Understanding Work Permits for Expats in Thailand: A Guide for International Parents at VERSO

Understanding Work Permits for Expats in Thailand: A Guide for International Parents at VERSO

By VERSO Communications Team / June 18, 2024 / Living in Bangkok

As a leading school located in Bangkok, VERSO International School accepts families from all over the world. The range of cultures and experiences created by our diverse community of staff, parents, and students enhances our learning environment. Moving to Thailand frequently carries with it the thrilling possibility of new professional prospects for many of our overseas parents. But negotiating Thai labor laws can be intimidating. This post will explain how to get a work permit in Thailand and offer our expat parents valuable information.

Understanding Work Permits in Thailand

Foreign nationals must get a work permit in Thailand, as in many other countries, before they can legally work in any capacity. This need is true whether you work for a multinational firm, a Thai company, or for yourself. 


Working without a proper permit can result in fines, deportation, or even jail time, and the Thai government takes this rule seriously. For foreigners hoping to work in the Land of Smiles, then, knowing and following these rules is essential.

Types of Work Permits Available

Thailand provides a few options for work permits, based on your employment status:

Regular Work Permit: The most frequently issued type, this is given to foreign workers of Thai businesses or Thai subsidiaries of international corporations.

BOI Work Permit: In some fields the Thai government wishes to promote, such as high-tech industries or export-oriented enterprises, the Board of Investment (BOI) gives these permits to foreigners working in companies that have received BOI promotion.

Long-term Resident Visa: This is for highly qualified professionals, wealthy global citizens, and affluent pensioners. Though not quite a work permit, it does allow certain categories of foreigners to work or do business in Thailand.


Essentials for a Work Permit

Get a non-immigrant visa before requesting a work permit. For most foreign parents employed in Thailand, this will be a Non-Immigrant B Visa. Here's what you'll need:

  • A valid passport with at least 18 months validity.
  • A letter from your employer stating your position, salary, and contract duration.
  • Educational credentials, such as your degree certificates.
  • Proof of relevant work experience.

Along with other paperwork, your employer will need to supply:

  • Records of company registration.
  • A list of Thai and foreign staff members.
  • Corporate income tax returns.
  • Monthly contributions to social security funds.

How to Apply for a Work Permit

Though the application procedure for a work visa can be complicated, many employers—especially those who are used to hiring foreign workers—will help. Here is a broad summary:

  • Your employer applies for a quota to hire foreign workers.
  • Following approval, you apply to a Thai consulate or embassy in your home country for a Non-Immigrant B Visa.
  • Your company applies for a work visa to the Department of Employment when you arrive in Thailand.
  • Usually within five to seven working days of acceptance, you will get your work permit book.

Special Considerations for Teachers and Education Professionals

As many of our VERSO parents are involved in education or international organizations, it's worth noting some specifics:

Teachers: You must hold a bachelor's degree, ideally in education, a TEFL/TESOL certificate, and a clear criminal record in order to work in Thailand. Most documentation will typically be handled by the school or language institute.

International Organizations: You can be qualified for a different type of visa and work permit if you are employed by a recognized international organization, such the UN or an international non-governmental organization.

Self-Employment and Digital Nomads

For entrepreneurial parents or those working remotely, Thailand has been moving to meet the demands of entrepreneurs or who work remotely:

Self-Employment: While more difficult, obtaining a work permit is still attainable for those who work for themselves. You must register a Thai business with a minimum of 51% Thai ownership and fulfill specific capital criteria.


Digital Nomads: High earners who can work remotely are catered for through the Long-Term Resident Visa. For our tech-savvy VERSO parents, this offers a work permit and a number of other advantages.

Family Considerations

Though the emphasis of this article is work permits, you should also take into account the general visa status of your family:

Dependents: Your work permit entitles your spouse and children to Non-Immigrant O Visas. While they do not permit work, these visas do make extended stays easier.

Education: The family visas typically include your children's student status at VERSO. You can always get help from our administrative staff with this procedure.

Renewals and Changes

Typically good for a year, work permits can be renewed annually. Should you switch jobs, you must apply for a new permit and revoke your existing one. To stay out of legal complications, always make sure your work permit matches your present working status.

Cultural and Language Considerations

Remember that you are negotiating a foreign cultural terrain even if the procedure may appear bureaucratic. Thai business culture stresses patience, respect, and partnerships. Here a couple of pointers:

  • Pick up some simple Thai language skills: Conversations can be much smoother with even basic greetings.
  • For formal appointments, dress formally: In Thai society, appearance counts.
  • Patience: Even in the event of delays or demands for further paperwork, be courteous and patient.

Consider Expert Advice

Given the complexity, a lot of foreigners decide to deal with relocation companies or law firms that focus on Thai work permits. This raises the cost, but it can save time, eliminate errors, and provide peace of mind.

VERSO Community Support Network

Our lively, worldwide community is one of the best VERSO parent benefits. Many of our families are pleased to offer their knowledge and guidance having successfully obtained a work permit. Connecting with people who have gone through the same experiences as you is made easy at our frequent parent get togethers, cultural activities, and online groups.

Our administrative staff also understands the requirements of families living abroad quite well. We can't handle work permits directly, but we can offer advice, share materials, and help you understand how your job situation relates to your children's VERSO education.

Looking to the Future

As Thailand continues to position itself as a hub for international business, education, and digital innovation, we anticipate the process for expats to become more streamlined. At VERSO, we're committed to staying abreast of these changes and advocating for policies that benefit our international community.