How to apply for a work permit in Thailand

July 11, 2023

Thailand has become a powerful magnet for foreign businesses and talents worldwide, striking the perfect balance between modernity and heritage.

Already got a job lined up, or are you exploring potential opportunities in one of Southeast Asia's most renowned locations?

Our guide will take you through the steps to obtain visas and work permits in Thailand.

Below is an outline of the different sections covered in this article:

What is required to apply for a Thailand work permit?

As outlined by Thailand’s Ministry of Labour, a work permit is a Thai legal document that states the foreign worker's position, occupation, and the company he or she is working with.

There are currently two primary requirements for expatriates interested in working in Thailand. 

  • First, you must apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa Category “B” visa to enter Thailand.
  • Once you have been approved for the above visa, you can begin the process of applying for a work permit.

Permit applications take about seven working days to process and involve a thorough background check of the applicant. 

Do take note that there are two types of Non-Immigrant B Business Visas. One is issued to foreigners looking to enter Thailand and establish or conduct business there. The other is for international workers who intend to be employed.

The application process

Once the decision to begin the application process has been made, it is the burden of the employer to provide the documents for the work permit requirements.

What do employers need to provide?

employer documents     
The list below shows the types of documents that the employer must provide according to the Thai Embassy. These documents should only be written in English or Thai.

checkbox List of shareholders 

checkbox Company certificate and list of objectives

checkbox Application for VAT (Value-added Tax)

checkbox Withholding tax of the company

checkbox Financial statement

checkbox Signed copy of the director's passport and work permit

checkbox Office map & location

checkbox Letter of employment stating position & salary of the applicant

checkbox Employment agreement

And what about employees?

employee documents   
For employees, the list of requirements is far simpler.

checkbox Six 2-inch photographs

checkbox Medical certificate (no older than six months)

checkbox Valid passport

checkbox A signed letter of employment

checkbox Certificate of education

checkbox Working address in Thailand

For employees married to Thai citizens, they must also submit copies of the documents listed below:

checkbox Their marriage certificate

checkbox Their spouse's identity card and registration number

checkbox A copy of every page of the employee's passport (Including both sides of the passport jacket)

Conditions and Requirements when applying for a Thai work permit

For companies in Thailand, the below conditions must be met for them to hire foreign employees.

  • Officially registered in Thailand
  • Successfully applied for a tax ID and VAT registration
  • Have a minimum paid-up capital of 2 million baht per foreign employee
  • Have four Thai employees per work permit
  • A cap of only ten work permits per company. (Board of Investment (BOI) companies may be granted more.)

Where do I submit my application?

Regional variations in the work permit process exist, especially beyond the capital. For instance, those who got a job offer in Bangkok may submit their application to the Ministry of Labor at Din Daeng.

But If your place of employment is in a location other than the capital, you will need to get approval from that province’s Department of Employment.

You must appear in person with your original passport so that the Labor Department staff can provide you with a stamp on your work permit. The Department will also issue a stamp on the back of your passport at the time of receipt.

How long does it take to process a work permit?

The processing time for work permits in Thailand often varies depending on where you will be based. Work permits issued in Bangkok usually take an average of seven working days. However, it can take up to two months if you were to be situated in Phuket.

Once I have a work permit, can I work in any profession?

 Once you have been granted your work permit, it is important to note that it only applies to your employment with the company to which the permit was applied. If you decide to take on a different role with another company in Thailand, it will not be covered by your current work permit, and the application process must be repeated with your new company.

In addition to that, the
Alien Employment Act of 1978 includes an extensive list of jobs you cannot perform or hire for as they are restricted to Thai nationals only.

For example, jobs that pertain to agriculture, construction, and other forms of manual labour, such as bricklaying and carpentry, are not permissible.

Are there any regulations to follow once I receive a Thai work permit?

Absolutely. Most importantly, you must remember to have it on your person and be prepared always to show it to government officials. If you cannot do this, you risk being fined up to 1,000 baht.

Should you lose or damage your work permit, apply for a replacement within 15 days, or you could face a penalty of 500 baht.

You are also only permitted to undertake the work according to the occupation listed in your work permit. You must apply for revisions if your job description or office address changes significantly. Failure to do so could result in a month’s imprisonment or a fine of up to 2,000 baht.

Make any changes to the personal information stated in your work permit. You must update the Employment Service so they can update the information in their system accordingly.

For employees who resign, the work permit must be returned within seven days of the resignation date, and anyone found violating this risks being fined up to 1,000 baht.

On the other hand, if you decide to extend your stay after your permit has expired, you will need to apply for an extension before the expiration that as failure to do so could result in

If you plan to stay after your permit expires, apply for an extension before the expiration date. Failure to do so could result in three months imprisonment and/or a 5,000 baht fine.

Everyone staying in Thailand for over three months is required to check in with the immigration department every 90 days. You can do this 15 days before or up to seven days after the exact date. Check-ins can be done in person, via registered mail or through the department’s electronic system.

How can I extend my Thai work permit?

Should you want to extend your work permit when nearing expiry, you can apply for a one-year extension via the Immigration Office. You will need all the documentation you provided during the initial application process, which must be stamped and signed.

How can I get help with work permits?

Working alongside a global mobility company like Airswift simplifies the process of applying for employment passes or visas in Thailand or other global locations.

Visit our Global Employment and Mobility page to learn about similar processes and the latest insights.

This post was written by: Leanna Seah, Content Manager