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About bigyin

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  1. bigyin

    Living in Phitsanulok

    I lived just outside the city for about 2 years until I moved back to the UK, There are very few foreigners around and nothing in the way of bars or entertainment, Cinema rarely has a movie with English sub titles but there is a Central shopping mall. I found it difficult after living in Pattaya but if you like solitude and seclusion then you might like it. I assume you would be going with your wife/girlfriend who would have family there and that would be an issue as they might well see you as a meal ticket. I still have a house there which we had built. Good luck if you do decide to go but go with your eyes open as it really is Thai living in the raw.
  2. bigyin

    IELTS A1 or B!

    My wife took the Trinity B1 test in the UK for her FLR application and found it quite easy. Only takes 10 minutes and their is no interaction with a partner. Their is more choice in the UK I think. If you use the language test result for an application then it is valid for all further applications. So a language test result obtained for Settlement can be used for FLR and ILR even if over 2 years as it obviously would be.
  3. My wife did the Trinity test last October and it was very straightforward. We didn't even consider the IELTS route. Just a warning ,however, the questions asked were not that simple. As an example my wife was asked about public transport an expression she had never heard. She thought the questions were a little bit more difficult than the videos suggested but having said that she passed with distinction and it is only 10 minutes so very manageable.
  4. When I did this a couple of years ago I completed the application form first and only wrote the letter afterwards to fill in any gaps and to stress anything I thought was unclear. The application almost forces you to address the major issues. As stated earlier showing a strong reason to return to Thailand is critical to the success of the application. Just on an earlier post there is certainly no need to employ an immigration lawyer or use an agent and there is no interview anymore. It is simply a drop off of the completed documentation and you can accompany your girlfriend but will not be allowed in with her.
  5. If I want to obtain Schengen visas from the UK for my Thai wife I think I have it straight that for most countries I will need to get the translation of the marriage certificate certified/legalised at either MOFA in Bangkok or the Thai Embassy in London. Am I correct? However, what do I need for my step daughter and does me not being the biological father cause a problem? My thinking was the translations of her birth certificate, change of name from the father's name to my wife's and the letter we have from the amphor in Thailand confirming my wife has sole custody and freedom to take her daughter out of Thailand. Has anyone done this or have any ideas? As a side issue has anyone sent their step child on a school trip to another EU country and if so how does that work?
  6. Just a follow on to my original post. I decided in the end to pay for the same day service at the Premium Centre in Solihull. The price is quite extortionate but it does get the job done on the day and they organise the biometrics while you are there. You do have to book your appointment well ahead, however. I left it a bit late and got an appointment only 8 days before the visas ran out. The staff at Solihull were quite friendly which helps given the whole process is quite stressful. After you hand in your application and do the biometrics you are free to go out and they call you when it is sorted. You go back in and your documents are brought out almost immediately. It is really just a question of is it worth the money to have less worry and for me it was but not for everyone.
  7. I am about to do my wife and step daughter's FLR application in mid February and we were hoping to go back to Thailand at the end of July on holiday. Does anyone have any recent experience of the processing times at Sheffield for FLR? Also do they keep all the original documents like passports, birth certificates until the final decision or do they send those back earlier?
  8. I did the school thing just over 2 years ago and it is not a problem as all children must be provided with a school place. You can make an in year application through the local education authority anytime in the school year although obviously places are limited at particular schools. Their website will have all the details, application form etc I did it all from Thailand and arranged to meet the head when I arrived back in the UK. Good luck.
  9. Thanks for that rasg. I agree the cost is outrageous and I certainly am leaning towards not paying the extra. We won't need the passport anytime soon after the application.
  10. In considering everything for the FLR application I am still torn between a postal application and taking pot luck on how long the process takes or paying the exorbitant sum required for a premium service application to know the result on the day. Has anyone had recent experience of making an application and if so how long did it take from application to decision? I am a natural worrier and I know I will be on tenderhooks the whole time even though I am sure I will have covered everything in the application
  11. My wife and step daughter's initial visa expires in March next year so I have been planning the FLR application. Rather than go for A2 at this stage and then B1 at ILR stage we decided to go straight to the B1 test now so that we 'only' have the Life in the UK to worry about later. My wife took the test in Birmingham on Saturday and passed with flying colours so I would certainly recommend that any Thai who has lived with a British person for 2 or 3 years or more should do the same. Just a couple of words of warning. I did the application for her and just gave her first and last names in the application. Despite being married she is a Miss on her passport so she has to be a Miss on everything else. The test centre told her that she should have put her name down as Miss...... They let her take the test anyway but better to enter the full thing. Secondly we had read lots of sample questions and watched the Trinity videos on Youtube but the actual questions were harder. She was asked 'Do you think public transport will become more popular in the future and if so why?' My wife wasn't actually sure what public transport meant but she did answer it well. She was also asked about her favourite movie and then 'How long was the movie? Who goes to a movie and watches the time? Questions like this can make a candidate flustered or confused. Anyway as with all these things being prepared is the answer and most people should sail through.
  12. I went through the school process about 2yeas ago and even if the application deadline has passed you can still apply. I think it is called an in year application. Your local authority website will have all the relevant application forms etc. I applied from Thailand and arranged to meet the headteacher on arrival in the UK. It was a bit of a hassle but all worked out in the end.
  13. bigyin

    Bringing up children in Thailand or UK? Safety?

    Yes I agree with all of the above. I moved back to the UK 2 years ago after 6 years in Thailand with Thai wife and step daughter and I have never regretted the decision. The UK is still a very safe place to live (with obvious exceptions) and my step daughter is much happier here. The language is an issue in education terms but that is a different story. UK over Thailand every day with children for me. Dual nationality in the future after ILR is also an attractive option.
  14. When I included my wife on my UK bank account she had to use the name exactly as on the passport which in her case is Miss even though we are married. We had some proof of residence letters but they showed Mrs so I have changed everything official here in the UK to Miss..... to match the passport.
  15. I did this last year and I did include the change certificate with translation. i think it is important to show the sequence of events to avoid any possible queries. I didn't include a letter from my wife and this was not a problem so clearly not necessary and it is difficult to imagine what she could add to your letter. Having said that it certainly won't do any harm providing you check it carefully. i assume the job is in Thailand so she will be leaving the job and it is not relevant to your application. You have to meet the financial requirements so it is your employment/savings which is important. Good luck. It is a lot of hassle to get it all together but if you do it methodically and sensibly you will be fine.