Visas and Work Permits
Knowing the requirements for Visas and Work Permits will make your visits to your new property more pleasant and less stressful. Most non-residents enter Thailand under a tourist visa, but if you wish to stay in Thailand for extended periods, these are not useful.
Non-Immigrant Visas are for those who are visiting Thailand as anything but a tourist. It is suggested that you apply for the Visa when in your home country, or at a Thai Embassy or Consulate when in any other country.
The two most often applicable categories of non-immigrant visas are the Category “B” Business Visa, or the Category “O” Dependent Visa. Those who are planning to apply for a work permit will apply for a Category B Visa. Spouses and children will be granted O Visas. Once you’ve received your B Visa you can apply for your work permit.
Work permits will allow you to work or own a business in Thailand as well as allow you to have a company bank account, apply for credit and bank loans, obtain credit cards, purchase a vehicle, enter into contracts such as for a cellphone or other utility services, and import your belongings without paying import duties. You will also be responsible for paying Thailand Income Tax and Social Security payments.
Other types of non-immigrant visas are available to:
- Diplomats (D)
- Members of the Press and Media (M)
- Researchers and Scientists (RS)
- Students (ED)
- Experts (EX) who are being hired to perform skilled or expert work
- Investors (IM or IB)
- Missionaries (R)
- Officials of other Governments (F)
- Sports Events Participants (S)
Others, which includes Dependents and Retired People
There are two different types of non-immigrant visa, obtainable in your home country prior to your visit to Thailand.
One is the Single Entry non-immigrant visa, which is valid for three months. After 90 days the holder must leave Thailand and apply for another visa to re-enter Thailand. An extension of can be obtained from the local immigration office without leaving the country. The cost of a single entry visa costs 2,000 Baht
The other is a Multiple Entry non-immigrant visa, which is valid for twelve months, and allows the holder to enter Thailand four times for up to 90 days per visit. This visa can be extended further by leaving Thailand and then simply obtaining a new entry stamp upon returning. Extensions can now be obtained in-country. Prior to the expiration of your visa, bring your passport, your work permit, copies of your passport showing the picture page and all stamps, copy of your employment contract, a single passport photo, copy of forms the company submitted to apply for a taxpayer ID for you, copies of the last 6 months of your Palmador One forms showing taxes paid, a copy of your bank book, and a Thai staff member of your company to translate. Cost for a multiple-entry visa for use within one year is 5,000 Baht. Application fee for a visa extension is 1,900 Baht.
There are some requirements for getting a non-immigrant visa from outside the country of Thailand. If you do not own your own company, or have not set up a Thai-based company, then you must show you have been offered a job. The company who wishes to hire you must request that the applicant be given a non-immigrant visa so that the company will be able to obtain a work permit for them. The company must certify that they know the person to be dependable, law-abiding and upstanding, and that they will show respect for the laws and customs of the Kingdom of Thailand.
All non-residents who wish to work in Thailand must obtain a Work Permit. If you will be working for a Thai employer, your employer will apply for your work permit for you. If you will be opening a business or a branch of your company in Thailand and wish to apply for your own Work Permit, you will first need to set up a Thai Company and apply for a non-immigrant B visa. When you’ve obtained your B visa you can then apply for your Work Permit. Working without a Work Permit is punishable by law, and employers face a fine of up to 60,000 Baht and/or jail for up to 3 years. Foreign Employees who neglect to get a work permit can be fined up to 5,000 Baht and be jailed for up to 3 months. If you move your company or your location, or open a new location you will need to apply for a new Work Permit.
There are some paperwork requirements for getting a Work Permit. You must have your non-immigrant Visa, a copy of all pages of your passport, a copy of your entry card, a copy of your degree or resume or a school transcript authenticated by your embassy, a doctor’s certificate stating you are in good health, two color photos that are 4 centimeters by 5 centimeters, 3-5,000 Baht, and paperwork your employer is required to submit, such as tax and legal documents. It is important that you do not let your visa expire while you are waiting for issuance of a Work Permit.
There are some types of work for which Work Permits will not be issued. Also, sometimes the Labor Department will limit the number of non-resident work permits per company in an effort to preserve jobs for native Thai people. It is best to confirm that the necessary Work Permit has been issued before making any other lifechanging commitments.