Thai Work Permit

A foreigner seeking employment in Thailand must abide by the laws laid down. Compliance with the letter of the law requires that you obtain a work permit. What exactly is a work permit? Who can apply/who has to apply for a Work Permit? What documents are needed to process your application for a Work permit? What are the time frame and cost of the application? Stay with us, we have all the answers.

What is a Work Permit?

As alluded to, a Work permit is a legal or official authority that grants a person the right to take up employment. For our discussion, the right and permission we speak of are sought by a foreigner or one who does not hold citizenship. A Work permit contains details of the kind of work which the foreigner is permitted to carry out in the country. Some of these details may include his role in the firm, the name, and the location of the firm where he is permitted to work. Thai Work Permits become effective from the date of issuance and are valid for about a year or two after which an applicant who wishes to extend his/her stay may apply for an extension. Foreigners who overstay may be subject to arrest, prosecution, and a ban for a term of years.

A Work Permit being a right or license can be abridged or terminated. Where a foreigner on a Work Permit losses his job due to either retrenchment, expiration of employment contract, or a unilateral decision to resign, he would lose his permit to work in Thailand. Should the person desire to remain in Thailand, the only option available to him would be to go to the immigration office to apply for an extension of time within which to seek employment. The time frame for this extension is usually no more than 7 days.

Who can apply for a Work permit?

To apply for a Work permit, a foreigner must already hold any of the Thai Visas which allow him to apply for a Thai Work Permit. The types of Visas which are amenable to Work Permits include Business Visa and Thai Marriage Visa. Additionally, a foreigner cannot apply for a work permit if he or she has no formal vocation. A Work Permit will be denied to a foreigner whose vocational is under the list of those proscribed under Thai law. These occupations include Auctioneer, Labouring or Agricultural work, Wood carving, Garment making, Legal services, Shoe and Hat making, and Architecture, etc. (Here is the full LIST)

Visa needed for Work Permit

  • Business Visa

  • Thai Marriage Visa

Documents needed to process your application for a Work Permit

Time Frame

The processing time of an application for a Business Visa usually depends on whether the application is made in person or by mail. Where the application is made in person, it usually takes about 5 business days. Whereas, where the application is made by mail, it takes at least 15 business days.

The Cost

For a Work Permit, the non-refundable fee is USD 100. This fee is payable only in a money order made payable to the “Ministry of Labor”.

Loss and Damage

Where you lose, damage, misplace, or cannot find your Work Permit it is pertinent that you submit an application for it to be replaced within a period of 15 days so as to avoid labor issues, avoid sanctions and be on the right side of the law.


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