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What are the current visas for monks?


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I would like to ordain as a monk in Thailand. I have done some research on visas, but it seems things have changed in the past few months.



What is the visa situation for monks (especially western) in Thailand at the moment?

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There has been no changes that I am aware of.
The visa would be a non immigrant R from an embassy or consulate.
For an extension of stay it would be clause 2.13 of immigration order 327/2557.

2.13 In the case of studying Buddhism or practicing religious activities:
Each permission shall be granted for no more than one year. The alien:
(1) Must have been granted a non-immigrant visa (NON-IM).
(2) Must have been confirmed and requested by the National Office of Buddhism, or Office of the Prune Minister, or Mahachulalongkomrajavidyalaya University, or Mahamakut Buddhist University.
(3) Must have been confirmed by the abbot of the temple where the applicant is studying Buddhism or practicing religious activities.

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From what I have read, someone wanting to ordain can either get a religious ® or a student (ED) visa. After having ordained, you can (with permissions and paperwork) get a 1-year visa, extendable for up to 9 years. Is this correct?

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A one year visa from an embassy or consulate would be a multiple entry visa that requires leaving every 90 days.

I think you are truly writing about an extension of stay (it is not a visa) you obtain at immigration.

You can get an extension of stay for studying Buddhism under clause 2.13 of the immigration order with the proper documents.

There is no 9 year limit that I know of. If you have supporting documents you can get extensions of stay for infinity.

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So the order would be to get a non-immigrant R (or ED visa), get permission and documents with an abbot within the 90-day period, get an extension of stay for a year and renew the extension every year. This is correct?

Edited by KevT
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So the order would be to get a non-immigrant R (or ED visa), get permission and documents with an abbot within the 90-day period, get an extension of stay for a year and renew the extension every year. This is correct?

Yes. The R visa would be better because some immigration offices make it difficult getting extensions for people having ED visa.

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I am having difficulty understanding which visa someone looking for a wat to ordain at would need. There is either the non-immigrant ED, non-immigrant R or tourist visa.

For the non-immigrant ED visa, the clause is:

'to study, to come on a work study tour or observation tour, to participate in projects or seminars, to attend a conference or training course, to study as a foreign Buddhist monk'

- Would a meditation retreat be considered as a training course/to study?

- If the aim is 'to study as a foreign Buddhist monk', can you get the non-immigrant ED visa before ordaining or is it only after having ordained?

With the non-immigrant R visa, the clause is:

'to perform missionary work or other religious activities with the concurrence of the Thai Ministries or Government Departments concerned'.

- How would someone looking for a monastery to ordain at fit under this?

For the toursit visa, it is written:

'Upon arrival, travelers with this type of visa will be permitted to stay in Thailand for a period of not exceeding 60 days.'

'The validity of a visa is 3 months (single entry) or 6 months (double or triple entries)'

'Note: Applicant is not permitted to engage in any occupation or employment.'

- Would a triple entry be 9 or 6 months?

- Someone looking for a monastery to ordain at wouldn't come under 'engage in any occupation or employment.'?

From what I understand, someone looking for a wat to ordain at would first need to get a tourist visa, find a monastery, get permission and paperwork from the abbot, get a non-immigrant R visa and then get yearly extensions. A non-immigrant R or ED visa would only be possible if you know where you are ordaining to get the required permission and paperwork. Is this correct?

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Yes, the ED and R visa require increasing paperwork support from the religious authorities.

Religious activities is not work. Not even study is work.

The tourist visa is, of course, available to anyone. A triple entry allows almost 9 months in country with three extensions at 1,900 Bt each, and two border hops.

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A one year visa from an embassy or consulate would be a multiple entry visa that requires leaving every 90 days.

Would this visa be the tourist visa or a non-immigrant visa?

Edited by KevT
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A one year visa from an embassy or consulate would be a multiple entry visa that requires leaving every 90 days.

Would this visa be the tourist visa or a non-immigrant visa?

A non-immigrant visa. Tourist visa have a maximum of three entries and siz months validity.

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The question for the thread title isn't completely accurate. What I would like to know is how someone looking for a wat to ordain at would proceed.



From what I understand, the order would be to get tourist visa, find a wat to ordain at, get permission and paperwork with the abbot, get a non-immigrant R visa and get yearly extensions. Correct?



The non-immigrant R visa is not obtainable for someone who doesn't yet know where he will be ordaining? Is this the same for the non-immigrant ED visa?

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The question for the thread title isn't completely accurate. What I would like to know is how someone looking for a wat to ordain at would proceed.

From what I understand, the order would be to get tourist visa, find a wat to ordain at, get permission and paperwork with the abbot, get a non-immigrant R visa and get yearly extensions. Correct?

The non-immigrant R visa is not obtainable for someone who doesn't yet know where he will be ordaining? Is this the same for the non-immigrant ED visa?

Yes unless you are known by the religious authorities I don't think you can obtain a non-imm R visa.

For an ED visa normally a letter from the school, or in your case the religious institutions is enough.

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A few questions about the tourist visa:

http://www.thaiembassy.ca/en/visiting-thailand/visas/types-visas-periods-stay-fees/tourist-visa

- What is meant by 'A copy of round-trip ticket or itinerary' in the Documents Required clause?

- If I were to use the tourist visa, I would need to leave and re-enter Thailand after almost 60 days for the single entry, after almost 4 months for the double entry and after almost 6 months for the triple entry. The would mean that the visa would initially cost $40 and the single entry would also cost $40. Correct?

- Does the 'Note: The Embassy does not issue multiple entries for Tourist Visas.' mean that the single, double and triple entry visas are only issued when leaving and re-entering Thailand?

- How long is the extension of stay?

Thanks a lot for the help.

Edited by KevT
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They want to see a copy of your itinerary, like an air or train ticket leaving country.

The visa cost $40 per entry. The only available extension to 60 days is for 30 more days and it cost Bt 1,900.

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