|STEP 1: Getting a non-immigrant visa
|If you want to work in Thailand, you need a work permit. However, before you can apply or be issued a work permit you must have a non-immigrant visa. This is required to apply for a work permit. It can be acquired prior to your arrival. It also often can be arranged in Thailand after your arrival or if you are in Thailand already and must depart for various reasons can be arranged at a Thai Consular Office in a neighboring country. Here are the steps you must follow:
|Requirements for getting a non-immigrant visa outside the country
|To get a non-immigrant visa at a Thai Embassy you need a letter on company letterhead that states the following:
- the applicant has been offered a job.
- the company requests that the applicant be given a non-immigrant visa so the company may apply for a work permit for them.
- The company knows the person to be dependable, upstanding and law abiding and that they will respect the laws and customs of the Kingdom of Thailand.
|Generally you should apply for this visa several days before you plan to leave the country outside of Thailand that you are visiting. The Consulate or the Consular Officer may also ask for copies of the registration documents from the company you are going to work for. Prior to applying for the visa, you may want to ask that a Thai employee at the company you plan to work for calls the Foreign Ministry in Bangkok to find out exactly what documents are required in this case and that these are provided to you. Recently, consulates have been warning people who have non-immigrant visas that they must present their work permits to get another visa next time (they even stamp this message next to the visa). Also since 9-11, Thailand’s laws on visas, re-entry permits, etc. have changed and it is best to try to get the latest information from the Royal Thai Foreign Ministry so that you have all the documents you will need.
|Typically, most foreigners who have previously been in Thailand seek their non-immigrant visa at one of the Thai Consulates in a neighboring country. These are either Penang, Kota Baru, Phnom Penh, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi or Manila. The Royal Thai Embassies and Consulates in the U.S., Australia and Britain can also issue the necessary visa. All of these Consular operations can issue the necessary visa and all are well experienced in the process. The one current exception to this prompt processing is Hong Kong. We have heard several complaints about the Consulate in Hong Kong which has always had a reputation for being difficult. The Consulate there has a very high rejection rate.
|In any case CHECK AHEAD! Conditions change frequently. If you are in Bangkok, call the Foreign Ministry or have your company do so. Also, oftentimes you can check on the web or with friends as to their recent experiences.
|In applying for a non immigrant visa at a Thai Consulate in a neighboring country, beware that some overzealous Consulate staff may ask you things like "how do you like working in Thailand or how has you company treated you so far?" This is often a way to trick you into disclosing information that might indicate you are working without a permit. Be careful in how you reply and only answer questions asked.
|Remember, it is always best to get a multiple-entry visa so you will not have to waste time and expense on visiting a consulate for a new visa every three months (in the event there is some problem with your work permit paperwork or you cannot get a long visa). Oftentimes, the Consulate will try to encourage you to get a single-entry and may even tell you that they do not issue multiple-entry visas. They do, however, and often a patient and friendly approach will get you what you seek. Current cost of a Non Immigrant Visa, Single entry is 2,000 Baht. Cost of a multiple entry non-immigrant visa for use within one year is 5,000 Baht.
|Extending Your Visa in Country
|Until about a year ago, extending a non-immigrant visa was a laborious process that required you to take similar paperwork required by the Labor Department for your work permit. Now, all that has changed and you can get a one-year extension in country in most cases.
|A few days before your visa expires bring the following documents to the Immigration Department:
- your passport.
- your work permit.
- copies of your passport showing the picture page, entry stamp and other stamps that relate to your stay in Thailand.
- copy of your work permit.
- copy of your employment contract or a letter from the company on their letterhead stating you have been accepted for employment and indicating your starting gross monthly salary and duration of employment.
- one passport photo
- copy of forms showing the company has applied for a taxpayer ID number for you or the actual tax ID card
- copies of your last six months Palmador One forms. Palmador 1 is a form that lists the salaries and tax paid for every member of a company. The company must pay the total taxes each month and they get a little yellow receipt to show they have paid. For each month you must copy the first page, the page your name appears on, and the receipt showing that the company paid.
- Possibly your bank book. This has been required recently.
- Immigration specifically asks that a Thai staff member from the company accompany the foreigner down to Immigration to help translate, answer questions and help resolve any issues. This is a good idea and should be followed.
- Application fee for a visa extention is 1,900 Baht. The above provisions change from time to time, so please have a Thai staff member of your company check before you go.