Thai education visa
A Thai education visa (Non-Immigrant Visa ‘ED’ Visa) is issued to applicants who wish to study, attend a seminar, training session, or internship in Thailand.
There are two types of visas available:
Single entry visa
This means that you can enter Thailand only once. If you want to leave the country, you will have to pay an additional fee for a “re-entry stamp”. The single entry visa is the cheapest of the two visa, and the best one if you don’t plan to travel to other countries while you are here.
Multiple entry visa
This visa enables you to leave and re-enter Thailand as many times as you like, for as long as the visa is valid. This visa is usually over double the price of a single entry visa, but good for someone who wants to make several trips to other countries.
Applying for your education visa
Step 1: Apply for the program of your choice
Make sure you have followed the application process careful. Check the universities website for details.
Step 2: Letter of acceptance
If you have been accepted by the university, they will send you documents notifying that you have been accepted. The letters will include an officially stamped document that you can take to the Thai embassy in your country.
Step 3: Applying for your visa
Once you have received the acceptance letter, you will be able to take your documents to the Thai embassy in your country to get your visa processed. This usually takes a couple of days.
- Passport or travel document with validity not less than 6 months
- Visa application form completely filled out
- Recent (4 x 6 cm.) photograph of the applicant
- Recommendation letter addressed to the Consulate
- Letter of acceptance from the concerned academic institute/organisation
- For those wishing to study in a Private institution, an official letter from the Ministry of Education of Thailand, or other sub-authorities concerned, approving the enrolment of foreign students and a copy of registration certificate of the concerned academic institute are required
- Academic record and the Student ID (if currently studying)
- For those wishing to attend seminar, or training session, or internship, a recommendation letter from the concerned organisation addressed to the Consulate is also required
Consular officers reserve the rights to request additional documents as deemed necessary.
Your first visa will be valid for 90 days
If your application has been accepted and processed by your local Thai embassy, they will great you a 90 day ED visa which you will be able to enter Thailand with.
The first visa will only be for 90 days. Two weeks before your visa is about to expire, you should contact your university who will help you prepare the documents needed to extend your visa for a further 180 days.
Two weeks before your 180 days visa is due to expire, contact your university again to prepare the documents to extend your visa for one year.
Once you are at the point when you have extended your visa up to one year, this is where the renewal period will stay.
90 day reports
If you are a foreigner staying in Thailand for a period longer than 90 days and holding a Non-Immigrant Visa, you are required by Thai Immigration to report your current address every 90 days. You must file this report within 15 days before, or 7 days after, your 90-day period expires.
However, if you leave Thailand anytime during the 90-day period, then the day count will restart from when you re-enter Thailand. Applying for your 90 day extension is not difficult and is not the same as extended your visa. You can report to Thai Immigration either in person, send the notification via registered mail, or online.
- The foreigner makes the notification in person, or
- The foreigner authorises another person to make the notification, or
- The foreigner makes the notification by registered mail.
- The notification must be made within 15 days before or after 7 days the period of 90 days expires.
- The first application for extension of stay by the foreigner is equivalent to the notification of staying in the Kingdom over 90 days.
Up until 2014, foreign students would have to make their way to their local immigration and sometimes wait hours in a queue waiting to report. Thankfully, the government has started to move their process online which makes it convenient for everyone. The website can be a bit buggy, so you might have to try it with different browsers until it works. The rules remain the same so don’t forget to report 90 days after your last report / visa extension.
Overstaying is the act of staying in the country past the allowed date as stated on your last visa. The rules are very strict and even one day past the allowed date is already over-staying.
“Overstayers” can expect to pay a fine of ฿500 per day for up to 40 days. After 40 days your penalty is fixed at ฿20,000, but even though the cost is not going up, it’s still best to pay the fine, leave the country, and apply for a new visa immediately as you could be blacklisted and unable to enter the country again for several years.
From the 20th of March 2016, new rules will come in place that ban foreigners who overstay for more than 90 days. Foreigners who surrender themselves will be treated differently and be given different penalties to those that are caught, arrested, and prosecuted. Leaving Thailand via a border or an airport is considered as voluntarily surrendering yourself.
Foreigners who overstay but voluntarily come forward
- More than 90 days: one-year ban
- More than 1-year: three-year ban
- More than 3-years: five-year ban
- More than 5-years: ten-year ban
Foreigners who overstay and are caught
- Less than 1-year: five-year ban
- More than 1-year: ten-year ban
Immigration officials will ask hotels, apartments, hostels or house owners who rent their houses or rooms to foreigners to report the stay of foreigners to the nearest immigration offices so that officials can keep track of their stay in the kingdom.