Thailand may not be the first country that comes to mind when thinking about studying abroad but still it is one of the most preferred destinations among international students. The nation offers some unique courses and an affordable cost of living. The Land of Smiles is famous for offering students an amazing semester abroad with something completely different to experience and truly mind opening.
If you are one of those planning to study in Thailand, but completely clueless about the Thailand student visa application process, then here’s a step-by-step guide to help you ease the process.
Apply for the course of your choice
The student application process varies from university to university. Most of the universities require you to send the application form, along with the transcripts via e-mail, while others want complete documentation with certified copied and proper photographs.
Receive the Acceptance Letter
Once your application is accepted by the university where you have applied, you receive a letter of acceptance, also known as the ‘Letter of Admission’.
The acceptance letter from the university is a confirmation letter which confirms that you are accepted for the respective program and allows you to start your course at a certain date. The number of course you will be studying during the period of your course of study will also be mentioned on the letter.
The student visa is a 1 year visa which requires you to register for at least 3 courses per semester. But it is recommended to opt for at least 4 courses in order to get a visa without any problem. At most universities, the courses are stretched over 5 months, which is one whole semester in Thailand. Even if the university lets you apply for one course, you will not be granted the necessary visa to stay that long in Thailand.
Documents Requirement for Thailand Student Visa
- Duly filled visa application form
- Passport with minimum validity of 18 months
- Passport size colored photograph
- Letter of admission from the university you are applying for
- Evidence of adequate funds
Note that the letter of admission from your university where you have applied must be printed on the university letterhead and must show the start date and duration of your course of study.
If you are already in Thailand on a tourist visa when you receive your acceptance letter from the university, then you can change your visa type without leaving Thailand within the first 30 days of your visa and apply for your non-immigrant ED visa. Make sure your Tourist visa is valid for at least 21 more days, in case it is not, then you will need to leave Thailand to apply for a visa again.
Also Read: Common Reasons for Thailand Visa Rejection
The First One –Year Visa is valid only for 90 days
When you get your visa the first time, the Thai Embassy issues the student visa which is valid for 90 days. Within these 90 days, you need to register and pay the tuition fee for the entire semester.
For extending you visa for the next year, with a letter confirming your registration, you can apply for a visa extension to cover the entire duration of your study.
The 90 days Notification Period
After receiving your first 90 days visa, you need to notify the Immigration Bureau every 90 days. You will be required to fill a form, which is free of cost. After filing the form you will get a slip which will have the next date mentioned when you have to inform. For this notification you can go from 7 days before the date to up to 7 days after the date. But, in case you miss the date, you will be fined 2,000 Baht.
Taking up employment on student visa in Thailand
Unfortunately, you are not allowed to work legally when you are on a Thailand student visa. Your non-immigrant ED visa permits you to only study in Thailand, and it does not allow you to work in Thailand. Working on your ED visa is considered illegal.
Waiting time for processing applications will vary depending on your nationality and the time of the year. On an average processing your Thailand Student visa will take around 3-4 working days.