The news follows an American expat contacting The Phuket News late last week to explain that he had been refused a 12-month permit to stay on the basis of being married to a Thai because he could not provide an “income verification” letter from the US embassy.
With his application refused, the man had been given until the end of his current permit to stay – effectively less than 30 days – to leave the country.
That is after years of staying in the country on 12-month permits to stay as he is married to a Thai.
The man pointed out that the letter is no longer noted on the list of documentary requirements for “family visas” as posted on the Royal Thai Police Immigration Bureau website (See here.)
The letters were not even included on a second checklist he was handed at the Phuket Immigration Office when he went to file his perm-to-stay application. (See photos.)
After months of warnings, the US embassy stopped issuing such letters on Jan 1 last year. (See story here.)
Even by Nov 2018, Lt Col Archeep Jaroensuntisuk, Deputy Chief at Phuket Immigration at the time, confirmed to The Phuket News, “Of course this letter is no longer needed if the embassy no longer issues it." (See story here.)
A letter confirming income previously served as a supporting document for obtaining a Thai retirement or marriage visa (“permit-to-stay”), the British Embassy noted in its release announcing the news that it too will cease issuing such letters.
“The British Embassy Bangkok is stopping the certification of income letters because it is unable to fulfil the Thai authorities’ requirements to verify the income of British Nationals,” the statement said. (See story here.)
Lt Col Udom Thongchin, Deputy Chief of the Phuket Immigration Office in Phuket Town, today said he had no idea why the foreigner would have been refused his application on the basis of not having an “income verification” letter from the US embassy.
“These letters from embassies are not needed if the relevant embassy no longer issues them,” he said plainly.
“I don’t know what happened. I am not sure who is concerned with this case, but please come to the second floor of the Phuket Immigration Office to discuss this directly with the correct immigration officers,” Lt Col Udom said.
Lt Col Udom assured that officers at Phuket Immigration have been reminded that the income verification letters are no longer needed for some nationalities.
“I told them today to be careful about the details of this part,” he said.
“As for this [American] man, and anyone else who has had this problem, please come back to the Phuket Immigration Office so we can resolve this.
“Under this type of visa, all that is required to prove your income are bank statements and your bankbooks [plus copies of the relevant pages to file with the application].
“This is fine to prove your income,” Lt Col Udom said.
Regarding the “second checklist” handed to the American man at the Phuket Immigration Office in Phuket Town, Lt Col Udom admitted, “This document is an English version [of the full list in Thai] that is handed out to foreigners, but it is just a brief version.
“This document is used only by volunteers here to explain to foreigners what is required. It is not an official document. It is just only a brief translation,” he repeated.
“This [English version] can easily lead to misunderstandings. We will find better translation soon,” Lt Col Udom assured.
The English version does not include any extra requirements not included in the full list in Thai, Lt Col Udom also assured.
“We can’t change or add anything new to the requirements for visa extensions,” he said.