Visas & Work Permits - What You Need To Know


Visa Requirements for Foreign Nationals 

in Thailand  

 All foreign nationals who wish to stay in Thailand for the purposes of working as a teacher or volunteering must be in possession of a valid visa. A visa can be obtained from a Thai embassy or consulate abroad and for some passport holders can be obtained upon arrival in the form of a visa-exempt or visa-on-arrival stamp. There is a huge variety of visas available for foreign nationals and choosing the correct one is essential for a comfortable and pleasant stay in Thailand. 

The most popular categories of visa available for people who wish to teach or volunteer in Thailand include:



· Tourist Visa (TR) & Multiple Entry Tourist Visa (METV)

· Education Visa (ED)

· Business Visa (B)

· Dependent, Family, Volunteering Visa (O)

 Overall, there are three main general categories of visa for those who wish to teach or volunteer in Thailand:   

- Tourist (T)

- Non-Immigrant without permission to work (Non-ED; Non-O)

- Non-Immigrant with permission to work (Non-B) 


**Note: A visa-exempt/visa-on-arrival is issued to passport holders of certain countries if they arrive in Thailand without a visa. The stamp is valid for a maximum of 30 days which can be extended in a local Immigration Office for a further 30 days for a fee of 1,900 baht. This is only suitable for people who are staying in Thailand for a short period of time and it is recommended to explore the options listed below rather than arriving in Thailand without any visa. You can find a full list of countries that qualify for the visa-exempt stamp here.   


Tourist Visa (T) 

Types: Tourist Visa (TR) & Multiple Entry Tourist Visa (METV)


A Tourist Visa offers a longer stay in Thailand than a visa-exempt stamp and is a better option for those who wish to remain in the kingdom for a longer period of time. Should you have plans to leave Thailand during the period of your visas validity, you should apply for a Multiple Entry Tourist Visa which allows you to leave the country and return without renewing your visa. 

It is possible to apply for a Tourist Visa or Multiple Entry Tourist Visa from any Thai Embassy or Thai Consulate in the world. You do not have to apply in your home country and can visit the nearest embassy or consulate and apply from there. 

A Tourist Visa is valid for either 30 days or 60 days and can be further extended by 30 days from a local Immigration Office in Thailand for a fee of 1,900 baht. This provides a total of 90 days in Thailand for a single visa. 

Note that after the 90 days, you must leave the country before applying for another visa.


Non-Immigrant Visa Without Work Permit (Non-) 

Types: Education Visa (ED) & Volunteer Visa (O)


A Non-Immigrant Visa can provide the perfect opportunity to stay in Thailand for up to a year, however, you will not legally be allowed to undertake paid employment while you are staying in the country. For this reason, these Non-Immigrant Visas are ideal for people who wish to volunteer for long-term projects without the hassle of leaving the country to renew their tourist visa every few months. 

An Education Visa is a great way to stay in Thailand long-term while learning the local language. There are numerous schools around the country that offer all levels of Thai language and other courses with an Education Visa included for the duration of the course. 

Applications for an Education Visa are made at a Thai Embassy or Consulate outside of the country and remain valid for between 8 and 12 months. 

A Volunteer Visa can be arranged via an organisation if you have volunteer work lined up already. Many charities and foundations will provide the paperwork for this visa if you have made a long-term commitment with them.


Non-Immigrant Visa With Work Permit (Non-) 

Types: Business Visa (B)


A Non-Immigrant Business Visa is the only employment visa accepted in Thailand and must be obtained to legally work in the country. This visa is required to legally teach English in Thailand and is a prerequisite for employment. 

However, the Business Visa goes hand in hand with a work permit which is issued by the company who employs you. A work permit is issued to the school or business from the Ministry of Education (MoE) and remains the possession of your employer throughout the duration of your contract. 

Once a Business Visa has been obtained from a Thai Embassy or Consulate, it is initially valid for 90 days. However, it can be extended to match the life of the work permit issued to your employer, eliminating the need for visa runs or extensions with the exception of the 90 day reporting system (detailed below).

A Business Visa is only issued to people who have already gained employment prior to arriving in Thailand. If you recieve a job offer while in the country, you will need to leave to receive a Business Visa.

 Visa Requirements 


Tourist Visa Requirements 



· Passport with a validity of at least 6 months

· Application form & one recent passport photo

· $30 USD fee or local equivalent


Education/Volunteer Visa Requirements



· Passport with a validity of at least 6 months

· Application form & 2 recent passport photos

· Letter from school/organisation/charity

· Visa fee (varies depending on visa type)


Business Visa Requirements



· Passport with a validity of at least 6 months

· Application form & recent passport photo

· Letter of approval to work in Thailand & copy of work permit

· Visa fee (2,000 baht for single-entry; 5,000 baht for multiple entry)


Other Useful Information 

 Extending a Visa

Some visa types, such as a Tourist Visa and Non-Immigration without Work Permit Visa can be extended by 30 days at a local Immigration Office while staying in Thailand, while a Business Visa can be extended to match the duration of the work permit. For the majority of cases, the fee for a visa extension is 1,900 baht.  

 90-Day Reporting 

 Everyone who holds valid visa for longer than 90 days must report their presence in Thailand to their local Immigration Office at a 90-day interval throughout their stay. It is possible to submit your 90-day report by registered mail or online (however the system is often down or not working so check in advance). If you fail to submit your 90-day report there is a 2,000 baht fine.  

 Other Visa Types

 While the visas covered above are the most popular for foreigners wishing to teach or volunteer in Thailand, there are a range of other visa options available. These include a Medical Treatment Visa (MT), Retirement Visa (O-A), Diplomatic Visa (D), Religious Activities Visa (R), and many others. There is also a Thailand Elite/Privilege Visa (PE)with a validity of 5 years for the well-off.    

 Useful Links 


 List of Thai Embassies/Consulates - 

 How to Apply For a Thai Visa -

Visa Requirements For Various Visa Types -

Thailand Elite Visa Information -

List of Immigration Offices in Thailand -

Visa Extension Information -

90-Day Reporting Information -