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Good Place to Get a 1 Year Educational Visa

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Hi, does anyone know a good school in Bangkok to get a one-year educational visa with?  

 

An ex-pat in Pattaya told me he was able to pay a school 12,000 baht for a one-year visa, and he doesn't even attend the classes (apparently the school has no issue with this).

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They are supposedly reigning in such places in Pattaya as they are very prevalent but where there's a will there will always be a way.

 

I've 'heard' that for 30k in bangkok you can get 15 months stay (3 month type O with 12 month educational extension) even on a tourist visa without leaving the country. Also don't need to do visa runs like a language school because it is a 12 month extension at once not the 3 month type language schools give.

 

Visa processing outfits in Bangkok can be risky no doubt, but the owners are often well connected and can get just about anything done you need.

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I am sure the language schools will not want to loose customers so ways around any tightening of the rules will be found. Educational visas are still exploited  by many 'colleges/schools' in Oz and the UK even after both Governments said they were tightening the rules and the checks. Both Oz and UK  are not known for officials turning a blind eye in the right circumstances. In Thailand where officials are more likely to come to an understanding I am sure this any tightening of the rules will not be a problem but it might make the courses more expensive.

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IMHO, anyone who wants to "learn thai" to facilitate their stay here can certainly find the time the ministry of education says needs to be spent in class learning thai. BTW; that's just 4 hours a week.

Now you could quite possibly study thai the rest of your life at just 4 hours a week and never make it past "2-word-tourist-thai" or "horse-peak-thai". That's just my opinion after spending the last 7 years studying thai, so your mileage may vary.

Be that as it may;

About 3 months ago the ministry of education did indeed tighten up the criteria for foreigners to get approval for attending a thai language school. There are now two documents which are quite involved; insofar as you must list the the last 2 years worth of entries/exits to thailand and on which visa you were on, you must show financial proof of how you're going to live here whilst attending class (as you can't work on an ED visa) and a few other things too.

I have heard reports from schools where people who lived here for a couple years on back-2-back tourist visas or visa exempt stamps were being kicked back and denied the MOE letter which lets them go out of the country to get their first 90 day ED visa.

This is done in a effort to weed out those spurious one room schools, where people pay and don't attend class, and to stop people from simply choosing the ED visa route because other routes are not working out for them. The ED visa used to be a "catch all" for people to stay here who were under 50, not legally working, not married to a thai or not having half-breed kids.  All I can say is, more changes are a comin' in the ED visa arena, and they're sorely overdue. I'd recommend that you get in now, while you can, and if/when changes come you'd be grandfathered in under the old criteria.

Just an FYI; As far as I know, there's not a private thai language school in Bangkok which can get you a 12 month extension of stay after you come in on your 90 day single entry ED visa. That's not how the rules are enforced for private language schools. You get documentation every 90 days to go to thai immigrations and extend your stay another 90 days. In fact you don't get 15 months you get just 9 months of extensions of stay because you came in on a 90 day visa, and they count that off your total "year" of study. Now "real universities" are whores from another bar, errr I mean horses of a different color, and a real uni can get you a yearly extension of stay..

Also nothing is stopping you from studying thai for 3 years worth of extensions on that first ED visa. The only thing is; every year, you go to the Ministry of Education and get "tested" to see if you're actually able to speak something which resembles thai..

I always tell people;
Face it there are nearly 70 million people in this country who appear to speak, understand, read and write thai. While it is entirely plausible that one percent of the world's population is smarter than you are, it is a statistical impossibility that all 70 million of those people are thaiz.

If they can do it so can you, the linch-pin isn't the method, it's the motivation..

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Just an FYI; As far as I know, there's not a private thai language school in Bangkok which can get you a 12 month extension of stay after you come in on your 90 day single entry ED visa. That's not how the rules are enforced for private language schools. You get documentation every 90 days to go to thai immigrations and extend your stay another 90 days. In fact you don't get 15 months you get just 9 months of extensions of stay because you came in on a 90 day visa, and they count that off your total "year" of study. Now "real universities" are whores from another bar, errr I mean horses of a different color, and a real uni can get you a yearly extension of stay..

 

There are outfits that can get a tourist visa converted to a non-imm visa (good for 90 days) and then get a 12 month extension dated on the last date of that visa giving you 15 months stay with no need to do 90 renewals or any need to leave the country. It is considered a Thai University although they are handled much the same as the sham language schools which don't require attendance.

If one were interested in such a service just specify as much at a visa processing place and they will point you in the right direction.

Always risks with something like that, but when the Nigerian drug dealers along sukhumvit aren't being picked up by immigration I don't worry too much for a westerner who is living and spending money without getting into trouble.

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Most "westerns" think way too much of themselves and their alleged contributions to thai society. Truth be told westerners hardly contribute shit to the thai economy. It doesn't make a difference if you have a thai significant other and offset the existence of all the in-laws and out-laws in her extended family. That money is chump change compared to what 'real tourists' spend.

The grease that drives the wheel are "real tourists", it ain't the foreign flotsam and jetsam which live here on perpetual tourist visas or those runnerz who "run-4-the-border" every 30 days. Go to the Tourism Authority of Thailand's website and look at the stats.

Unless I'm mistaken real tourists mostly come from Asia, they come in groups, they stay an average of 10-14 days, they spend on average 3500+ baht a day, NOT including hotels and transportation.  Get your facts straight, most westerners I know living here don't spend 3500baht in a week!  Also most live in a one room shoe-box sized apartment, eat soi side and yet have the nerve to think they're contributing to the thai economy. Get a grip!

 

As far as visa mills;

Last year a pretty large visa mill or visa service just outside of Bangkok was stung in an undercover operation.. Every single foreigner who'd got a visa from them immediately had their visas canceled. It caused quite a lot of grief to those people when they went to exit the country, do their 90 day reports, etc.

 

There are no shortage of spurious visa services which can be found. I know you can "buy" what you want if you look around long enough. I'm sayin' the risk far outweighs the benefit as there are viable legal ways to further your stay in thailand. Play the game by the rules, don't try to circumvent them just because you think you can or worse because you think you're contributing to thai society! It can and does come back to bite more than a few people.

 

It's not rocket science and any half-wit foreigner can come in on either a 60 day tourist visa or even a 30 day visa exempt stamp, go to immigrations (with the proper documentation) and apply for a non-immigrant type-o visa in country.  Then when that visa gets down to about 30 days remaining, they go back to thai immigrations and apply for a year extension of stay. Providing that they meet the criteria to garner such an extension.

 

After going to and reviewing 20+ private thai langauge schools in Bangkok, I stand by my statement that NOT a single one of those schools can get you more than a 90 day extension of stay, period.  Now Chulalongkorn, Srinakharinwirot, Ramkhamhaeng universities ALL can get you yearly extensions of stay IF you enroll for a year of thai classes, but that's about it for Bangkok, as far as I know.

 

Don't hate the messenger dude; hate the message..

BTW: those nigerians DO routinely get thinned out by the Lumpini Police in stings and/or round ups. It's just they're thick as ticks on a hound-dog's back; so you don't notice that they thinned out the herd some. 

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I don't hate the messenger or the message.

You stated "as far as you know" there aren't places that can get 12 month extensions for language schools and I clarified my early statement that yes there are, but they operate more as universities on paper but don't require attendance just as the language schools don't.

As for converting a tourist visa to non-imm visa- it might not be rocket science, but try to explain to immigration officials that you don't need to leave country and apply at an embassy for an non imm prior to educational extension and you will be sorely disappointed with the results. My statement was that the same people who can bypass one aspect of the beurocracy can do so for the rest.

 

I don't pretend that "westerners" or "foreigners" (if that term suits you better) who live here contribute a great deal to the Thai economy, but I do believe that those who live normal lives are not in great danger of deportation or other trouble with the authorities. That is first hand experience and matches that of my friends who span the spectrum of legal, sub-legal, and outright illegal residents.

 

As to the OP- I think his questions have been answered well enough by now.

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Perhaps I mis-remembered what you'd said.

You are correct most foreigners who live at least a semi-normal existence here are at very little risk of running amuck or comin' off the rails in terms of deportation or troubles with the powers that be.

That's also why there is no great crack down on foreigners who over-stay their visas. There's just no money in it, because as a rule people who overstay don't have a pot to piss in anyway.. The fine for overstay is capped at 20K baht whether you overstay 40 days or 40 years, so most people who fly under the radar are just fine. It's not overstaying which puts you in a world of hurt, it's getting caught runing amuck inside the country while on overstay. That's the one which can throw a spanner in the gears for foreigners.

Honestly foreigners who live here are mostly a non-issue to thais, if we don't directly impact their lives either positively or negatively they ignore us..

Regarding going from a tourist visa or a visa exempt stamp to an ED visa inside the country.

 

Unfortunately private thai language schools get a letter from the Ministry of Education which is addressed to; 'any Thai Embassy'. Seeing as there are NO thai embassies in thailand, that necessitates a trip to a neighboring country to secure a single entry 90 day Non-Immigrant Type-ED visa.  The only places which get a different letter from the MOE are real uni's.. I've seen copies of both and one is addressed to a thai embassy the other to thai immigrations..   

You are also correct, the O/P has had his questions, answered. If he can't find a language school which will give him an ED visa, he's more than a little off.. Now whether he'll find one which will let him enroll in their course and then NOT attend classes is a horse of another color.. Personally, I hope he can't...

Then again, he was the same poser, errr poster who asked about paying someone to lug his passport to the border and get it stamped without him going.

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