For any kind of work you do in Thailand, no matter if you are being employed by someone or set up your own company, you must obtain a work permit in advance.
However, before you can apply for a work permit you need to get a Non Immigrant Business Visa. You can’t apply for a work permit if you hold a tourist visa. Why? Because if you work you are no tourist any longer. Same for Student Visa. Why? Because if you work you are no student any longer (work weighs more than study). And same for Retirement Visa. Why? Because if you work you are not retired any longer.
Non Immigrant Business Visa and Work Permit – the two things you are required to obtain prior to taking up any kind of paid or unpaid work in Thailand.
So how to get a Work Permit?
The first thing that is important to know are the two crucial rules for a successful work permit application:
- A Thai company has to employ at least 4 Thai staff for every work permit issued to a foreigner (“ghost employees are not advisable anymore as the labor department started to check and interview Thai employees for whom they work, how their boss looks like, what their job is like, when they start and finish work and how much and when they receive their salary)
- A Thai company has to have a minimum of 2 Mio. Baht registered capital for every work permit that is being issued.
While you can obtain a Non Immigrant Business Visa only outside of Thailand, the second step of applying for a Work Permit is done in Thailand. The application has to be submitted at the labor department that is designated to your residential area.
The following documents are required from the Work Permit applicant (“alien”):
- Copy of every passport page, each of it signed by the applicant – including a valid Non Immigrant Business Visa
- Departure Card
- Authorized copy of original and Thai transcript of Degree (e.g. high school, bachelor’s or master’s degree. I went to the German embassy with my high school certificate and they issued an authorized copy as well as an authorized Thai translation for a fee of 200 Baht)
- Signed CV (Resume)
- Medical Certificate (I got mine within 10 minutes from a local clinic in Suthisan BKK for 100 Baht, the common price is 300 Baht)
- 3 passport photos (dimensions: 5 x 6 cm) in business attire
- if married to Thai citizen: Marriage Certificate (original and signed copy), copy of spouse’s Thai ID Card, birth certificates of children (if any) and house registration book (Tabien Baan)
- Application Fee: 100 Baht
- Work Permit Book Fee: 750 Baht up to 3 months / 1,500 Baht 3-6 months / 3,000 Baht 6 months – 1 year
The following documents are required from the employer (double check this at the relevant labor department):
- Copy of Company Affidavits
- Copy of Shareholders List
- Copy of Latest Annual Audit
- Copy of Latest Withholding Tax
- Copy of Latest Payments to Social Funds
- Copy of VAT Certificate
All of these company documents must have the company seal stamped on every page as well as the signatures of the managing director(s).
Once the work permit is issued to the foreign applicant, he is supposed to always keep the book at his workplace in case officials are requesting to see it.
Also, once he or she changes the workplace or the work position, the relevant changes have to be made in the work permit .
Renewal or Extension of a Thai Work Permit:
A work permit has to be renewed at the labor department every year whereas the same fees as for the initial application (750 Baht up to 3 months / 1,500 Baht 3-6 months / 3,000 Baht 6 months to 1 year) are applicable.