A lot of people want to live in Thailand for longer than the 30 days that Thai immigration allows. But many don’t want to work while they’re here. That’s where getting an Education Visa or Student Visa can be useful if you want to study while you’re here.
An Education Visa (Student Visa) in Thailand allows you to stay in the country for 1 year to 15 months, depending on which study course you sign up for and, most of the time, you don’t have to study eight hours a day five days a week either. If you decide to come to Thailand to study therefore follow these few simple steps and you should have no problem getting an Education Visa (Student Visa) for a year.
Apply for a Course of Study in Thailand – One of the most popular courses people who want to study in Thailand do is a Thai language course. They’re available all over Thailand, usually meet for only four hours a day or less and are not too expensive. You can also study Muay Thai, Thai Cooking, Gemology, Massage Therapy, Meditation, many different university courses and a whole host of other things. When you’ve decided which course you want to sign up for, send in the application form to the school of your choice along with any other requested paperwork and wait for the decision on acceptance.
Your Letter of Admission – Within a few weeks of applying to the school of your choice, you should receive a Letter of Admission. The letter must be printed on the school’s letterhead and must show the exact start date of the course plus which classes you are signed up for. With this letter, you can apply for an Education (Student) Visa. Without this letter, you cannot. Some schools will only send you an e-mail saying you’ve been accepted. Most of the time, this is NOT acceptable to Thai Immigration, so you will have to call the school and ask for a formal acceptance letter as you’re not likely to get an education visa without one.
Sending Your Application for Education Visa To Thai Embassy/Consulate – Take or mail your Letter of Admission, a photocopy of your passport (the page that has your photograph and identifying information on it), your passport, four passport sized photographs, and a completed visa application form (available by download from the Thai Immigration Bureau) to any Thai Embassy or Consulate.
Make sure you send everything by registered mail if you mail it and be aware you might have to wait up to two weeks before you receive your passport with Education Visa, so allow plenty of time before your course of study begins. When I got mine, I sent everything to the Houston Consulate, who is extremely efficient, so the whole thing was completed and mailed back to me within 4 days. I sent a Federal Express number with my application though, so they could Fed Ex my passport back to me.
Once you get it, the Education Visa will only be valid for 90 days, so you will have to extend it once you get to Thailand (Why? No-one really seems to know. The Thai Immigration authorities have many rules that don’t make sense but, once in Thailand, you realize there’s no point in arguing. Just follow what an official tells you to do, and everything will be fine).
Travel to Thailand – Once you are in receipt of your passport and Education Visa, you can travel to Thailand any time you want. The Education Visa will usually be activated as soon as you arrive in Thailand, so your first 90 days will begin from there. This is why you need to get the visa extended for a year as soon as possible as you don’t want to get caught short of the days necessary to do so. Immigration sometimes needs up to 15 days to complete the paperwork, and you may have to go back there a couple of times.
If you don’t get it extended in plenty of time you will have to leave the country and go to Malaysia, Hong Kong or Singapore, apply for another Education Visa, and come back into Thailand again, which would be expensive and inconvenient.
Register at Your School in Thailand – Once in Thailand, you need to register at your intended school and pay all the fees as soon as possible. At this time, the school will give you a Registration Letter and a receipt for your tuition payment, and you can now take both of these to any Immigration office in Thailand to extend your education visa to 1 year.
Extending Your Education Visa To 1 Year– Take your Registration Letter and the tuition receipt to an Immigration office and apply to get your Education Visa extended for a year. They may do it while you wait, or you may have to go back in a few days. It seems to depend on how busy they are and sometimes even how friendly you are. There will be a small fee but once you have it, that’s all you’ll need for the rest of the year.
Getting the Education Visa in Thailand is quite easy, just remember, once you have it you need to go to the school you signed up for on a regular basis. If you stop attending school, you will find very quickly that many schools will report your absence to Immigration and your Education Visa will be canceled. Then, when you leave Thailand, you could have problems at the airport or even have to pay a fine (fines run up to 20,000 baht – $575.
The Education (Student) Visa in Thailand is intended for those who want to seriously study, not for those who want to come to Thailand and relax for a year. If you don’t want to study, you will have to come to Thailand on a tourist visa and then leave the country every 3 months to go to a Thai Embassy in a neighboring country to get another tourist visa.
How do you get an Education/Student Visa in Thailand? Follow these few steps, it’s easy!You can get an Education/Student Visa in Thailand for studying Thai, Massage, Muay Thai and more.