03. Visa & Working License
We facilitate and assist processing of
- Thai Visa (non-immigrate) one year
(new or re-new applicant)
Business Retirement Married etc
- Working Permit
(new or re-new applicant)
- Permanent Residency
- Immigration Problem Settlement
- Labor Problem Settlement
Visa-free entry, Most visitors from industrialized countries to Thailand may enter for a period of 30 days without obtaining a visa in advance.
Visa on arrival, Nationals of a few countries are granted 90 entry permits on arrival, without the need to apply for any visa.
Prior visa application, Nationals of some countries are required to obtain visas before arrival.
Entry without a visa, When a person enters without a visa or with a visa obtained at Don Muang International Airport, his passport will normally be stamped with a permit allowing the holder to stay in Thailand for 30 days. The immigration office may request to see evidence of an onward ticket and means to support oneself while in Thailand but such requests are rarely made unless the traveler's appearance raises suspicions. Extensions of up to seven days may be obtained upon application at an Immigration office.
Overstaying, A person who overstays his visa for such a period may pay a fine of Baht 500 per day at the airport. A person who overstays his visa for a long period may be taken to a District Court by the immigration authorities and fined up to Baht 20,000. The fine is normally reduced by half if the person pleads guilty. Where the fine cannot be paid and in certain other situations a jail sentence may be imposed.
Tourist visas, Visitor Transit visas valid for a 60-day stay are routinely available for most nationalities at Thai embassies and consulates. The 30 and 60 day visas discussed above do not normally allow a person holding such a visa to work in Thailand, except that such a person may apply to the Labor Department for permission to do urgent and essential work for a period of 15 days (see the previous Chapter) or apply for a work permit from the Ministry of Commerce to work for a Representative Office established in accordance with the Ministry of Commerce regulations.
Non-immigrant visas, Persons wishing to stay in Thailand for more than 60 days should normally apply for a non- immigrant visa, since this type of visa initially permits an initial stay of 90 days and an application may be made to extend the stay for up to one, and in some cases, for two years.
The most common type of non-immigrant visas are Categories ‘ B ' and ‘ O ‘ Most businessmen intending to apply for a work permit will apply for a Category B visa and with such a visa he may, once in Thailand, apply for an extension of stay. In some cases, where the foreigner intends to work for an already established company, it is possible to apply for a Category BA visa, that is, a visa where the extension of stay has already been approved before the businessman arrives. Such visas are issued by Thai embassies and consulates only upon instructions from the immigration authorities in Bangkok. Most businessmen enter with a simple Category B visa and apply for an extension after arrival.
The other type of non-immigrant visa often issued is a Category "O" visa, "O" meaning "other." This visa is issued for dependents of a businessman, for those who wish to live with their Thai spouses, for foreign children of Thai mothers and for those who wish to live as retired persons in Thailand. While non-immigrant visas are usually available from Thai embassies and consulates without the need to present any proof, in applications for a Category B visa, the applicant may occasionally be asked for evidence that he is about to do business in Thailand. In case of an application for a Category O visa, there may be a request that the applicant demonstrates that he has the means to live as a retired person or is related to a Thai national. To avoid delays, persons applying for these types of visas may wish to have the proof required available when making the application.
One-Stop Service Center, Applicants in one of the following categories:
. Being employed by a BOI promoted business,
. Who personally invest 2 million Baht or more, or
. Being employed by a company that has invested 30 million Baht or more,
provided that they meet the work permit criteria above and present proper documentation, may be granted visa extensions for a one or two year period and re-entry visas within three hours at the One-Stop Service Center at the same time that they receive their work permits. Those who do not qualify for this fast track service may apply for extensions as indicated below.
Application for extension of a visa, Applications for an extension of visa may be made at any immigration office in the area in which the applicant is living. An application fee is payable.
Businessmen applying for an extension must, in addition to presenting a valid passport, the forms provided by the immigration authorities and a passport photo, submit corporate, tax and certain personal documents.
Applications for extension are considered by an immigration committee and are granted where the extension appears to be in the interests of the country. In this respect, the amount of tax paid by the company and the applicant are considered. Normally, an unmarried businessman must show he has an income of at least Baht 50,000 a month and pays income tax on the same.
An initial application may take a number of months to be considered, but during this time the applicant will be granted temporary monthly extensions until a decision is made.
Persons who are employed by companies sponsored by the Board of Investment, the Department of Mineral Resources or the Ministry of Commerce with respect to a representative office and other official offices, receive expedited processing.
If an extension is granted, it may be renewed by submitting another application. Documents already submitted need not be submitted again, unless there has been a change, but in any event, current tax returns, balance sheets, and profit and loss statements must be submitted, as well as evidence that the work permit is still valid.
Each dependent of the applicant must file a separate application but the businessman and his dependent will have their applications processed together.
Generally, retired persons and relatives of Thai nationals may apply for extensions of their visas upon proof of the applicable status, means of support and payment of taxes.
Residence permits, Applications for permanent residence are normally considered after the applicant has been in Thailand for three years as a non-immigrant.
Reporting requirements All foreigners who change their addresses in Thailand must report the change to a local Immigration Office or a police station.
Foreigners, other than those holding resident status, including businessmen holding non-immigrant visas and staying in Thailand over 90 days, must every 90 days report their address to the immigration authorities, even if there is no change.
The Foreign Employment Act (2008) is the principal Act that regulates the employment of foreigners in Thailand. The Act prohibits foreigners from engaging in work in Thailand, whether paid or unpaid unless a work permit is first granted. It prescribes that all foreigners (except for certain exempted categories) must apply for a work permit in order to work, even for unpaid employment. Regulations issued under the Act list certain occupations that are prohibited to foreigners and impose qualifications that work permit applicants must meet. If it is desired to change the scope of employment or to change the locality or place of work, application for a variation must be made in advance. The Director General is granted regulatory powers and breach of the Act by foreigners or employers is subject to fines or imprisonment. The terms of the law are very strict and except for foreigners working in a diplomatic or related field, there are, at least in terms of the Act, few exceptions.
Foreign Employment Act 2008, Under the Act, a work permit is always required when a foreigner undertakes any form of work, whether the work is paid or unpaid.
Exempted employment, The Act does not apply to foreigners who are:
. Members of a diplomatic or consular mission.
. Representatives of member countries and officials of the United Nations and specialized institutions.
. Personal servants coming from foreign countries to work for the above persons.
. Persons who perform duties or missions under an agreement concluded between the Government of Thailand and foreign governments or international organizations.
. Persons who perform duties or missions for the benefit of education, culture, art, sports or other activities as may be prescribed by decree.
. Persons permitted by the Government of Thailand to enter and perform any duty or mission.
Urgent and essential work, A foreigner may engage in any work that is not prohibited to foreigners, only upon the issue of a work permit. This does not apply to a foreigner who has been temporarily permitted to enter Thailand in order to engage in work that is necessary and urgent, for a period not exceeding 15 days, but he may engage in such work only after he has notified the Director-General in the prescribed form.
An employer may submit a work permit application, Any person wishing to employ a foreigner in his business in Thailand may submit an application on behalf of the foreigner to the Director-General. The Director-General may issue the permit only after the entry into Thailand of such a foreigner.
Work permit can include conditions, In granting a permit to a foreigner, the Director-General may prescribe any condition therein for the foreigner to comply therewith. In such a case, the foreigner is required to give assurances that he will comply with such conditions.
Businesses subject to investment promotion, A foreigner who has been permitted entry to work in Thailand under the Investment Promotion Act may apply for a permit within 30 days from the date of entry but if such foreigner is already in Thailand the period of 30 days shall begin from the day he is aware that he has been granted permission to work under the law on investment promotion or other laws. Pending the issue of a permit, the applicant. is allowed to engage in such work.
Criteria for work permit applicant, A foreigner who may apply for a permit must possess the following qualifications:
. Has a place of residence in Thailand or has been permitted to enter Thailand temporarily, except as tourist or in transit;
. Is not disqualified or prohibited under ministerial regulations.
Period of validity of permits, Work permits are generally valid for one year from issue. For foreigners working in promoted businesses, it may be issued for a period of up to two years.
Application for renewal, If the holder of a permit wishes to continue working, he must apply for renewal prior to expiry. In such case, the applicant for renewal may continue working until an application for renewal is refused. Renewal will usually be for one year.
Appeals, Where a work permit is refused not renewed or permission to change the work or place of work is refused, the applicant has a right of appeal. Such appeal must be submitted in writing within 30 days from the date of knowledge of the refusal. Appeals must be considered within 15 days and the Minister must complete his consideration of the appeal within 30 days. The decision of the Minister is final. Right to continue working pending appeal In the case of an appeal against an order refusing the renewal of a permit, the appellant may continue working pending the appeal decision.
Permit must be made available for inspection, A holder of permit must keep the permit on his person or at the place of work during working hours, in order that it may be readily shown to a competent official.
Permit lost or damaged, If a permit is materially damaged or lost the holder of the permit must apply for a substitute within 15 days from the date of knowledge of such damage or loss.
Termination of employment, Where employment terminates, the work permit must be returned to the Registrar of the district where the place of work is situated, within seven days from the date of termination.
Not to engage in unauthorized work or change locality or place of work without prior permission, A holder of a permit may not engage in work, other than that which is specified in the permit, or change the locality or place of work, unless prior permission is obtained from the Registrar.
An employer must notify employment, transfer or termination, Any person who employs a foreigner, transfers a foreigner to work in a locality other than that which is specified in the permit or has a foreigner who resigns from his employment, must notify the Registrar within 15 days from the date of employment, transfer or resignation.
Fines and imprisonment, Fines and imprisonment are imposed for breaches of various of the sections of the Act.
Prohibited occupations, Foreigners may not work in any of the following occupations:
1.Laboring except for laboring in fisheries under (2)
2.Agriculture, animal husbandry forestry, fisheries, except for work requiring special expertise, farm supervision or labor in fisheries especially marines fisheries
3.Bricklaying, carpentry and other construction work
5.Driving vehicles or vehicles that do not use machinery or mechanical devices (excluding piloting aircraft internationally)
8.Supervising auditing, or accountancy except for occasional internal examination
9.Cutting and polishing of precious or semi-precious gemstones
10.Hairdresser or beauty salon
11.Weaving cloth by hand
12.Weaving mats or making utensils from reed, rattan, jute, hay or bamboo
13.Making rice paper by hand
14.Making lacquer ware
15.Making Thai musical instruments
16.Making niello ware
17. Silversmith goldsmith or making products from alloys of gold and copper alloy
19. Making Thai dolls
20. Making mattresses and quilts
21. Making alms bowls
22. Making silk products by hand
23. Making of Buddha images
24. Making knives
25. Making paper or cloth umbrellas
26. Making footwear
27. Making hats
28. Brokerage or agency, except for agency in international trading
29. Engineering in civil engineering concerning design and calculation systemization analysis, planning, testing, construction supervision or consulting services, excluding work requiring specialized techniques.
30. Architecture concerning designing, making drawings, cost estimation or consulting services
31. Making dresses
32. Making pottery
33. Making cigarettes by hand
34. Tourist guide
35. Hawking of goods
36. Thai language typesetting by hand
37. Unwinding and twisting silk by hand
38. Clerical or secretarial work
Application for a work permit, The following documents should be submitted with the work permit application
. Passport or document used in lieu of a passport, foreigner's personal identification papers or residence papers under the law on immigration;
. Documents certifying educational qualifications or certificates of the employers for whom the applicant used to work, specifying details of characteristics and period of the work that the applicant used to perform:
. The potential employer's certificate of employment of the applicant together with supporting evidence for not employing a person of Thai nationality to work:
. Certificate of a medical practitioner certifying that the applicant is not suffering from diseases prescribed under regulations;
. Certificate of the relevant government agency showing that the business of the potential employer for whom the applicant is going to work has been duly and lawfully registered or licensed to be established and operated and also showing the category of the business: and
. Three photos, half-body, facing front, without a hat, size 5 x 6 centimeter, having been taken within the previous six months.
A person who is granted a work permit must report in person to collect it.
Application for renewal of a work permit, An application for a work permit renewal must be submitted with documentation as follows:
. Passport or document used in lieu of a passport, foreigners personal identification papers or residence permit;
. Existing work permit;
. Documents certifying the educational qualifications or certificates of the employers for whom the applicant used to work, specifying details of characteristics and period of the work the applicant used to perform, in the case of an application for permission to change work;
. Certificate of employment of the potential employer engaging the applicant to work, in the case of an application for permission to change work or place of work, together with supporting evidence giving reasons for not employing a person of Thai nationality to work;
. Certificate of the relevant government agency showing that the business of the potential employer for whom the applicant is going to work has been duly and lawfully registered or licensed to be established and operated and also showing the category of the business, in the case of an application for permission to change work or place of work; and
. Three photos, half-body, facing front, without a hat, size 5 x 6 centimeter having been taken within a period not exceeding six months before.
A person who is granted permission to change work or locality or place of work must report in person to collect the work permit.
General criteria for approval of a work permit, The criteria for approval of the issue of a work permit were revised in 2002. The following criteria will now be applied. Firstly, an applicant may bring himself within normal circumstances. If he cannot, then his application can still be considered if he brings himself within the exceptional circumstances:
Normal circumstances, In order to employ a foreigner, a company must satisfy one of the following conditions:
. Sufficient capital, A company needs to have paid-up capital of at least Baht 2 million. The number of foreigners who can be employed depends on the amount of capital. One foreigner can be employed for every Baht 2 million contributed as paid-up capital, but the maximum number of foreigners that can be employed by relying on this condition is 10. The company affidavit, shareholders list, and statement showing the balance of the company's bank account together with the financial statements of the company for the previous year (if applicable) must be submitted.
. Corporate income tax payments made, If a company has been incorporated for at least three years, and has paid annual corporate income tax of at least Baht 5 million during the last three years, a company may employ one foreigner for each Baht 5 million of tax paid. For companies that have been incorporated for less than three years, this requirement will not be strictly applied. Copies of annual corporate income tax returns for the previous three years together with receipts for tax paid must be submitted.
. Employment of Thai employees, The applicant company must employ at least 50 Thai employees. One foreigner may be employed for each group of 50 Thai employees, but the maximum number who may be employed on this ground is five foreigners. Documents showing contributions to the Social Security Fund must be submitted.
. Export income, If the applicant company is in the export business, in addition to the above conditions, it must have brought more than the equivalent of Baht 3 million in foreign exchange into Thailand over the previous year. One foreigner may be employed for each Baht 3 million of export earnings, but the maximum number who may be employed on this ground is three foreigners. Bills of lading or any other export shipping documents filed with the Customs Department must be submitted.
Provided the application can be brought within one of the above categories, the work permit may be issued within approximately 10-15 working days.
Exceptional circumstances, If the applicant company fails to satisfy any of the above conditions, the Director General of the Department of Employment has the discretion to grant a work permit, provided the foreigner comes into one of the following categories:
. He is a representative of an international trade business. A license granted under the Foreign Business Act must be submitted;
. He is working on a temporary basis as a consultant in investment, administration, technology or internal audit. The agreement to employ the foreigner as a consultant must be submitted;
. He is working in tourism. A tourism business license issued by the Tourism Authority of Thailand must be submitted;
. He is working for an international financial institution certified by the Bank of Thailand;
. He is working for a business operating in the areas of entertainment, religion, social welfare, culture or sport which employs staff on a temporary basis and does not seek to make a profit or to generate income. Non-profit organization receiving assistance from the foreign private organization will be required to obtain the relevant Thai regulatory approvals for their operations;
. He is working on a project in the public sector or in a state enterprise. A supporting letter issued by the relevant authority in the project specifying the number, names and titles of foreigners must be submitted;
. He is carrying on a business that Uses mostly local raw materials or that which reduces reliance on imported raw materials;
. He is carrying on a business that supports the export of Thai products;
. He is carrying on a business which transfers technology to Thai people;
. He is working in an area where there is a shortage of workers;
. He is residing in Thailand with a residence permit or a foreign identity card; or
. He is a spouse of a Thai national and the marriage is legally registered.
A decision to grant a work permit in any of the above circumstances will be made by the Director General. In such cases, the investigating officer must pass the matter to the Director-General for his consideration.
One-Stop Service Center, For those who qualify, a work permit and visa extension may be issued at the One-Stop Service Center. This fast track procedure is available to an applicant who complies with one of the following:
. Being employed by a company with BOI promotion.
. Personally invests 2 million in a business, where it is shown that the 2 million Baht was brought into Thailand officially in the applicant's own name.
.Being employed by a company with 30 million Baht in registered capital or who has 30 million Baht in working capital
Applicants in the above categories may qualify for a one or two-year work permit, issued within three hours of application. Those who do not qualify for the One-Stop Service Center must apply in the traditional way, which will often involve a longer period.
Tax liability, During the period a foreigner is waiting for his work permit to be issued, he is not permitted to work. The Revenue Department, however, will normally assess taxes from the foreigner for the non-working period, since it is permissible to be paid salary whilst waiting for the work permit to be issued.
... Thanks for Information from Bangkok International Associates - Thailand Business & Legal Guide