Thailand Work Permit Service

Obtain and renew work permits seamlessly

You know how challenging obtaining visas and work permits can be. You’re navigating a foreign legal system where rules change and the government officers exercise a great deal of discretion. Add the mountain of paperwork into the mix and the fact that a mistake can disrupt business operations, and your stress levels can hit a breaking point. But employing foreign staff may be important or even necessary. They bring unique skills from diverse backgrounds and are vital to expanding your operations in the region. If only it could be easier. 

You want a seamless process to obtain, renew and extend Thailand work permits and Non-B visas. If you can accomplish that, management and employees can stay focused on the business—without having to worry about ministerial tasks or missing deadlines that are a source of constant distraction. Baan Thai can help.

With decades of  legal experience in Thailand and successfully helping international companies obtain and maintain work permits and visas, we can guide you through the process. What’s more, our relationships with Thai government authorities, like the Department of Labor and Bureau of  Immigration, help you build a reputation as a responsible and trustworthy employer and know what officers are looking for before your applications are submitted. 

Don’t let work permit and visa issues slow your business growth or distract your staff. Stay focused. Stay productive. Our team of Thai attorneys and immigration experts keep your attention where it matters most—on your business. 

Who needs a work permit in Thailand?

who needs work permit1

Prospective foreign workers in Thailand must obtain a work permit. A work permit is required regardless of nationality and whether the employee is working for a Thai business, international company, or is self-employed. There are only a few exceptions to these rules. 

Work permit exemptions in Thailand

There are four groups of people who don’t require a work permit:

  • Government representatives and diplomats: These people include diplomatic delegations, consular missions and representatives of the United Nations along with their personal assistants, and those performing specific duties or missions on behalf of a foreign government.
  • Temporary workers: Those engaging in urgent and essential work, such as speaking at a conference, participating in sports, performing cultural activities, recruiting employees, etc. Temporary workers can enter on any type of Thailand working visa and work for up to 15 days. However, permission must be granted by the Department of Labor.


  • Foreign company founders or investors: People with high level skills who are interested in starting a business or investing in the country. This group also includes directors, branch office managers, board members, and other high level executives or managers that represent a licensed foreign business.
  • Smart Visa holders: Highly skilled workers, investors, entrepreneurs, and executives aiming to invest or work in 18 specific industries. Smart Visa holders don’t require a work permit and can stay up to four years in Thailand.

Thailand Non-immigrant visa (before applying for a work permit)

A Non-immigrant Visa is granted for purposes other than tourism or transit. It comes in many classes and is issued for reasons such as medical treatment, education, retirement, or marriage to a Thai national. For companies who wish to employ foreigners, the Non-immigrant B Visa is your ideal option (more on this soon).

The initial Non-immigrant Visa must be applied for outside of Thailand. This can be done at a Thai embassy or consulate in the applicant’s home country or in a nearby country like Singapore, Laos, Hong Kong, etc. Non-immigrant Visas can be single or multi-entry and costs range from 2,000-5,000 THB. The visa is usually valid for an initial period of 90 days and can be extended annually  for up to a year. 

Non-immigrant B visa

A Non-immigrant B Visa allows foreigners to work in Thailand. However, they must obtain a work permit as well (more on the process of obtaining a work permit soon). Non-immigrant B Visas may also be granted to foreigners looking to invest or generally conduct business while in Thailand. 

Non-immigrant M visa

The “M” in Non-immigrant M Visa stands for “media.” This type of Thailand working visa allows film producers, reporters, or journalists to engage in media activities while in Thailand. 

Non-immigrant O marriage visa

The Non-immigrant O Marriage Visa, commonly referred to as simply a Marriage visa, allows foreigners with Thai spouses to stay in the kingdom for one year periods. Foreigners who have a Marriage visa can work in Thailand, but they must obtain a work permit. 

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How to obtain a work permit in Thailand

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Once your employee is on a Non-immigrant Visa, a work permit can be obtained. However, your company and your employee will need to meet certain requirements, gather necessary paperwork, and follow certain steps. The process is outlined below. 

Thailand work permit employer/company requirements

To provide Thailand work permits to foreign staff, your company will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum capital: A company typically needs a minimum capital of two million THB for each work permit. Thailand businesses, however, may require more or less capital depending on a few circumstances. If the candidate is married to a Thai citizen, a capital of one million THB per work permit is sufficient. If your company is registered overseas, you’ll need capital of at least three million THB for each work permit.
  • Thai to foreigner ratio: You must employ four Thai staff members for every one foreigner.
  • Work permit cap: A company can have no more than 10 work permits.

Companies registered via the BOI are exempt from the above requirements.

Thailand work permit employee/applicant requirements

To be issued a work permit, Thailand-based foreigners must meet the following requirements: 

  • Offer from a qualified company: Receive a job offer from a company that meets the above criteria, or own a company that meets those requirements. 
  • Eligible Non-immigrant Visa: A foreigner who intends to work must be on a Non-immigrant B, M, or O Visa in the category of Marriage or Volunteer. 
  • Experience: Have education and work experience in the prospective role. 
  • Health: Be in good health.

Thailand work permit application process

Applying for a work permit generally consists of the following four steps: 

  1. Acquire the appropriate visa for the new employee: If your foreign candidate isn’t on an eligible Thailand working visa (mentioned above), he or she will need to obtain a Non-immigrant B Visa before applying for a work permit. To do this, you’ll need a letter from the Department of Labor, which must then be taken to any Thai embassy or consulate outside of Thailand. Once your employee receives their Non-immigrant B Visa, he or she should apply for their work permit soon after. This is important because the letter from the Department of Labor (which is also needed for the work permit) is only good for 30 days. If it expires, you’ll have to start the entire process over. 
  2. Gather the required documents: To apply for a work permit, Thailand companies and employees will need to provide the following documents: 


    • Company registration department certificate
    • List of company’s shareholders certified by the Commercial Registration Department
    • VAT certificate (Phor Phor 2)
    • VAT filings (Phor Phor 30)
    • Withholding tax (Phor Ngor Dor 1)
    • Social security payment records
    • Employment agreement stating the employee’s position and salary
    • WP3 letter from Department of Labor (obtained before applying for the Non-immigrant B Visa)

    Foreign employee

    • A signed copy of every page of the employee’s passport and departure card 
    • Educational certificates, licenses, and/or university or college degrees
    • Three passport size photos taken within the previous six months
    • Resume or CV
    • Signed letter of employment
    • Copy of marriage certificate and Thai spouse’s ID card and household registration (only for those applying on a Non-immigrant O Marriage Visa)
    • Medical certificate issued within the past six months
  3. Apply for the work permit: Bring all of the above documents to your provincial Department of Labor and submit the application. In Bangkok, you can apply at the Ministry of Labor in Din Daeng. 

  4. Pick up the work permit: Once the Thailand work permit is approved, the employee must go in person with their passport to pick it up. You may be accompanied by your attorney. At the Department of Labor, the employee will sign their work permit in front of government staff, at which point they will stamp both the permit and employee’s passport.

    After your employee receives the work permit, he or she will need to visit an immigration office to extend their Thailand working visa typically for a one year term. Note, this step is only needed for employees on a 90-day Non-immigrant B Visa. If your employee is already on one of the other eligible Non-immigrant Visas (e.g., Non-immigrant O Marriage), this step can be disregarded. 

How much does a work permit cost?

Before applying for a work permit, Thailand-based foreigners will need a Non-immigrant Visa. Costs are as follows:

  • Single-entry Non-immigrant Visa: 2,000 THB
  • Multi-entry Non-immigrant Visa: 5,000 THB

Work permit fees: 

  • Application fee: 100 THB
  • Work permit fee: Validity of three months is 750 THB, six months is 1,500 THB, and one year is 3,000 THB. 
  • Additional fees: You may have to pay additional fees for document translation, changing work permit details, etc. 
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How long does obtaining an urgent work permit in Thailand take?

An urgent work permit can often be obtained within one business day of your arrival in Thailand. Note, this type of work permit is only valid for 15 days and can be used for specific types of work only, like attending business meetings, conducting an audit, or performing an inspection. 

Popular questions

How can I extend my business visa in Thailand?

A business visa can be extended for one year at your local immigration office. However, the company must meet specific requirements (e.g., registered capital, Thai to foreign staff ratio, etc.) and submit an application form, certificate of corporation, and other documents and photographs of your work environment. The employee must also have a valid Thailand work permit. 

How long does it take to process a Thai work permit?

Typically, three days.

How long does obtaining a sponsored work permit in Thailand take?

The process takes about  one month. The employee will still need to gather all the appropriate documents, like a medical certificate and their university diploma, and visit the Department of Labor in person to pick up their work permit. 

How long does obtaining an urgent work permit in Thailand take?

An urgent work permit can often be obtained within one business day of your arrival in Thailand. Note, this type of work permit is only valid for 15 days and can be used for specific types of work only, like attending business meetings, conducting an audit, or performing an inspection.

What percentage of employees must be Thai nationality?

For Non-B visa holders 75% of your staff must be Thai. In other words, you can have one expat staff member for every four Thai employees. If you hold a Non-O Marriage visa, the ratio is 2 Thai staff per work permit. Want to learn more about how to obtain work permits for your foreign staff? Tired of immigration and ministerial duties disrupting your business? Sign up for a free consultation to learn how Baan Thai can help streamline your visa and work permit obligations.

We are ready to answer your questions about work permits in Thailand.

Our dedicated and experienced team is ready to help you as we have so many others. Contact us today for your free consultation.