Thailand Work Visa – Documents needed and Application
How can you get a Thailand Work Visa? Of course, the logical answer is to get a job in Thailand. But in trying to get a job, it is essential to know that certain professions are allocated to Thais alone.
Thailand welcomes more than 20 million foreign nationals each year, and most of them arrive with a Work Visa after finding a job in the country. But what draws foreign nationals to Thailand, more than tourism and work, is the friendliness of the Thais, the excellent food, and the reasonable standard of living. And if you can learn a bit of their language, Thais will fall in love with you!
To work in Thailand, you must get a Thailand Work Visa. And with it, you must get a Work Permit and an Extension of Stay Permit. In this article titled Thailand Work Visa – Documents needed and application, we shall examine the steps to live and work in Thailand.
About Thailand Work Visa
Thailand Work Visa is authorization obtained by any foreign national who wants to enter the country for work. It is more popularly known as a Thailand Business Visa. This visa is further grouped under the category of non-immigrant B visa. There is a non-immigrant B Visa for foreign nationals who want to own a business in Thailand and a non-immigrant B Visa for those who want to work there.
Thailand Non-Immigrant B Visa for Employment
Foreign nationals who want to work in Thailand must apply for an initial 90-day Non-Immigrant Visa for Employment in their country of residence. In Thailand, with this visa category, one can apply for a work permit before the expiration of 90 days. Then, with the work permit, the applicant can go on to apply for a one-year Non-Immigrant B Visa in Thailand.
Who is Eligible for a Thailand Work Visa
Every foreign national who wants to work in Thailand must get a Thailand Work Visa. It does not matter if one is exempt from a Thai Tourist Visa or even a Transit Visa. However, a work visa alone does not entitle a holder to work in Thailand. The work visa allows an applicant to apply for and obtain a Work Permit.
Types of Thailand Work Visa
Work Visa types depend on the activities that your employer expects you to carry out. Remember that it is illegal to perform job functions different from those indicated on your work permit. These are common Thailand Work Visa types:
F Visa Category
Foreign nationals who hold an ordinary passport and travel for official reasons – working with a government agency, embassy, or an international organization – are entitled to this visa.
Non-immigrant visa O
This is for foreign nationals working for a state or welfare organization for the Thai Government as sports coaches.
Non-immigrant visa M
This Non-Immigrant visa is issued to people working in the media. You are eligible for this visa if you are a journalist, reporter, or film producer. However, you must first get approval from the Information Department of the Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Prohibited types of work for foreign nationals in Thailand
Thailand’s Government has kept aside certain types of work that foreign nationals are not permitted to take. These jobs are kept for Thai citizens, and a foreign national cannot obtain a work permit for the following:
- Agriculture – rice and salt farming, husbandry, timber and fishing, floral and cultivation
- Service Industry – Hotel and tour agency, photography, laundry and dressmaking, beautification industry
- Commercial Business – Land trade, local agricultural products
- Utility Services – Water, electricity, transportation, etc.
However, foreign nationals can work in various fields like export, machinery and equipment retail, textiles, glassware, ceramics, etc. Therefore, you must make sure that your job description is not prohibited. But of course, if it is prohibited work, you will not receive a work permit.
Requirements for a Thailand Work Visa
Here’s a list of the requirements to apply for a work visa to Thailand.
1. A valid passport with two blank visa pages
2. A 4x6cm photo of the applicant taken within six months of application
3. An Application Form filled out
4. Proof of finance. This would be 20,000 Baht (550.96 USD) per applicant and 40,000 Baht (1,102.23 USD) per family
5. Letter of Approval obtained by the applicant’s employer, who will submit a Form WP3 at the Office of Foreign Workers Administration at the Department of Employment, Ministry of Labor, or at the Provincial Employment Office in the province the applicant will work.
6. Corporate documents of the employer, e.g., Business registration and license; company profile; statement of income tax and business, etc.
How to Apply for a Thailand Work Visa
With a job offer from a Thailand organization, you can apply for a Thailand Work Visa at any of the Thailand embassies or consulates closest to you.
Step #1. Contact the Thailand Embassy or Consulate. Find out their preferred visa payment method as well as the submission process. For example, some embassies would prefer you to submit your application online instead of visiting them.
Step #2. Collect and submit the required documents to the embassy. You can do this in person or through the post. In this case, you must enclose a prepaid and self-addressed envelope.
Step #3. Wait for the application to be processed.
Step #4. Receive your passport and work visa to the country.
After you get your Thailand Work Visa
Your Thai Work Visa is valid for 90 days. Within that time, you must obtain a Work Permit at the Department of Employment in Thailand so that you can work in Thailand. The work permit will state the nature of your job, your employer, and how long your employment is.
If you hold an executive position, your work permit will be issued for two years, but if you occupy a regular position, the permit will be for one year. You must renew this permit before it expires.
Note that your work permit is specific to your job and location. If you change your job, you must reapply for a work permit. Also, you need a sponsor to obtain a work permit. The sponsor will be your employer. In addition, every 90 days, you must report to the Thailand Immigration Bureau with your current address, even if it has not changed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the processing fee for a Thailand Work Visa?
You can get a single or multiple-entry work visa for Thailand. For a single-entry work visa with a validity of three months, you will pay 2,000 Thai Baht (55.10 USD). For a multiple-entry work visa to Thailand, you will pay 5,000 Thai Baht (137.74).
What is the validity period of a Thailand Work Visa?
The visa is valid for 90 days, but the visa alone does not permit you to work in Thailand. You must get a work permit within the validity period to enable you to work. The work permit is valid for one or two years.
Can I extend my Thai Work Visa?
Yes, you can extend it when your work permit expires. However, you must do this at least 90 days before your permit expires.
What happens if I change jobs in Thailand?
If there is any change in the conditions for which you obtained a work permit in the first place, you should report to the labor department within seven days. Such changes can be a change of address, loss or damage of work permit, change of job functions, or resignation of work. In the case of resignation, you must return the work permit to the labor department within seven days.
Can I work in Thailand with a Tourist Visa?
No. A foreign national with a Thailand Tourist Visa will not be allowed to work in the country. The requirements for both visas are different. Besides, a work visa holder must obtain a work permit before being allowed to work. Therefore, a tourist visa holder will not be able to get a work permit. However, a tourist who wants to work in Thailand must obtain a non-immigrant visa from the immigration department.
Granted, the Thai Government took strict measures to control the heavy imposition of foreign nationals on the employment scene. By insisting that every non-citizen must obtain a work visa and declaring certain job functions prohibited, they have ensured their citizens would have employment. But this is what any government that cares for the welfare of its citizens should do.
Moreover, getting a work visa to Thailand is not the journey’s end. Instead, it is the beginning. To live and work in the Land of Smiles, you must take each step in the visa procedure seriously. Thailand is a beautiful country full of promise, and for a holder of a Thailand Work Visa, it is a step in the right direction.