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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawVisa NewsIs It Possible to Enter Thailand Without an Issued Work Permit?

Is It Possible to Enter Thailand Without an Issued Work Permit?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Work Permits or specifically lack thereof and the possibility of re-entering Thailand or entering Thailand during this COVID-19 lockdown. 

For those who are unaware, and we have made a number of videos on this channel contemporaneously with this one, we are releasing them as we can get them produced but there has been a recent announcement and as of the time of his video, it  has yet to be actually promulgated into law that we have seen or I should say into the regulatory structure, but it has been announced from the Spokesman from the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Work Permit holders are going to be permitted to possibly re-enter Thailand notwithstanding the fact that there are substantial restrictions on foreigners entering the Kingdom; I have made a number of videos on that topic prior to this one. I urge you to check those out here on our channel. 

That being stated, quoting from a recent article in the Bangkok Post, that is, the article is titled: Work Permit Holder Boost but No News for Separated Families. I thought it was interesting, the following paragraph: "The Foreign Ministry has informed Thailand's Foreign Chambers of Commerce that foreigners who have Work Permits", and this is important "or Permit from Thai Government agencies will soon be allowed to enter the Kingdom." So what does that mean?  Well there are various ways in which a foreign national can be provided with work pre-authorization. We have made videos on this channel before, most notably the WP-3 document which is issued by the Thai Ministry of Labour, is a work pre-authorization document issued by the Ministry of Labour that allows a foreign national to come to Thailand; oftentimes it acts as a basis for obtaining a Business Visa, that is a Thai Business Visa, to come to Thailand then obtain a work permit and either seek a visa extension thereafter or seek a multiple entry business Visa at a Thai Embassy or Thai Consulate abroad in order to maintain lawful status in Thailand for working purposes thereafter. So it is possible to obtain a document which authorizes working for a foreigner that is not an actual Work Permit itself. It is not the actual Thai Work Permit, it is pre-authorization. 

Also it should be noted, the Board of Investment and other Visas such as the Thai Smart Visa have certain labour authorization that is not a classic Work Permit. So there are letters that can be issued, there are also Visas such as the Smart Visa which has inherent work authorization that is not considered a classic Work Permit. I am not going to get into the details there. Suffice it to say for the purposes of this video, "yes it may be possible if you do not currently have a Work Permit to be able to re-enter Thailand if you can obtain a document in lieu of a work permit." So basically something basically that states work pre-authorization for example. 

The thing to take away from this video that is possible but there are also other requirements to be able to even enter Thailand. There are things like a Certificate of Entry to Thailand, “Fit-to-Fly” documentation, there are also insurance requirements now in this “limbo period” if you will while we are sort of still struggling through the phased-in reopening process here in Thailand. We are seeing them for example like announcing this ability to re-enter with a Work Permit scheme. We are seeing this stuff put into place. As practical matter though understand it is a rather cumbersome process. There are multiple requirements that did not exist before and if you do have a Work Permit and for example of Business Visa and all of that is valid, don't think that that is sufficient to just get you into Thailand straight away. Again as previously mentioned in another video, Certificates of Entry are now required. There is a lot of vetting that goes into these and it is almost like a secondary visa.

So understand it is probably not a terrible idea to contact a legal professional if you are looking at these issues because this is a complicated scheme and getting somebody back into Thailand while these restrictions are still on is probably going to be a fairly complex process, not only from a technical standpoint but also it is going to be rather cumbersome just logistically to get all this documentation put together, compiled and submitted for a Visa and then thereafter submitted upon entry to the Kingdom of Thailand.