Can a Thai Tourist Visa be Converted to a Thai Student Visa
Yes, it is possible to convert a tourist visa into a Thai student visa known as the Thai non-immigrant ED visa once you have already arrived in Thailand, however there are a few things to keep in mind. The visa rules in Thailand are subjected to changes by the immigration bureau so you should always double check with your educational institution before you apply.
There are a few important requirements and processes that you need to know and meet in order to be able to change your visa type while in Thailand.
Eligibility and required documents
- Have a 60-day Tourist visa- you must change your visa type within the first 30 days of your visa validity as the other 30 days will be needed for processing time in order to change it to a Non-immigrant ED visa.
- Original and a signed photocopy of your passport with a Thai tourist visa and at least 6 months of validity.
- Letter of admission- A letter of admission with the official letterhead from the educational institution which you have applied and got accepted to. Make sure there are definitive dates for the start of the semester stated on the letter as well otherwise there might be a problem when you apply for or to change to a student visa as the visa date will be in reference to that date.
- If your school is a private institution then an Approval letter from the Ministry of Education in Thailand may also be required.
- A completed application form for change of visa TM 86 for the visa conversion.
- There will be a fee of 2,000 THB ($61) for the visa conversion.
- Passport sized photo of yourself with the following specifications:
- Dimension of 4*6cm.
- White Background.
- Taken in the last 6 months.
- Face fully visible.
These are the main requirements in order to change your 60-day tourist visa into a Non-Immigrant ED visa, once you meet all of the requirements and prepare all the documents listed above, you can go to the Immigration office in Thailand and request for a visa conversion into a Non-Immigrant ED visa.
Please also take note of the following important information in order to find out what to expect.
- If you’re already in Thailand, you can only convert the 60-day tourist visa into an education visa, if you have a visa on arrival stamp or if you fall under the visa exemption rule to travel to Thailand, then you cannot obtain a Thai student visa in Thailand, you must either apply for it at the Thai embassy/consulate in your home country or travel to neighboring countries such as Singapore and Malaysia in order to apply from there.
- Even though the course you have applied to in Thailand may be 6 months or longer, For the first time, you will be granted a Non-Immigrant ED visa with a validity of 90 days, this can be extended for 1 year when you make your first 90 day reporting. In order to be able to get an extension, you must complete your course registration and pay your tuition fees in full with a letter issued by your school/institute confirming your registration and payment.
- 90-Day reporting- With the Thai Education Visa, you will still have to do the 90-Day reporting. The 90-day reporting is when you have to go to the Thai immigration office every 90 days to report your address.
- Re-entry Permit- The single entry visa requires you to apply for a re-entry permit everytime you decide to leave Thailand, otherwise your education visa will be void. A re-entry permit can be obtained at the Thai Immigration Office or the International Airport. You should try to get a multiple entry visa if you plan on leaving Thailand and possibly traveling to nearby countries.
- The Thai Education visa does not permit you to work in any form. The Thai education visa is not like the education visa in other countries which allows you to work for a certain amount of hours a week, employment is strictly prohibited and if you want to work in Thailand, you should consider getting a business visa.
It is not difficult to convert your 60-day Thai tourist visa into an Thai education visa if you are accepted into a qualified and recognized educational institution in Thailand, there might be a few things to keep in mind such as the validity of the visa (90 days validity initially) and the fact that you still have to do the 90 day reporting but overall it should be easy if you meet all of the requirements and have all of the supporting documents.