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Phuket Immigration re-confirms ‘embassy income verification’ letters not required after American expat given 30 days to leave Thailand

Phuket Immigration re-confirms ‘embassy income verification’ letters not required after American expat given 30 days to leave Thailand

PHUKET: A year after the policy change was formally confirmed, Phuket Immigration today (Jan 13) again reconfirmed that letters from embassies are no longer required in order to confirm a foreigner’s income when applying for an extension to a non-immigrant permit to stay – as long as the relevant embassy no longer issues the “income verification” letters.

immigration
By The Phuket News

Monday 13 January 2020, 04:46PM


A foreigner has the stamps in his passport explained to him at the Phuket Immigration Office in Phuket Town. Photo: The Phuket News / file

A foreigner has the stamps in his passport explained to him at the Phuket Immigration Office in Phuket Town. Photo: The Phuket News / file

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.)

The Australian Embassy in Bangkok followed suit, effective Jan 7 last year (see here), and the Danish Embassy in Bangkok also ceased issued such statements with immediate effect (See 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.

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“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.

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Myself | 14 January 2020 - 15:06:41

Fact No. 1: Phuket Immigration doesn´t follow the Thai law. If citizens of these three countries don´t create their income in Thailand only the 400000 Bath in the bank will be accepted.
Fact No. 2: The English version handed out by the volunteers comes from Thai officers and we all know about their language skills. But it´s typical for them to blame others (the volunteers) for their own wrongd

Jor12 | 14 January 2020 - 12:59:34

k...as the article points out, "I don’t know what happened." There is full written document and a condensed version. 

ematt | 14 January 2020 - 12:44:27

The article does not state whether or not the man had ANY kind of income verification. Perhaps he did. But the fact remains that there are a great number of broken down, low rent foreigners living at the bottom of the food chain in Phuket. If they cannot prove that they have sufficient income to support themselves, then yes, Immigration should deport them. 

Kurt | 14 January 2020 - 09:18:55

A Immigration Office handles affairs of foreigners.  Than you can not come out with 'brief English version' of requirements. Something is wrong when a English 'translation' easily lead to misunderstanding as the Officer said. Better communication with clients is needed. Cyber wise, written and verbal. And Officers should know the LAW!!

Island Man | 14 January 2020 - 08:44:36

Well, I'm glad they cleared that up.

Sir Burr | 14 January 2020 - 08:16:08

The Danish embassy reinstated issuing the letter after complaints from their citizens. The only three countries that no longer issue the letter are UK, USA and Australia. [Thank you, Sir Burr -- Ed]

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