Thailand visas and work permits

Thailand Tourist Visas

The majority of visitors enter Thailand on a tourist visa. A tourist visa permits you to stay in Thailand for reasons of tourism for a period of up to 60 days.

Tourist visas are available from Thailand Embassies and consulates in your home country. On arrival in Thailand you will be required to pass through immigration where your passport will be stamped with your arrival date and a departure date.

Passport holders from one of 42 listed countries (click here for the complete list) do not need to apply for a visa for visits of 30 days or less before entering Thailand as a 30 day tourist visa will generally be granted on arrival in Thailand.

If you wish to apply for a 60 day or multiple entry tourist visa then this should be obtained from a Thai consulate in your home country or another country outside The Kingdom of Thailand prior to your arrival. A multiple entry tourist visa will entitle you to enter Thailand on the same visa up to 4 times and each time for a maximum stay of 60 days. This visa has a validity of 6 months.

If you would like to apply for an extension beyond the expiry date of your visa you will need to visit the Immigration department in Thailand. At their discretion, they may offer an extension to your stay, normally up to a maximum of 15 days on a 30 day visa or 30 days on a 60 day visa.

Please note: A tourist visa is for tourist purposes only. Should you wish to conduct business or work in Thailand you will need to apply for a Non-immigrant 'B' visa before leaving your country of residence.

Thailand Non-Immigrant Visas

If you are entering Thailand for any purpose other than as a tourist you will need to apply for a non-immigrant visa. Although it is not necessary, it is recommended that this should be done in your home country at a Thai Embassy or consulate and you should present it to the customs officer when you enter Thailand.

There are two main categories of non-immigrant visa.

Category 'B' business visa.

Category 'O' dependent visa.

A non-immigrant B visa should be obtained by anyone wishing to work within Thailand. Once you have your visa you can apply for a work permit. Both a non-immigrant category B visa and a valid work permit are required to legally work within the Kingdom of Thailand.

If you are bringing your spouse and children with you they will need a non-immigrant O visa. This visa type (non-immigrant O-A) is also issued to foreigners who plan to retire in Thailand. Certain capital and other criteria must be met before this visa will be granted.

If you are already in Thailand then it is recommended that you apply for your non-immigrant visa in a neighboring country.

Entry levels

There are two different entry options for a non-immigrant visa

1. Single entry
This visa is valid for 3 months from the date of issue and allows the holder to enter Thailand for a single period of up to 90 days. After 90 days the holder must leave Thailand and apply for another visa in a neighbouring country or can apply for an extension of up to 30 days from the local immigration office.

2. Multiple entry
This visa is valid for 12 months from the date of issue and allows the holder to enter Thailand as many times as required for a maximum stay of 90 days on each occasion. This visa can be extended by a further 3 months by leaving Thailand at the end of the visa and obtaining a new entry stamp on your return.

Categories non-immigrant visa

Categories of non-immigrant visa are listed below. Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact us.

Business visa (B).

Business approved visa (B-A).
Diplomatic visa (D).
Mass media visa (M), issued to accredited press representatives.
Educational study or observation (ED).
Expert visa (EX), issued to those performing skilled or expert work.
Official visa (F), issued to officials on duty (involving the Thai government).
Investor visa (IM), issued to foreigners who set-up their companies under the Board Of Investment.
Investment and business visa through the Board of Investment (IB), subject to the provision of the laws on investment promotion.
Others (O), including dependents and retired persons.
Missionary work or other religious activities (R).
Research and Science visa (RS).
Participation in an officially recognized sports event (S).

Thailand Work Permit Information

All foreigners, with a few exceptions, who wish to undertake any kind of work in Thailand, must hold a valid work permit and visa. These are issued by the department of Employment.

Working without a work permit is a criminal offence and employers who violate the law can face fines of up to 60,000 Baht and/or jail terms of up to 3 years. Foreign employees who do not hold a work permit may be jailed for up to 3 months and can face fines of up to 5,000 Baht.

There are a few types of work that are reserved only for Thai nationals. In the main these are related to manual labour and productions of handicrafts, but they also include jobs such as hairdressing. A full list can be obtained from the department of employment.

How do you apply for a work permit?

If you will be working for a company then your employer should apply for a work permit on your behalf. Companies are limited to the number of foreign employees they have and must have a registered capital of at least 2 million Baht per foreigner they wish to employ.

If you wish to apply for your own work permit you must first set up a Thai company and obtain a non-immigrant B visa. You can apply for your visa at a Thai embassy or consulate in your home country before entering Thailand. Phuket Ocean Villas are happy to recommend legal professional who can assist you with this process.

Your work permit will entitle you to perform the duties within the business and work premises stated on your application form. Should you move company or location you will have to apply for a new work permit.

What use is a work permit to me?

Now you have a work permit you are legally entitled to work and run a business in Thailand. You can open a company bank account, obtain credit cards and bank loans, contract a mobile phone, purchase a car or motorbike and import your personal belongings to Thailand without import duties.

You will, of course, be eligible for income tax and social security payments.