This time I will tell you how to get a Thai education Visa in KL (Kuala Lumpur, that is). My another post was about obtaining a Non-B Visa in Yangon for work. Just a few weeks ago, I was still a full-time teacher in Rayong, and soon I will be a student again. I have studied Thai a bit, a few years ago, and I’m happy that I get to continue it now. You don’t necessarily need to study Thai. You can study English or possibly other languages as well, Muay Thai, or Thai massage. Even though the visas are different, there is a tip that applies to all of these occasions: check the public holidays for Thailand, and the country you will be visiting, to make sure the embassy is open.
The check list for an ED Visa
Ok, here is a link to Thai Embassy’s website in KL so you can see the required documents. A few nationalities are advised to apply in their home country and you can find the full list here. If your language school is legit, they should’ve prepared all the documents for you, or at least informed you, how to get them. I will list the requirements here as well, so you get an idea of what you are getting yourself into:
- Original passport with at least 6-month validity
- 2 blank pages in your passport
- A copy of passport (ID page)
- A passport size photo (white/ blue background and taken within the past 6 months)
- Letter of acceptance/ confirmation of the applicant’s place from the course/program provider (e.g.
university, college, school, institution etc.) in Thailand
- A copy of the course/program provider’s registration and letter of approval from the Office of the Private
Education Commission (for private course/program provider only)
- Certified criminal record in the applicant’s country of origin (I had one made by the Thai police and this gave me no problem)
Bear in mind, that your language school demands some papers as well when you initially apply to study with them. I submitted a copy of all my used passport pages, a few photos and a proof of sufficient funds. When your Thai school has got all the documents, they will send your application to the Ministry of Education to be approved. The confirmation should come in about 3-6 weeks.
NOW you can/need to fly overseas to get the actual student Visa. As you can see, all this takes time, so it’s advisable to start the preparations well in advance, approximately 3 months before you intend to commence your studies.
First of all, I would like to remind you that be respectful, in terms of what you are wearing, when you travel to Malaysia and KL. And I don’t mean just the embassy. Of course, you can wear what you want, but this is a predominantly Muslim country. Hence, this might not be the time to show off your most revealing outfits. Having said that, KL has a mixture of ethnicities so not everyone will be covering themselves. I noticed that I felt more comfortable, however, when I wasn’t wearing my usual, laid-back, boho or beach clothing. In Chinatown, I was walking around and in some parts, there were mostly men around. While luckily they didn’t show too much attention, I certainly noticed that I was looked at.
When you visit the embassy, please dress smart. No miniskirts, shorts, tops showing belly or shoulders. They will serve you, even if you haven’t done this, but if there is something wrong with your papers etc, just guess if your informal attire will make things any easier. There was one middle-aged lady from Eastern Europe wearing skimpy, bright coloured miniskirt and a tight top showing belly, and a cap to crown this outfit. Dear lord… I may have done a few a faux pas fashion statements in my life as well, but please use common sense.
Your window of opportunity is from 9.30 to 11.30. If it’s high season, be early! When you get to 206 Jalan Ampang, the front manager checks that you have all the required documents. If something is missing, you have to turn back now. There is no photocopying, forms etc onsite (this guy was kind enough to staple my photo on the papers so it’s not all bad, hehe). However, the hotel across the street might be able to help you with the printing, for a small fee, if you’ve come empty-handed.
After the clerk has made the initial check, you will go inside the consulate to file your application. Big bags need to be left outside. A security guy is there but you are not getting a ticket for your backpack, so take your valuables with you. When your number is up, go to the counter, smile, and hand in your documents. Then you will move on to the next counter and pay 3000 baht for the ED Visa (or 300MYR) for a single-entry. No credit cards or other currency accepted. Remember to say “terima kasih” (thank you) to leave a good impression (and make everyone’s day nicer). I noticed that one of the workers was getting a bit irritated when some people kept arguing, even though clear instructions had been given to them, and there was nothing else to be done, for the time being.
On the next business day, you can collect your passport between 14.30 and 16.30. When I went there around 3PM, there was no-one else. Just walked in and out pretty much. Now it’s low season now, though.
Grab a taxi
Taxis in KL are super cheap, so it doesn’t blow your budget, even though you use a cab. Apparently, red taxis are more reliable. My local expat friend said that the blue taxis are more likely to add a nice tourist extra to the bill. Check that they put the meter on (we all know this from Bangkok, right?!), though I have to say, it runs so slowly that you are left thinking, that they must be cheating!
It is even better if you can grab an Uber or Grab. Both are super good transportation apps. You see your car approaching and the fare is also given beforehand. The only problem for a tourist is, that if there is no wifi, these apps are useless.
I walked back to Bukit Bintang from the embassy, despite my friend saying it’s not such a good idea, because KL is not super pedestrian friendly. However, I used an offline map called “Here we go” and I have to say, this app is a life saver! I give it 10 points. It guided me back to the city without trouble. The map shows all the buildings and landmarks in 3D so you recognise them easily, making the orienteering way easier than using a normal 2D map.
A friendly reminder
We all know that the Thai government is notoriously well-known for changing its immigration policies. So always check the up-to-date requirements before booking your flight. Also please feel free to inform me any possible changes. Most of all, have a good trip and hopefully you are soon back in the Land of Smiles with a brand new student visa!
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