Integrity Legal

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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