Work permits and visas

 Process for working legally in Thailand as a teacher

Work permits and visas

 Process for working legally in Thailand as a teacher

The process for working legally in Thailand basically comes down to obtaining a valid work permit to do so. You would first have to obtain either a Non-Immigrant “B” which requires a degree in any field or a Non-Immigrant “O” which does not. Both of these Non-Immigrant visas open a 90 day window for you to obtain a valid work permit from your employer and once you obtain your work permit, your visa is also extended a year from entry.

The two main categories a school or potential employer would consider is if you are currently a degree holder or a non-degree holder. The two sub-categories would be are you a native English speaker or non-native English speaker. The term Native English Speaker (N.E.S.) referrers to any individual holding a passport from; The United States of American, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand or Australia. If you are not holding a passport from one of these countries, then according to Thailand and most of Asia you are a non-native English speaker. Over the years Thailand has made some exceptions in considering passport holders from South Africa and Ireland as native, but these countries have not been formally added to the list.

Degree or Non-Degree holder Applicant (From South Africa)


  1. Sign up for one of our awesome TEFL programs.
  2. Head to a Thai Embassy to obtain your Tourist visa.
  3. Arrive in Thailand activating your single entry tourist visa
  4. Upon graduation head to your school or employer that our amazing placement team organized for you.
  5. Our dedicated placement team works with you and your employer to organize your visa and work permit.
  6. If your employer is unable to provide you a non-immigration visa and work permit then just contact our in-house legal team that will get you on track toward your work permit.
  7. You will be required to leave Thailand for at least 24 hours to obtain a non-immigrant visa at a Thai Embassy using your employers (or our) sponsorship documents.
  8. Return to Thailand activating your Non-immigrant visa; give a copy of your passport to your employer so they (or us) can organize your work permit.
  9. Receive your work permit in hand, then extend your visa one year from entry…Sorted!!

What is the difference between arriving on a Non-Immigration Visa or Tourist Visa?


The difference upon receiving either Non-immigrant visa or Tourist Visa on entry is very slight. If you arrive on a non-immigrant visa you will have 90 days of validity from the date you entered Thailand activated it. The tourist visa gives you 60 days of validity from the date you entered Thailand activated it with an optional 30 day extension to equal a total of 90 days. The 30 day extension can be done at any immigration office or border crossing nationwide and costs 1,900 Thai baht for the extension.


Non-Immigrant visa


Non-Immigrant visa provides you a 90 day window to obtain your work permit. Once you have obtained your work permit, your visa is extended one year from entry. A Non-Immigrant ‘B’ Visa requires a degree where as a Non-immigrant ‘O’ does not.


  • 90 days of validity
  • Must leave the country to get a new non-immigrant visa once your employer provides you the sponsorship documents.

Tourist visa


A single Entry Tourist Visa gives you 90 days of validity with the 30 day extension and the Multiple Entry Tourist Visa (METV) gives you 180 days of validity with two 30 extensions, which is basically two single entry tourist visas back to back. The tourist visa allows you to; participate in meetings, conferences, seminars, attend special academic training or lectures which makes it perfect for our TEFL course.

  • May convert the tourist visa to a non-immigrant visa without leaving the country.
  • Must pay an additional 1,900 baht at a local immigration office for the additional 30 extension to equal the 90 days.


Visa Process for Entrust Students:


Step 1: Sign up for one of the TEFL programs


The premium TEFL program: Link to the premium course option under start your adventure
The basic TEFL program: Link to the basic course option under start your adventure


Step 2: Get your visa from your local Thai Embassy or Consulate


The Royal Thai Embassy or Consulates worldwide can vary on services, visa processing times, visa forms and fee structures, so please check for any updated information or requirements prior to your visit by visiting the Thai Embassy and consulate of your choosing by clicking the image below.

Things you may want to take with you to the Thai Embassy or Consulate:

  1. A pen (blue or black) to fill out your visa application form
  2. Passport with at least 6 months of validity
  3. Passport Copy of your (the data page with your photo and name)
  4. Visa / Passport photo, two recent photos ( 4 x 6 cm)
  5. Travel document, a copy of your air ticket, e-ticket or itinerary (Note: You may be required to provide proof of your departure via an Air ticket, bus, train or other form of transportation)
  6. Bank statement, a copy showing the last three months, with at least a balance equivalent to 20,000 Thai baht (approximately $700) per person
  7. The Non-Immigration ‘B’ Visa sponsorship letter or the Non-Immigrant ‘O’ visa package, if available
  8. The Visa processing fee


Step 3: Arrival in Thailand


Upon your arrival in Thailand or shortly before landing, you will be handed an Arrival Card (as below) so make sure you have a pen handy to fill it out correctly. If you have signed up for one of our TEFL courses then we would have emailed you an arrival information sheet on how to fill out this form and other location specific information on airport arrival, accommodation, etc.

Your visa is activated once your passport is stamped by the Immigration officer with on your arrival date; this is your entry date. If you are arriving on a tourist visa, then this gives you 60 days of validity and if arriving on a Non-Immigrant Visa then this would give you 90 days of validity. Exciting times ahead!

Please note: If you failed to obtain a visa at either a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate you will be given a Visa on entry, which gives you 30 days of validity if arriving by air transport and 15 days of validity if arriving by ground transport. You may extend this visa for 30 days at any Immigration office or border crossing nationwide.


Step 4: Confirmation of the correct date and stamp


Both your passport and your Departure Card (They keep your Arrival card) will stamped with both you Arrival Date and and Visa expiry date (Admitted Until). The immigration officer will staple your departure card in your passport so you don’t lose it. During the Entrust TEFL orientation at one of our training centres; we will take a look at you passport and visa entry stamp to be sure that everything was done correctly, if not one of our staff will take you to the airport to have immigration correct the error.


Step 5: Meeting your employers


Job placement happens during our second and third week of the course, so you will have time to talk with your potential employers about visa sponsorship and work permits. We want you to be completely comfortable with your employer so we have Agents and schools come to our training centres to interview with you personally.


Step 6: Head to your schools

Before you graduate the TEFL course on Friday night, you have determined which employer you will be going with and all the arrangements as to how are you getting to the school, who will be meeting you at the bus station or airport to collect you, where will you be living, and what your teaching schedule looks like, etc. will be sorted.

Most schools have a probation period, both to see if you are happy at the school and If they are happy with you before they start the lengthy sponsorship process, but other schools want to get your visa sorted before you arrive at the school so that you don’t miss any valuable class time once at the school. During this probation and the processing of your visa sponsorship paperwork you may work at the school as both you and the school are in this probation period.


Step 7: Still on a Tourist visa after 60 days?


If you are still on a tourist visa 60 days from your arrival date, you must head to any local immigration office or police station to extend your tourist visa for an additional 30 days at a cost of 1,900 Thai baht.

Things to take with you to your local immigration office:

  1. Your passport (with at least 6 months of validity remaining)
  2. A copy of your passport
  3. A copy of your entry stamp
  4. A copy of your Arrival card
  5. A pen (blue or black)
  6. One visa photo
  7. Your physical address in Thailand
  8. 1,900 Thai Baht


Step 8: Your 90 days is up – Obtain a New visa or Activate your Multiple Entry


If you arrived on either a Non-Immigrant visa or completed both your 60 days of validity, plus your 30 day extension, then you need to organise a trip to a neighbouring country to obtain a brand new visa or activate your multiple entry tourist visa. If your visa is expiring soon then you will need to do a “visa Run”, which is a term used to actually obtain a new visa at a Thai Royal Embassy or consulate. If you arrived on a Multiple Tourist visa, then you simply have to do a “border run (or hop)”, which is a term used when you simply step across the border and return to Thailand to activating the second part of your visa.

If you are a degree holder, your employer has most likely given you a Non-immigrant Employment sponsorship package to take to the Royal Thai embassy to obtain your non-Immigrant “B” visa. If you are a non-degree holder, your employer has most likely given you a Non-immigrant Employment sponsorship package to take to the Royal Thai embassy to obtain your non-Immigrant “O” visa.

If your employer has not been able to secure you a non-immigrant sponsorship package for you, then you will obtain a new tourist visa to give you another 90 days (60 +30) to give them more time to process the documents. You may also want to contact us about the possibility to obtain both a non-immigrant visa and work permit through our foundation as you can only do so many tourist visas from a single Royal Thai Embassy. If you have exceeded the limit of tourist visas from a single Royal Thai Embassy, then they will give you a letter that basically says come back with a plan as they would like you to be on the appropriate visa for your purpose in Thailand.


The Work Permit Process:


Once you have obtained your Non-immigrant “B” visa or Non-immigrant “O” visa from the Royal Thai Embassy and have returned to Thailand, your employer will want a copy of every page in your passport so they can start the work permit process. The work permit process can take from 10 business days to six months as the due diligence period has been increased.

Your employer will request the following items so they can start the process:

  1. Original passport
  2. Your departure card
  3. 12 photos (white background) 3 X 4 cm at a cost of approximately 250 baht
  4. 12 photos (white background) 4 x 5 cm at a cost of approximately 250 baht
  5. Blood Test (Doctor visit & test) at a cost of approximately 1,200 baht
  6. Royal Thai Police clearance at a cost of approximately 100-150 baht


Once you have obtained your work permit, your visa will be extended one year from your entry date. You will be required to report to a local immigration office to every 90 days to notify your intent on staying an additional 90 days and to update your physical address. As a foreigner (non-Thai National) your landlord must also report to immigration of your physical address, contract term, people living with you, etc., so both of these address and information should match up at immigration.

Please note, NB! Overstaying your visa is a serious offence!