Thailand Work Permit: A Guide for Foreigners with a Marriage Visa

Thailand Work Permit: A Guide for Foreigners with a Marriage Visa

Did you know that you can work in Thailand if you have a marriage visa?

You can. But don't get the idea that because you have a visa type that allows work that you can just start working. There is a lot more to it than that. Let's see all that is involved.

Without exceptions you must have a work permit to perform any work in Thailand. Plus you must not be employed with an occupation that violates the Alien Employment Act.

The term “work” in Thai law is defined very broadly, covering both physical and mental activities, whether or not for wages or other form of compensation. Even volunteer or charity work requires a work permit in Thailand.

According to Thai law, foreigners can work in the country but factors such as the national security, as well as the need of alien labor for the development of the country is being considered. Thai nationals are still to be given priority.

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Under the Alien Employment Act, the following occupations are closed to foreigners and is reserved for Thai nationals only:

  • Labor work except labor work in fishing boats under the next category below
  • Agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry or fishery, except work requiring specialized knowledge, farm supervision, or labor work in fishing boats, particularly marine fishery
  • Bricklaying, carpentry, or other construction work
  • Wood carving
  • Driving motor vehicles or vehicles which do not use machinery or mechanical devices, except piloting international aircraft
  • Front shop sale
  • Auction sale work
  • Supervising, auditing, or giving service in accountancy, except occasional internal auditing
  • Cutting or polishing precious or semi-precious stones
  • Haircutting, hairdressing, or beautification
  • Cloth weaving by hand
  • Mat weaving or making utensils from reed, rattan, jute, hay, or bamboo
  • Making rice paper by hand
  • Lacquer work
  • Making Thai musical instruments
  • Niello ware making
  • Goldsmith, silversmith, or gold-and-copper alloy smith work
  • Stone work
  • Making Thai dolls
  • Making mattresses or quilts
  • Making alms bowls
  • Making silk products by hand
  • Making Buddha images
  • Knife making
  • Making paper or cloth umbrellas
  • Making shoes
  • Making hats
  • Brokerage or agency except in international trading.
  • Professional civil engineering concerning design and calculation, systemization, analysis, planning, testing, construction supervision, or consulting services, excluding work requiring specialized techniques
  • Professional architectural work concerning design, drawing-making, cost estimation, or consulting services
  • Dressmaking
  • Pottery
  • Cigarette rolling by hand
  • Tour guiding or conducting
  • Hawking of goods
  • Thai typesetting by hand
  • Unwinding and twisting silk by hand
  • Clerical or secretarial work
  • Providing legal services or engaging in legal work (except arbitration work and work relating to defense of cases at arbitration level, provided the law governing the dispute under consideration by the arbitrators is not Thai law)

What are the requirements to work in Thailand?

According to Thai Immigration, here are the major requirements:

  • You must obtain a proper visa from a Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate prior to your arrival in Thailand.
  • Note that foreigners from the countries listed below are permitted to obtain an entry visa on their arrival at designated entry points in Thailand. An entry visa allows a stay of 15 days:
    • Bhutan, China (including Taiwan), Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Maldives, Mauritius, Oman, Poland, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.
  • Meanwhile, foreigners from the countries listed below are exempted from visa requirements. They are permitted to enter and stay in Thailand for 30 days without an entry visa. However, these individuals must obtain an entry stamp on their passports at the immigration checkpoint of entry.

Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Monaco, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, and Vietnam.

If extending beyond 30 days, all foreigners must have a valid visa which can be obtained from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate prior to entry into Thailand.

Steps to obtaining a work permit

Step 1: Obtain a non-immigrant visa

People who don't meet the requirements for a marriage visa would need to get a non-immigrant "B" visa.

Requirements for getting a non-immigrant "B" visa outside the country:

  • The applicant has been offered a job or starts a Thai company to employ himself/herself
  • The company requests for the applicant to be issued with a non-immigrant visa so that the company may be able to apply for a work permit for the said applicant.
  • The company can express great confidence on the individual to be of good moral and respectful to the culture of Thailand as well as being abiding to the laws of the country.

You should apply for this visa within 30 days before you plan to depart your country. The Consulate or consular officer will ask for copies of the registration documents and financial statements from the company.

Step 2: Obtaining the work permit

Employee provided work permit documents:

  • Passport - copies of every page. Each copy must be signed by employee.
  • Non-Immigrant Visa
  • Departure Card TM.6
  • Education degree (signed copy) *
  • Transcript (signed copy) *
  • Certificates or licenses held by applicant (signed copy) *
  • CV or Resume - describe in detail the applicant's past positions, duties, performance, length and place of employment.
  • Photos, three (3) in quantities which are 5 x 6 centimeters in size (not passport photos) with full face and taken wearing business attire (no hat and some jurisdictions require suit and tie). This must have been taken within six (6) months before the application for the Thai work permit.
  • Marriage Certificate (if married to Thai National). This includes the original and signed photocopies. Also include wife's Thai ID card, birth certificates of children, and household registration.

*Thai government officials may require these documents to be certified by your country's embassy (this requires bringing your degree, resume, license or certificate to your embassy to declare it is a true and original document. You are required to pay an authentication fee to your embassy. In addition, they can require you to translate these documents into the Thai language from your foreign language.

Employer provided work permit documents:

  • Commercial Registration Department Certificate showing that the organization for which the applicant is going to work has been duly registered as a juristic person, giving the name of the Managing Director and/or Director, and its objections and registered capital. *
  • Shareholders List certified by the Commercial Registration Department. *
  • Factory License (if required) issued by Factory Department, Ministry of Industry. *
  • VAT Certificate - Phor Phor 20 *
  • VAT filing - Phor Phor 30
  • Withholding Tax - Phor Ngor Dor 1
  • Social Security Payment filing

*Thai government officials require that all documents to have the seal of the company stamped on every page and the true and authorized signature(s) of the Managing Director and/or Directors next to the seal. In addition, government officials have in past requested official copies of registration, shareholder, licenses and certificates to have been issued by their respective agencies within the past 90 days of your application for Thai work permit.

There must be four full-time Thai staff per every one foreign employee.

NOTE: If you plan on working for yourself you will still need to comply to both the employee and employer documents. And your employer would be your own Thai company that you would have to create and capitalize.

Getting your work permit approved

There are several points on which the granting of the work permit would be based upon and one of them is the job description as it should be able to convince the panel concerned that the applicant has the required set of skills and knowledge for the job, a set in which Thai workers may not or may inadequately have. Also, in view of protecting the availability of jobs for its citizens, there is always a possibility that not all of the work permits it has applied before the Ministry of Labor would be granted.

A typical time frame for approval of the work permit for a company of 2 million baht registered capital is seven (7) business days in Bangkok and up to 2 months in Phuket. BOI approved companies can enjoy 3 hour processing times at the One Stop Service Center. The Labor Department will issue a receipt stating your return date for receiving your work permit book.

Signing for the work permit and its restrictions

Your first and only appearance for the Thai work permit will be at the Labor Department upon its approval. You must appear in person with your passport and sign the Thai work permit book in the presence of the Labor Department staff. The Labor Department puts a stamp in the back of your passport at the time of receipt.

When granted with a work permit, the individual must work only with the said company. If in case he is assigned to another location of the same company, he is required to obtain a new work permit covering such new location. The same is required if and when the individual would work with another company. This is due to the fact that the work permit is issued to the employee for the specific company at the specific location.

If in case he tendered his resignation or has been laid off by the company, he is tasked to surrender his work permit to the Labor Department not more than 10 days.

Obtaining a tax ID

Complying with the Thailand Revenue Department:

When the application for a work permit has been prepared and arranged, the individual is also required to obtain a Tax Identification Card through its employer. On his tax ID card is the Tax Identification Number, which will be used for documents that need the tax identification number (TIN).

NOTE: You cannot leave Thailand without a re-entry permit or you will void your visa. A "Re-entry Permit" allows the individual to exit Thailand before the expiration of the visa's validity and re-enter the Kingdom. Exiting the country without a re-entry permit would invalidate the visa and work permit.

Reporting your stay every 90 days

For persons on a long term extension of stay, they are required to report to Immigration Police every 90 days. Persons holding a multiple entry visa will simply depart Thailand and renew their extension of stay after each 90 day entry. Our website has a posting titled, Using the Thailand Immigration 90 Day Reporting Website, on how to do your 90 day reporting online.

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