Why the Thailand Education visa is so popular

The Thai Non-Immigrant O Visa (ED) was introduced to allow students from abroad to be able to live in Thailand while attending university, attend training classes or an internship.

The visa grants applicants access to stay in Thailand for 90 days. And it can then be extended to become a one year visa from the day of entry.

The ED visa has been very popular with foreigners who have wanted to stay in the country longer than a tourist visa allows. It also puts an end to having to do border runs.

The best thing about the Thai ED visa is that you don’t have to be undertaking higher education or some uninteresting course in order to qualify.

The majority of people who use the visa opt for more enjoyable pursuits such as learning the Thai language or undertaking Muay Thai training.

The visas are affordable and offer a great way for people who love Thailand to spend more time in the country while learning a useful skill.

The different types of ED visas

There are many different things that you can choose to study for an education visa in Thailand. Some of the most popular options include:

Thai language

Muay Thai kick boxing

Scuba diving

Thai massage

Thai cooking

How to apply for the Thai ED visa

1 – Enter Thailand on a tourist visa or visa exemption on arrival.

2 – Talk to education providers about if they offer the ED visa at their school.

3 – Enroll in the course and pay 50% deposit.

The school will usually take care of the application for you and submit it to the Ministry of Education on your behalf.

Once approved they will provide you with a recommendation letter from the Ministry of Education confirming that you are a genuine student.

4 – Leave the country. You must apply to the Thai Embassy from outside Thailand. For most nationalities this means leaving for a neighboring country such as Laos, Cambodia or Malaysia.

However the following nationalities will have to return to their home country to apply: Bangladesh, China, India, Sri Lanka, Middle Eastern countries, African countries.

5 – Re-enter Thailand on the new ed-visa. Make sure that the visa page in your passport gets stamped at immigration. You don’t want to accidentally get processed as a 30 day on arrival tourist.

Reporting to Thai Immigration for renewal of the ED Visa

Once in Thailand you will be required to complete 90 day reporting at the Thai immigration office including TM-30 reporting.

When you go to the immigration office to renew your visa, they may ask you to complete a language examination. They can choose not to renew your visa if you fail the examination.

By failing the exam, it suggests that you are not dedicated to your studies of the Thai language. And perhaps you have not been attending classes, as is required under the terms of the education visa.

If you wish to leave the country and return to Thailand without cancelling the ED visa, you will need to obtain a re-entry permit before leaving.

What are the other visa options for staying in Thailand

Thailand has many visa options to suit just about any expats plans. So if the ED visa isn’t for you, try these:

Apply for a Tourist visa before you enter Thailand to get 60 days. This can then be extended by a further 30 days.

Enter Thailand on the 30 days on arrival visa exemption and then extend for another 30 days.

If you are over 50 years of age, you can apply for the Retirement visa.

Remote workers and digital nomads may be eligible for the Long Term Resident visa.

If you want to pay some money and be done with the hassle of jumping through visa hoops, consider the Thai Elite visa.

Authorities are clamping down on misuse of the ED visa

In the past there have been cases of schools allowing students to pay a fee in return for a visa without having to attend classes.

The Thai authorities are aware of rorting taking place in the visa system. And there has been talk of the program being tightened up or even wound back to some extent.

If you enter Thailand under an education visa it is up to you take responsibility and attend your classes. You can potentially be banned from Thailand if you are found to have been abusing the education visa.

We don’t recommend people trying to game the visa system. You’re ultimately doing yourself a disservice. You’re better off to respect the rules of the country that is hosting you. You also get to learn a valuable skill while you’re at it.

If you would like any help or have any questions around the Thailand education visa, feel free to reach out to us.