A foreigner may enter the country under the following categories of visa:
Transit. Except for citizens of certain countries, a foreigner may enter thecountry without a visa. He is normally granted a 30-day stay. Extension of stay may be granted in certain cases but would normally be limited to an additional 10 days.
Tourist. Foreigners who obtain a visa from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate are initially granted a stay of 60 days. The Immigration Department may grant an additional extension of 30 to 50 days.
Non-immigrant. A foreigner entering the country to work or fill an employment post must obtain a Non-Immigrant Visa from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate. His spouse and dependents who accompany him must likewise obtain the same type of visa. The visa is normally granted for an initial stay of 90 days, but it may be extended up to one year and is renewable each year. This visa entitles the foreigner to apply for a work permit. Holders of a transit or tourist visa cannot apply for a work permit.
Immigrant. A person wishing to immigrate to Thailand may apply for a Certificate of Residence. However, the conditions for qualifying as an immigrant are quite restrictive, and covered by annual immigration quotas and other conditions fixed for each country by the Ministry of Interior.
Alien Employment Act
The Alien Employment Act lists the occupations that may be undertaken exclusively by Thai nationals, and prescribes procedures to regulate alien participation in others. The substance of the law may be summarized as follows:
With a few exceptions, the law requires all non-Thai nationals who work in Thailand to have work permits issued by the Ministry of Labor.
The use of these work permits is restricted to the particular occupation, particular employer, and particular locality for which they are applied; any change in these restrictions will necessitate a new work permit.
Aliens working in companies promoted by the Board of Investment, or who are in Thailand under special laws (such as the Petroleum Act of 1971), can be issued with work permits which are valid for the duration prescribed by such laws under which they were allowed to enter Thailand. Likewise, foreigners assigned to work in Representative or Regional Offices may readily obtain a work permit from the Commercial Registrar.
Aliens entering Thailand to work with promoted firms or under special laws, as above, may commence work immediately, but they should apply for a work permit within 30 days from the date of entry into the Kingdom.
Within 15 days after the date of employment, transfer to a new locality, or departure of an alien employee, the employer is required to formally notify the pertinent government entity that issued the original work permit.
Aliens working in Thailand under special conventions between Thailand and other countries, including international organizations such as the World Bank, are exempted from obtaining work permits.
The information contained herein is partially extracted from KPMG’s Investment in Thailand booklet current as at January 1, 2009. The full booklet is posted on the website of KPMG Thailand, located at www.kpmg.co.th.
This information should only be used only as a guide. All potential investors should seek professional advice before doing business in Thailand. Neither KPMG nor STCC can be held responsible for any misprint, misinterpretation or inaccurate information published here.
The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such / this information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.