If you are 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 is how to get a medical certificate in Thailand. Once you get one, you will be one step closer to getting the coveted Thai work permit.
What You Need For A Medical Certificate – At most hospitals, clinics or doctor’s offices, you will only need your passport. Sometimes, though, you will also need a photograph so it is 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 will have some on hand for future purposes 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 is not necessary, and it is 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).
That is why the best place to get a medical certificate is either at a clinic (they are all over Thailand and, if you are in Bangkok, there are many of them), at a public hospital or at a doctor’s office. Here they will only charge you 100 to 150 baht ($3 – $4) for the exact same certificate.
Just show up at a clinic, tell the nurse on duty you need a health certificate and you will usually be shown in to see a doctor almost immediately.
I have never waited more than 15 minutes at any clinic I have gone to, and the whole medical exam takes 10 minutes or less. In other words, you should be out of there with health certificate in hand in less than 45 minutes.
The Medical Exam For Your Health Certificate – The first time I got a medical certificate, I went to a local clinic around the corner from the school I was working at. The school called ahead and made an appointment for me, although I was told when I got there it was certainly not necessary.
First things first — 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”, as I wasn’t.
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 was at a public hospital, and the doctor 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 will normally charge you an extra 50 baht, but it is 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, which is a little confusing as I have always had to get one, and so has everyone else I know.
Honestly, though, it is safer just to get a new one every year when your work permit comes up for renewal. After all, the entire procedure costs 100 baht or thereabouts, and takes a few minutes to complete.
Remember, if you don’t have one and the labor department requires one when you get there to apply for your work permit, you will have the hassle of going to a clinic, and a subsequent 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 is no big deal.
In other words, it is 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 are not a visible drug addict, and don’t look like you are going to keel over in front of a class full of Thai children 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 are genuinely not sick. Because not only are medical certificates cheap in Thailand, but health care is too.