The Key Thing To Remember
The key thing to remember regarding this process is to email us 4 weeks before you fly and we will advise you on which visa to get, whether to get the tourist visa because you have not been placed yet, or the non B visa because you have been placed AND we have enough time to get you the documents for the visa.
How Do I Apply For a Visa?
To apply for a visa for Thailand, you need to apply at a Thai Embassy or Consulate outside of Thailand. For those in the UK, USA, Ireland, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, there are many Thai consulates you can use. You will have to decide which one to use and then you will have to call them and find out what requirements they have for the visa.
Most people will be getting the single entry tourist visa, but some people will be applying for the single entry non immigrant B visa.
One good idea for you is to go to Google quickly and type in ‘Thai Consulate’, and see what comes up. More often than not, your nearest one will be top of the list. Go to their website and read about these two types of visa and how to apply for them. Right now. Go!
It Is Complicated, But We Try To Make It Simple
The visa process can become stressful but it doesn’t need to be. The things that stress people the most are:
- A lack of information
- A lack of time to apply
- Making mistakes on the application
We have made this post to give you the right information, to make sure you do things in enough time, and to help you avoid mistakes in your visa application.
The work permit and visa process is complicated. If you follow our guidelines and the guidelines of our partners, you should be fine – but we will warn you that due to the number of government agencies involved in the whole process, making a mistake is easy. It’s important to be patient with the whole process and remember that if anything does go wrong, it can be fixed.
Here are our guidelines in an FAQ style (frequently asked questions). Every person who books onto our Internships Thailand Program should print, highlight and make sure they understand all this information.
If you have any questions about the visa application process after reading this information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Does This Information Change If I Am Flying Early Or Visiting Another Country First?
Yes! If you are arriving more than 10 days earlier than the start date of the program, please contact us immediately so we can advise you on what to do. Make sure you read all this information first.
We will then tell you what is different. The main thing is that you have less time to do everything – visas do have an expiry date. Everything will be fine with coming early, but you just need to be made aware of what is different.
Also, if you are landing in Thailand and then off to another country before coming back to Thailand, you also need to tell us ASAP because it will affect your visa.
Who’s Responsibility Is This Visa Application?
We are not responsible for your visa – you are. A small number of people do not take the visa application seriously, leave it too late or don’t even bother applying for a visa before they leave their home country. These people may end up paying more money for the visa process and may have to run around a bit more to get everything they need.
What Types Of Visas Can I Apply For?
For our TEFL Heaven courses, there are two types of visas you can apply for:
- A ‘single’ entry tourist visa (an initial 60 days stay, with a 30 day extension, so 90 days max. stay in Thailand)
- A ‘single’ entry non-immigrant B visa (an initial 90 days stay, with a 7 day extension, so 97 days max. stay in Thailand)
Both These Visas Are Less Than The Period of the Program (6 months), Why?
Once you have a work permit, you get a special visa extension for a year. Nice.
Should I Apply For a ‘Multiple’ Entry (2 or 3 entries) Tourist Visa To Give Me More Time?
No. Normally it’s not needed unless you are:
1. Arriving in Thailand a lot earlier.
2. Arriving in Thailand early and then travelling to another country before coming back to Thailand for the start of the program.
In both of these situations, make sure you consult with us by email first before applying for more than a single entry tourist visa.
Should I Apply For a ‘Multiple’ Entry Non Immigrant B Visa To Give Me More Time?
No. They won’t issue a ‘multiple’ entry visa to those who are coming to teach. You don’t need one anyway, you get a visa extension once you get the work permit.
Who Pays For The Visa Applications?
The visa applications are at your own cost, whether in your home country or in Thailand. You may also have to apply for more than one visa and visa extensions before or during your teaching job. You should not expect us or your employer in Thailand to cover visas.
How Much Do Visas Cost For Thailand?
Here are the approximate costs in THB, depending on the Thai consulate:
- Tourist visa: 1500 – 2000 THB per entry of 60 days
- Tourist visa extension: 2000 THB in Bangkok Immigration for 30 days extension
- Non-immigrant B visa: 2000 – 3000 THB per entry of 90 days
- Converting a tourist visa to a non-immigrant B visa: 2000 THB in Bangkok Immigration (you get 90 days when you convert the visa to a non B)
What Visa Do I Need?
Eventually you will need a non-immigrant B visa. This visa is a precursor to receiving a work permit, and you cannot get a work permit without a non-immigrant visa.
Most people will receive a non-immigrant B visa after they have arrived in Thailand. You can get the non-immigrant B visa by converting a tourist visa at Bangkok Immigration, or you can get one by taking a trip to Vientiane in Laos to visit the Thai Consulate there.
If you have to get the visa this way, you first need to apply for a single entry tourist visa in your home country and then you will be guided by your employer as to how to get the non immigrant B visa later on.
Most people will apply for a single entry tourist visa before they arrive in Thailand, and a small number of people will be able to apply for the non-immigrant B visa before they arrive.
So Should I Just Apply For A Single Entry Tourist Visa Now Then?
No! It’s normally cheaper to get the non-immigrant B visa and skip the tourist visa. So in an ideal world, we would love for everyone to get the non immigrant B visa in their home country. So you should wait until four weeks before you fly, and if we have not contacted you about the non-immigrant B visa or a school placement, then you need to email us!
At that point we will either say “wait a little bit please” as we may get you the documents you need for the non-immigrant B visa OR we will say “go ahead and apply for the single entry tourist visa”.
Please make sure you get our instructions before you go off and buy a tourist visa.
So… When Do We Get A Confirmed Teaching Job and School Placement?
As mentioned in other places, with the TEFL Heaven Internships Thailand course, you are sometimes given your teaching placement before you leave your home country, during TEFL training, or after TEFL training. Everyone is guaranteed a job, but due to many factors, not everyone gets placed at the same time.
Why Can’t Everyone Get A Non-Immigrant B Visa Before They Arrive?
The main reason is that in order to get the non-immigrant B visa, you need to meet all these requirements:
- You must have a job offer from a specific school.
- The school must provide official registration documents, a contract, the ID of their director and the director must sign all of these documents.
Why Can’t Everyone Get A Confirmed Job Placement Before They Arrive?
School holidays start March 1st – May 16th and Sept 28th – Nov 1st (although some schools vary). Not everyone will be on holiday at this time, so some administration staff still work, but many people, including directors of schools, go on holiday.
This means it’s difficult to a) Find anyone in schools to make decisions on teachers, b) Find someone at the school to send the correct documents even if we do confirm placements and 3) Make sure the director signs everything.
I Have A School Placement, But Still No Documents For The Non Immigrant B Visa – Why?
This could be for many reasons, but the main reasons as mentioned above are that directors are not available to sign documents and it’s hard to get a hold of other school administration staff in enough time.
In this case, just apply for the tourist visa (after confirming with us via email). Many people with a confirmed school placement will still have to apply for the single entry tourist visa. You can get the non-immigrant B visa later on.
Which “Home Countries” Allow Me To Buy A Visa Before I Arrive In Thailand?
Most native English speaking countries have Thai consulates or embassies where you can buy a tourist visa or a non-immigrant B visa before you fly.
Generally you will be fine if you live in the USA, UK, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
If you go on holiday before you come to Thailand, make sure you sort your visa first. In the past people have went on holiday thinking they can apply for a visa in a country like Greece or Italy and have been disappointed.
Which Thai Embassy or Consulate Should I Use For My Application?
Any of them. You will find them by typing into a search engine using these keywords:
Thai Embassy [country] OR Thai Consulate [country]
Some countries have multiple embassies. You might want to find the closest one to you.
Do All Thai Embassies and Consulates Have The Same Process?
No! Some only open for visa enquiries between 9am and 11am. Some only deal with postal applications, some only do face-to-face applications.
Once you have found the Thai embassy or consulate you want to use, go onto their website and find out opening hours and the process for applying for a visa.
How Long Does It Take For the Thai Embassy or Consulate To Process My Application?
In years gone by the visa applications were fast, taking around 24 – 48 hours at a Thai embassy or consulate. Nowadays Thai embassies or consulates can take 5 working days or more to process applications, and longer if there are mistakes on the application. However, some still are super fast and get you it all back within 24 hours.
When Should I Apply For the Visa?
You need to apply for a visa at a Thai embassy or consulate around 4 weeks before you fly. Before you apply, you need confirmation from us via email that this is correct for you to go and do.
Sometimes if we have emailed you specifically about a teaching placement you will have different instructions about the date to apply – normally later than four weeks before you fly. This extra delay may be due to you needing a specific document from one of our schools to get the non immigrant B visa, and so it’s always worth waiting a little longer to get the non immigrant B visa.
Please do not apply before the 4 weeks! 4 weeks before you fly is plenty time for a Thai embassy or consulate to process your visa application.
What Is The Single Entry Tourist Visa?
This is the visa that most people will be applying for.
A single entry give you 60 days from the date of entry into Thailand (i.e. the day you land) to stay in Thailand. You will get a 60 day tourist stamp as you go through immigration. Make sure they stamp you for 60 days and not 30 days when you arrive.
You need to buy this from a Thai consulate or embassy outside of Thailand, preferably your home country. You cannot buy this visa in Thailand.
What Is The Non Immigrant B Visa?
This is the visa that everyone will need eventually.
This gives you 90 days from the date of entry into Thailand (i.e. the day you land) to stay in Thailand. You will get a 90 day non-immigrant stamp as you go through immigration. Make sure they stamp you for 90 days and not 30 days when you arrive.
You need to buy this from a Thai consulate or embassy outside of Thailand, preferably your home country. You can buy this visa in Thailand, but only on certain conditions. It can also be bought in a bordering country of Thailand like Laos.
How Do You Fill Out The Visa Application Form?
All visa application forms are a little different BUT generally the same. In order to help you, we have two examples of a filled out visa application form which we downloaded from the Hull Thai Consulate website:
Can I Order the Visa Online?
No. There is currently no Thai consulate or embassy in the world who will accept this, from what we know. You have to post it.
What Is the Departure and Arrival Card?
This is the departure and arrival card!:
You will normally be given this on your incoming flight to Thailand, or you can collect them just before you go through Thailand immigration. You cannot get through immigration without these fully filled out. I don’t know my address is Thailand? Put anything down – the name of your hostel or hotel and its address is fine.
One of the most important parts is to fill out the visa information and visa number. By this time, having followed our excellent information regarding this, you should have a bought tourist or non-immigrant B visa inside your passport. Check the number and put the number in the arrival card.
The only thing you might not be able to fill out is the flight number on the departure card – everything else will need to be filled out and the immigration officer will make sure of this. When you pass through immigration, he will stamp your departure card and your passport.
If you have a single entry tourist visa he will stamp you for 60 days.
If you have a non-immigrant B visa he will stamp you for 90 days.
Two very important things to note down and remember here:
- DO NOT lose your departure card!
- Check you have been stamped correctly!
If you lose your departure card, you will need to report it to the police (yes, very strange!) and go back to the airport and get a new official one.
If you get stamped for the wrong amount of time, you also need to go back to the airport. Trainees have done both of these things in the past – by the way. It’s just a hassle you don’t need.
And What About The Work Permit Process?
More information about this process will be given on induction by your placement agency when you arrive in Thailand. Right now, we do not want to overload you with information. Just make sure you take all your original documents to Thailand: degree, police check, degree transcripts, etc.
After having read all this information, you need to follow it. If you need to email us, please do so. Remember you need to start doing visa things around 4 weeks before your arrival.
***New Update – 9th July 2015***
Anew rule has been introduced by the Thai immigration service. You can now get your non B visa in an immigration office in your province, instead of going to Bangkok. This is only if you have 15 days left on your tourist visa, of course.
For those in Bangkok, the rules have got tighter – you now have to get your degree certified by your embassy in Bangkok, then have that certification verified by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and THEN go to Bangkok Immigration and get the non B visa. As this is a lot of running around, it would be easier to go to a neighbouring country and get the non B visa!