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Posts Tagged ‘ED Visa’

5th May 2018

For at least 2 years, Thai immigration officials have been ramping up their efforts to improve Immigration and visa policy. We have seen a substantial change in the attitude toward Thai tourist visa issuance as well as Immigration protocols associated therewith. This has especially been the case where those foreigners utilizing tourist visas are suspected of using such travel documents in order to live and work illegally in the Kingdom. Meanwhile, changes to the rules regarding so called “Visa runs”or “border runs” have resulted, as a practical matter, in an immigration apparatus that operates in a wholly different way than it once did.

While the above paragraph describes the changes in the laws, rules, and regulations related to Thai visas, it does not speak to issues involving enforcement of immigration law in the Kingdom as enforcement measures had largely remained unchanged during the time of the legal transitions discussed above: until recently. While the “Good Guys in Bad Guys Out” initiative describes a change in paradigm within the institutions charged with maintaining Thailand’s Immigration apparatus, the “Operation Outlaw Foreigner” and “Operation X-Ray Outlaw Foreigner” programs represent concrete steps taken by Immigration law enforcement officials to confront visa violators and deal with them accordingly. In recent months, an unprecedented number of raids at unprecedented types of venues have taken place in an effort to track down foreigners who are overstaying in Thailand or utilizing visas otherwise meant for recreational pursuits in Thailand to engage in unauthorized employment or as a means for undertaking criminal activity in the Kingdom. These raids have resulted in the arrest and deportation of thousands of foreign nationals.

In the rather recent past, those who maintained lawful non-immigrant status in the Kingdom could generally breathe easily knowing that Immigration officials’ primary targets in immigration crackdowns were: those in the country in overstay status, pretextual tourist visa status, or prolonged visa exemption status. However, recent weeks have shown that immigration officials are placing increased scrutiny upon those who could be considered otherwise lawfully present in the Kingdom on a non-immigrant Education visa. ED visas have been used by many to remain in the Kingdom in order to pursue a course of study. However, Immigration authorities seem to be increasingly of the opinion that such travel documents are being used as a pretext for living in the Kingdom and that the educational endeavor is in fact a sham. Whether this assumption is warranted likely depends upon the underlying circumstances, but this is not the point. Instead, it should be noted that scrutiny such as this represents a substantial change in mindset with respect to immigration officers as such individuals were, at one time, generally satisfied when a non-immigrant visa was produced, but it now seems as though such providence may no longer suffice when attempting to terminate an investigation into one’s status as providence of an ED visa may result in further scrutiny and possible revocation of the visa if it is determined that it is being used as a pretext.

A final noteworthy development: it seems that immigration authorities are now collecting relevant bio-metric data from those foreigners apprehended in the Kingdom for Immigration or criminal violations. In fact, it has been reported that fingerprints, facial recognition, and even DNA collection protocols may be utilized to create a database to track those who have been processed through the immigration system in an effort to track and likely enforce blacklisting measures prospectively.

Those reading this posting are well advised to note that the official attitude toward Immigration matters in Thailand has changed. The once lax enforcement attitude is a thing of the past and if recent reports are any indication, it seems likely that the immigration system will be increasingly stringent in the future.

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3rd June 2014

As of the time of this writing, the reader is likely aware of the recent developments in the Kingdom of Thailand. In recent weeks, the political tension that placed Thailand in a political stalemate came to an end with the military taking over the civilian functions of the government. Although these developments may be confusing to those operating within a Western paradigm, such events are rather un-extraordinary when viewed within the framework of relatively recent Thai history. That stated, these developments are unlikely to have a day-to-day affect upon tourists and expatriates in the Kingdom. However, as the situation may lead to regulatory changes in Thailand, one would be prudent to keep an eye upon administrative developments moving forward.

Another issue which is likely to have a very significant impact upon both temporary travelers and long term residents in Thailand is the evolving state of Thai immigration rules. At present, the previous immigration rules are still essentially in effect (although one should note that all Thai immigration authorities have discretion to withhold admission to foreign nationals whom they deem unsuitable and with the recent announcement of upcoming rule changes such discretion may be utilized more frequently in the immediate future). On August 12th of this year the administrative procedures regarding those using multiple 30 day visa exemption stamps will change. After that date it will  likely prove much more difficult for foreign nationals in Thailand to use more than one 30 day exemption stamp within a relatively short period of time as such travelers are viewed as using such stamps to abuse the relative laxity of the Thai Immigration system. Therefore, it appears likely that those wishing to enter on such stamps consecutively will be highly scrutinized at the border with anecdotal evidence suggesting that immigration officials are likely to ask for proof of hotel accommodations and sufficient funds to remain in the Kingdom. The issue of hotel accommodation could prove significant to those who have used such stamps consecutively in the past as many such individuals maintain apartments or condos in Thailand and where that is the case anecdotal evidence suggests that such foreign nationals will be asked to depart and re-enter on a proper Thai visa rather than utilize the 30 stamp.

As a result of these developments and the substantial likelihood that the current administration in Thailand will stringently enforce these  new directives it seems reasonable to assume that the best course of action for those wishing to remain in the Kingdom for a significant period of time is to obtain a long term visa in some non-immigrant category. Currently, the Thai business visa is available for business travelers, while those wishing to undertake educational endeavors in Thailand could obtain a Thai ED visa. Furthermore, those with family members in Thailand could obtain a Thai O visa, while those wishing to simply retire in the Kingdom can opt to seek a Thai retirement visa. A 60 day Thai tourist visa may also be a possibility, but some have noted that usage of multiple Thai tourist visas may prove less feasible moving forward.

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29th July 2013

Thailand Visa Update

Posted by : admin

There have been some recent developments with respect to Thai visas. The following information is for general use only and should not be construed to apply to every unique situation as there are often numerous Thai visa options for those wishing to travel and remain in the Kingdom of Thailand for a prolonged period of time.

Thailand Business Visas

It has recently come to this blogger’s attention that 12 month multiple entry Thai business visas are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain from Royal Thai Embassies and Consulates abroad. For example, the Royal Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur recently announced that it will no longer issue 12 month multiple entry business visas to applicants as applicants are now only able to obtain a 90 day Thai Business Visa (officially referred to as the Non-Immigrant “B” Visa) at that post. Applicants are encouraged to first obtain a 90 day Thai business visa and subsequently apply for a Thai work permit and visa extension in the Kingdom of Thailand. However, it would appear that the Royal Thai Consulate in Penang may issue 12 month multiple entry business visas under limited circumstances. It seems that those who have previously obtained a multiple entry Thai business visa and Thai work permit may be eligible to obtain another one year Thai business visa from the Thai Consulate in Penang. Meanwhile it would seem that the other Thai Embassies and Thai Consulates around the world are becoming increasingly hesitant to issue one year multiple entry Thai business visas and in those situations where such visas are issued they are only granted after significant scrutiny by the Consular officers issuing such travel documents.

Thailand Retirement Visas

In some cases, a foreign national may be eligible to obtain a Thai retirement visa. However, Thai Immigration officials are carefully reviewing applications for Thai retirement visas. In fact, this blogger has  learned that issues surrounding the finances of the applicant for a Thai retirement visa are of increasing concern for Thai Immigration officers. In fact, Thai Immigration officers seem to be seeking larger amounts of evidence concerning a retiree’s financial situation compared to past applications.

Thailand O Visas

The O visa in Thailand is technically classified as a miscellaneous visa category. Generally, this visa category is used by foreign nationals with family in Thailand (this is why this category is sometimes referred to as a Thai marriage visa notwithstanding the fact that  it could be used by any family member of a Thai national). As is the case with the Thai retirement visa, the finances of the foreign national seeking an O visa is of central concern to the Thai Immigration authorities especially when the foreign national is seeking a Thai O visa based upon marriage to a Thai. Therefore, those seeking Thai O visas should be prepared to show substantial evidence of ability to financially support oneself, and one’s spouse, while in Thailand.

Thailand Education Visas

The Thai Education visa (categorized by Thai Immigration as the “ED” visa) is more widely used by foreign nationals in Thailand compared to times past. That stated, Immigration officials examine such applications with a great deal of thoroughness. It should be noted that those staying in the Kingdom on an ED visa based upon attendance at a Thai language school may be tested on their Thai language ability by Immigration officers. Therefore, if one has been present in Thailand on an ED visa for a significant period of time, but cannot show a basic understanding of Thai the ED visa could be revoked.

For related information please see: Thailand work permit

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30th June 2013

It has come to this blogger’s attention that Thai authorities may one day require that tourists traveling to the Kingdom of Thailand purchase health insurance prior to being granted entry, to quote directly from the website UPI.com:

Lawmakers in Thailand say they want all foreign tourists to be required to purchase travel and health insurance before arriving in their country. Thailand’s Public Health Ministry Wednesday proposed the measure…The health ministry has suggested the cost of health insurance coverage might be included in visa fees, Public Health Minister Pradit Sinthawanarong said at the meeting. Those visiting Thailand without visas would be required to buy insurance at immigration checkpoints or the fees could be added to the cost of airline tickets.

To learn more about this issue readers are encouraged to click HERE to view this story in detail.

Although this policy is still in the discussion stage, if Immigration officials in Thailand eventually do decide to require foreign tourists to obtain health insurance then surely this would increase the costs associated with being granted entry to the Kingdom. Currently, those wishing to enter the Kingdom of Thailand for tourism purposes are required to obtain a Thai tourist visa. A single entry Thai tourist visa grants the bearer lawful presence in Thailand for 60 days, with an optional 30 day extension. It should be noted that foreign nationals from many countries can currently enter Thailand on a Thai visa exemption which is granted at an immigration checkpoint at the foreign national’s port of entry. In most cases a Thai visa exemption stamp in a foreign national’s passport will grant the bearer 30 days of lawful prensence in the Kingdom of Thailand.

Those wishing to travel to Thailand for the purpose of conducting business are required to obtain a Thai business visa which is categorized as a non-immigrant “B” visa by immigration authorities in Thailand. Once present in Thailand if the foreign national holding a business visa wishes to work then a Thai work permit must be first obtained before undertaking any type of labor in Thailand. Those traveling to Thailand to reunite with family may obtain a Thai “O” visa. This type of visa may allow the bearer to apply for a work permit depending upon the bearer’s circumstances. Foreign nationals wishing to retire in Thailand may obtain a Thai retirement visa which will permit the retiree to remain in the Kingdom for one-year intervals. However, those holding a retirement visa cannot apply for a work permit. Also, retirement visa seekers must be over the age of 50 and meet certain financial requirements. Some foreign nationals opt to travel to Thailand in order to receive schooling, in such cases it may be possible to obtain a Thai education visa (officially classified as an “ED” visa). It should be noted that in virtually all cases an ED visa holder cannot obtain a work permit.

For related information please see: Thailand Visa.

 

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9th March 2010

For general information on this subject please see our main page at: Education Visa Thailand.

One Thai visa category that is not often discussed on the pages of this blog is the Thai ED visa. This visa category was created for those who wish to remain in the Kingdom of Thailand for the purpose of pursuing academic study. In the past, this seemed to have been limited to colleges and universities, but increasingly many people are seeing the benefits of holding a Thai ED visa while also seeking proficiency in the Thai language. Many Thai language schools have been established in the last 5 years in order to cater to the increasing demand for Thai language study.

The Thai language can be extremely difficult for westerners to pick up because the language is tonal. This means that the entire word can be changed merely by the way it is tonally pronounced. This author can say from experience that proficiency with the Thai tones can be a difficult feat, but once this obstacle is overcome the benefits are extraordinary as Thai people greatly appreciate those foreigners (farangs, falangs) who take an interest in learning the Thai language.

Thai is a very subtle and complex language that has a rich history. As Thailand was never colonized by one of the so-called “Great Powers” the language was never displaced by an alien tongue. This creates and interesting linguistic environment as Thais have taken in those parts of other cultures’ languages while retaining their own linguistic identity.

As to the Immigration privileges accorded to those on a Thai visa for education: first, a major benefit is the fact that an ED visa holder does not need to worry about so-called “border runs” or “visa runs” since the ED visa allows the bearer to remain for the course of study. That being said, ED visas are not very beneficial for those wishing to work in Thailand as they do not entitle the bearer to apply for a Thai work permit, except in extremely rare circumstances. However, if one is on an ED visa and gets a job in Thailand, then it may be possible to change visa status and apply for a work permit, but this is not the most efficient way of getting Thai work authorization so if one is not yet in Thailand and may wish to work, then it may be best to apply for a Thai business visa prior to departing for Thailand as a long term business visa could be easily obtained by certain applicants.

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16th February 2010

Thailand is considered one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the world. In recent years, Thailand has boasted some of the highest tourist numbers in Asia, but as the world economic downturn continues, fewer Americans are traveling to Thailand as tourists. However, that state of affairs is poised to change as Thailand is being heralded as a great destination for budget-conscious travelers. In many ways, the buying power of the US dollar has only been slightly diminished in the Kingdom of Thailand and the dollar still represents disproportionate buying power for Americans in Thailand.

In order to remain in Thailand, an American must either obtain a Thai visa exemption stamp or a Thai visa. One of the many questions that many Americans pose regarding Thai visas is: how do I get a long term Thai visa? Many are under the mistaken impression that obtainment of a long stay Thai visa can be more easily accomplished from Southeast Asia. This is often not the case. For many, obtaining a 1 year Thai visa can be more easily facilitated if the applicant is in the United States at the time of application. That being said, proper document preparation is essential and many American applicants opt to retain the services of Thai immigration specialists in order to streamline the process.

The proper visa category is also an issue for many Americans. The plethora of Thai visa categories can be mind boggling, but fortunately there are a few major categories that cover the activities of most applicants. The first major category is the Thai business visa. Thai business visas are perfect for those conducting business in Thailand. These travel documents are also a benefit to those who are seeking employment in the Kingdom of Thailand. In many ways, a Thai business visa is extremely helpful when it comes to applying for a Thai work permit.

A Thai O visa is a sort of “catch all” category that is most commonly used by Americans with family members in Thailand. However, under the moniker of the “O” category there is the sub-category for retirees. A Thai retirement visa can be extremely beneficial for those who simply wish to remain in the Kingdom of Thailand in order to enjoy their so-called “golden years.”

An increasingly popular visa category is that of the Thai ED visa. This visa is often utilized by those in Thailand who wish to remain in the Kingdom in order to pursue a course of study. In many ways, ED visas are very beneficial to those from other countries. That being said, these types of visas often do not confer work authorization and therefore many opt not to obtain an ED visa as it is usually difficult to obtain a Thai work permit.

For more on this issue please see: Thailand visa.

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17th December 2009

In a recent announcement posted on Thaivisa.com one individual renewing his visa in Thailand was taken aback by the fact that a Royal Thai Immigration officer wanted to test his knowledge of Thai before a Thai visa extension would be granted. To quote the posting directly:

“[I]went to pattaya/jomtien immigration today with all my paperwork to extend my ed visa (callen & walen) for the next 3 months. [A]ll ok on desk number 5 then she pass’s my paperwork to a desk behind her and moves me. [T]he lady starts talking to me in [T]hai, then tells me they are now testing applicants from there 2nd renewal onwards , ie after 6 months on a ed visa. [S]he stated my [T]hai was not up to scratch and that if i did not pass on the next renewal [I] would have my application refused next time. [S]he made it very clear they were now cracking down on ed visa applicants, not surprising really [I] guess with all the signs appearing claiming 1-10 year ed visa’s freely available.”

In recent years Thai ED visas have become extremely popular amongst those who wish to remain in Thailand for a long period of time without resorting “visa runs.” Many have speculated whether these visas would continue to be promulgated as easily as they have been up until this point. One of the popular reasons for obtaining such visas is based upon the applicant’s enrollment in Thai language classes. Until recently, Thai proficiency examinations were not required in order for foreign nationals to remain in the Kingdom on ED visas, but as the above quotation points out, this is no longer the case as Thai immigration officers seem to increasingly demand that applicants for ED visa renewal show some sort of proficiency in the Thai language.

A Thai visa classified as “ED” can be a useful travel document for a student in Thailand, but they are not particularly useful for those who wish to obtain a Thai work permit. Under current Thai immigration and labor regulations it is very difficult to obtain a Thai work permit if the applicant is present in the Kingdom on an ED visa. In some limited cases it may be possible to obtain a work permit on an ED visa if the work is in connection with the applicant’s school. For those interested in working or owning a business in Thailand it may be wise to apply for a Thai business visa as this document can be used, in conjunction with other documentation, as a basis for submitting a work permit application.

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