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 as a teacher

There are quite a few different blogs about what is required to legally work in Thailand as a teacher.

Unfortunately, a lot of these blogs are written with no prior research or knowledge of Thai Immigration laws.

The process for working legally in Thailand basically comes down to obtaining a valid work permit to do so.

To get a legal work permit you will first need to apply for an official Non-Immigrant Visa.

English teachers in Thailand can 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.

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 America, 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)

Sign up for one of our awesome TEFL programs.

Get a Visa on Arrival (VOA) when you enter Thailand.

The VOA is the visa issued by Thai Immigration when you first enter the country. The Immigration officer will stamp you in for 30 days and that is the Visa. No need to apply for a visa before leaving South Africa!

You will need to extend your VOA at any local Immigration office in Thailand.

Upon graduation head to your school or employer that our amazing placement team organized for you.

Our dedicated placement team works with you and your employer to organize your visa and work permit.

If your employer is unable to provide you a non-immigrant visa and work permit then just contact the in-house legal team that will get you on track toward your work permit.

You will be required to leave Thailand for at least 48 hours to obtain a non-immigrant visa at a Thai Embassy using your employers (or the) sponsorship documents.

Return to Thailand activating your Non-immigrant visa; give a copy of your passport to your employer so they (or the supplying vendor) can organize your work permit.

Receive your work permit in hand, then extend your visa… sorted!

What is the difference between arriving without a visa or Tourist Visa?

The difference between arriving without a Visa (and receiving a Visa on Arrival) and arriving with a Tourist Visa is; the validity of the Visa and the application process before arriving in Thailand.

A Visa on Arrival (VOA) gives you 30 days validity with the 30-day extension, which gives you a total of 60 days in the country.


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 option of a 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.


Visa Process for Entrust Students:


Step 1: Sign up for one of the TEFL programs


The premium TEFL program.
The basic TEFL program.


Step 2: Gather all relevant application documents


Once you sign up for one of our TEFL courses you will receive an application email with all the application documents you have to gather to do the course.

When you have gathered all your documents send it through to us so that we can finalize your application before your arrival to Thailand.


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.

 You will activate/receive your visa 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 without a visa and getting a visa on arrival this will give you 30 days of validity. Exciting times ahead!


Step 4: Confirmation of the correct date and stamp


Both your passport and your Departure Card (They keep your Arrival card) will be stamped with both your Arrival Date 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 TEFL orientation at one of our training centers; we will take a look at your 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 third week of the course, so you will have time to talk with your potential employers about visa sponsorship and work permits.


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 60/90 days is up – Obtain a New visa or Activate your Multiple Entry


If you arrived on either a visa on arrival or completed your allocated amount of days of validity, plus your 30-day extension, then you need to organize a trip to a neighboring 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 Entry 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 need to obtain a new tourist visa to give them more time to process the documents. You may also want to contact a visa supplier about the possibility to obtain both a non-immigrant visa and work permit through a foundation as you can only do so many tourist visas through the 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 offense!