How to apply for a work permit in Thailand

October 8, 2020

Striking the perfect balance between modernity and heritage, Thailand has become a powerful magnet for foreign businesses and talents from all over the world.

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

Our guide will take you through the steps on how you can 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?

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

There are currently two primary requirements for expats who are 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.

This permit takes about seven working days to process and involves 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 setup or conduct business within the country. 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 on the burden of the employer to provide the documents for the work permit.

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 director's passport and work permit

checkbox Office map & location

checkbox Letter of employment stating position & salary of 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 Signed letter of employment

checkbox Certificate of education

checkbox Working address in Thailand

For employees married to Thai nationals, 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 in order for them to hire foreign employees.

  • Officially registered in Thailand
  • Successfully applied for 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 10 work permits per-company. (Board of Investment (BOI) companies may be granted more.)

Where do I submit my application?

There are regional variations in the work permit process especially beyond the capital. So for example, if your position is situated in Bangkok, you may submit your application at the Ministry of Labor located in Din Daeng.

But If you place of employment is situated in a location other than the capital, you will need to get approval from that particular 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 vary depending on where you will be based. For work permits issued in Bangkok, it usually takes 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 take note of the fact that it only applies to your employment with the company that the permit was applied with. In the event that 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 to show it to government officials at all times. If you are unable to do this, you risk being fined up to 1,000 baht.

Should you lose or damage your work permit, you should 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. If your job description alters significantly or your office address changes, you need to apply for revisions. Failure to do so could result in a month’s imprisonment or a fine of up to 2,000 baht.

In the event that you make any changes to the personal information stated in your work permit, you must update the Employment Service so that they are able to update the information in their system accordingly.

For employees who resign from their job, the work permit must be returned within seven days of the resignation date and in anyone found in violation of 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 prior to the expiration that as failure to do so could result in 

If you plan to stay after your permit expires, you need to 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 from 15 days before or up to seven days after the exact date. Check-ins can be done in person, via registered mail or using 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 Bureau. You will need all the documentation you provided during the initial application process and they 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 any of out other global locations. 

Visit our Global Employment and Mobility page to find out more about similar processes and get the latest insights.

This post was written by: Leanna Seah, Content Manager