Visa and Work Permit
Visa on Arrival
New Limits to Tourist Visa Extension
As of October 1, 2006 new rules for tourist visas (visa on arrival) apply. Previously these standard tourist visa were valid for 30 days and could be extended for another 30 days by crossing the Thai border (for example to Laos) and re-entering Thailand. This process could be repeated without any limits. This applied to all tourists with a valid exit ticket.
The new rule limits this method of visa extension to 90 days in total. After this period you must leave Thailand for at least 90 days. After this you can re-enter the country and again receive the normal tourist visa valid for 30 days. You can extend this visa again for two 30 day periods (90 days in total).
When you enter Thailand you will receive a tourist visa (visa on arrival) if you have a ticket enabling a journey out of the country. This visa is valid for 30 days. In order to extend your visa you must cross the border and re-enter, have this exit stamp and a re-enter stamp in your passport. The local term for this procedure is "visa run". Visa runs can be booked at almost every travel agency on the island. A visa run costs about 1500 baht (in May 2006). In addition you must pay a 300 baht visa fee. A visa run usually starts at 5:00 a.m. in the morning. You will be transported via mini-bus and boat to the border, for example to the border station at Myanmar in the Ranong provice. There you will cross the border, re-enter it, and you will be transported back to Koh Samui where you will arive at about 8:30 in the evening (if no delays occur). You can then stay in Thailand for another 30 days.
Please note: Visa runs can be exhausting. If you are sure that you want to spend more than 30 days in Thailand without visiting another country in the region do consider applying for a longer term visa in your home country. On the other hand, extending your visa by leaving and re-entering Thailand is fine if you wish to visit other countries in the region, for example, Laos, Cambodia or Vietnam or take a shopping trip to Singapore.
In an emergency you can pay a fine for overextending your visa. At the moment this fines are 500 baht per day. This may not be too bad for two or three days, but it is not the best way to go. Immigrations may put a notification stamp in your passport making it difficult for your to enter Thailand at a later date.
Non-Immigrant Visas: "O", "B", "ED" and "M"
Summary of different visa types and necessary documents:
- "O": Foreigner married to a Thai citizen (marriage certificate necessary)
- "O": Former Thai citizen and spouse (marriage certificate and proof of former Thai citizenship)
- "O": Children of Thai citizens (birth certificate)
- "O": Retired person (proof of regular pension payments or equivalent payments or lump sum)
- "B": Travel for business purposes: (declaration the company will pay for costs, time span of visit. If the stay is longer that 15 days than a work permit or proof of work permit application is necessary)
- "ED": Pupils (proof of admission to a school in Thailand); students (certificate of eligibility for non-immigrant student - form NIS); lecturer/professor (certificate of eligibility for non-immigrant lecturer - form NIL); teacher (confirmation of a school in Thailand)
- "M": Filmproducer (affirmation filming permit issued by the Film Board Commission of Thailand); journalists and reporters (affirmation of permit issued by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Press Division)
A copy of the supporting documents must be deposited at application. Die declaration of company cost takeover or the affirmation of a school for "ED" must addressed to the Thai representative office issuing the visa.
Length of Stay and Visa Costs
Type of Visa
Visa Fee (in €)
Number of Entries
Period of Stay
1 Entry (Single)
2 Entries (Double)
3 Entries (Triple)
1 Entry (Single)
2 Entries (Double)
3 Entries (Triple)
1 Entries (Single)
Visa for Retired Persons
Non-Immigrant O: Retired Persons
It is relatively easy for retired persons over 50 to get a visa. You either need a confirmation of your pension (at least 60,000 baht per month) or the equivalent on a yearly basis. Another way is by prooving that at least 800,000 baht are in your account at a bank in Thailand. Retirees with an non-immigrant O and fitting these criteria just have to go to the local immigration office in Nathon on Koh Samui and report every 90 days.
New Regulations for Work Permit!
For more details have a look in the pdf file!
People who want to work in Thailand need a special visa and a work permit. You can't have one without the other. First of all you need a non-immigrant B visa (multiple). Multiple in this case means that you can enter the country an unlimited number of times. You must apply and pay (120 €) for this visa at the Thai embassy or consulate in your home country.
Necessary Documents for Non-Immigrant B Visa (multiple)
You will need:
- a work contract with a company in Thailand
- education certificates and university diplomas
- statement that the company has taken over the costs for visa and entry
These documents must be in English and (the translations) notarized. The Thai embassy or consulate can tell you what type of notarization they accept. In Berlin, Germany for example, it was the Chamber of Commerce. The company must sign the visa application. When you hold the non-immigrant B visa (multiple) in your hands you can enter Thailand. Your company must then apply for your work permit.
According to the Alien's Working Act B.E. 2521 issued 1978 every foreign national who wants to work in Thailand must have a work permit. It does not matter if the person is an employee or self-employed. Every foreigner employed in Thailand or offering his services in Thailand must have a work permit issued by the Department of Skill Development and/or the employment or service type is not prohibited for foreigners by the Aliens' Working Act.
There is not a very good chance of getting a job in Thailand. Employers are legally obligated to employ Thai nationals. A foreigner can be employed when a qualified Thai national is not available for the position. Foreign nationals with qualifications in trading and commerce (especially in the hotel and engineering sector) or involved in "joint ventures" have the best chances of finding a job. Good working knowledge of English is an advantage.
The employment of foreign nationals is prohibited for many types of work, for example office work, salespersons and all construction work.
Necessary Funding/Capital Endowment
The most important criteria for a work permit is the capital endowment of the company applying for the work permit. At the present time (2006) at least two million baht in capital endowment are necessary per work permit for a foreign national. This is the minimum requirement. Other requirements, for example, a relatively high minimum wage for foreigners may also bei necessary. To gain more information please contact the Alien Occupational Control Division of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare or the One Stop Service of the Office of the Board of Investment in Thailand.