Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Visa Thai’

25th October 2018

It recently came to this blogger’s attention, via a press release from the US Embassy in Bangkok, that the Embassy seems to be in the process of discontinuing issuance of income affidavits pertaining to verification of finances in the context of application for certain types of Thai visa extension. To quote directly from the press release:

As of January 1, 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok and the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai will cease to provide the income affidavit for the purpose of applying for Thai retirement and family visas and will not notarize previous versions of the income affidavit.  The Royal Thai Government requires actual verification of income to certify visa applicants meet financial requirements for long-stay visas.  The U.S. government cannot provide this verification and will no longer issue the affidavits.

Those unaware of the importance of these documents should take note of the fact that in the past notarized income affidavits were used in connection with applications for either a Thai retirement visa or a Thai marriage visa. Such documents were utilized in lieu of presenting evidence of a lump sum in a Thai bank account (800,000 THB for a retirement visa, and 400,000 THB for a marriage visa) or proof of a prolonged history of income in a Thai bank account (65,000 THB per month for a retirement visa and 40,000 per month for a marriage visa). These documents were generally issued by the American Citizen Services (ACS) Section of the US Embassy. In the past, a notarized income affidavit from the US Embassy which was legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was sufficient to meet the evidentiary requirements of the Thai Immigration officers adjudicating financial documentation in connection with applications for visa extensions. As seems to be the case in matters pertaining to British income letters, American officials appear to be unwilling to continue issuance these instruments in light of the recent official Thai requests that the veracity of the information in the affidavit be verified rather than merely the authenticity of the signature on the document. It seems that although the Embassy is unable to continue issuing such documentation as it was issued in the past, they will continue to notarize other documentation.

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8th December 2009

In most jurisdictions of the United States of America driving under the influence is considered to be a very serious offense. Commonly known as DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) this offense often carries with it stiff fines and penalties. In Thailand, drunk driving is illegal as well, but in some provinces enforcement of the relevant law can be spotty at best. Thaivisa.com in conjunction with The Nation Newspaper are currently reporting that Thai police are increasing their efforts in enforcing drunk driving statutes. This will likely have a major impact upon drivers in the coming weeks as there are many holidays (both western and Thai) during the month of December. As one of the penalties for drunken driving is license suspension or revocation, a brief overview of the process to obtain a Thai driving license is also appropriate.

To quote Thaivisa.com:

“The government is imposing a strict law against drunk driving, under which violators will be arrested immediately and be subject to prosecution within 48 hours, a Bangkok seminar on road safety was told yesterday.A mandatory fine of between Bt5,000 and Bt20,000 will also be imposed on convicted violators, along with the drivers’ licence being suspended for six months or forever for repeat offenders, judge Prasong Mahaleetrakool said…The law will be strictly enforced during the holiday period.”

This author is happy to see the Thai law enforcement authorities taking an active role in discouraging drunken driving. Foreigners in the Kingdom of Thailand should take note of the possibility of license revocation. Obtaining a Thai driving license can be difficult for foreign national’s as a showing of residence in Thailand is required. Residence in Thailand can be difficult to prove for foreigners as many find it difficult to be registered on a Tabien Baan (House Registration Booklet). Foreign Tabien Baans are not easily issued which is likely due, at least in part, to the fact that many of the officers working at a Thai Amphoe Office (Civil Registrar’s Office) are unaccustomed to issuing them. That being said, registration on a Tabien Baan is not the only method of proving residence and once the foreign national demonstrates his or her residence is in Thailand, then it may be possible to obtain a Thai drivers license. In Thailand, separate licenses are issued for cars and motorcycles. This system is similar to most jurisdictions the USA except that Thai officers at the Transportation office actually issue these two licenses on two different cards rather that putting all of the information on one document.

Since driving while intoxicated could lead to the loss of a foreign national’s Thai driving license, it is both wise and prudent for a foreigner to refrain from drinking and driving in the Kingdom of Thailand. Foreign nationals should also note that a drunk driving offense could also lead to the loss of one’s Thai visa as Royal Thai Immigration authorities would probably take a dim view of one who violates the laws of the Kingdom while in the country on a Thailand visa. Those with a Thai fiancee who is the proposed beneficiary of a K1 visa would also be wise in explaining that a drunken driving charge may have an adverse impact upon her ability to obtain this fiancee visa as the US Embassy takes a dim view of criminal convictions when adjudicating visa applications.

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5th December 2009

Work Permits can be a major issue for those engaging in non-recreational activity in Thailand. Thaivisa. com is reporting that some of those involved with the King’s Cup Regatta were worried that the Ministry of Labour and the Royal Thai Immigration Police may crackdown on foreigners participating in the Regatta. The reason for the possible crackdown was supposedly to be due to unsanctioned employment-like activity. Fortunately, as Thaivisa.com is reporting, rumors of a crackdown are unfounded as authorities have stated that no sailors will be detained for work permit violations connected with the event.

Quoting Thaivisa.com:

Rumors of an imminent crackdown on foreign sailors taking part in the King’s Cup Regatta over work permit violations are untrue, the head of Phuket Immigration has confirmed. A thread on the popular Thai Visa web forum yesterday started with the post:  ’Latest from Phuket Town… raiding King’s Cup regatta tomorrow for professional sailors without work permits….’ As Immigration Police would have to play a role in any such crackdown, the Gazette contacted Phuket Immigration Police Superintendent Col Chanatpol Yongbunjerd to see if the rumor was true; it wasn’t, and isn’t. ‘I guarantee that such arrests won’t happen,’ he said.”

Although it may seem trivial, some officials take work permit violations very seriously. As a result, some activities which foreigners consider to be “non-employment,” are used as a basis for fining or detaining individuals in the Kingdom for violations of Thai Labor law.

Immediately following the relatively recent Tsunami in Southern Thailand, many volunteers arrived to assist in relief efforts. Some of these volunteers were disturbed to be informed by Thai authorities that they were in violation of Thai labor regulations. To quote Thailandqa.com:

“‘More than 1,000 foreign volunteers from about 25 countries helping tsunami survivors rebuild shattered lives were outraged yesterday to hear they face legal action by the Labour Ministry unless they have a work permit. Sombat Boonngam-anong, director of the Chiang Rai-based Krajok Ngao Foundation, said confusion and anger reigned among the foreign volunteers at Khao Lak in Phangnga’s Takua Pa district when a Labour Ministry official told a local English-language newspaper that they were required to register with the ministry for a work permit otherwise legal action would be taken against them starting March 1.’ — Bangkok Post, 2nd March 2005, PENCHAN CHAROENSUTHIPAN”

Normally, in order for a foreign national to obtain a Thai work permit the applicant must also present a validly issued Thai visa. Many Thailand visa categories enable the bearer to apply for a work permit. However, the most optimal visa category to support a work permit is the business visa. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to obtain a Thai business visa from a Thailand Embassy or Consulate abroad and therefore many opt to stay in Thailand on tourist visas or exemption stamps. Neither of these documents, on their own, can be used as a basis for submitting a Thai work permit application. Therefore, those wishing to work in the Kingdom should seriously consider applying for a proper visa prior to arrival.

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