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All foreigners who intend to work in Thailand have to apply for a work permit before they start working. The term "work" is widely defined as engaging in work by "exerting energy or using knowledge whether or not in consideration of wages or other benefits. The issuance of work permits falls within the responsibilities of the Ministry of Labour. Section 8 of the Foreign Business Act states that the prospective employer may apply for this work permit on behalf of the foreigner; however the work permit can only be issued once the foreigner has entered Thailand in keeping with the immigration laws and presented him/herself to receive the permit. A necessary pre-requisite to obtain the work permit is to have obtained a non-immigrant B visa.

In Thailand, a work permit is issued to an individual with the support of a company for a specific position and job role within that company. A work permit does not allow a foreigner to work outside of the designated company.


A necessary pre-requisite to obtain the work permit is to have obtained a valid non-immigrant B Visa that a foreigner can apply for at a Thai Embassy abroad prior to traveling to Thailand. Alternatively, it is also possible to convert an existing tourist visa to a non-immigrant visa at the Immigration Office in Bangkok without the need to leave Thailand.


The Labour Department is responsible for issuing work permits for foreigners in Thailand. A company applying for a work permit to support each of their foreign directors and/or employees need to meet certain criteria. In addition to the requirement for VAT registration to be done at the Revenue Department, the company must also comply with the following requirements to support each work permit.

Capital of the company that should be registered as paid up:

  • 2M THB capital for a Thai limited company

  • 1M THB capital to support a foreigner married to a Thai national

  • 3M THB capital for a foreign company

Number of Thai employees that should be registered for Social Security Funds:

  • 4 Thai employees for a Thai limited company 

  • 2 Thai employees in the case that the foreigner is married to a Thai national

  • 1 Thai employee for a foreign company registered as a branch or representative office

Other supporting documents:

  • Copies of passport with Non-Immigrant B visa

  • Medical certificate

  • copies of educational certificates

  • Employment certificate

  • Company affidavit

  • List of shareholders 

  • Financial states


The timeframe for obtaining a Non-Immigrant B Visa application is approximately 2-4 working days (depending on the Thai Embassy or Thai Consulate in each country).

If all documents stated above are in order, it takes the Labour Department 7-14 working days to issue a work permit in Bangkok, after which the foreigner must personally collect the work permit booklet.

The work permit is generally valid for six months based on the first issue, and then valid for one year for the next extension, but sometimes it can be issued for a shorter period such as three or six months depending on several factors including but not limited to the nationality of the applicant,

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