Phuket Immigration Office - The Non-O Adventure. Episode: "Ashamed To Be Thai"
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Posted 2012-07-12 20:28:45
My Thai wife and me (let's say Northern European) are pretty decent, hard working people, respectful to others, well-educated, and sorry to say, fairly intelligent. Contradictory to this last term however, we are trying to get me a non-O visa. Well.... this turns out to be an interesting, at times (actually every time we see the Immigration bureaucrats) frustrating challenge. It also shows how pompus, arrogant, rude, and horrible these persons are.
After obtaining a list of the required documents we went about to gather all paperwork. No big deal we thought. So off we went to the Immigration Office. First of all, total chaos there. No proper queues or drawing numbers. Thought they proudly have a large sign on the wall. full-color of course. saying that you just have to get a ticket, and wait for your number. Lot of talk, but no action, as we often see in LOS. Anyway, we finally have a chance to give our papers to this Senior Sergeant Major. He checks all and says that all documents are fine, but, as my visa expires in 5 weeks, I am too early and have to come back about 3 weeks later. No problem we think.
So, taking another day off from work, and so does my wife, and we go for the second time to this wonderful place, the Phuket Immigration Office. After the standard dis-respect full eyeing and treatments, they again check our papers, and hey, what a surprise, 4 documents are missing... Among others the birth certificate of our baby boy (what does this have to do with my visa? Is it necessary to have a baby to obtain this??). Slightly annoyed (....) we leave.
A few days later, times is running short now, my visa is about to expire, we again both take a day off from work and go to the Valhalla of corruption and power trippers. As we wait for our turn, we observe how the farang Immigration Officers are treated as dogs by their Thai counter parts. The gestures, body language etc shock my wife. This is not how Thai people treat others. But then again, Immigration Officers are perhaps not classified as people, or human so different rules may apply. Finally the Gods are with us and we again hand over our, now complete?, ever-growing stack of documents. They interrogate my wife in a style that the Gestapo would be pride of. We feel small and humble. I consider sewing a yellow star on my clothes so it may be clearly visible to everybody that I am nothing but a parasite, not worthy to breath the same air as the superior beings called Thai. Again they do not approve with the papers, one tax document is missing, and dismiss us.
Fortunately my employer is able to supply this quickly so the next day we give it another shot. In the mean time I start to fear that I may not have a job to return to as this is already day FOUR that my wife and I have to take leave. This may actually be better, as then we can just pack our bags, stop supporting this great local economy, and just head back to a country where people respect each other and follow clearly defined rules, with disregards of your nationality, gender, color etc. Basically a civilized democracy. Cutting it short, we manage again to hand our documentation to the uniformed super-beings, and guess what, after only a few minutes of disrespectful comments and gestures, they finally accept it. Seriously, I may exaggerate slightly, but why disdainful comments? Is this to compensate for undersized certain body-parts?
At the end of this adventure, my wife softly whispers "I am so ashamed to be Thai...."
Now, is this the normal treatment we can expect at the Immigration Offices? Anybody had similar experiences? Sorry, but I find it harder and harder to find any respect for the Thai. I know I cannot generalize, but I encounter this kind of behaviour here in Phuket in more and more places Too bad.
Posted 2012-07-12 20:37:35
Suggest you move to Pathum Thani where the IOs are efficient and polite in my experience over the last few years.
Posted 2012-07-12 20:48:17
We have perfect officers in Aranyaphratet. (sp), they are polite, helpful and kind people.
Posted 2012-07-12 20:48:49
The lot of an immigrant is never a simple one paperwork wise. Me moving to the UK as an independent migrant was an absolute nightmare. Changing the rules of my visa retrospectively so that it made it much harder to extend. Don't get me started on a NI number.
And before you ask, yes, my wife and I go through the process in Thailand annually.
Simple rule - bring everything you have with your name on it, in triplicate. Even if you think you don't need it.
Posted 2012-07-12 20:56:31
You can only apply for an extension of stay (not a visa) during the last 30 days of your permission to stay.
Immigration checks an application based on having a Thai wife very strictly, as the application is send to BKK and they will hear it back if they missed a document. They do not like that.
The baby birth certificate helpds to proof that there is a real relationship. The tax document is standerd and asked from anybody earning an income in Thailand.
Posted 2012-07-12 20:57:24
Having lived here 3 years on Non B visas with Work Permits and Retirement visa, I would consider this normal. I have also suffered your frustration. There is always something missing that they failed to tell you about on the previous visit. Some times I wonder why I live here.
And again tomorrow I go to the Labor Office with a stack of documents from a brand new private school, for my work permit and then to Laos to get the proper Non B visa.
Sure I've been working a month already at the school while they waited for their registration documents from the Governement of Thailand for me to apply for the W.P. and the Non B visa.
They cannot have it both ways.
I know I am not alone in regards to this, maybe others are just afraid to admit it.
So whose fault is it that it takes the government 6 months to issue a school the proper registration documents. Not the schools, not the prospective employee. This is a Buddhist Wat/Temple private School.
I should mention I am always dressed in dress clothes with a tie whenever I visit Immigration or the MOE.
After teaching 2 years all of a sudden immigration says "We cannot extend your visa because you do not have a teachers licence or a waiver in lieu of." But for 2 years there was no mention of any of this.
Is it any wonder why people work without the proper documents or overstay their visas and pay the maximum fine....yes because it is easier that dealing with the bullshit that is Thailand.
Edited by Colabamumbai, 2012-07-12 21:00:22.
Posted 2012-07-12 20:57:35
Are you trying to obtain a one year extension of stay for reason of having a Thai Wife? Or do you really need a non immigrant O visa? Or both? It is not really clear what you are trying to do from post.
Posted 2012-07-12 21:32:09
I have worked at two schools and managed a hotel in three years in Thailand none of them have provided me with a tax document. I imagine my luck and tomorrow being the 13th the MOE will ask for one when I apply for a new W.P.
It should be their responsibility to provide it, not mine to hassle them for it. A waste of my time and money.
Edited by Colabamumbai, 2012-07-12 21:34:20.
Posted 2012-07-12 21:38:50
I never had any problems with Immigration and certainly in Bangkok, Hua Hin and Chiangmai I have always found them helpful and polite.
It must be Phuket; with Immigration Officers having to deal with the many bad foreigners who live there which unfairly affects all others.
The answer is live somewhere else in Thailand where you don't have to put up with this sort of thing. There are plenty of nice places with nice people and very low crime. This excudes Pattaya of course.
Posted 2012-07-12 21:40:46
Hi all, thanks for all the replies and putting up with my long complaint. I just had to get if off my chest.
I did have all the docs as requested, the frustrating part is that every time they come up with something new, that was not mentioned before. I had tax papers from last year, and suddenly they also need it from last month... They failed to mention this on the previous visit. These kind of things ( this was just one example) is so tiring.
I had a non-B and am trying to change this into a non-O. I am tired of doing visa runs every 3 months and every year having to leave the country. Also, it is now harder and harder to get a 1-year non-B visa. With the non-O I can just go to the local Immigration Office every 3 months, more easy.
Posted 2012-07-12 23:42:29
First of all the papers are not send to BKK but to Had Yai for approval and that's why they are checked strict but unfortunate when they check the papers they stop and return the papers as soon they find the first problem instead of making a list of mistakes so you can fix them.
The papers you mentioned are requested but they should inform you the first time.
Posted 2012-07-13 01:23:26
in thailand either u need to know influential people or u need to be rich to get respected by these goons
Posted 2012-07-13 01:33:03
"...we again both take a day off from work...."
Have I missed something here?
Posted 2012-07-13 02:39:58
My Thai other half often says she is ashamed to be Thai after observing their behavior towards both foreigners and other Thais. And that is quite a statement coming from her because she is a proud Thai.
My guess is Phuket is the problem. My other guess is most cities where the locals prey on foreigners would also have the same sort of attitude. The few times I had to visit Pattaya immigration, they were bastards there too. Up north, no problems. Long lines, but no problems. Yet.
Posted 2012-07-13 05:24:17
Simon i thought it was only me who had problems with rude arrogant immigration officers, i am not alone then what a relief.
Posted 2012-07-13 07:24:07
Stay away from Sakhon Nakhon Immigration.....like the sign on the truck outside says "Swat Team".
Unfortunately this is the office I have to deal with and always the same officer, who always finds something to chastise me about.....He sold me a re-entry permit last year when then said you changed jobs and provinces, and did not get a new Non B visa your on overstay go to Amnat Charoen and sort it out.
Amnat Charoen called him and ragged him out for selling me a re-entry permit, they forgave me the overstay of 17,500 Bhat and said we will give you 7 days for 1,900 Bhat. Amnat Charoen very nice.
At the time I did not realize that changing employees and provinces that I had to re-apply for everything again.
Posted 2012-07-13 07:45:12
There appears to be some misunderstanding here as both visas are non immigrant and both allow only a 90 day stay. What you appear to require is an extension of stay for one year (do not have to leave country but have to make 90 day address reports). So now the choice is for employment or marriage. The same visa can be used to apply for either but supporting documents will be different. For Thai wife extension you also have the money in bank (400k two months) option available.
Posted 2012-07-13 07:50:58
Hi Darrel, "both", as they expect both my wife and me to show up every time. Taking time off myself is one thing, but for her to explain that to her employer is harder .
As some said, Phuket might be the problem. Too many farang to deal with, some of whom might not understand the "cultural differences" too well. Then again, they know they are in a powerful position and like to exploit it too. Their uniforms are full of "military?"decorations.... for what? Preventing another officer for stapling himself? Recycling paper? Letting farang wait for at least 2 hours?
Posted 2012-07-13 07:58:17
To be honest, I have no idea. I explained them my situation, they in return gave me a list of documents to prepare, which I did. According to them, it is for a Marriage visa, which also allows me to have/apply for a work-permit. For a B visa, there is no need for marriage documents, so I assume I am getting an O visa?There appears to be some misunderstanding here as both visas are non immigrant and both allow only a 90 day stay. What you appear to require is an extension of stay for one year (do not have to leave country but have to make 90 day address reports). So now the choice is for employment or marriage. The same visa can be used to apply for either but supporting documents will be different. For Thai wife extension you also have the money in bank (400k two months) option available.
The Extension of Stay for 1 year, based on a B visa, required the employer apparently to have x Thais employed. As some of my colleagues already have this Extension of Stay, we do not reach the quota for me to apply for this. Hence the Marriage visa.
lol, does this makes any sense? At the Immigration Office, even the foreign officials have no clue and give different answers... It appears to be complicated
Posted 2012-07-13 07:59:26
I think the OP is more displeased with the attitude of the officer, of some of the Immigration Officers. I live in Chiang Mai. Although the office is severely undersized, and a bit chaotic at times, I usually don't have many problems. Bring all things you think you may need and in duplicate. That's my rule.
I have run into a couple of %#@ in my visits there. One in particular, a female, higher ranking, officer that does interviews for marriage extensions. She is unkind to her subordinates and she is rude and unkind to applicants. I wanted to reach out and touch her the two times that I have had the pleasure of sitting in front of her.
On of the problems I run into in Thailand is with people that buy into the class system. On the high class side, I find them extremely arrogant and condescending. Perhaps it is that they think I have more money than them. Whether I do or not is unimportant. The other people that have attitude problems are ranking officers in customs, immigration, or police. They are important in their fantasies, and a "rich farang" threatens that sense of importance and entitlement. The rich farang needs to be punished it seems. The bankers treat me well, until some self important %#@#@! with a connection at the police gets her shit in a knot. I actually had my account frozen in the matter of a couple of hours based on false accusations by some Thai %$#@$% married to a foreigner. It took me 2 days and a lawyer to sort it out.
I guess I am no different here than the East Indians and Chinese were when Canada first started to import them. Most Canadians have gotten over their sense of entitlement and resulting resentments by now.
My sense of happiness in still much greater here in Thailand than in Canada.....I try to steer clear of people who will interfere with that sense of happiness. On those rare days when our paths do cross, I try to smile and move on and not hang on to it all day long. There are 70 million citizens here. Most of them are good people.
Edited by Canada, 2012-07-13 08:05:11.
Posted 2012-07-13 08:05:25
As a fellow Canadian I agree totally with your thoughts and comments and your excellent post.
Posted 2012-07-13 08:06:33
You are confusing visas with extensions of stay - you already have the visa entry and a permitted to stay from that entry - now you want to extend that stay (nothing to do with visas) for one year on basis of Thai wife. For that you will need the normal financial proof of 40k per month income or 400k in bank for two months, marriage certificate/copy, copy of marriage ledger entry (current), wife and her ID card and home register, if children there birth certificates, photos in and outside home, map to home, some proof of living there (rent/bills or such), copy of your passport/visa/permitted to stay/departure card and perhaps witness to verify your living together and other paperwork. This with the TM.7 application, 4x6cm photo and 1,900 baht fee obtains an under review of 4-6 weeks before the final one year stamp is made. This is done each year with same general paperwork. During year you must report address every 90 days if you do not exit Thailand. If you do travel you must obtain a re-entry permit first.
Posted 2012-07-13 08:17:50
Remember that the extension of your visa is at the discretion of the individual officer and I have been told on many occasions before they can ask for extreme things from you if they have had a bad day.
All that aside I also see people arriving at immigration with an attitude and dressed in a disrespectful manner.
I also remember spending 3 + hours with an American who said because he was a court witness he could not overstay as it was the duty of the Thai government to extend his visa. The officers were very patient and respectful in this case.
He was eventually deported 3 days later!
Posted 2012-07-13 08:32:59
My experience of Chiang Mai immigration has been excellent. It's their country - they do not need us or even want us. It is decent of them to host farang. That said I feel Phuket is an island state and culturally not representative of Thailand.
Expectations set up disappointments. Really this is an emerging 3rd world society. They have made pretty huge strides to the point of some social upheaval. Yesterday I spent the day working hard in hot and trying conditions, with 2 older Thai men in their 60's and 70's, who very well depicted the true and better nature of Thais.
One comment is that easy money corrupts. That has many implications.
Your wife is not the only one ashamed of her brethren at times. I hate to see the way some Aussies behave and once felt compelled to apologise to staff after a fellow Australia behaved insensibly (i'm being way too polite) at KL Airport.
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