If you are a foreigner who has been accepted into a Thai educational institution, you have to get a Thai Student Visa to be allowed to pursue your studies as an international student.
You have to get the visa before you are allowed to begin your studies.
This article will detail the Thai Student Visa requirements, application process, and other relevant information.
Thailand Student Visa basics
The Thailand Student Visa is a Non-Immigrant Thai Visa. Non-Immigrant Visas are issued to foreigners traveling to Thailand for reasons other than tourism and are categorized based on the purpose of travel. The Thailand Student Visa is a Non-Immigrant Visa Category “ED”.
In order to qualify for a Thai Student Visa, you have to:
- Be enrolled in a Thai educational institution
- Take at least three courses (sometimes the requirement is four courses, so you have to check with your school)
- Have at least 15 hours of classes per week
Note: The exact requirements for a Thai Student Visa are subject to change, so make sure to check in with your school before you apply.
Who Needs a Thailand Student Visa?
Everyone who is not a Thai citizen and wants to study in Thailand has to get a Thai Student Visa. This also includes those who are exempt from holding a Thai Tourist Visa.
Thailand Student Visa Requirements
When you apply for a Thai Student Visa, you need several documents to support your application. The Thailand Student Visa requirements are:
- Your passport, which is valid for at least another six months and has at least two blank visa pages. If you’re applying for a one-year visa, your passport should be valid for at least another 18 months.
- Photocopy of your passport
- A completed and signed Thailand Student Visa application form. You may be able to download it from the website of the Embassy or Consulate or get it there if you apply in person.
- A Letter of Admission from your school in Thailand, addressed to the Thai Embassy or Consulate in which you will apply.
- If the school is a private institute: Approval from the Ministry of Education
- The Thai School or Institution’s registration documents (if applicable)
- If you will undergo an internship in Thailand: A letter of confirmation from the school in which you are enrolled.
- Passport-sized pictures of yourself, with the following specifications:
- Dimensions: 4 cm x 6 cm
- White background
- Taken within the last six months
- You must have a neutral facial expression, staring straight ahead
- Your entire face must be fully visible
- Headgear is only allowed for religious purposes and even then, only if it does not cover the face
- Glasses are allowed only if they do not cover your eyes and do not have heavy frames
- Proof of sufficient financial means to cover the duration of your stay. You need 20,000 Thai Baht if you are traveling alone and 40,000 Thai Baht if you are traveling as a family.
- Police clearance certificate issued by the authorities in your country, which proves you do not have a criminal background. This is necessary only if you will take a course which is at least 1 year.
- Payment of the Thai Student Visa fee.
This is not an exhaustive list of Thai Student Visa requirements. The Thai diplomatic mission office in which you will apply may ask for any additional documents that they see fit.
Several of the documents you submit may have to be legalized before they can be used by a Thai Embassy.
The documents you submit have to be in either Thai or English (as the Embassy or Consulate informs you), so if they are not already, you have to translate them by an authorized translator.
How Can I Get a Thailand Student Visa?
You have to apply for a Thai Student Visa (Non-Immigrant Visa Category “ED”) at a Thai Embassy or Consulate near you. Before you apply, you must have already been accepted into the Thai educational institution, and the school has to provide you with an enrollment letter. The application process for a Thai Student Visa is as follows:
- Contact the Thailand Embassy or Consulate where you will submit the visa application. You can also visit their website if one is available. Learn about the opening hours, working days, and their preferred method of paying for the visa fee.
- Make an appointment, if one is required. You can find a list of the diplomatic mission offices of Thailand here.
- Collect the required documents for a Thai Student Visa.
- Submit the documents and visa application. Depending on which Embassy/Consulate you apply in, you can submit the application:
- Through the post, in which case you have to enclose a pre-paid and self-addressed envelope
- Wait for the application to be processed.
- Collect the passport and visa. If you applied by mail, they will be mailed back to you.
If your Thailand Student Visa is approved, you have to enter the country within the time stated on your visa, otherwise, it will expire.
- If you have entered Thailand on a different type of visa (eg. a Thai Tourist Visa), you can apply to change the category of your visa at the Office of the Thai Immigration Bureau in Bangkok. You must apply before your current visa expires.
- If you have entered Thailand using a Visa On Arrival, you cannot change the category of your visa. You must leave Thailand and apply from a Thai Embassy or Consulate abroad.
- If you have entered Thailand under the visa-exemption program, have to leave the country and apply from a Thai Embassy or Consulate abroad.
How Long Does It Take to Process a Thailand Student Visa?
The processing time for a Thailand Student Visa depends on the Embassy or Consulate through which you apply. You should give it about 5 – 10 business days, although some offices claim to process your visa in as little as two days.
How Long Is the Thai Student Visa Valid?
A Thailand Student Visa is valid for a maximum of 90 days for a single entry or multiple entries. Even though your course of study is most likely at least one year, you’ll still get a 90-day visa. However, before your visa is up, you can apply to extend it at the Thailand Immigration Department for a fee of 1,900 Thai Baht. You have to extend it every 90 days before the expiry of the existing visa.
After Receiving the Student Visa
Every foreigner who is staying in Thailand long-term has to report their address at the Immigration Department of Thailand every 90 days. This practice is necessary for all visa holders, regardless of the category of visa they’ve got. Failure to report your stay can lead to a fine of about 2,000 Thai Baht, and even the endangerment of your visa
Getting the Re-Entry Permit
If you have received a single-entry Thailand visa, and you want to be able to leave the country during your stay without your visa becoming void, you have to get a Re-Entry Permit.
The Thailand Re-Entry Permit allows the holder to leave and re-enter Thailand within the duration of the visa without having to apply for a new one every time.
Thailand Student Visa Extension
After you receive your Thai Student Visa, you may travel to Thailand for study purposes for the duration of your visa. If you need to stay longer, you can apply for an extension of stay at the Thailand Immigration Department.
How Much Does it Cost for a Student Visa in Thailand?
The fee for a Thailand Student Visa is 2,000 Thai Baht (appx. US$ 65 / € 60). However, the fee can change slightly depending on the local currency, as well as the Embassy / Consulate in which you apply.
Additionally, the method of paying for the Thailand Student Visa fee also changes depending n where you apply. Some Embassies or Consulates may require the fee is paid in cash, while others can ask you to pay it through bank order.
Can I Work in Thailand With a Student Visa?
No, a Student Visa does not allow you to work. No one can work in Thailand unless they have a Work Permit, and it appears as though the Thai authorities are not forthcoming for approving Work Permits to Student Visa holders.
However, a lot of international students do engage in some type of work once they get to Thailand, even if it is not technically “paid employment” in order to finance their stay.
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