Most EFL/ESL/English teachers come to Thailand and look for a teaching job when they get here. With the best jobs found in country, nobody wants to accept an inferior job before they arrive. But, in order to get a teaching job in Thailand there are certain documents you must have with you when you arrive. Not having these documents can delay a job offer, the start date of a teaching job or mean you don’t get the job at all. So, before you leave your home country to look for a teaching job in Thailand, make sure you have these documents with you.
Your Passport – Obviously, you need your passport or Thai immigration won’t let you in the country without one. Your passport however must have at least six months left on it before its expiration date or you’ll be denied entry when you arrive at the airport in Thailand. Plus, as once you get a teaching job a one-year work permit will be stamped in your passport, make sure you have at least a year and a half left on it before it expires. That will save you the hassle of applying for another passport while you’re in Thailand and having to fill in all the paperwork to get your Thai work permit transferred to a new passport.
A Non-Immigrant B Visa or a Tourist Visa – If you’re looking for a teaching job in Thailand, you must have a non-immigrant B visa in your passport to be able to apply for a Thai work permit. You can get a non-immigrant B visa either by a) having an employer write a letter to the Thai consulate saying you have a job offer, but this must be done before you leave your own country and sent to a Thai consulate in your country to apply for a non-immigrant B. If you don’t have a job offer, you cannot get this, or b) sign up for a TEFL or CELTA course in Thailand and the school will send you a letter to send to the Thai consulate to get your non-immigrant B, or c) get a 60-day tourist visa which, once you get a job offer in Thailand, can be converted to a non-immigrant B without you having to leave the country.
A 30-day stamp on arrival at the airport cannot be converted into a non-immigrant B so, without a non-immigrant B or a 60-day tourist visa, you will have to leave Thailand to apply for a non-immigrant B in Malaysia or Cambodia, before you will be given a work permit once you get a job.
Your Original University Degree Certificate – Another document you will need for a teaching job in Thailand is your original university degree certificate. You cannot get a job in most schools in Thailand now without a university degree. You must also bring your original university degree certificate with you to show the Thai immigration department before they will give you a work permit. You should make several photocopies of it, as you will need some to leave with immigration (never leave your original certificate with anyone in Thailand – they will lose it!)
Your College Transcripts – You must have your college transcripts with you. You will need a sealed copy from your university (ie: never been opened by you) as well as another set you can carry with you and make photocopies of. Most Thai schools will now ask for these and Thai immigration will not give you a work permit without them.
Your TEFL or CELTA certificate – Most teaching jobs in Thailand now require a TEFL or CELTA certification. You can take courses in Thailand to get this if you don’t have one but, once you have it, you must have your original TEFL/CELTA certificate (plus several copies) to get a work permit.
Photographs – Thais are obsessed with photographs and you’ll need them for everything. Just to apply for a work permit and teacher’s license, you’ll need at least four passport-sized photographs. On these, you can bring them with you but I would advise, as they’re so cheap to get in Thailand, have photos taken as soon as you get here at one of the local malls.
Your Resume – Now, if you really need to be told to bring a resume for job applications in Thailand, then you probably shouldn’t be applying for a teaching job in Thailand in the first place. ‘Nuff said.
Police Background Check – Thai immigration is also asking for a police background check but, as of this writing, you can get that either in Thailand at a local police station or can apply to the FBI in the US or a police station in the UK (but that of course takes several weeks). If in doubt, get the police background check in your home country before you leave. It will save you time when you get to Thailand.
These are just the basic documents you will need to bring with you to Thailand to apply for a teaching job. There may be more, depending on what your school asks for and what Thai immigration decides they need (it changes often).