BritTim

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  1. Health insurance is something that only became widely used in the second half of the 20th century. Like credit cards and ATM machines, immigration rules have yet to be updated to take account of such modern services. Apparently, though, the new 10-year retirement visa is, for the first time, going to incorporate health insurance as a requirement. Give it another 20 years, and immigration will probably be able to take credit cards and ATM machines into account in deciding whether people will be able to pay hotel bills.
  2. Yes, many use agents to get a visa. The main advantages of using an agent are (i) speed (for a price, they can get next day or 3-day service, while standard is 4 days); and (ii) for a price, they will fudge onward flight and hotel reservations. If you have many tourist visas in your passport, even if not from Phnom Penh, the agent will probably not be able to get you the visa. If you can meet the requirements, you actually have a better chance doing it yourself.
  3. Based on previous reports, Phuket is worse. Avoid flying into Phuket if they can find any reason to conclude you are not a "genuine" tourist.
  4. You will find it very difficult to acquire a US$ 1,000 note. They have not been issued for many years and, eevn in the US, would be difficult to use even should you wish to do so. It is my recollection that Singapore still issues a SGD 1,000 note and Switzerland a CHF 1,000 note. However, I know there is pressure to phase out high denomination notes to deter money smuggling.
  5. Personally, in such cases, I would say extra scrutiny is reasonable. However, after questioning, I think officials should be careful to be scrupulously fair in their eventual decision, and not allow racial profiling to dominate the decision making. Note that I am not claiming this applies to the OP or any other specific decision. That is unknowable. The criteria for denying entry are murky, and we do not know what is in the official's head at any particular point in time.
  6. The exchange rates on foreign currencies are those offered by the exchange booths airside, and only currencies they will accept are applicable. I would avoid other than major currencies. I doubt immigration are going to start playing games like saying US dollars and euros are not proof that you can support yourself on your visit.
  7. They always stamp the official-reason in the passport of the person rejected. Whether that reason has any relation to reality is a separate question. I would qualify this just a bit. According to procedure, they are supposed to provide the reason(s) for denial in writing, as well a stamp in your passport. However, invariably at land borders, and sometimes at airports, proper procedure is not followed (sometimes to the benefit of those denied, I might add).
  8. It is difficult to be sure, but up to six visa exempt entries that are not back-to-back are not a problem per se, I believe. A visa exempt entry tends to be an issue in combination with other factors. I think the most important is the length of time you have been in Thailand on tourist entries, and whether there are indications you could be working illegally. This latter factor is very subjective, and an immigration official could make an arbitrary wrong call. I think it very unlikely that, with less than 180 days in Thailand on tourist issues, you will have a problem, but treat any such opinions as just that.
  9. All the leafing through passport stuff is looking for discrepancies between what is in the passport, and what is shown in immigration's system. The conference with the supervisor was likely because something had been recorded incorrectly in immigration's system. Usually, the only problem with all this checking is that it delays your entry by a minute or so.
  10. I will just make the point that, on entry, whether you are using a new or an old passport is irrelevant if immigration's system is working as designed. Your old passport(s) and currently passport should be linked in immigration's system. They will be looking at your record of entries and exits to/from Thailand. Further, under some circumstances, there are alerts to the immigration official that you be subjected to greater scrutiny. It is generally agreed that an alert is received after six visa exempt entries. Based on anecdotal reports, I think 180+ days in a year on tourist entries is also generating an alert.
  11. It really is a tough judgment call. If you just fly in, with lots of evidence of your financial status (especially foreign funds and income) the chances are high that you will have no problem. The trouble is that a formal denial of entry could make your future trips to Thailand more problematic. Entering via Vientiane would avoid the risk of a formal denial (with a record in immigration's system). As against that, the hassle and expense would be annoying. Whatever you decide, good luck!
  12. The OP's denial of entry was probably the result of a number of factors. We will never know which of the following were significant: Bias against people based on their appearance does happen. It is a genetically acquired disease that all humans possess to some degree, though some of us try to suppress our tribal instincts, recognizing that they are destructive in modern societies. More than six months in Thailand in one year on tourist entries. The OP's age. A previous overstay (we do not know how long that may have been for). Probably, the OP was not very careful in what he said to the immigration official and supervisor. Possibly, a well founded suspicion that the OP had previously been working illegally in Thailand. Depending on the kind of work involved, being a couple of months out of the country does not preclude doing so again. Failure to have proof of foreign sources of income. The immigration official was having a bad day. It would be good to know if the denial of entry was done according to procedure, with written notification and stamp in passport. If so, posting those notifications here (obscuring personally identifiable information) would be helpful in recommending a future course of action.
  13. You are unlikely to have a problem, but could easily get a tourist visa in HCMC to improve your odds still further.
  14. I assume it is a biometric passport, and the mishap did not damage the passport's chip. If so, I would anticipate plenty of tut tutting, but recognition that no tampering has occurred.If you must get an emergency travel document, I do not think your birth certificate will ne necessary. The damaged passport should be sufficient.
  15. Some have done an in/out by air successfully without formally entering the other country. That said, you are expected to do it, and some have had big problems at immigration trying what you suggest. Unless using a country that does not stamp your passport, such as Hong Kong, it would be wise to comply with the rules strictly.