How to Get a Thai ED Visa
Thailand is one of the best and easiest places to visit. You are allowed visa-free entry for 30 days and an additional visa extension or border run to renew your tourist visa every 30-60 days at the nearest Thai Embassy outside Thailand. However, this method has some risks in that the immigration officers may suspect that you are working in Thailand illegally, and even if you are not, they can either deny the entry or the visa extension.
An education visa in Thailand, officially known as a Non-immigrant ED Visa (Non ED) or student visa, can be one of the cheapest options available for a long-term stay if you fall in love with living in Thailand but have not got any job offers with a work permit or a retirement visa with substantial savings. The ED Visa for language courses may allow you to stay from 3.5 months – 14 months depending on the language courses you choose.
ALA Language School is a legitimate institution officially licensed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) so ALA can offer you both offline and online language courses with an ED Visa for a long-term stay. You can gain invaluable cultural insights and learn to communicate with local Thais while you are happily living in Thailand.
There are some important facts you need to know before getting an ED Visa for language courses.
1) You CANNOT convert from any type of visa to an ED Visa for language courses in Thailand which is unlike the ED Visa for other kinds of study such as university courses or technical schools. You MUST apply for an ED Visa from your home country if you are a national of some specific countries (you can check with ALA) or you can travel outside Thailand to get your ED Visa from the neighboring countries of Thailand if you are not in the specific list and then re-enter to Thailand.
2) A visa extension will be given till the end of the course date for each level. There will be an interview at the Ministry of Education (MOE) and at the Immigration Bureau, so you need to attend the classes and pass the interviews to be eligible for the visa extension.
3) Both Thai and English language programs are divided into 3 levels but the duration of both programs is different as follows –
Step 1 – What will you bring to ALA to start the ED visa application process?
1. At least 12 (3.5 x 4.5cm) photos. Smart casual attire.
(Note : Cover tattoos if you have any).
2. 8 Passport copies of all stamped pages.
(Note – This is for use throughout the minimum 8-month period of the course. Make sure to sign with blue ink. This shows that your signature is original and not photocopied.)
3. A Certificate or Transcript from any previous school where you have had an ED Visa.
(Note – The Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Immigration Bureau will not allow you to hold the ED Visa for the same language program more than once. Please present the details of any program or transcript if you had an ED Visa with a university or training institution before).
• If you are inside Thailand, we will give you a letter with which you’ll need to get a Police Clearance Certificate in Step 2.
• If you are outside Thailand, we will email you some forms which you’ll need to fill in and sign with a BLUE pen, then dispatch the hardcopies to us, along with the 12 photos and 8 passport copies, via mail or courier. Please make sure to sign with a BLUE pen on all pages.
Step 2 – This next step involves getting a certificate that proves you have no criminal record whether in Thailand or your home country.
• If you are inside Thailand, you can hand over our cover letter to the Royal Thai Police and ask for a Police Clearance Certificate. They will give you a receipt and contact details to check when you can pick up the Certificate.
• If you are outside Thailand, you can get some form of written proof of your criminal-free record from your own country’s police. If it is not in English, please expect an additional translation and notarization fee.
Step 3 – It will normally take a week to process your Police Clearance Certificate. You can ask the police to send the Certificate to ALA if you need to leave Thailand immediately or you can pick it up by yourself to save time and pass it on to ALA. At this point, ALA will submit all your documents to the Thai Ministry of Education (MOE), along with ALA’s documents. It will take them 2-4 weeks to issue us with a Letter of Approval.
Step 4 – When the Letter of Approval is issued, ALA will inform you and prepare a set of documents for you to take to the Thai Embassy overseas.
• If you are inside Thailand, you can book a trip to apply for an ED Visa at a Thai Embassy overseas. Please let us know your estimated document submission date so we can insert the correct the date in all of the cover letters. You can pick up all documents from ALA and leave Thailand as per your travel plan.
• If you are outside Thailand, we will send you the Letter of Approval and other necessary documents, you can take this set to the Thai Embassy in your country.
– The Letter of Approval will expire 30 days from the date of issue. Therefore, you need to leave for your visa application outside Thailand asap, otherwise you need to apply for a Letter of Approval with MOE again.
– Please carefully check the rules and regulations of the Thai Embassy where you plan to apply for the ED Visa as the Thai Embassy may require certain fees, your personal documents e.g. educational certificate, bank statement, financial records or family background checks, etc., which can’t be prepared by ALA.
Step 5 – Make an appointment with the Thai Embassy for document submission either online or offline. Please take note that some Thai embassy offices have also adopted online an appointment booking system. This means you might not be attended to if you walk in during their operation hours, so check their website again to see if you need to book your appointment online.
Finally – and this is important – once you have received your visa, check that your name is spelled correctly, the Type of Visa says “NON-IMM,” and the Category says “ED” as per below image.
(Note – The ED Visa will be ‘Single’ Entry. You MUST do the ‘re-entry’ at the airport or at the Immigration checkpoint when you need to leave Thailand during the study.)
Step 6 – So now you can return to Thailand. This is where you need to check the stamp you get on your passport at the immigration checkpoint. Make sure your stamp has been written “Non-ED” (which actually stands for “Non-Immigration ED”). Also, check your visa expiration date.
– Please check carefully, otherwise it will waste time if you need to go back to the Thai Embassy or The Immigration checkpoint to get it amended.
– Please ask your landlord to register a TM 30 for you within 24 hours of your arrival in Thailand. The TM 30 record may be requested by the Immigration Bureau Officers when you later need to do the visa extension.
Step 7 – Please expect a 90-day visa period after getting the 1st ED Visa. Give the updated visa page to ALA within 7 days of your arrival as ALA needs to submit further documents to MOE and thereafter get a ‘Letter of Acceptance’ from the MOE.
Step 8 – And now, welcome to ALA! You will be attending your regular language classes at ALA according to our monthly class schedule. We hope you enjoy your lessons!
Step 9 – You will need to take care of your own visa expiry date and inform ALA TWO weeks before your 1st ED visa stamp expires, so ALA can prepare a Letter of Acceptance and additional documents for you.
Step 10 – You can pick up the visa extension documents from ALA and go to the Immigration Bureau at Chaengwattana. Please expect to pay 1,900 THB for a visa extension. This amount is not covered in our packages. Therefore, you need to pay the fee separately.
You also need to report a 90-Day notification at the Immigration Bureau and tell them your current address. It is a simple form you need to fill in, and there is NO fee. You get a slip from this form noting the next date when you have to do it tagged into your passport.
(Note – FYI, the visa will be extended approximately 20-30 days which will be the end date of your Beginner course).
Step 11 – ALA will invite you to join the quick tutorial class and do an examination paper which will be submitted to the Ministry of Education (MOE). The teacher will give you guidelines as to what to practice to pass the test.
Step 12 – ALA will take you to the Ministry of Education (MOE) to attend an interview. If you pass the verbal interview, ALA will receive a ‘Letter of Admission’ from the Education Ministry informing the Immigration Bureau that you are qualified to study to a further level and to get a visa extension. This letter will arrive roughly 2 weeks after your interview. You can now proceed to the Intermediate stage of your course, which will take 4.5 months for Thai and 3.5 months for English.
Step 13 – Please inform ALA to prepare the Letter of Admission and additional documents, TWO weeks before your second ED visa extension stamp expires. Pick up the visa extension documents from ALA.
Step 14 – You can now go to the Immigration Bureau at Chaengwattana again to get your third ED Visa extension for another 60 days. Make sure to give the updated stamp on your passport to ALA when you come for your next class.
Step 15 – You are now an Intermediate student! Congratulations! Please repeat Step 13-14 to inform ALA for document preparation for a visa extension every 60 days until the Intermediate course ends.
(Note – Provide ALA with your updated visa stamp every time you get a visa extension).
Step 16 – Towards the end of your Intermediate course, you will have to take another written and verbal exam. Once again, please join the tutorial class for the examination test at ALA and verbal interview at a Thai Embassy overseas. The examination test will be forwarded to the Ministry of Education (MOE) for another ‘Letter of Approval’ allowing you to continue to the Advanced Thai language course.
• For Thai language students, you need to leave Thailand for a new ED Visa application at a Thai Embassy overseas because the Immigration Bureau will only allow you to study for no more than 12 months. If you wish to continue the 6-Month Advanced Thai language course after completing Beginner and Intermediate Levels, the remaining period you have left is only 4 months which is not long enough to complete the 6-month course so you need to get a 2nd ED Visa from a Thai Embassy overseas again. However, if you wish to switch to another language course which is shorter than 4 months, you do not need to leave the country.
• For English language students, you do NOT need to leave Thailand because the total duration for the whole English language program is not beyond 12 months.
Step 17 – We need to repeat Steps 1 and 4-7 again if you are to continue to a 6-Month Advanced Thai language course. Once the Ministry of Education (MOE) issues the Letter of Approval, you can pick up the documents and make a trip to get your 2nd ED Visa from a Thai Embassy outside Thailand. Please note that your Intermediate-level exam may be randomly conducted in the form of a speaking or writing test at the Thai Embassy Overseas because they consider that you have achieved an 8-Month study already and so the test might be harder.
Step 18 – With your new 2nd ED visa, you are now free to return to Thailand to enjoy studying and complete a 6-month Advanced Thai language course. Firstly, you will get a 90-day stamp at the Immigration checkpoint upon arrival. Please give the updated visa to ALA to apply for another ‘Letter of Acceptance’ which will be used when your 90-day stamp expires.
Step 19-21 – You will need to take care of your own visa expiry date and inform ALA TWO weeks before your ED visa stamp will again expire so ALA can prepare the Letter of Acceptance and additional documents. You can then extend your visa every 60 days until your advanced language course has come to an end.
Note: The steps for English language program is similar to Thai language program. Only differences are:
1) You do NOT need to leave Thailand after completing Intermediate level if enrolled English language program.
2) For English language program, the 2nd interview after completing Intermediate level will be done at the Ministry of Education (MOE) while the 2nd interview for Thai language program will be done at Thai Embassy Overseas.
FINAL step – Once you complete the program, you will get a certificate of completion for your future career or achievement record. The certificate for each level can be issued on request.
Get in touch with us for a FREE trial class and start the first step of your journey in Thailand with ALA Language School – we will be happy to assist you!