Study visa for Thailand
It is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain a long-term travel visa in Thailand. Previously, it was relatively easy to obtain an “O” nonimmigrant visa, which allowed multiple entries into the country for a year, with the holder having to leave the country every three months. This visa is still available, but with new requirements for its issuance, including owning an apartment in Thailand or being married to a Thai citizen. Other options available are tourist visa and study visa. Tourist visa requirements vary from country to country, but usually only offer a maximum of 6 months with a 90-day multiple re-entry rule. If you arrive in the country without a visa, you will usually only be allowed to stay for 30 days (check the specific rules for your country of origin).
However, a study visa is a great option for those who want to travel extensively in Thailand and the surrounding region for an extended period of time. A study visa can be obtained to learn to speak Thai and take a TEFL course in Thailand. It can also be used to attend university, although different rules will apply, most notably the amount of study you must commit to. Study visas do not require the holder to leave the country, only to register at a designated location every 90 days. There is a fee of 1900 baht for each entry.
Getting a Thailand study visa avoids any worries of having to leave the country before your 90 days are up, which as many people find each year incurs a fee of 500 baht for each day you overstay, and depending on circumstances, may justify legal action.
A study visa, or ED non-immigrant visa as it is often referred to, is obtained by confirming a place at a particular language school or TEFL course school. You will need to fill out forms in your country of origin and provide your regional Thai embassy with your passport to be stamped, a fee and honest details of your intentions. Many schools with TEFL courses pay the study visa fee for you as part of the course package, which can save you up to 5,000 baht.
An ED non-immigrant visa means you can study, but remember this is not a study visa and does not allow work in Thailand in any way, shape or form. A nonimmigrant emergency visa requires you to prove that you’re studying, and shouldn’t be considered an easy path to a long lazy vacation. Once you stop studying, your study visa will expire and you will only be allowed to stay in the country for as long as you are a standard tourist before you are required to leave – usually 30 days depending on your country of origin.
Studying a TEFL course in Thailand is a great route to teaching and staying in the country long-term without having to leave every 90 days or register with a specific government office. Once you have a TEFL qualification, you can teach with a work permit. For those studying Thai, you will need to leave the country when your study visa expires, unless of course you enroll in a TEFL course, which in most cases still requires you to return to your home country first.
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