If you’re an expat working in Thailand, most jobs require you to get a medical certificate, also known as a health certificate, before you can get a work permit. In some countries, getting a medical certificate (health certificate) is difficult. In Thailand, getting a medical certificate is easy and cheap. Here’s how to get a medical certificate in Thailand. Once you get one, you’ll be one step closer to getting the coveted Thai work permit.
What You Need For A Medical Certificate – At most clinics or doctor’s offices, you’ll only need your passport. Sometimes, though, you’ll also need a photograph so it’s better just to take one with you when you go. You can get a photograph at any photo kiosk or shop, and they usually cost around 150 baht (about $5) for eight passport sized photos.
It’s a good investment, as you need photos for everything in Thailand so you’ll have some on hand if you get them now. Just make sure the photo is on a plain white or blue background.
Where To Get a Medical Certificate in Thailand – Some people go to a private hospital to get a medical certificate in Thailand. It’s not necessary and it’s also a lot more expensive.
If you get a medical/health certificate at a private hospital, it will cost anywhere from 360-1,000 baht ($12 to $33). The best place to get a medical certificate is either at a clinic (they are all over Thailand and, if you’re in Bangkok, there are tons of them) or at a doctor’s office. Here they’ll only charge you around 100 baht ($3) for the exact same certificate.
Just show up at a clinic, tell the nurse on duty you need a health certificate and you’ll usually be shown in to see a doctor almost immediately. I’ve never waited more than 15 minutes and the whole medical exam takes five minutes, so you should be out of there in less than 45 minutes at most clinics.
The Medical Exam For Your Health Certificate – The medical exam usually takes less than five minutes. The first time I got my medical certificate, I went to a local clinic. The nurse took my blood pressure and weighed me. Then she showed me into the doctor’s office who asked me “Are you sick?” I said “No”. He chatted for a couple of minutes, listened to my chest with a stethoscope, checked my arms and legs for needle marks (they don’t want drug addicts teaching their kids!) then wrote out my certificate, handed it to a nurse, told me to pay 50 baht at the payment office and then collect my medical certificate. Total time spent? Twenty minutes.
Medical Certificate in English or Thai? – The last clinic I went to asked me if I wanted the certificate in English or Thai. You must get the certificate in Thai, or the Thai labor department won’t accept it for your work permit, but you can also get one in English if you like.
They’ll normally charge you an extra 50 baht, but it’s well worth it, just to have a medical certificate you can actually read.
Renewal of Medical Certificate in Thailand – Some foreigners report they don’t have to get a medical certificate every time they renew their work permit. I’ve always had to get one. Honestly, it’s safer just to get a new one every year when your work permit comes up for renewal. After all, it’s less than $5 and takes a few minutes.
Remember, if you don’t have one and the labor department requires one when you get there to apply for your work permit, you’re going to have the hassle of going to a clinic and a delay getting your work permit processed. Not worth it for such a small amount of money and time.
The most important thing to remember about the Thai medical certificate is it’s no big deal. It’s not like the US, where they practically require your first born and a few medical tests costing several hundred dollars. In Thailand, they just want to know you’re not a visible drug addict and don’t look like you’ll keel over any minute.
Don’t forget though, if you do have some medical problems, now is the time to get them taken care of so you can get a medical certificate secure in the knowledge that you’re really not sick. Because not only are medical certificates cheap in Thailand, but health care is too.
Photo – Clinic doctors and nurses are wonderful in Thailand – copyright MC4 Army, Creative Commons License