Thailand Visa Legal Loopholes
Despite the Immigration department’s crackdowns over recent years on those attempting to live in Thailand on visa after visa, there remains loopholes.
Walen Language School and ProLanguage are two language schools offering tuition in the Thai language with reasonably priced fees at less than 30,000 baht for a full year’s tuition. But of relevance to this section of the website, they can provide you with the paperwork enabling you to get a Non-Immigrant Ed Visa at a consulate outside of Thailand, a visa issued for the purposes of education. Once you have this visa, you could come and go every 3 months with ease for a year. The only thing is that it costs 28,500 baht for the language course and you are supposed to be there for the purpose of studying Thai, not just to get a visa easily! Still, studying Thai is good for you!
It is an easy prediction to say that this will become the next big loophole and I would not be at all surprised to see a number of language schools offering this visa type – but only to those who pay up front to study the Thai language for a minimum period of time. It is kind of ironic that although this type of visa has existed for a long time that many language schools, even the long running schools like Union Language School and Nisa Language School, never did offer this visa in the past – in fact I am not even sure if they offer it now!
There are a number of consulates or embassies which remain a soft touch, where a politely dressed foreigner with sweet lips and a nice smile can get almost any visa they want. Generally the consulates are better than the embassies, to say nothing of being much quieter too! So the big tip here is to head for the nearest consulate in your country!
There is always the tried and trusted means of creating special letter-headed paper of your own company and simply applying for a visa at the local embassy or consulate in this bogus company’s name. Many do this but it is illegal. It is fraud and there is a chance that you might be banned from ever returning to Thailand again – so I would not recommend it at all. If you wish to do it, do it in the name of a legitimate company.
The most legitimate of the many loopholes to staying on long term in Thailand *WAS* the Thailand Elite card, of which more details can be found here. With a lofty membership price of 1,500,000 baht, one of the main benefits of the card is the 5-year multiple entry visa with extendable 90-day length of stay visa i.e. you get a 5 year visa, but you have to leave the country and re-enter every 90 days – which to me sounds rather like a hassle to say nothing of being unbecoming of a product that costs almost $US 50,000! There are various other benefits with the card but they are outside the scope of this article and you should check out their website for more info. This program was abolished in late January 2009.
For Australians and New Zealanders, you can apply for the APEC Card. The card costs $150 in New Zealand and $200 in Australia and it allows Australian or New Zealand passport holders to enter any countries in the APEC region for a period of 3 months without the need for first applying for a visa. So not only is this card good for Thailand, it is also good for many other countries in the region including Brunei China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam.