Have a question about obtaining a work permit or visa? Check out the questions below; chances are we've got your query covered! If not you can submit a question to us.

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How long does the process take to get a teachers licence, and do I have to do it myself?

You need a school backing you up in order to get yourself a teacher's license. If the school can't do the paperwork then your own chances of doing it will be slim to non-existent.

Many schools do not actually know how to get licenses and work permits for foreign teachers, or do not have a member of staff who has ever done it. In this case things can get very drawn out with the application being postponed indefinitely. If you're the first or only foreigner in a school, good luck.

The actual process need not take a long time. The important thing is to get the teacher's license because that will enable you to file your work permit application, which is then enough to extend your visa.

The process shouldn't take more than a month according to several school admin people that I have spoken to.


How can I make sure that leaving a job goes smoothly in terms of handing back the work permit?

Firstly, this is by and large the employer's responsibilty and not the teacher's.

You need to liaise with your school's admin person and tell them that you are leaving (hopefully you gave them 30 days notice) and discuss this issue.

Ask the employer to inform you as soon as your work permit has been cancelled and returned to the labor department. You must ensure that this procedure has been carried out or else getting your new work permit for the next job could be a problem.

Years ago, it was the responsibilty of the employer to give the teacher a chit to show that the permit had been cancelled but that's no longer the case. Therefore the current system is open to all sorts of administrative procrastination if your school is that way inclined.  


Can i get a 3-month class 'O' visa in Laos?

Can I get a three-month category 'O' visa in Laos? What about a double-entry non-immigrant B in Penang?

To be honest I hate answering these kind of questions because there is no such thing as a straight yes or no in my experience.

My advice is always to either call or fax the Thai consulate you intend to go to (calling is better) and get the answer from the actual consulate officers. Ask the name of the person you are speaking to so you have a reference point.

I wouldn't plan a visa run - transportation, accommodation costs, etc - unless I had some sort of guarantee.

If you turn up at the consulate with ten bits of paper, and the consulate want eleven, then it's too late. You're screwed.

Find out exactly what you need before you make the journey.


What happens if I break a one-year contract?

Well, the school will be pissed off for a start (unless you're an awful teacher and they can't wait to see the back of you).

In addition to that, you will probably be required to reimburse the school for the costs of work permit, teacher's license, admin staff's shoe leather, etc, etc. You can expect to cough up something in the region of 5,000 baht. 

More importantly, once you quit a job, your work permit and one-year visa are null and void. You now have 7 days to leave the country and get a new visa.

Make sure that you keep tabs on exactly when the school hands back your work permit to the labor department, because that's when the 7-day clock starts ticking. I've heard numerous stories of schools failing to tell the teacher that they've already cancelled the work permit and the teacher suddenly staring at a hefty overstay fine.

Needless to say, breaking a contract is something you really should avoid doing if at all possible.

Paully also adds the following - In addition to the advice already given, remember that if your written employment contract has a notice period clause in it (as is common), for example, allowing your employer or you to terminate the contract on one month's written notice to the other party, you are NOT breaking your contract by giving your employer one month's written notice of leaving.

You are terminating your contract by agreement. This is as valid in Thai law as in US or UK law.

Your employer may still be pissed off, but there's nothing in law he can do about it other than try to hold up your application for a new work permit.

Keep a copy of your letter of notice and contact the Ministry of Labour if your old employer refuses to give you the Min of Labour a release form (Tor Dor 11) agreeing to your leaving and allowing you to get a new work permit.

Update from a teacher regarding the '7-day rule'

In my case, the employer wrote on whatever form it was that they presented to the Labour Department that my last date of employment was 12 June.

They actually notified the Labour Department on 14 June and subsequently notified Immigration on 15 June. Immigration gave me until 18 June (ie, the clock started ticking the first second into 12 June) to leave the country.

I was expecting a date of 21st June, so this was a bit of a surprise, but not a problem.


Do you need two WPs if you work full-time at a school and part-time at a language institute?

You would probably have a work permit for the full-time job at the school, but the part-time work at the language institute would just be for a few hours in the evening.

One of Bangkok's biggest private language schools only employs part-time teachers who already have a work permit for their full-time job. This means that at the very least, the teacher is legally entitled to work in Thailand, albeit not for the part-time job.

However, an ajarn reader got in touch to say that at the back of the work permit book, there is space to add a 'second employer'. So it seems you can possibly cover two jobs at two different locations with just one work permit book.


Who should pay for the work permit - employer or employee?

There is no rule or law stating who is responsible for payment. Sometimes it's the employee that forks out but in most cases it's the employer.


Can I convert a tourist visa into a non-immigrant B without leaving Thailand?

Yes, this can be done if you are a teacher with a guaranteed job offer but surprise! surprise! there is a certain amount of hassle involved.

A lot of the responsibility rests with your employer, who will need your paperwork in order to apply for a letter from the Thai Ministry of Education. This letter can take anything from 3-6 weeks to obtain.

Because of the hassle involved, many employers take the easy option of asking the teacher to go to a neighboring country such as Laos or Malaysia and apply for a new non-immigrant B visa from a Thai consulate or embassy in that country.


Can you get a work permit without a degree?

This is one of those 'ask ten different people and you'll get ten different answers' type questions. There are a lot of those in Thailand trust me.

Although the official line is 'no you can't get a work permit without a degree' there are plenty of examples of agencies managing to get one for their teaching staff and in some cases, teachers at government schools out in the sticks have had no problem at all.

As in most cases, it can depend on contacts and being in the right place at the right time. If you're looking for some hard, fast rule that applies 100% of the time - forget it. This is Thailand.


Can a visa and work permit be transferred to another job?

Technically, the answer is no.

If a teacher leaves a job for whatever reason, they need to hand back the work permit to the labor department and the visa that goes with that work permit becomes null and void.

You then have to leave the country (usually within 7 days) to obtain a new visa at a Thai embassy or consulate in a neighboring country.

However, there are rarely any black and white answers in Thailand, and some teachers (probably very few I might add) have had success transferring the visa but not the work permit, while others have had success transferring both work permit and visa due to the fact that the paperwork for the new job was completed in time (before the end of the first contract)

If that doesn't sound like a straight answer, then that's because it isn't one. This is another one of those situations where as the teacher, you need to rely on both your past and previous employers to get all their ducks in a row.

It rarely happens that way in truth - so be prepared to leave the country for a visa run.


What are the costs involved in doing a border run and will my school pay?

Very difficult to answer this question. You could take a cheap minibus from Bangkok to Aranya Pratheet on the Cambodian border and still have change from thirty dollars. Or you could fly to Singapore and stay a night in a swanky Orchard Road hotel.

Border runs can be tailored to fit most budgets.

Schools almost rarely/never pay for a teacher to do a border hop or consulate run.


Showing 10 questions out of 45 total

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