general application procedure will be outlined.

General Work Permit Applications

In general, work permit applications are made at the Labour Department. However, if the employer company has total assets or registered, paid-up capital exceeding THB30 million and if a management position is being applied for, the application can be made at the One-Stop Service Centre.

Each Work Permit issued will require THB2 million of registered, paid-up capital, up to a maximum of 10 expatriate work permits per company. However, this maximum can be relaxed in certain situations, for example:

  • where the employer has paid income tax of not less than THB3 million in the previous year; or
  • where the employer employs not less than 100 Thai employees.

As with the application for the Non-Immigrant type B visa, various documents, both personal and corporate, are required to be submitted as part of the application process and it can take up to 14 days before approval is given. However, if the application is made at the One-Stop Service Center, approval can be given on the same day.

Applying for a Visa Extension

Visa extension applications can be made either at the Immigration Bureau or, in cases where preferential rights apply, at the One Stop Service Center.

Key Requirements:

  • The applicant must be in possession of a valid temporary Non-Immigrant visa
  • The applicant must earn the minimum income prescribed by law and which varies according to nationality
  • The employer-company must have registered and fully paid-up capital of not less than THB2 million
  • It cannot be indicated in the audited financial statements of the employer-company that the company is non-operational
  • The employer company must have an employment ratio of at least 4 Thai permanent staff to 1 expatriate, as evidenced by the monthly income tax return (PND1) and Social Security Fund documentation
  • Thai staff must earn a minimum monthly salary of THB6,090, as evidenced by the monthly income tax return (PND1) and Social Security Fund documentation.

The applicant will need to submit the application, along with various personal and corporate documents, prior to the expiry of the Non-Immigrant visa ( i.e. within 90 days of the date of arrival in Thailand). On the day of submission, the applicant will receive a 1 month extension and will need to follow up with the Immigration Bureau every month until approval. In practice, this should take 1-2 months, meaning that, on approval, the applicant will have another 10-11 months of valid visa extension.

Re-entry Permits

An expatriate holding a Non-Immigrant or tourist visa who wishes to travel abroad before the expiry of the visa must apply for a re-entry permit with the Immigration Bureau prior to departing Thailand. This permit will allow the expatriate to re-enter Thailand and stay for the remaining period on the visa. Without this permit, the visa will be cancelled automatically upon re-entry.

Notification of 90 day stay

An expatriate who has permission to stay in Thailand for a long period must notify the Immigration Bureau of his/her place of residence every 90 days (counting from the most recent arrival date). This does not affect the validity or duration of the visa.

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