How to Get a Thai Education visa

Study Visa in Thailand

Every year, millions of people from around the world visit Thailand. While many come for its legendary beaches, rich cultural heritage and world-famous cuisine, there are also many foreign visitors who combine an extended holiday in Thailand with a chance to learn the Thai language. 

While visitors from most countries are allowed to enter Thailand without a visa and stay for an initial 30 days with the possibility of extending their stay by doing “visa extension runs” to neighboring countries each time their permitted stay is coming to an end, this method comes with the risk of being refused entry back into Thailand if the immigration officer suspects you may be working illegally in the country and is therefore not a viable long-term option.

Unless you have been offered a job that comes with a work permit or you qualify for a retirement visa, the best way to extend your stay in Thailand is with an education visa. Officially known as a Non-immigrant Education Visa (Non ED or Ed Visa) or student visa, the Education Visa is a long-term visa option for individuals who are planning to study in Thailand. The study visa in Thailand is provided for foreign students attending university or technical colleges in Thailand, but it is also available to students attending language courses in the country. For students attending an official language course, the study visa allows the visa-holder to stay in Thailand for between 3.5 and 14 months, depending on the language courses they choose.

As a legitimate educational institution officially licensed by the Ministry of Education (MOE), ALA Language School offers both offline and online language courses. Getting an Ed Visa with ALA will enable you to stay legally in Thailand for an extended period, giving you all the time you need to gain invaluable cultural insights and learn to communicate with the locals.

Important Facts about the Education Visa Thailand

If you are planning to get an education visa Thailand for a language course, is important to know the following facts before you begin:

For nationals of some specific countries (check with ALA to find out which countries are included), it is necessary to get the Education Visa in your own country before coming to Thailand. For nationals of countries not subject to this requirement, it is possible to get the study visa in your own country before you come to Thailand, or if you are already in Thailand, you can travel over the border to one of the countries neighboring Thailand and get the visa from a Thai Embassy.

The study visa can be extended until the end of the course to complete each level of language proficiency. However, to qualify for the extension, the student must attend meetings at the Ministry of Education (MOE) and at the Immigration Bureau to show that they have reached the required level of language proficiency. 

The length of the study visa is dependent on the language course being taken and the level being studied. This ranges from 3.5 months for the beginner level courses for both Thai and English, up to 6 months for the advanced level Thai course. To study all three levels of Thai that can be valid for a total period of 14 months, whereas for English, the total period is 12 months.

Comparing how to apply Thai Student visa inside Thailand and while abroad

You will need to follow these steps:

Apply Student Visa Inside Thailand

Apply Student Visa while abroad

1. Obtain a letter of acceptance from a Thai educational institution.  (Receipts of tuition fee payments)

1. Obtain a letter of acceptance from a Thai educational institution.  (Receipts of tuition fee payments)

2. Gather all required documents, including your passport with validity not less than 6 months, passport-sized photos (4x6cm), proof of financial ability, and ($700 per person and $1,500 per family) and a completed TM 87 Thai Visa Application form.

2. Gather all required documents, including your passport with validity not less than 6 months, passport-sized photos (4x6cm), and proof of financial ability ($700 per person and $1,500 per family), and a completed TM 87 Thai Visa Application form.

3. Submit the application, along with the required documents and visa fee, at the Immigration Bureau in Thailand.

3. Submit the application, along with the required documents and visa fee, at a Thai embassy or consulate in your country of residence. 

4. Collect the visa result after 15 days at the Immigration.

4. Wait for your application to be processed.

Please note that the specific requirements and procedures for obtaining a Thai ED visa may vary depending on your country of residence and the specific circumstances of your application, and this information may be changed or updated by the Thai government at any time. So, it is best to check the official website of the Thai government or contact the Thai embassy or consulate in your home country for the most up-to-date information.

What difference is between apply Thai Education visa in Thailand and while aboard?

The main difference between applying for a Thai ED (Education) visa in Thailand and while abroad is the location where the application is submitted.

When applying for a Thai Education visa in Thailand, the application is typically submitted at the Immigration Bureau in Thailand. This option is typically more convenient for those who are already in Thailand and have easy access to the required documents and information.

On the other hand, when applying for a Thai ED visa while abroad, the application is typically submitted at a Thai embassy or consulate in the applicant’s country of residence. This option is typically more convenient for those who are not currently in Thailand and may not have easy access to the required documents and information.

Additionally, the processing time for visa applications may vary depending on where you are submitting the application. If you are already in Thailand, it is possible to obtain a visa extension within the country, while if you are outside of the country, you will have to wait for the visa to be issued in your home country.

What is the advantage & disadvantage of applying for Thai Education visa while inside Thailand?

Advantage

Disadvantage

Convenience: Since you are already in Thailand, it may be more convenient for you to gather the required documents and information, and submit your application in person at the Immigration Bureau.

Limited options: Applying for a visa in-country may limit your options if your application is denied.

Faster processing time: Applying for a visa in-country may result in a faster processing time as immigration officials can verify your information and documents more quickly.

Limited time: You may have a limited amount of time to submit your application and gather the required documents and information, as the Immigration Bureau may have specific processing times and deadlines.

Cost: Applying for a visa in-country may be less expensive than applying for a visa from abroad, as you will not have to pay for travel expenses to and from the Thai embassy or consulate in your country of residence.

Language barrier: There may be a language barrier when dealing with immigration officials, which can make the application process more difficult.

Ability to extend visa: If you apply for a visa in-country, you have the option of extending your visa within Thailand, rather than having to leave the country and apply for a new visa.

Limited flexibility: If you wish to travel outside of Thailand while you are waiting for your visa to be processed, you are not able to do so, as you will need to remain in the country.

Risk of overstaying: Applying for a visa in-country may also increase the risk of overstaying, as the processing time may be longer than expected.

FAQ: 

  1. How to Apply for an Education Visa Thailand to Study Thai or English with ALA while outside Thailand

As a legitimate educational institution officially licensed by the Ministry of Education (MOE), ALA Language School can help you secure an education visa to study Thai or English with us. The following is a step-by-step guide to the application requirements and process to start your study visa Bangkok journey.

Step 1: Preparing the necessary documents

Application Form: You then need to complete the form in BLUE ink.

Passport Photos: You will need at least 12 (3.5 x 4.5cm) recent passport photos of you wearing smart casual attire and with any tattoos covered if you have any.

Passport Copies: You will need 8 photocopies of your passport, including the personal information page and all pages with stamps. Every page of the photocopies must be signed in BLUE ink. 

A Certificate or Transcript from any previous academic institution where you have had an education visa: You will need to provide the details of any program or transcript if you already had an study visa previously. Please note that the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Immigration Bureau will not approve an education visa for the same language program more than once. 

Police Clearance Certificate: This is a certificate that proves you have no criminal record whether in Thailand or your home country. If you are inside Thailand, we will give you a cover letter which you can hand over 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 the police in your own country. There will be an additional translation and notarization fee. Please note that it usually takes minimum 3 weeks to process a Police Clearance Certificate. 

Please remember to fill in the forms and sign all photocopied pages with a BLUE pen.

Step 2: Submitting the documents to the Thai Ministry of Education (MOE)

Once we have all the documents from you and we have checked that they have all been signed correctly, we will submit them to the Thai Ministry of Education (MOE) together with our documents as required for this step. It then takes the MOE between 2 and 4 weeks to issue a Letter of Approval.

Step 3: Preparing the necessary documents to submit at a Thai Embassy outside Thailand

After we receive the Letter of Approval from the MOE, we will prepare the necessary documents for you to take to a Thai Embassy outside Thailand so that you can complete the Thai Education Visa application process. You need to inform us of the date on which you expect to submit the documents to a Thai Embassy so that we can put the correct the date on the cover letters. Please note that the Letter of Approval will expire 30 days from its date of issue so you need to submit your application before it expires. If you do not, you will need to apply for a new Letter of Approval from the MOE.

If you are inside Thailand, you can pick up all the necessary documents from ALA. You will then need to travel to a Thai Embassy outside the country to submit your application together with the supporting documents. 

If you are outside Thailand, we will send all the necessary documents to you, and you can then take them to the Thai Embassy nearest to you.

Step 4: Submitting your application for an education visa Thailand at a Thai Embassy outside Thailand

When you select a Thai Embassy to submit your education visa application, be sure to check its rules and regulations carefully as some embassies charge additional fees and/or may require your personal documents as part of the application process, such as your educational certificate, bank statement, financial records, which you will need to prepare yourself.

Once you have prepared all the required documents, you need to make an appointment with the Thai Embassy to submit your application documents. Please take note that some Thai Embassies now use an online appointment booking system and do not accept walk-in inquiries, so check their website to see if you need to book your appointment online.

When you receive your student visa Thailand  from the embassy, check it carefully to make sure that your name is spelled correctly, the visa type is “NON-IMM,” and the category is marked as “ED” as in the following image.

Please also note that the education visa will be ‘Single Entry’. Therefore, if you plan to leave the country during your stay, you need to arrange a re-entry permit at the airport or at the Immigration checkpoint BEFORE you leave the country. If you just leave the country without doing this, your visa is cancelled when you leave Thailand.

Step 5: Entering Thailand with your Education Visa Thailand

When you enter Thailand with your new education visa, make sure the stamp you get on your passport at the immigration checkpoint says “Non-ED” (Non-Immigration ED) and that the visa expiration date is correct. If there are mistakes and you do not catch them at the immigration checkpoint, you will need to go back to the Thai Embassy or Immigration checkpoint to get it corrected.

Within 24 hours of arriving in Thailand, you need to ask your landlord to register a TM 30 (Notification from House-Master, Owner or the Possessor of the Residence where Alien has Stayed)for you. The Immigration Bureau Officers may ask to see this when you process your visa extension.

You will be given a 90-day stay period when you enter Thailand with your firstEducation Visa. Give your passport with the visa to ALA within 7 days of your arrival so that we can make a copy of the stamp because we need to submit further documents to the MOE in order to get another ‘Letter of Acceptance’ so that the visa can be extended and you can continue your education visa Bangkok journey.

Once you have entered Thailand with your student visa, you can begin your language course at ALA.

Step 6: Extending your Education Visa Thailand during the Beginner Course

Keep a track of your visa expiry date and inform ALA TWO weeks before your 1st education visa stamp is due to expire so that we can get a Letter of Acceptance from the MOE and prepare the necessary documents for you.

Once you collect all the necessary documents from ALA, you need to take them to the Immigration Bureau at Chaengwattana. The visa extension costs 1,900 THB, which you will need to pay yourself. The visa will be extended by approximately 20-30 days, until the end date of your Beginner course.

You also have to report your current address to the Immigration Bureau in Thailand very 90 days, so you can also do your first 90-day reporting while you are renewing your visa. You need to fill in a basic form to complete this process, but there is no fee. When the process is finished, the Immigration Officer will give you a slip that informs you of the next date when you have to report again. Keep this slip safely in your passport.

Step 7: Completing the Beginner Course

When you complete the Beginner Course, ALA will give you a tutorial lesson with guidelines from the teacher on what to practice and how to prepare to pass the end of level test. You will then take an examination, and your completed test will be submitted to the Ministry of Education (MOE).

ALA will then take you to the Ministry of Education (MOE) to attend an interview. If you pass the verbal interview, the MOE will send a ‘Letter of Admission’ to us approximately 2 weeks later informing the Immigration Bureau that you are qualified to study to the next level and should have your visa extended. You are then ready to begin studying the Intermediate level, which will take 4.5 months for Thai and 3.5 months for English.

Step 8: Extending your study visa at the end of your Beginner Course

You should inform ALA TWO weeks before your second student visa extension stamp expires so that we have time to prepare the Letter of Admission and additional documents. 

After you pick up the visa extension documents from ALA, you can go to the Immigration Bureau at Chaengwattana again to get your third education visa extension for another 60 days. Make sure to bring your passport to ALA when you come for your next class so that we can copy the updated stamp.

Step 9: Extending your study visa again

You can now officially begin your Intermediate course! Please repeat Step 8 to have ALA prepare the documents needed to extend your visa every 60 days until the Intermediate course ends.

Step 10: Completing the Intermediate Course

As you complete your Intermediate course, you will be required to take another written exam and pass another verbal interview. Once again, ALA will provide a tutorial class to prepare you for the examination at ALA and the verbal interview. Your completed examination will again be forwarded to the MOE to issue another ‘Letter of Approval’ allowing you to continue to the Advanced level.

  • English language students who plan to continue to the 5-month Advanced Level course do NOT need to leave the country because the entire English language program is not longer than the 12 months duration of the study visa.
  • Thai language students who plan to continue to the 6-month Advanced Level course need to leave Thailand and apply for a new study visa at a Thai Embassy overseas because the Immigration Bureau sets a limit of 12 months for any study visa. As the time remaining on the first education visa is only 4 months, you therefore need to get a 2nd education visa from a Thai Embassy overseas again so that you can complete the 6-month course. ALA will once again help you prepare all the necessary documents. Your post-course interview for the Intermediate level will also take place at the Thai Embassy where you apply for your new education visa. Please note that your Intermediate-level exam may be conducted in the form of a speaking or writing test at the Thai Embassy overseas to reflect the higher level you will be expected to have achieved after studying for 8 months. However, if you decide to switch to another language course which is shorter than 4 months, you do not need to leave the country.

Step 11: Completing the Advanced Course

  • Thai language students: Once you have your 2nd education visa, you can return to Thailand to study the 6-month Advanced Thai language course. As with the first D Visa, you will get a 90-day stamp at the Immigration checkpoint upon arrival. Please bring your passport to ALA so that w can make a copy of the updated stamp and apply for another ‘Letter of Acceptance’ for when your 90-day stamp expires.
  • Both Thai and English language students: You will again need to pay attention to your own visa expiry date and inform ALA TWO weeks before your education visa stamp is due to expires so that we can prepare the Letter of Acceptance and additional documents. You can then extend your visa every 60 days until you complete your Advanced language course.

Once you complete the program, you will receive a Certificate of Completion. A Certificate of Completion can also be issued for each level completed upon request.

  1. Appling Thai ED visa in Thailand, need to flight out country or not?

Whether you need to fly out of the country in order to apply for a Thai ED (Education) visa in Thailand depends on the specific circumstances of your application and the requirements of the Thai Immigration Bureau.

However, depending on the processing time and the validity of your current visa, you may need to leave the country while your application is being processed.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements and procedures for obtaining a Thai ED visa may vary depending on your country of residence, the institution you will be studying, and the specific circumstances of your application. It is best to check the official website of the Thai government or contact the Thai Immigration Bureau for the most up-to-date information.

 

  1. Which way you recommended us to do between Appling Thai Education visa in Thailand or while abroad?

At the time of writing in Jan 2023, as a language school, we recommend that individuals apply for a Thai Student visa within Thailand as opposed to applying from abroad. This is because the Royal Thai Embassy abroad may not have detailed knowledge of each language school, which can result in a prolonged examination of documents and potentially even delays of up to three months. Additionally, the Embassy may request additional documents beyond what is required for applications processed within Thailand.

 

  1. Which country needs to request a police clearance certificate?

You can check the List of Nationalities that need to get a Police Clearance Certificate from the Royal Thai Police Headquarters for Education Visa Application – Click Here  Anyway, Please recheck again, List of Nationalities request might be the difference in each consulate in your home country. 

To find out how ALA can help you with your Thailand Education Visa application process or to book an appointment, click here

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