Student or Tourist Visa for Thailand
- In case you don’t have time to apply for a student visa in your home country, you can arrive in Thailand as a tourist.
- Please note that you are not allowed to study in Thailand with a tourist visa. If you arrive to Thailand with a tourist visa, you will need to leave the country and apply for the student visa in a Thai embassy outside of Thailand.
- A Thai tourist visa allows visitors to remain in the country for a maximum of 30 days. However, not all nationalities are granted a tourist visa upon arrival.
- Check the Thai embassy list to see whether or not restrictions apply when traveling to Thailand from your home country. If you are eligible for a tourist visa upon arrival, you must have a valid passport for the duration of your trip. You will fill out an entry form on the flight to Thailand.
You can also find information about visas on Thailand’s immigration bureau website.
Applying for a Student Visa for Thailand
In order to study abroad in Thailand you need to apply for a student visa before the start of the semester. Please check the latest news and information about visas before applying for a visa at the Royal Thai Embassy website, where you can also get the required application forms and other information about the application procedure.
A Thai student visa is a Non-Immigrant Visa ED. Print out the application form and attach the documents listed below.
Please note: Holding a student visa requires you to take at least three courses in Thailand. Taking four courses is recommended, however, so that you have solid proof of your studies in Thailand. Your host university in Thailand will also help you with all visa related matters.
- A passport, with at least one empty page for the visa. The passport must be valid for a minimum of six months after arriving in Thailand. A passport with validity of 18 months has sometimes been required when applying for a one-year Multiple Entry Visa. Please note this also when sending Asia Exchange your application for the study abroad program.
- A copy of the identification page of your passport.
- The filled out application form
- Two passport-sized color photos, 3.5 x 4.5 cm
- A copy of your airline ticket or an electronic ticket
- The official letter of acceptance from the host university (sent to you by AE at the latest one month before the start of the semester). A visa request document (in Thai) for students going to PSU.
- A letter of recommendation from your home institution (the original, signed version) or, if you’ve already graduated, a verified copy of your degree certificate. Here is an example of a letter of recommendation. The recommendation letter can be informal and quite different from our example.
Please note that you cannot apply for the visa with the initial acceptance letter.
It will take at least four working days for the embassy to process your application after you bring it to them. This varies from country to country so consult the Thai embassy or consulate in your own country for more information.
If you wish to send your visa application by mail, send it as a registered letter and remember to include the postage for the return envelope (enough postage for a registered letter) so that the embassy can mail the visa back to you. Also, remember to enclose your passport as the visa will be attached to it. The embassy does not accept liability for lost letters if the letters have not been sent as registered. It’s not possible to apply for the visa by mail in every country so consult the embassy for the latest information.
The visa can only be paid for in cash either at the embassy, or by sending the required amount of money by mail. The price of the visa is based on whether it is a single or a multiple-entry visa. The fees also vary from country to country depending on the currency.
The period of validity of the visa is determined by the length of the study period mentioned in the official acceptance letter (which may be longer than the length of the actual study program). If your stay in Thailand (i.e. the dates of your flights to and from the country) exceeds 90 days by even a day, you must apply for multiple entries. Also if you are planning to travel outside Thailand, you need to apply for the multiple-entry visa. If you plan to leave the country less than three times during the semester, you can also get a single-entry visa and then buy re-entry permits. This might save you some money but AE recommends students to apply for the multiple-entry visa.
If you intend on staying in Thailand after your studies, AE recommends planning possible trips to neighboring countries after the study program has ended. This way you will receive a new entry permit and permission to stay in the country for 30 days when you re-enter Thailand.
A single-entry visa must be used (i.e. you must enter Thailand) within 90 days of the date it was issued. The multiple-entry visa must be used within a year of the date it was issued. Upon arrival, the immigration officials will stamp the date till which you are allowed to remain in Thailand onto your passport. The date is based on your visa type (multiple/single-entry).
You need to validate your visa within the first 90 days in the country, regardless of your visa type. Both single-entry and multiple-entry visas need to be updated, or prelonged, every 90 days as long as you stay in the country. The actual applying for the new 90 day period must be done at least a week before your 90 days are up, so don’t leave it at the last minute. The extension can be applied for either in the immigration bureau or, if you have a multiple-entry visa, by visiting a neighboring country (when you return to Thailand you will get an admission for a new 90 day period in Thailand). If you fail the get another 90 day extension to your visa in time, you have to pay a 5000 THB fee (120 Euros).
In Thailand, visa procedures are processed at the Immigration Office in Bangkok (Soi Buan Phlu, off South Sathorn Road, Bangkok 10120, Tel: (662) 287-3101-10), in Phuket (482 Phuket Road, A.Muang, Phuket 83000, Tel: (66) 076 221 905). Please note that you can only extend your visa at these immigration offices, not request a completely new visa.
You can find an example of a filled out visa application form here.
If you do not have an address in Thailand when filling out the visa application, you can write down the address of a famous hotel in Thailand under the ‘permanent address’ section. You can write down the name of the contact person in your host university for the ‘contact person in Thailand’ section.