Thailand Education ED Visa

Thailand Education ED Visa

There are hundreds of Thai language schools in Thailand which offer a variety of Thai language courses, including for absolute beginners, and if you’re interested in studying Thai more “professionally” and enroll in a one-year Thai course (with a minimum of 180 hours) you’ll also be able to apply for a one-year Thai “student visa” (or Education Visa, ED visa.) But there are also other things you can study to get your ED visa as well as you will see below.

Thailand Education Visa – Non-Immigrant Visa “ED”

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Thai Language studies

With this visa you do not have to leave Thailand every now and then but can stay here continually for a full year. On arrival, students will be permitted to stay for 90 days and then with a paperwork provided by the school will be able to extend their stay every 90 days at the immigration office for the duration of the course. Visa extensions cost 1,900 Baht. You can enjoy studying Thai and at the same time not worrying about making any visa runs.

The Ministry of Education usually makes no distinction among students coming from different countries or continents; all nationalities qualify for the Thai education visa. However, nationals of India, China, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Iran, and Middle Eastern countries, need to apply for this visa in their respective home countries and these days are getting scrutinized more do to visa abusers. Students from 12 to 99-year-old qualify for the ED visa.

Students can study Thai for three years using the same ED visa, however, every year you’ll need to obtain a new letter from the Ministry of Education. With this letter there’s no need to leave the kingdom in order to obtain a new ED visa but, of course, you’ll need to renew your one-year Thai course if you want to continue your study here.

Most Thai language schools in Pattaya will charge around 25,000 Thai Baht for the one-year Thai course (180 lessons over the course of a year.) Usually, group lessons are restricted to not more than 10 students per group.

Once you have enrolled in a one-year Thai course, your school will need to apply for a letter from the Thai Ministry of Education requesting a one-year student visa for you, confirming that you are accepted to the program and indicating the date when you will begin your studies. This official acceptance letter is the primary legal requirement for applying for a student visa. It usually takes between two and five weeks to wait for this letter. Without this letter from the education ministry, you won’t be able to obtain the desired visa.

You will then have to travel to the nearest Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate to apply for the visa. This means if you should be in Thailand already, you will have to leave the country again to apply for the visa. Visa application cannot be proceeded locally. At the embassy, you’ll need to submit your acceptance letter along with your passport, a fully-filled visa application form, and passport-sized photographs. The visa fee for a single-entry Non-Immigrant ED visa is 2,000 Baht.

An Education Visa is valid for one year in total; however, when you get this visa for the first time, it is only valid for 90 days.

Once you have obtained your visa, you’ll need to come back to your school, which will then apply for a second letter from the Education Ministry certifying your enrollment. This letter allows you to make 90-day visa extensions at a local immigration bureau for the duration of the course. No visa runs are required; however, you will need to notify the Immigration Bureau of your current address and extend your visa every 90 days. Visa extensions will cost 1,900 Baht each time. These days you upon obtaining your extensions you might be tested or questioned to make sure you are actually studying and learning the Thai language.

Most Thai language schools will assist interested students in the visa application process, including people who are not in Thailand yet and have to apply for the visa in their home countries. Most local language schools will readily provide you with all necessary information and documentation required for a successful visa application via mail, email or phone.

Download the ED visa application - Forms and Documents for Thailand

What else could you study?

The Thai education visa. It’s not just for learning Thai. Despite popular belief, you can come to Thailand to study a wide array of subjects at many different places throughout the country. But the place and subject must be recognized by Thailand’s Ministry of Education.

So if you have your sights set on studying languages, martial arts, cooking, or other specialties in Thailand, here’s how you can apply for an education visa.

The non-immigrant visa ED, or education visa as it’s commonly called, lets non-Thais study in a Thai university or similar educational setting, intern at corporations, take observation tours, participate in official projects or seminars, attend conferences or training courses, or study as a Buddhist monk in Thailand.

If you want an education visa, the only requirements you need to meet are those listed above. But the place where you’re studying or training at, or the subject you’re studying, has be recognized by Thai Embassy.

If you are under 50 and not married to a Thai national a non-immigrant ED visa is one of the best avenues to explore if you’re looking to stay in Thailand for one year or longer. But the school you study at or the subject you study have to be approved by Thai Immigration. And you may need to attend a certain amount of classes each week.

Martial Arts
For those looking to study in Chiang Mai, the education for hand-to-hand combat is also an option. Training for these courses is held by the Thai Military Police, which makes it easier to get the visa as well.

Studying Muay Thai is a great option for those looking for a more physically demanding visa and many schools approved by the Ministry of Education offer a one-year education visa.

Many Muay Thai gyms offering visas have been popping up with the rise in popularity of Muay Thai in Thailand. So be sure to do some research before picking the right gym for your needs.

Another option for getting an education visa is to enroll in a cooking school. Here you can study Thai cooking, stay in Thailand and eat well at the same time!

You can get an education visa through other less-popular options as well, such as for studying the art of Thai massage or for scuba diving.

You can study Thai Traditional Yoga massage at a school, some of which offer a helpful guideline on applying for your visa as well.

Taking these courses, however, comes with a set of guidelines different from those of enrolling in a Thai university versus enrolling in short-term courses such as language or cooking lessons or martial arts. So be sure to ask your school what their requirements are.

A Recap

How to Apply
If you want to apply for an education visa, you can do so from either your home country, or if already in Thailand with a tourist visa, from a Thai Embassy in a neighboring country.

Here are the documents you’ll need, where to apply, how much it’ll cost, and how long you’ll have to wait for your visa.

This list of documents was taken from the Thai Embassy’s website. But like with so many visa application processes in Thailand, the list of required documents changes depending on the immigration officer you see.

  • passport or travel document with validity not less than six months
  • visa application form completely filled out
  • 4cm x 6cm photo taken in the last six months
  • recommendation letter addressed to the Thai Embassy or Consulate
  • letter of acceptance from the academic institute or organization
  • 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 enrollment of foreign students, and a copy of registration certificate of the academic institute
  • 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 institution addressed to the Consulate is also required

The fee for an education visa is 1,900 baht, and you’ll have to pay that amount every three months when you extend your visa.

How to Extend
When you’re ready to extent your education visa, you’ll have to go through the same process that you did when you first applied. If you’re from one of the countries that requires you to leave Thailand to initially apply for an education visa, but you’re already in Thailand with your first three-month education visa, you won’t have to leave the country to re-apply.

The only difference this time around is that during your interview with the immigration officer, they may give you an oral or written exam to assess your progress if your visa is for learning Thai.

Basically, it helps them determine whether you’re attending your classes or not, and whether you’re using your education visa to study and not just as a means to stay longer in the country.

Many Thai language schools inform their students about the written or verbal tests being enforced, and often include this info on their website.

Your answers to the test may make the difference between getting a 60-day extension, a 30-day extension, or no extension at all–meaning you’ll have seven days to leave Thailand.

Final Thoughts
If you want to get an education visa, or non-immigrant visa ED, in Thailand, be sure to find an institution and subject that has been approved by Thailand’s Ministry of Education. The subjects and places you can study in Thailand plentiful, and only limited to your interests.

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