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Posts Tagged ‘Reentry Permit’

3rd October 2016

In recent postings on this blog we have tracked the increasingly prevalent theme of Royal Thai Immigration Officers zealously enforcing immigration laws and regulations. In a recent posting on the website Asian Correspondent it was noted that Immigration officials have apparently taken their duties on the road as they appear to be traveling to foreign nationals stated addresses in an effort to ascertain if the individual in question actually resides at said address and more. It may be best to quote directly from Asian Correspondent:

Three foreigners living in Thailand have complained of receiving visits by policemen asking them to furnish personal details…[They] were visited at home by the uniformed officials who asked them to provide details like their monthly income, height, weight, and even skin color…They claimed that they were asked to provide the details in the ‘Personal Information’ form from the ‘Transnational Crime Coordination Unit Region 5 (TCCU R5).

This and many other events which have occurred recently with respect to Immigration policy appears to stem from the rather recently promulgated “Good Guys in, Bad Guys Out” campaign. It has been clear for some time that Thai immigration officers are increasingly ardent in their efforts to scrutinize foreign nationals in order to ensure adherence with Immigration law. Until this point it appeared that such zealousness was only experienced when foreign nationals traveled to an immigration office to seek some form of benefit or undertake some activity in an effort to stay in compliance with regulations (visa extension, reentry permit, 90 day report, etc).

From the information imparted above it seems logical to assume that this more fervent scrutiny may result in occasional visits by Immigration personnel to foreign nationals’ residences in the future. This being stated, it is difficult to foresee whether these developments portend the possibility that this may become a routine occurrence in the future or if this situation is simply a “one-off” event stemming from a non-routine set of circumstances. It remains to be seen if circumstances similar to those noted above will play out again in the future.

It should be noted that this blogger has personally received anecdotal information describing situations similar to those noted above. It may be of interest to readers that in all such instances this blogger has personally become aware of, the foreign national in question was present in Thailand on a Marriage visa. As has been noted in previous postings, it appears Thai Immigration officials are taking steps to tighten up the regulations and enforcement protocols pertaining to Thai marriage visa holders. This is not to imply that holders of other visa categories have not been subjected to heightened scrutiny (which this blogger can attest has definitely occurred, especially in the context of business visa extensions), but it appears that presently Thai immigration officers are taking a keen interest in those present in Thailand on a Thai O category marriage visa.

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16th December 2010

Those who read this blog may likely have noticed that the issue of Thai immigration is a frequent topic of discussion. Recently, this author came upon an interesting announcement regarding the issuance of Thai reentry permits at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. The following is quoted directly from the official website of Suvarnabhumi International Airport:

The Re-Entry Application Procedures and Requirements At Suvarnabhumi Airport
Date : 07 – 12 – 10
1. Aliens must submit the applicatoin by themselves.
2. The date of submitting application must be the date of departure.
3. Gather the required documents as below
- Passport or travel document (1 original plus 1 copy)
- One recent photograph (4X6 CM.)
- Fees – Single 1,000 Baht
- Multiple 3,800 Baht
4. Submit the application and required documents at Immigration Departure Division (East Zone), Suvarnabhumi Airport.
5. The service open daily from now on

In a previous posting on this blog, the administration pondered the prospect of Thai reentry permits and whether they would ever again be available at the airport as opposed to the Royal Thai Immigration Headquarters at Chaeng Wattana. It would appear that from this point onwards, Thai reentry permits will be available to departing foreign nationals at the airport.

For those who are unfamiliar with the protocols and rules associated with Thai immigration, anyone present in the Kingdom of Thailand on a Thai visa must obtain a reentry permit prior to leaving the Kingdom of Thailand. Those who fail to obtain a Thai reentry permit prior to departing Thailand may lose their Thai visa status upon departure. For this reason, reentry permits should be obtained by anyone in Thai visa status who wishes to return to Thailand. A frequently asked question in this vein is: do I need a reentry permit if I am present in the Kingdom on a visa exemption? The short answer: no. Those who enter the country on a Thailand visa exemption cannot obtain a reentry permit as they are not technically in possession of a valid Thai visa. Those present in the Kingdom of Thailand on a Thai visa extension are required to obtain a Thai reentry permit prior to departure lest the foreign national fall out of status entirely upon departing Thailand. The same can be said for those who are present in Thailand with lawful permanent residence. A Permanent Resident in Thailand must receive authorization to leave the country whilst simultaneously maintaining lawful status in the Kingdom or else face the prospect of falling entirely out of status upon departure.

Those who are present in the Kingdom of Thailand on a multiple entry one year Thai visa should not need to obtain a Thai reentry permit when departing the Kingdom, but those with a multiple entry visa are generally required to depart the Kingdom at least every 90 days in order to maintain lawful status.

Fore related information please see: Thailand business visa or Thai Work Permit.

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26th December 2009

For Thai-American couples the most common method of immigrating to the USA is through use of a K1 visa. The K1 visa is a fiancee visa granting the bearer 90 days of lawful presence in the United States of America with the option to apply for adjustment of status. If an adjustment of status application is submitted and approved then the Thai fiancee will be granted conditional lawful permanent residence for 2 years. After nearly 2 years the couple should submit a petition for a lift of conditions of the Thai spouse’s permanent residence. Should this petition receive approval, the Thai spouse will become an unconditional lawful permanent resident of the United States of America.

There are some travel restrictions placed upon permanent residents of the United States. Namely, they cannot be outside of the USA for more than one year without endangering their resident status in the USA. For those who remain abroad for more than one year it may be necessary to apply for an SB-1 visa. This is a visa specifically meant for returning residents of the USA. For those who plan to be outside of the USA for a substantial period of time there is a way to forestall a finding of residential abandonment: a US reentry permit. This is a travel document that is very similar to advance parole in so far as it preserves the status of the lawful permanent resident while they remain abroad. These travel documents are generally granted with a validity period of 2 years from issuance.

Recently, this author came into contact with an individual who had lawful permanent resident status in the US, but had lost his Resident Alien Card (“Green Card”) and needed to return to the US. This individual still had a valid US reentry permit. After some research, this author discovered that a United States lawful permanent resident may reenter the country without a proper visa provided that they have a valid United States reentry permit.

To directly quote from the website of the US Embassy in Mumbai:

“Per 8CFR 211.1, an alien in possession of a valid form I-327, Permit to reenter the United states (i.e. reentry permit), does not require a visa to reenter the United States.  Therefore, [one] may travel [to the USA] with [only one's] valid reentry permit.”

In a way, the United States reentry permit is akin to a passport for lawful permanent residents although it is inherently more restrictive than a US passport. For those lawful permanent residents thinking of leaving the USA for a prolonged period of time it may be wise to seriously consider applying for a reentry permit because it provides not only the peace of mind that comes from preserving one’s status, it can also act as a backup travel document in the event one loses their resident alien card.

For related information please see our postings about losing a US passport and obtaining a new one from American Citizen Services at a US Consulate in Thailand.

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22nd September 2009

The plight of many Burmese (Myanmar Nationals) living in Thailand is a sad one as many are not in any type of legal status or are simply refugees who cannot return to their home country. In a recent article, their situation was brought into sharp focus by the Thai media…and it was all due to a paper airplane. To quote the Canadian Press:

“A boy with no official nationality who lives in Thailand captured third place in a Japanese paper airplane contest Sunday after his tearful pleas to be allowed to attend prompted authorities to grant him a rare temporary passport for the event.”

It is truly inspirational when Thai people become upset due to a social injustice, because things tend to get done. Temporary passports have never been easily obtainable for people of any nationality living in Thailand, but in the case of those originally from Myanmar a request for an official travel document from the Thai government is often dismissed out of hand. The above article went further in discussing this particular situation:

“Mong’s ethnic Shan parents have only temporary permission to live and work in Thailand, so although he was born in the country he has only temporary resident status. Under normal circumstances, if he left and tried to return, his status would be revoked and he would be barred re-entry to the country where he was born.When his initial application for temporary exit papers was denied, the story dominated the front pages of Thai newspapers, and a national lawyers’ council petitioned the court on his behalf.”

Kudos to the Thai National Lawyers Council for taking up the cause of this young man. Asylees and refugees tend to have the most trouble obtaining legal documentation, particularly for travel. This article highlighted this fact and hopefully the plight of the Burmese in Thailand will be in the future thoughts of those in government positions.

It is interesting to note that this child’s family had not obtained Thai Permanent Residence. If that had been the case they may have been eligible for a Reentry Permit. Many Burmese from the Shan States of Myanmar live and work in Thailand illegally. There are certain parallels between these migrant workers and the undocumented Mexicans who enter the United States in order to work and live. Many of these people come from difficult environments in their home countries and they seek economic opportunities in Thailand or America. Although it is certainly a legal necessity to obtain proper documentation, the fact is that many people in dire circumstances do not have the time or the resources to go through the proper channels. A little bit of “give” on the part of the government can be beneficial in extenuating circumstances.

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29th August 2009

The popular Website and the Nation Newspaper are reporting on the news that There is a planned expansion of Thailand’s current international airport. To quote the article:

“Airports of Thailand plans to build a domestic passenger terminal at Suvarnabhumi Airport while inviting the private sector to invest in six projects at the old Don Mueang Airport. Construction of the new terminal will start in 2012 for completion in 2015, to accommodate an additional 20 million passengers a year.”

A question upon the lips of many who read this blog is likely: “What about Getting a Reentry Permit at the airport?” Although these two subjects seem only tenuously related, they may in fact be more related than it appears at first glance.

Up until January 1, 2009 it was possible for long term residents of Thailand to obtain a Reentry Permit at the airport. This is an important stamp to obtain for those present in the Kingdom on a Thai visa extension. When one enters the country on a Thai visa, the visa has a set validity. However, it is possible to have one’s visa extended past the visa’s initial validity. Once obtained this instrument is known as a visa extension. However, the extension does not explicitly permit the bearer to leave the country and return while simultaneously remaining in status. Therefore, it may be necessary to acquire a Reentry permit so that one may leave the Kingdom and return while maintaining the same visa status.

There used to be a Royal Thai Immigration Office at Suvarnabhumi Airport that issued Reentry permits to travelers immediately before they left the country. As could be reasonably assumed, this office was very convenient for those leaving Thailand and wishing to return in status. However, for some unknown reason, this office was closed and currently it is not possible to get a Royal Thai Immigration extension issued at the airport. Those wishing to get a reentry permit must do so at another Thai Immigration office.

Hopefully, with the addition of a new terminal, the increased space at the airport may make it possible to reopen an Immigration office in order to facilitate the issuance of reentry permits. This being said, there appears to be no plan in place for opening any new Immigration offices at the airport.

It should be reiterated that anyone staying in Thailand on a visa extension should obtain a reentry permit before they depart from the Kingdom in order to forestall falling out of lawful visa status upon departure. Those present in the Kingdom on a multiple entry visa can depart and return to the Kingdom until the end of their visa’s validity.

For related information please see Thailand business visa

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1st August 2009

For those who are present in Thailand on a long term visa it may eventually become necessary to obtain a Thai visa extension. A Thai visa extension allows the bearer to remain in the Kingdom of Thailand for a specified period (usually 1 year). That being said, if the holder of an extended Thai visa leaves the Kingdom, then the visa will automatically expire upon departure. The Thailand visa extension will not extinguish if the visa holder obtains a reentry permit. A Thai reentry permit is similar to a reentry permit for a USA visa in that it puts the Thai government on notice that the visa holder wishes to return to Thailand and does not intend to abandon his or her Thai visa.

Only an office of the Royal Thai Immigration Police can grant a reentry permit. Generally, there are two reentry permit classifications: the single exit permit, and the multiple exit permit. The multiple reentry permit is more costly than its single entry counterpart, but it may be wise to obtain a multiple exit reentry permit even if one is not immediately intending to leave the Kingdom of Thailand. I would argue that paying an extra fee for the multiple exit permit would be prudent in order to forestall losing one’s visa status should some sort of unforeseen eventuality arise.

The Reentry permit should not be mistaken for the Thailand multiple entry visa. A multiple entry visa usually allows the bearer to remain in Thailand for 90 days at a time over the course of the visa’s validity.  One major difference between the Thai visa extension and the Thai multiple entry visa is the fact that a person utilizing a multiple entry visa breaks their status every time the depart the country (even for a short period of time in the case of a “visa run”).  The person remaining in Thailand on an extension retains the benefit of enjoying unbroken visa status.

Even with a reentry permit, the holder of an extended Thai visa is still required to report their address every 90 days at the Thai Immigration office that has jurisdiction over their place of abode. Technically, passing through the Thailand Immigration checkpoint with a valid visa extension and reentry permit is a sufficient substitute for the 90 day reporting requirement because Thai Immigration simply wants to make sure that the foreign national checks in with their agency at some point during any 90 day period.

A Thai reentry permit should not be confused with a Thai work permit which is necessary in order for a foreigner to obtain lawful employment in Thailand. One should be aware that just because one has a valid reentry permit, their work permit may expire on a different date from their visa and take measures to ensure that all of these documents are kept up to date.

(Note: This information is for educational purposes and is subject to change. No fiduciary relationship should be construed to exist between the author and any reader of this posting.)

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13th April 2009

After a Thai Fiancee or Wife obtains lawful permanent residence (Green Card), it becomes necessary to keep this status preserved. Residence is “permanent” so long as the Thai Spouse complies with the rules inherent to permanent residence. One way that a Thai Wife may lose her lawful permanent resident status is if she spends long intervals of time in a country outside of the United States. Too much time spent outside of the United States can be construed as an intention to abandon one’s permanent residence (Green Card).  Since 9/11, United States immigration officers have started to highly analyze the amount of time a permanent resident spends outside of the United States. Even more than simply examining how much time one spends outside of the country, Immigration Officers now scrutinize the underlying reason for traveling at all. For this reason, preparations should be undertaken in advance if it is possible that a Permanent Resident will travel outside of the USA for a period of six months or more.

What is the Effect of Abandoning Permanent Residence?

There is no uniform rule that immigration officers utilize in determining if a Thai wife has abandoned her lawful permanent resident status. A Thai Wife’s “green card” can be employed as a legal entry permit if she has not been out of the United States for more than a year. That being said, simply going to the United once a year is definitely not sufficient to maintain a Thai Wife’s permanent resident status. Failure to be present in the United States for a period of six months or more raises the legal presumption that the immigrant has abandoned their U.S. residence. There are other aspects that will be looked at when deciding if an alien has abandoned their status: does the immigrant intend to depart the United States subsequent to the arrival at issue; does the international travel have a specified purpose and an ultimate end date; does the permanent resident pay taxes in the U.S. ; and does the resident have strong ties to the US: job, property, and other indicia of residence (e.g., driver’s license, bank accounts and credit cards, and active participation in the community).

When arriving in the USA after remaining outside of the country for a long period of time the resident should provide as much of the above evidence as possible and also be prepared to explain the reason for their absence from the United States. Someone who is unable to persuade the immigration officer that they have not abandoned their residence could be placed into removal proceedings and have their green card revoked pending the verdict in those proceedings. This situation could take many months to remedy if the situation can be remedied at all.

What is a Reentry Permit and What Benefit Does it Confer?

Reentry permits are similar to advance parole with regard to the fiance visa. Immigration officers at the port of entry are more inclined to respect those holding a Reentry Permit. By going through the application and obtainment process for a Reentry Permit, the Thai Permanent Resident in the USA is putting the U.S. Government on notice that it is a possibility that they will not be present in the United States for a duration of up to two years, and that they do not have any intention of abandoning their residence in the United States. The Reentry Permit application must be made while in the United States and even though it is not a necessity to wait in the USA for the permit’s issuance, the biometric scan is necessary and currently takes approximately 6-8 weeks to get an appointment after the application is filed.

For more information please see US Visa Thailand

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