Vantage TEFL Course &
Thai Visa Requirements
To enroll in Vantage's TEFL, you need to:
Be at least 18 years of age.
Be fluent in all aspects of English.*
Have basic computer skills for creating classroom materials.
College Degree Not Required
The Ministry of Education (MoE) does require that all formal schools under its jurisdiction hire teachers who are educated at a minimum to the bachelor’s level.
Having said that, there are many ‘non-formal’ situations—private schools and language academies, coaching and tutoring, teaching online, and corporate training. etc.—that that doesn’t fall under the MoE’s authority.
Our Teaching English without a Degree spells this out in more detail.
Keep in mind that if you don’t have a degree, your TEFL certification becomes even more important to any potential hiring authority because it demonstrates that you have the necessary training to effectively teach English as a second language.
Thai Visa Options for TEFL Trainees
Permission to Stay--Your Two Easiest Options
For those who are coming from outside Thailand, you'll need to consider your visa status.
The options below are the easiest way to enter Thailand and stay either 60 or 90 days...more than enough time to become TEFL certified and find a teaching job.
First, make sure your current passport has a validity of not less than 6 months and at least 2 blank pages. Vantage recommends that if your passport will expire within one year, you should get a new passport before traveling.
Easy Option 1: The Visa-Exemption (VE)
Technically, the VISA Exemption is NOT a visa--it's an exemption from getting a formal visa.
THE VE allows tourists from 64 countries to enter Thailand without a visa. They are granted to stay for 30 days if they are entering Thailand via an international airport.
VE's are your easiest option...no paperwork is required...they're free.
A VE can be extended one time for a further 30 days—for a 60-day total stay—by visiting any Thai Immigration office. The fee is THB 1,900.
If you enter Thailand on a VE, you are required to have proof of onward passage. More on that below.
Here is the list of the 64 countries eligible for a Visa Exemption.
The following countries are eligible for Visa-Exempt (VE) permission to stay:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bahrain, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Korea (90 days), Norway, Oman, Per, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA, Vietnam.
Note: The Visa on Arrival is Different from a VE
Some people confuse the Visa Exemption with the Visa on Arrival—primarily because both are issued at the airport on arrival to Thailand.
The Visa on Arrival is an actual visa—you just get the convenience of getting it at the airport instead of a more lengthy process at a Thai Embassy overseas.
For the Visa on Arrival, you’ll fill out a form, pay a fee and wait at the airport until it’s processed. (With a VE, you are automatically stamped in as you go through Immigration.) Also, the Visa on Arrival is for a different list of countries—places that are generally not on the VE eligible countries list. More details are here.
Easy Option 2: The Thai Tourist Visa--Single Entry
The Single Entry Tourist Visa, which is obtained outside Thailand, is valid for 60 days.
This visa can be extended one time for a further 30 days at any Thai immigration office, thus giving you a 90-day stay option.
Single Entry Tourist Visas are relatively easy to obtain. You will have to show flight confirmation status and a recent bank statement showing a balance of at least US$700. More details are here.
Don't apply for this visa super early! It's only valid for three months, which means you can only use it to enter Thailand within 90 days of issuance.
Comparing the Easy Options
The Single Entry Tourist Visa, as well as the Visa Exemption (VE), are your two easiest ways to enter the Kingdom. The table below is a quick summary of these two options..
Proof of Onward Passage
Most tourists entering Thailand for a visit have a return ticket home. However, if you are flying into Thailand without a return ticket, you may be asked to provide proof of a return passage. It’s not common that they will ask this, but technically, proof of passage is a requirement.
First of all, a return flight does not mean back to your home county.
It means transportation out of Thailand...to anywhere...hence the 'onward' wording. From the Royal Thai Embassy London: "Proof of onward travel (confirmed air, train, bus or boat tickets) to leave Thailand within 30 days of the arrival date (**otherwise a tourist visa must be obtained)"
There are two options that folks in the past have used successfully.
First, if questioned and if a ‘ticket” needs to be shown, you may be able to buy one online “on the spot” by purchasing a ticket to say Malaysia or another neighboring country. Single-journey airfares to nearby foreign destinations are typically in the US$50 to $100 price range.
One trainee bought a $30 bus ticket to Cambodia the day before his visa was to expire. He used this online ticket he bought at home to show officers so he could board his flight to Thailand.
Here’s a good place to find all kinds of transportation options.
There is also onewayflight.com. They provide real airline bookings and hotel reservations. One solution for those need to extend or apply for visas.
Other Thai Visa Options
Multiple-Entry Tourist Visa (METV)
The Multiple Entry Tourist Visa (METV) is also valid for an initial 60 days and it can be extended for 30 more days to reach a 90-day total.
However, unlike the Single Entry Tourist Visa, the METV has 3 entries, so after your 90 days are up, you can start over by leaving Thailand and re-entering the country—each time for 90 days.. You could do this three times for a total of 270 days.
The METV is a good visa for travelers who wish to extensively explore Thailand. However, for those planning to teach here upon completion of their TEFL training, you will need to trade your tourist visa for a non-Immigrant B visa under which you are allowed to work. This whole process of getting trained and finding a job typically takes 30 to 60 days.
The METV also has a more rigorous application process. You have to:
Apply for this visa in your home country (the country where one is a resident)
Show a letter from an employer (to verify employment) or a business license (if self-employed),
Provide evidence of funds in a bank account for the previous six months (no less than 200,000 THB)
Flight ticket (and possibly onwards/return) for at least the first entry
Lodging reservation (perhaps proof of payment) for at least the first entry.
Non-Immirgrant-ED Visa (not recommended for most nationalities)
This visa is called a non-Immigrant Ed where "Ed" refers to education. This visa was primarily designed for foreign students who wished to study in a formal Thai educational institution—typically a Thai university.
It’s also been used for Thai-language students, and foreigners attending a cultural study or religious course. This visa can be given for one year or as short as 3 months.
This visa requires extensive documentation and can take 5 to 8 weeks to receive. And given that it's good for only 90 days—and you can't work on this visa—it has no advantages over the VE or Tourist Visa options.
The Thai embassy authorities note on their websites that a Non-Ed visa is usually not required for short courses (less than three months) and they cite programs such as Thai cooking, or boxing or meditation as examples.
Once You Start Teaching
You cannot legally work or do business on a VE, Tourist Visa or Non-ED visa.
To legally teach in Thailand, you will need to change your visa into a Non-Immigrant B (Business) Visa. This is usually obtained outside Thailand in a neighboring country..
Usually, the school that hires you will provide the "Offer of Employment" letter and the other necessary documentation for this visa. Most apply at the Thai Embassy in a neighboring country. (In these days of eTickets, you can fly to these countries return for around $100 or less.)
Once you get your Non-B visa, you are then eligible to apply for a Work Permit, which is a separate process from your Non-Immigrant B visa. That’s because Work Permits are issued and regulated by the Ministry of Labor—not the Ministry of Immigration as are visas.
Need to Esitmate you Total Expenses?
The TEFL Budget Planner
Determine your total costs to get TEFL certified, find a job, and get your first teaching paycheck.
The TEFL Budget Planner is a free tool to estimate your total TEFL-related costs and even do 'scenario analysis' that lets you examine different spending requirements.
Vantage's downloadable TEFL Budget Planner..It's a great way to prepare beforehand.
There are two basic recommendations for TEFL candidates:
Visa-Exemption on arrival at a Thai airport—up to 60 days in the country. Free...no paperwork required.
Single Entry Tourist Visa at a Thai consulate or embassy (in your home country or another country) Up to 90 days stay...more than enough time to become TEFL certified, interview, and find a job
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