I have been offered a job in Bangkok. Does a US citizen need a visa to work in Thailand?
Thailand’s immigration and labor departments can be a minefield to navigate to say the least but the short answer is yes, US citizens need a work permit to work in Thailand.
A work permit is required to work legally within the Kingdom as a skilled employee or employer, manager. The ramifications for getting caught working without one can be quite severe and rather costly. Additionally, in light of a raft of recent clampdowns on foreigners, it would be pertinent to get it right before you start working.
There is quite a lot of paperwork involved in getting a work permit for Thailand and before you even embark on this journey you need the correct visa. Most people come to Thailand on a tourist visa which allows them to visit the sights for a few weeks. It does not permit you to work, so you need to secure a non-immigrant visa before arrival.
This visa class requires more paperwork, specifically a letter from your employer. The company you wish to work for must be registered in Thailand with a capitalization of over 2 million baht. It must also employ four Thai nationals for every foreigner that needs a work permit. Those married to Thai nationals will only have to prove company registration up to 1 million baht.
Corporations promoted by the Thai Board of Investment (BOI) are except from these regulations and can hire more foreigners.
The visa you will get is a non-immigrant B, or business, visa. There are a couple of other classes such as IB for investment purposes or M for those working in journalism and media but the primary visa for most seeking to work in Thailand is the B class.
Once you have been issued with your non-immigrant B visa, your future employer can start the work permit application on your arrival in Thailand.
The list of requirements for work permit application changes frequently as does the list for the visa, so it pays to check in advance and not rely on any information online which can be dated.
Depending on your situation and the company hiring you, documentation for the work permit may include the company registration certificate, details of company shareholders, tax payment records, social security payment details, and employee contract details.
In addition, there will be personal documents required: proof of education, usually a bachelor’s degree is a required minimum, the aforementioned non-immigrant B visa, a current medical certificate, licenses and certificates, appropriate translations, multiple copies of your passport, photos and possibly other documents depending on your line of work.
There is also a lengthy list of jobs that foreigners are not permitted to undertake in Thailand. These include jobs related to agriculture and fisheries, anything to do with culture, arts and crafts, tour guiding or legal services. There are also several limitations to the Thai work permit such as geographical location. You may only be permitted to work in the specified office or province and only for the occupation specified.
Renewal of a Thai work permit is exactly the same process as getting a new one with the exception that you need to prove you have paid annual income tax.