Thailand Work Visa: Introduction
Thailand Work Visa application is hassle-free and easy to complete with Tetra Consultants’ assistance.
Foreign travellers originating from countries that qualify for visa-free entry into Thailand do not need to apply for a visa if they are travelling to Thailand for leisure purposes or only wish to stay in Thailand for a short period of time.
To check whether your country qualifies for visa-free entry, you can use the search engine in the Thailand E-Visa website. Foreigners from countries that qualify for visa-free entry will be allowed to stay in Thailand for 30 days.
If you wish to stay in Thailand for more than 30 days, you will be required to apply for a visa, based on the purpose of your visit to Thailand.
Generally, if you wish to work, invest or conduct business activities in Thailand, you will need the Business Visa or the Smart Visa. Individuals who will be working in Thailand under the Business Visa are also required to procure a Thai work permit.
Thailand Business Visa
- There are three main types of Business Visas in Thailand, namely the Non-Immigrant B Visa, the Non-Immigrant IB Visa and the Non-Immigrant B-A Visa.
Non-Immigrant B Visa
- Foreigners entering Thailand for work and professional purposes can apply for a Non-Immigrant B Visa.
- Holders of Non-Immigrant B Visa can stay in Thailand for up to 90 days, after which he can appeal for an extension at the Office of the Immigration Bureau for up to 12 months from the date of entry into Thailand.
- A foreigner can choose to pursue a Non-Immigrant B Visa for work purposes or to conduct business activities in Thailand.
- To secure for Non-Immigrant B Visa for work purposes, the applicant must submit the following items:
- Completed application form (can be obtained from the Thai embassy in your home country)
- Recent passport-sized photograph.
- A letter of approval from the Ministry of Labour. The letter can be obtained through the employer by submitting the Form WP3 to the Office of Foreign Workers Administration, Department of Employment, Ministry of Labour or at a Provincial Employment Office in the relevant province.
- A copy of work permit if the individual applying has previously worked in Thailand.
- Letter(s) of recommendation from previous employers.
- Corporate documents of employer such as the certificate of incorporation, business license, list of shareholders, financial statements, etc.
- To attain Non-Immigrant B Visa to conduct business activities, the prospective individual must submit the following items:
- Completed application form.
- Recent passport-sized photograph.
- A letter from the applicant’s company stating the purpose of the visit.
- A letter from a local trading company inviting the applicant to carry out business activities in Thailand.
- Documents proving that there is correspondence with business partners in Thailand.
- Corporate documents of business partners.
- The Non-Immigrant B Visa can be applied through Thailand e-visa service.
Non-Immigrant IB Visa
- Foreigners who visit Thailand to invest in a company registered with the Board of Investment (BOI) or work in a BOI-registered company can choose to get the Non-Immigrant type IB Visa instead.
- Holders of Non-Immigrant IB Visa can stay in Thailand for up to 90 days, after which he can appeal for an extension.
- Applicants of this visa must submit a letter from the BOI to confirm his/her employment or investment in a BOI-registered company.
Non-Immigrant B-A Visa
- The applicant’s company must apply for the Non-Immigrant B-A Visa on behalf of the applicant.
- The validity period will be up to 12 months.
Thailand Work Permit
- Foreign employees that are employed in a Thailand company must secure a work permit to work in Thailand after they have received their Non-Immigrant B Visa.
- Companies incorporated in Thailand can apply for work permits for their foreign employees if they have a minimum paid-up share capital of THB 2 million per foreign employee and have hired at least 4 Thai employees for each work permit procured.
- Companies can only attain a maximum of 10 work permits unless they are registered with the BOI.
- To secure work permits for their foreign employees, the employer must provide corporate documents such a list of shareholders, financial statements, employment agreement, proof of application for value-added tax (VAT), withholding tax, etc.
- Employees will also be required to provide documents such as passport-sized photographs, recent medical certificate, valid passport, letter of employment, education certificates, working address in Thailand and a valid business visa.
- The work permit can be obtained from the Ministry of Labor. It is granted for 1 year and can be extended.
- The work permit is only granted to the applicant based on their employer. If the applicant finds an alternative employment in Thailand, the new employer will have to secure a work permit for the applicant again.
Thailand Smart Visa
- This visa type is applicable to entrepreneurs, executives, investors and experts who are not Thai nationals and who desire to be employed in or become an investor of a specific industry in Thailand. There are 5 types of Smart Visa: Smart T (Talent), Smart I (Investor), Smart E (Executive), Smart S (Start-up) and Smart O (Other).
Smart T (Talent)
- This is renewable for as many as 4 years, but cannot exceed the term of employment with the endorsed employer.
- An employee who applies for this smart visa will not need a work permit.
- To be eligible for a Smart T Visa, you must have:
- Minimum income of at least THB 100,000 per month. If the applicant has an employment contract with a start up or is a retiree that has endorsements from a relevant agent, the minimum income is THB 50,000 per month.
- An employment or service contract with a company in Thailand for at least 12 months.
- Relevant expertise in science and technology endorsed by an agency within the Strategic Talent Center (STC)’s network.
- Alternatively, experts working for a government agency, a higher education institution or a specialized training institution, or those providing Alternative Dispute Resolution services can also choose to pursue a Smart T-Visa.
Smart I (Investor)
- This is renewable for as many as 4 years.
- An employee who applies for this smart visa will not need to get a work permit.
- To be eligible for a Smart I Visa, you must meet one of the following conditions:
- Minimum investment of at least THB 20 million in a technology-based company in a targeted industry in Thailand.
- Total investment of at least THB 5 million in a start-up or an incubation or accelerator program endorse by relevant agencies. The applicant can invest in more than one company as long as the total amount meets the threshold.
Smart E (Executive)
- This is renewable for as many as 4 years but cannot exceed the term of employment with the endorsed employers.
- You will not need a work permit if you procure the Smart E Visa.
- To be eligible for a Smart E Visa, you must meet the following conditions:
- Minimum income of at least THB 200,000 per month.
- Have at least a bachelor’s degree or a decade of work experience in the relevant industries.
- Have an employment of service contract with a Thailand company for at least 1 year.
- Holds a senior management position such as Chairman or Managing Director.
- Be employed in a company that is certified as technology-based in manufacturing or delivering services in a targeted industry by relevant government agencies.
Smart S (Start-up)
- Individuals can apply for a 6-month, 1-year or 2-year visa, depending on the conditions they meet.
- Generally, technology-based start-up entrepreneurs in a targeted industry who have already registered a certified start-up company in Thailand will be eligible for a 2-year visa.
- Foreigners who have attended an incubation or accelerator program in a targeted industry, received joint venture funding from the public sector, or are endorsed by relevant government agencies can choose to attain a 1-year visa.
- Foreigners who intend to register a start-up company in Thailand or engage in promotional and advertising activities for start-ups can apply for a 6-month visa.
- No work permit is required for the applicants of this visa.
Smart O (Other)
- This visa is generally for the dependents of a Smart Visa, such as the visa holder’s spouse or children.
Looking to obtain a Thailand work visa?
How do I get a work permit in Thailand?
- Before you get a work permit in Thailand, you will have to get a Non-Immigrant B Visa to work or conduct business activities in Thailand. For a Non-Immigrant B Visa, you can submit your application through Thailand e-visa service.
- After you have secured your Non-Immigrant Visa, you will have to travel to Thailand to attain the work permit from the Ministry of Labor office. Alternatively, your employer can apply for the work permit on your behalf.
How long do Thailand work visas last?
- A Thailand Non-Immigrant B Visa will allow you to stay in Thailand for up to 90 days and can be extended for up to 1 year from the date of entry into Thailand. On the other hand, a Smart Visa is typically renewable for up to 4 years unless the individual applies for Smart Visa as a start-up entrepreneur in which he will be granted a visa for 6 months to 2 years.
When do I need to apply for a work permit?
- If you wish to work in Thailand and are a holder of the Non-Immigrant B Visa, you will have to get a work permit before you can work or conduct business activities in Thailand. If you are a holder of a Smart Visa, you will not be required to apply.
What other types of Thai visas are there?
- Some of the other types include the Tourist Visa which is purely for short-term tourist visits, and the Marriage Visa which enables a foreigner to remain in Thailand for up to 12 months with proof of a marriage certificate to a local.