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So I don't even know where to start.

 

I've got a round-trip ticket from the US to Thailand for a total of 220 days (to study and train Muay Thai). I've been clicking links and emailing in circles for weeks trying to figure out this VISA process. I'd like to obtain a non-immigrant visa somehow. The closest I've gotten is "The Royal Thai Embassy, Washington DC" and the page that states the different types of visas and where to mail the documents, fees, etc. but I'm not sure exactly what to apply for.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. I have 30 days before my flight (May 19).

 

Thank you 

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Your visa begins once it's approved, so don't get it too long before your actual flight. It takes a day or two to process, but anything more than a week before you leave is just wasting the time on your visa.

 

When I first came out my non-immigrant, multiple entry, ED visa was through my camp, Lanna Muay Thai. Only a few camps are allowed to offer an ED visa anymore (the rule changed the year after I got mine) - Master Toddy's is one of the gyms that can offer it. So, I had a letter from the camp owner and passport copies of the gym manager, signed, etc. I take that to mean that you need a letter of guarantee from whatever entity is giving you an ED visa, usually a language school. Depending on where in Thailand you are going, you can find a language school online fairly easily, but obviously proceed with caution if anyone asking you to send money in advance. The Walen school is a good place to start looking - they're pricey, but the most legitimate school I've come across. They have locations in different cities and can give you a good idea of the process. My second year I had the same visa but through a language school instead of the gym. My school sucked in terms of teaching me any Thai; it is designed as a way for westerners to have visas and that's basically all it's good for. Bummer because I wanted to learn Thai, but great because the hours are super flexible and I got my visa.

 

Note, you will still have to either check in with immigration or go to a border every 90 days and pay for a new stamp. That's the multiple entry part.  Another avenue is teaching, which is a work visa. Anyone just do border runs?

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Hi! 

  • I first came on a tourist visa and did visa runs.
  • The second time, I got an ED visa from my gym (Master Toddy's).
  • I'm now on a working visa.

So, I've had experience with all three ways.

 

If you get a tourist visa, you have two options. The first is to get a visa on arrival, which will be valid for 30 days and can be renewed at any border on a visa run. I'm not sure just how many times you can renew it, though. I did it three or four times in a row with no problems. The second is to can apply in advance at your local Thai consulate/embassy for a 60 day double entry tourist visa. During that time, you just need to report to the immigration office every 30 days while you're here. When you reach then end of your second 60-day stay, the visa can be further extended by 30 days at the end on a border run, making it valid for a total of 180 days. I'm not sure if you would have an issue getting a brand new tourist visa to cover the rest of your trip after you're done with that one. Can anyone else help with that?

It seems that with a tourist visa, you will need proof of a return flight This wasn't the case when I had mine (a few years ago), but there has been a recent visa crackdown.

My experiences of border runs were always pretty easy - just take a van, cross the border, get a stamp and come back. They're just a hassle if you're a grump like me. They can be a fun way to meet people, though. There are plenty of companies here which arrange the trips and take care of all the paperwork for you, which is good. I used http://www.thaivisaservice.com/

As Sylvie said, you can do the education (ED) visa for a long-term stay by going through a Thai language school or training at a gym that offers one (although there are not many). Master Toddy is currently working with the Ministry of Education to be able to provide 5 year visas in the future, which I am really excited about! It requires a lot of paperwork, though. You have to build a curriculum for them to assess. We've also had the immigration people come to the gym during training to check up on us a few times, taking photos of us training and stuff. 

If there's anything else I can help with here, please let me know!  :smile:

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I'm currently here on an ED visa. The only hassle has been going to immigration every 90 days, but they are currently in the process (might be finished now) allowing students to report to immigration online. Fingers crossed for five year ED visas...

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I kind of think that if you're coming for less than a year, you (and specifically your wallet) would be better off coming in on a triple-entry tourist visa. Not exactly sure about the States but when I came in from Canada I got a triple entry visa (3 * 60 days for a total of 180 days) for about $100?

 

If you go through a school you're looking at paying about 20,000 baht for a year (about $700) and you won't even use it all. You'll also have to go through the hassle of paperwork and immigration visits. While you're here, you might be interested in seeing Laos or Cambodia or Vietnam for a couple days that you can fit in with your visa runs. You'll also be more free to move around and change camps without being tied to a language school in a specific part of the country.

 

Just some food for thought.

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Thanks guys!

Its looking like I'm going to have to take the triple entry 180 day tourist visa, then head to the Philippines for however long it takes to get a new tourist visa then back to Thailand. Going to the Thai Embassy in Washington to get it all sorted out in person a few days before I fly to Thailand. Fingers crossed it will work out.

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Actually, the US only offers a single or double entry tourist visa.  That means you get 60 days for each entry.  After your first 60 days, you can go to immigration for a 30 day extension; at the end of that you have to do a border run to activate the 2nd entry, and you do the whole process over. It will give you a total of 180 days.  After that, you'd apply for a new tourist visa in a nearby country, but you will only get a single entry.  (That is a risky option since the rule changes last year.)  Your best bet I think would be the ED visa.  Then you only have to report to immigration every 90 days.  Visit the website for the Thai embassy you will applying to in the US (Washington I think you said).  Some embassies are stricter than other as far as required documents.  If you do decide to apply for an ed visa, look into that now, because whomever is sponsoring the visa will have to have documents prepared here and then send them to you in the US to submit with your application.  

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Hey guys! I went to DC and got a double entry 60 day tourist visa, and it all worked out okay. I'll go traveling for about 10 to 15 days and return with the regular 30 day visa. Easy Peasy.

Just kidding, it required a ton of paperwork, but the lady at the Embassy was helpful. Much cheaper than the ED route, and more fun because I got to travel to DC and see all the embassies and whatnot.

(now to get my passport back in time for my flight....... ha)

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