To obtain a visa, a foreign citizen must hold a valid passport or other travel document approved by the Royal Thai Government. He/she must meet the requirements specified in the Thai Immigration Act B.E. 2522 and its corresponding provisions. In addition, the visa applicant must be abroad, outside Thailand, at the time of application. The Thai officer will give the applicant the type of visa he/she has applied for, depending on the purpose of his/her visit to Thailand. A foreign national who plans to engage in work, business or investment activities in the Kingdom of Thailand must apply for a non-immigrant business visa, which is valid for a maximum of 90 days. Multiple entry visas of up to one year are available at some consulates and embassies.
Each applicant for business visa will receive a three-month application after submitting all documents to the Thai embassy abroad or in the chosen country of residence. Note that the list of documents requested by the Thai Embassy for a business visa may be different depending on the applicant’s situation:
➤ The applicant is applying for a non-B immigrant visa for business reasons
➤ The applicant is applying for a non-B immigrant visa to work in Thailand
➤ The applicant is applying for a non-B immigrant visa to work with a company in promoting BOI in Thailand
➤ Applicant is applying for a non-B immigrant visa to work as a teacher in Thailand
Non-immigrant, single entry
This visa is valid for three months from the date of issue and allows a foreign visitor to enter Thailand for a single period of 90 days maximum. After this period, the foreigner must leave the country or face penalties for overstaying. A new trip will require a new visa, which can only be obtained from a Thai embassy or consulate outside Thailand. However, it is possible to extend the single-entry visa for an additional 30 days by submitting an extension application to the immigration office.
Non-immigrant 1-year multiple entries
The B visa for non-immigrants with multiple entries is available for a maximum duration of one year, during which the foreigner can leave and return to Thailand as many times as he or she wishes. Each stay is valid for a maximum of 90 days. The first term starts with the arrival in Thailand, and the foreigner is allowed to stay up to 90 days in the country. After that, the foreigner must leave the country but can return without applying for a new visa. When the foreigner returns to Thailand, he or she can stay for another 90 days and so on. The multiple entry visa can be extended up to 15 months in total. To do so, the holder will have to leave the country and return just before the expiration of the one-year validity period. While the holder of a multiple entry non-immigrant B visa allows a foreigner to leave Thailand and return as many times as he or she wishes, after each entry, the foreigner will only be able to stay for a maximum of 90 days.
Non-Immigrant, one year, with BOI promotion
The holder of a Non-immigrant B visa has the right to reside and work in the Kingdom of Thailand for up to 90 days. The applicant must contact the Board of Investment (BOI), the immigration authorities and, of course, the employment department. The applicant must follow the following procedures:
➤ First, upon arrival in Thailand, the applicant must apply for permission to live and be employed in a BOI supported business enterprise. He/she can stay for 1 or 2 years, depending on the category of the company
➤ Once the job is accepted, the applicant must apply for a work permit and permission for his/her family to enter the country
➤ The foreign candidate can apply to work for a maximum of six months. (Temporary work)
➤ The foreign applicant can also apply for an urgent authorization to work for 30 days in case of necessity
➤ After the BOI informs you that your stay has been approved, you must promptly present your passport to the immigration office. The immigration officer will stamp your passport, and you will be allowed to stay in the Kingdom before your residence permit expires. You will need to go to Immigration Division 1, Subdivision 3, or the checkpoints where your business is located. In the meantime, you can apply for a multiple re-entry permit to enter and exit Thailand while your visa is valid. You will need to do this before the expiration date of your first permit to stay in the Kingdom
As soon as the BOI has informed you that you can stay in the Kingdom of Thailand on a regular basis, you must promptly file your application for a work permit. This document is essential and necessary for any type of work, and it will have the same duration of validity as the authorization granted by the BOI.
How to obtain a visa and a work permit?
After obtaining a non-B immigrant visa, each applicant must apply for a visa extension in Thailand. Read our section on the non-B immigrant visa if you need more information. By law, to work in Thailand, a foreigner must obtain a work permit. A work permit is a legal document that specifies the foreigner’s position, current occupation or job description, and the Thai company that employs them. A work permit is an authorization for the job(s) that foreigners can do in Thailand. After obtaining your business visa for three months, you must apply for your work permit. Our “Apply for a work permit” section can provide you with all the information you need to apply for your work permit in Thailand.
What is the SMART visa?
A new type of visa is now in effect in Thailand: the SMART visa. The SMART visa is a new type of business visa created to bring in highly skilled labor, investors, managers and young people wishing to develop startups or operate in the following specific sectors of the country. The four SMART visas have many advantages, such as permission to stay in Thailand for up to 4 years, notification of address for one year to the immigration office (instead of 90 days), the possibility for spouses and children to work without the requirement of obtaining a work permit. It is also not necessary to obtain a re-entry permit. If you would like more information on the Smart Visa, please visit our Smart Visa section.
How to get your business visa?
If you wish to apply for your business visa in Thailand, we recommend that you follow the procedure below. However, we recommend that you contact a visa lawyer with Themis Partner to successfully apply for your visa:
Step 1 - Prepare business visa documents and check with the embassy for required documents
As a prerequisite to processing your business visa application, you must ensure that you and your employer have all documents in perfect order.
To apply for your non-immigrant B visa, you generally need to prepare the documents listed below, provided by your employer:
➤ Letter of acceptance from the Board of Investment (BOI), Department of Labor, or other relevant government agencies or organizations
➤ Letter from your employer, including the statement of your position in the company, your salary, the duration of employment and the description of your work
➤ The various licenses with the company's registration
➤ The company's VAT certificate
➤ List of all shareholders
➤ List of foreigners employed in the company
➤ The company's plan
➤ A list of all documents and financial statements for the previous year (balance sheets, profit and loss accounts, etc.)
This list may vary depending on the Thai embassy where you apply. We therefore recommend that you check carefully with the Thai embassy of your choice to see what documents are required to apply for your business visa.
Step 2 - Obtain the approval letter from the Ministry of Labour or the Board of Investment before submitting your application
Since 2015, non-immigrant B visa applications require a confirmation letter from the Ministry of Labor (the “WP3” form), which confirms that the conditions for the subsequent issuance of a work permit are met. This confirmation document is requested at almost all Thai embassies and consulates in Asia. However, the “WP3” form from the Ministry of Labor is not required if the company holds a BOI. Instead, the applicant must obtain the BOI letter and receive a BOI visa before the BOI is administered. The purpose of the BOI visa is to facilitate the extension of the visa and to enable the issuance procedures to establish a favorable environment for business investment. It aims to simplify visa applications and extensions (authorization to stay in the country, re-entry permit, work permit). You should contact the BOI Visa Center at Chamchuree Square Building, Floor 18, Pathumwan, Bangkok.
If your employer is a BOI holder or not, he/she must first obtain a confirmation letter:
➤ If your employer has a BOI: a letter of acceptance from the BOI regarding the BOI, section 24 or 25
➤ If your employer does not have a BOI: a letter of confirmation from the Department of Labor (form "WP3")
Step 3 - Request the Ministry of Labour's letter of acceptance or the BOI's letter of acceptance
If you have already submitted your BOI application, please refer to the Section 24 Expert/Technician Document Checklist requested to request your acceptance letter. Section 25 BOI Acceptance Letter (After BOI Approval and Certificate) After obtaining your BOI certificate, your employer may request BOI acceptance, and the following process is required:
Your employer goes to the Foreign Expert Services Unit and obtains the approval letter that will be needed for the second step. During this step, the company must provide details about the objectives and reasons for hiring foreigners with their professions. The employer must give a staff employment scheme, with the number of positions and the period of time during which the qualified employees or foreign experts will work. The employer applies to the Foreign Expert Services Unit and will receive the final approval letter to support the business visa application. This step includes submitting an application for employment authorization.
Letter of acceptance from the Ministry of Labor (the “WP3” form)
If your employer does not hold a BOI, the general procedure applies and you will need to obtain the letter of acceptance from the Ministry of Labor to obtain your Thai visa. In fact, before you can apply for a 90-day business visa at the Thai embassy abroad, the applicant must first obtain a pre-approval of the work permit (called “WP3”).
Step 4 - Submit your application and documents
Applying for a visa outside Thailand: U.S., Australian and European citizens can apply for a Non-B visa either outside Thailand at any Thai embassy or inside Thailand, including Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar and Vietnam. For other nationalities, please check with the Thai embassy of your choice to see if you can apply for a non-B immigrant visa at another Thai embassy from your home.
Applying in Thailand: Changing your tourist visa to a non-B immigrant visa
If you are in Thailand on a tourist visa, it is possible to convert this visa to a Non-B visa at the immigration office. But please note that stricter conditions apply to obtain this visa:
➤ To do this, you must have a minimum of 21 days on your tourist visa
➤ The employer will have to prepare more supporting documents, and this will take more time
➤ The employer will also have to provide all the company's balance sheets for one year of operation
➤ If you are in Thailand on a tourist visa, it is possible to convert your visa to a non-immigrant B visa at the immigration office. But you will have to meet stricter conditions
➤ You have at least 21 days left on your tourist visa
➤ You need more supporting documents from your employer - if they can prepare them in time
➤ The employer's business record will be required (one year of activity)
Changing your tourist visa to a business visa is an interesting possibility if you are from an African country. However, you can only do this if you have your criminal record with you. Otherwise, you will have to fly home and have your criminal record checked. In this case, you can apply for your visa in your home country. When you present all the documents to everyone else, it is possible to get your visa in three days. (3 working days). If you need more information and documents to change your visa, please visit our visa change section.
Step 5 - Application for a work permit
Upon entry into the Kingdom, the applicant or his/her representative must apply for a work permit from the Office of Foreign Workers Administration, Department of Employment, Ministry of Labor. The applicant will be required to pay an income tax on this application. If the company employing the foreigner is located in the province, the applicant will have to submit the documents to the provincial employment office.
Step 6 - One year visa extension before the immigration office / IOA officer
A business visa holder can obtain a one-year visa extension in Thailand. This extension depends on the type of employment and the rules of your employer. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the process of obtaining a work permit in Thailand and how you can get a smooth visa extension. See our section on business visa extension if you need more information.
Which citizens can apply for a visa at a foreign embassy in Thailand?
Citizens of certain states must apply for a visa only at the Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate General in their home country/country of residence or at the designated Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate. Travelers should check with the local Thai embassy or consulate to determine where they can obtain a visa for Thailand prior to departure.
All passport holders from the following countries can apply for their visa at the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate General of Thailand in their country of origin or residence.
In case applicants live at the Thai Embassy w, where they will submit their application form, they will have to provide proof of residence. This proof can be a Cambodian work permit, Cambodian visa, proof of long-term residence, employment contract, school or university enrollment certificate, immigration stamps proving that the applicant has been living in Cambodia for the past six months, for example. The review of the application usually takes a minimum of three working days.
Assume that applicants do not live at the Thai Embassy, where they will submit their application. In this case, the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs must approve the application, and it takes at least one month to obtain the Minister’s decision. The applicant should submit the application to the Consulate General of their home country or to the designated embassy. This will expedite the process. For applicants under the age of 18, this requirement may be waived by the visa officer.
Can you get a work permit with a business visa?
Holding a business visa does not allow a person to be employed in Thailand unless the holder also obtains a work permit. Without such a document, it is not allowed to work in Thailand, even if it is without pay. The B visa for non-immigrants only allows the holder to seek business opportunities in the country by attending meetings. The activities must be transient. It is also forbidden to work on the Internet without a work permit, except for a vacation assignment if it is not of long duration.
If the holder is permanently based in Thailand, even the possibility of working for foreign companies via the Internet is not allowed without a work permit. Unfortunately, the legal and regulatory framework is quite unclear. The activity can be considered as a business; the business visa holder must obtain a work permit to comply with Thai regulations. For initial advice, the Ministry of Labor is usually helpful.
Can your family apply for a non-immigrant B visa?
The applicant’s family members may also apply for a non-immigrant visa. However, they must apply for an O non-immigrant visa and cannot apply for a B non-immigrant visa. They will be allowed to stay for 90 days and may not stay in the Kingdom for more than one year. Family members can be spouses, parents and children who are not married and are under 20 years of age.
What are the advantages of obtaining a non-immigrant visa?
➤ If the applicant obtains a non-immigrant visa, he or she will enjoy many benefits for staying in the Kingdom
➤ The visa holder is entitled to obtain a multiple-entry stamp to enter Thailand from the Immigration Office in Bangkok
➤ According to the regulations of the immigration authorities, the visa holder has the right to apply for permanent residence in Thailand
➤ The visa holder can obtain a work permit. The non-immigrant visa must be of category B and O (foreigner married to a Thai citizen)
➤ In the case of a long-term visa (one year), the visa holder can obtain a renewal of his/her temporary visa
What are the obligations of the visa applicant?
Foreigners must strictly adhere to the rules for each type of business visa, and they must report any change of address or status to the police within 24 hours.
In addition, all foreigners staying in the Kingdom for more than 90 days must report their address to the immigration office every 90 days. All persons must proceed in a strict manner, even if they hold a work permit or a long-term visa. In case of violation, the foreigner will have to pay a fine of not more than 5,000 baht. An additional fine of 200 baht per day applies until the foreigner complies with Thai law.
Please also note that transit, visitor transit, tourist and non-immigrant visas are only granted in the following situations:
➤ Consular service and diplomats with the necessary duration
➤ Official missions with the necessary duration
➤ Tourism with a duration of 90 days
➤ Sports with a duration of 30 days
➤ For commercial purposes for one year
➤ For investments when authorized by a government agency (2 years)
➤ For financing or any other investment-related activity under the Investment Promotion Law defined by the Board of Investment)
➤ Transit for 30 days only
➤ The driver or crew of a vehicle entering a port or other place in the Kingdom (30 days)
➤ For work as a qualified employee or expert (one year)
In response to investor concerns, the BOI has worked to coordinate the establishment of a one-stop service center for visas and work permits. Through cooperation with the Immigration Office and the Ministry of Labor, this center can process business visa and work permit applications or renewals within 3 hours, if the proper and complete documents are obtained. At the same time, this service is also responsible for other operations, including the issuance of multiple-entry visas, visa category conversions (from tourist or transit visas to non-immigrant visas), and penalty payments.
The One-Stop Service Center is located on the 18th floor of the Chamchuri Square Building, Phayathai Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, and can be contacted by phone at 0-2209-1100.
When applying for a renewal of a work permit, a person must prove that he or she has paid taxes for the previous year. Foreigners can also apply for a permanent residence permit in Thailand under certain conditions, such as investment in a business or condominium. The Immigration Department processes these applications. Diplomatic or consular personnel, foreigners who come to Thailand to perform their duties with the approval of the Thai government, foreigners who perform their duties in the Kingdom under an agreement between the Thai government and a foreign government, officials of international organizations or agencies working in Thailand, and all dependents of such persons, including private servants of members of the diplomatic corps, are exempted by law from the standard visa rules.
Can I leave Thailand without cancelling my visa?
Please note that if a foreigner wishes to leave the country, he/she must obtain a re-entry permit to return to Thailand with his/her current visa:
➤ A simple re-entry visa costs 1,000 baht. You can leave the country only once
➤ A multiple re-entry visa costs 3,800 baht. You can leave the Kingdom as many times as you like before your non-immigrant visa expires
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