Integrity Legal

15th May 2010

Please be advised that the following announcement was posted on the official website of the United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand:

Announcement

Due to the security situation in the vicinity of the U.S. Embassy, the Embassy will be closed for services on Monday, May 17.   Visa applicants with appointments scheduled for Monday, May 17 are instructed to come for an interview on Friday, May 21 at the same time as their originally scheduled appointment (e.g. If your appointment was scheduled for 9:00am on Monday, May 17, please come for your appointment at 9:00am on Friday, May 21).   Should you be unable to come to the Embassy on Friday, May 21, please make a new appointment through the appointment system on the U.S. Embassy website: http://bangkok.usembassy.gov/non-immigrant_visas/visa-appointments.html.

Please be advised that applicants impacted by this closure are being been notified through the e-mail addresses and/or phone numbers supplied during the appointment registration process. Please check your e-mail INBOX and SPAM folders, as some e-mail software may direct our e-mails to the SPAM folder.  Only those applicants who were registered with the Embassy for their original appointments on Monday, May 17 will be permitted entry on Friday, May 21.

We ask that you please appear 30 minutes prior to your appointment time on Friday, May 21 to allow time for the enrollment process.  Please check the Embassy website prior to your arrival, should the unrest in the vicinity of the Embassy remain ongoing. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact visasbkk@state.gov.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation.

Non-Immigrant Visa Section

U.S. Embassy, Bangkok, Thailand

In a previous posting on this blog, it was noted that the US Embassy had closed on Friday May 14th in anticipation of possible unrest. Apparently all non-essential US government staff, along with their families, have been allowed to leave Bangkok. To quote from the website Wireupdate.com:

The Department of State has authorized the departure of all non-emergency U.S. government personnel and eligible family members from Bangkok. This replaces the Travel Alert dated April 28, 2010, and is in response to updated information on increased violence and security concerns. The Department of State recommends against travel to Bangkok and non-essential travel to Thailand at this time.

This author would like to take this opportunity to note the determination and professionalism shown by the staff at the US Embassy in Bangkok up to this point. It has been this author’s experience that up until the most recent rounds of violence, the Embassy continued to conduct activities with grace, efficiency, and fortitude. The officers of the Embassy and the Consulate should be commended for providing extremely diligent service in the midst of an extremely difficult and unpredictable situation. Due to the situation, it is this author’s opinion that the closure of the Embassy and the evacuation of non-essential staff was both necessary and unavoidable.

From anecdotal evidence this author has learned that many areas of Bangkok have been impacted by the worsening violence. This author has heard reports from at least one source which confirms that sporadic and unpredictable gunfire has been exchanged in certain sectors of the city. For this reason, travel into the Bangkok City Center is not recommended at the time of this writing.

The website ThaiVisa.com, on  2010-05-16 07:29:13, is reporting the following:

The facts were 17 had been killed and they were all civilians. By evening, one more death was reported – that of an emergency rescue worker. The response by the government’s Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) came late in the afternoon. CRES officials said the high death toll was a result of reds shooting one another and the government faced the threat of political order being overthrown.

At present, an accurate portrayal of Bangkok is difficult as there is a great deal of uncertainty. Media outlets are having difficulty reporting the news as a sort of “Fog of Confusion” seems to have descended upon parts of the city. This author will continue to try to provide useful updates on this blog if necessary. At present, the Bangkok School System will postpone reopening of schools, previously scheduled for Monday May 17th, until the civil unrest has subsided.

As always, for information about attorney assistance with Consular Processing in Bangkok please see: US Embassy Thailand or US Embassy Bangkok.


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