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JackThompson

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  1. Wrong. The OP appears to have made the mistake of believing she was dealing with honest people who respect their country's laws - which was not the case, here. The people concerned don't appear to care what "the law" is. It would be like telling an armed robber what the law is, while standing at gunpoint, thinking he would say, "Oh golly, I didn't know that - sorry." Any time you are dealing with a govt-official in any country, you are at virtual-gunpoint - you must obey, "or else..." What separates civilized countries from the rest, are clear, published-laws which are followed and enforced through a chain-of-command, so that all parties know exactly where they stand at all times. People who don't respect the law are unlikely to respond to reasoned appeals to the law. The only question is, can they "get caught" for breaking the law. They do care about that. A rejection-stamp in a passport leaves hard-evidence - and like any lawbreaker, they wish to avoid consequences for violating the law. Ordinarily, "no money" or "working illegally" are used as the "official" rationale (stamped in the passport) for denying entry. In this instance, the "6 entries in 12-mo" statements demonstrate the non-legal intent to deny entry. But, this foreigner (melcoe) could not be "working illegally" and wasn't "visa-running" (per a ministerial order which applies only to Visa Exempt entries). Because the "officials" could not figure out how to hide their openly-stated, non-legal rationale for denial behind a legal cause-for-rejection, they eventually relented. We have many reports of lies being told as if they were actual laws/rules, so it is clear this is not just "an odd IO having a bad day." Supervisors got involved, and yet this ordeal, based on a lie, continued. Honest officials who respect the laws of their country and chain of command don't behave this way. I hope the 9-yo child was not traumatized by the experience of seeing her mother put through this 3-hour long, cruel and pointless exercise.
  2. Not easy if under 50 and airports making trouble for people with valid Tourist Visas. At Pedang Besar and almost anywhere else (but not airports), all you need to show is a valid TR Visa plus maybe show 20K Baht and you are in with no stress/worries. I've done this route - not hard at all. Trains from Penang to Pedang Besar are frequent and fast. Immigration-time through Pedang Besar is also fast (airport could be hours in line). Then can train, bus, or taxi to Hat Yai. The quickest is taxi straight from the Pedang Besar checkpoint to the Hat Yai airport, but can save a some money as tradeoff for convenience by taking a cheaper route to Hat Yai first. Flights from Hat Yai airport to all over Thailand - and almost as cheap as bus-fare, if booked in advance.
  3. First - it's not "one or the other." Foreign-sourced income is all upside, since there is no "social safety net" factor. All the money spent by foreigners (not working here) is "free money" from abroad. Each 8K Baht/mo spent fully-funds an entry-level Thai job in tourist-related industries. In pure "numbers" the Chinese have a large volume - but they come on package deals that involve little spending per-person into the economy, while putting a heavy tax on roads (traffic and wear from tour-buses), and generally lowering the quality-of-life for both residents and tourists due to crowding and traffic. Those from the West, who used to fill many empty or now-closed bars and restaurants, and who rented condos long-term (many now empty), spend more per-capita and many times more per-year. Our "total numbers" are lower (and dropping, due to pointless visa-hurdles), but our spending was, and remains of great benefit. Untold baht have been lost from past 'crackdown' actions, as Westerners moved by the thousands to Cambodia, The Philippines, Vietnam, and Latin America. Thailand has generated a bad-reputation among independently-funded people, as having an inhospitable immigration system. Before coming to Thailand, I personally met many travelers in several of those locations who all said basically the same thing, "Don't bother going to Thailand. The visa/border situation is crazy now." Now factor in the rapidly increasing numbers of self-funded people, thanks to online businesses. The effect of discriminating against under-50s, projected into the future, is even more damaging to potential revenues than the demonstrable harm from past 'crackdowns'. Thailand would be an ideal place for such persons to live, yet a closed-minded faction are throwing away this fantastic opportunity. Making it increasingly difficult for longer-term self-funded under-50 tourists to stay and spend does not serve any logical purpose.
  4. My last info was from Lucky-Lucky - said (a few months ago) that they could no longer get next-day or 2-day service. $1K USD is a must (bank-statement). Air-Ticket may also be requested by the consul, so is recommended. I recommend supplying the accommodation-info just because one already has it (condo-lease, etc) or can get it free via booking-dot-com or similar. I'm not sure if the loss of fast-service is particular to Lucky-Lucky, and/or is still the case, and/or affects some/all other agents. The last report I read was someone who got an SETV from Siam Reap via an agent using a courier - took 6 days - but could be due to the distance factor or the particular agent used. I usually stayed out a week when obtaining a new visa, anyway, so the primary downside, from my perspective, was getting a red-stamp on my 4th SETV from Phnom Penh, when only 1 other SETV in my passport was from Phnom Penh. Therefore, I would move this consulate up to a higher position in Consulate-order when one has a new passport - maybe the 1st or 2nd location, before moving on to friendlier ones.
  5. No legal reason not to - just avoid unfriendly points of entry. I see no advantage to putting yourself at the whims of an immigration officer, since Visa Exempts are granted solely at their discretion. There are additional written rules governing Visa-Exempt use which do not apply to tourist visas. Another poster quoted many of them, earlier in this thread. Those would apply, if you tried to enter Visa-Exempt. That said, most land-borders are now more friendly with Visa-Exempts, provided you do not have 2 yet in a calendar year. You are 100% correct. If entering with a valid Tourist Visa and following that pattern, you are not breaking any laws or written rules - and are Helping Thailand's Economy by doing this.
  6. A small clique of Immigration people seem to hate self-financed foreigners staying here longer-term - xenophobia or jealousy or both. They appear not to know or care how much damage they do to their nation's tourist-economy by behaving this way to the ever-growing number of people who earn their living from online-sources. Fortunately, they only control some airport checkpoints and the Poipet/Aranyaprathet crossing. Yes - a Visa Exempt entry is given at the discretion of immigration, and has a set of rules which are more strict than for entries with a Tourist Visa. So, if you get an unfriendly Immigration officer (or supervisor), you could have problems getting a Visa Exempt entry. They would have a more difficult time rejecting your entry with a Tourist Visa (issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) - we only have one case of that reported here - and only at an unfriendly entry-point, which can be avoided (see below). Take the train from Penang through Pedang Besar crossing to Hat Yai, and fly from there to your destination. Be sure to have 20K worth of cash or travelers checks to show at the checkpoint - this is a written rule for arriving with a Visa, written back in the days before ATM machines, when tourists literally carried cash and travelers checks for their trip-expenses. In airports, immigration have been known to reject people for not having this cash, while simultaneously not allowing them to go to an ATM to get it. Then, they force them to buy a last-minute ticket out, and lock them detention cells until their flight leaves. At Pedang Besar, you could walk back into Malaysia and get the cash - but can save the trouble by having it at the ready. Yes, the passports will be linked as soon as you enter with the 2nd one. The only advantage to a new passport is fewer pages for IOs to read when you enter (quicker entry) - and resetting the count of Tourist Visas per obtaining new ones at Consulates, some of which choose to impose arbitrary limits. Get a Tourist Visa in Penang, enter by train, and you are set. There is no legal-limit on entries with Tourist Visas. Avoiding Thai Airports and the Poipet crossing is all that is necessary to come as often as you like with Tourist Visas - as all other crossings follow the laws/rules as written. Your experience should not affect future visits - though is a cautionary-tale of the poor attitudes you will find at the few unfriendly points-of-entry. How one is treated at these unfriendly locations appears to be arbitrary. Note that little is done in-country to catch illegal English teachers - or the schools that hire them, who demand they work illegally for months before supplying the paperwork for a proper visa (according to many reports, here). Meanwhile millions of foreign-workers from neighboring countries work illegally and legally in Thailand, aided by special "cut out" rules allowing them to enter an unlimited number of times at land borders (we can only enter 2x per calendar year visa-exempt by land). The "work illegally" routine with immigration is just a cover for hate of longer-staying foreigners - otherwise, they would address the roots of the issue. It's similar to the USA, in this respect, where they "catch and release" illegal entrants, so they can work-cheap for the rich / businesses - driving working-citizens into unemployment and/or working-poverty - while giving the "3rd Degree" treatment to tourists who fly in with valid visas, so they can pretend they are "doing something."
  7. Update: I took the chance and went there again. No problem, nothing asked at all. In between had a 2 month extension from immigration office. Sounds like whoever was pushing that lie went back to working at the Poipet crossing, where that made-up non-rule was first reported being told - or maybe one of the unfriendly airport checkpoints. Glad to hear they are being civil, again.
  8. U.S. citizens moving to Thailand

    I understand - it's why I live here in Thailand - much prefer it to the other options - though I find many options much better in terms of value-for-cost-of-living than the USA. I mention nearby-country's options primarily to demonstrate the out-of-market pricing of the so-called "Elite" Visa - only worth it if you have that much money to literally burn. Hopefully, Thai authorities will someday realize how much foreign-currency they are throwing to their neighbors, and open up sane-priced options for under-50s. In any case, you should be fine using successive METV visas, since you return to the USA 2x per year, anyway.
  9. U.S. citizens moving to Thailand

    Only one report of this when the person entering had the required 20K Baht of cash or travelers checks, but many unfriendly reports of others who did get in. We have no reports like this from Chang Mai airport, or from any land-borders other than the special Poipet/Aranyaprathet crossing. But ... If you must fly into a Bangkok airport frequently, and do not qualify for any type of Multiple-Entry visa (you'd need to go home for the METV), I can understand your thinking. I consider the Elite the equivalent of a brown-envelope so fat, that it takes care of the highest echelons, thus carrying 100% legal status. If one has 500K to spend for a visa - or better yet 1M for the 20-year offering, and they know they intend to stay here long-term, an Elite works well. But, if this couple only intends to enter Thailand 2x per year, and is returning home on those trips where they can get an METV easily, they might not need to take this route. Consider how much "condo" or "fun" the cost of two Elite visas (for a couple) would buy - either here, or in a country where one does not need to make a large one-time cash-payment, for permission to spend money into that country's economy. @ashleybrewer83In addition to some "try out time" in Thailand, check out Malaysia's "My 2nd Home" program, The Philippines "money in the bank" options, Vietnam's 1-year Tourist Visa options for USA-citizens, and Cambodia's easy 1-year multiple-entry visa offerings (~$350 per year) - so you can make a fully-informed decision, with comparison to other offerings in the region.
  10. The last news I had from my agent there a few months ago was: $1K USD or more per bank-statement Proof of flight highly recommended (may be required always now) No more expedited service - so 3 to 4 days from submission to receipt of the visa I'd also include proof of where you will be staying (I always used my condo-lease) or an online hotel booking; the latter is free, and can only help. But Beware - if you have many other Tourist Visas in your passport, you could get a "red stamp" there. I got one on my 2nd from them, which was only the 4th SETV in my passport.
  11. U.S. citizens moving to Thailand

    Agree with checking out other places. Agree that other countries are cheaper and easier to stay in for longer periods - especially when under the age of 50. But strongly disagree that "Thailand is xenophobic, rudderless and angry." A few bad apples in power at some Amphoe offices and Immigration checkpoints does not define the whole of the country. Most Thais I know are good people who like many aspects of Western culture and Western people. They are glad we are here and understand how we support Thai businesses with foreign-sourced funds. They also know that many of the developments in technology and other sciences - benefiting billions across the world, including Thais - arose from Western nations. The fact that they doggedly retain their own culture, and traditions is a strength - and what makes Thailand a very special and unique place in an increasingly "globalized" world.
  12. I would never suggest pointlessly arguing with an IO. The best one can do is show they have money and incoming funds - proof of which may be ignored, or not. If an IO (and/or supervisor) don't believe in following "The Law," trying to demonstrate one's compliance with "The Law" is pointless. Power is not always coincident with Law. IOs have "The Power" at a checkpoint, and if they don't believe in following "The Law" as written, arguing would only make them angry and more likely to use that Power to hurt you. The strategy, in such situations, is to do your best to escape a lawless-zone with minimum damage. Permanent Residence is another thing - but I think you are referring to any one staying here on "long stay" visas or extensions - which max-out at 1 year "permission of stay." Every year, you ask permission to stay another year, which can be denied - no matter if you have children here, etc. A Tourist Visa entry gives you 60-days "permission of stay," which can be extended for 30-days more. After that, you must leave the country. There is no prohibition on obtaining another Tourist Visa and returning, nor on doing this repeatedly. A person with a valid Tourist Visa and 20K Baht cash in-hand is not attempting entry in violation of the law, unless entering for purposes of criminal activity including working illegally. When I was using Tourist Visas, I always used them for exactly the purpose for which they were intended. I went to the beach frequently, and engaged in other Tourist-type activities - eating-out, etc. I did not take a Thai job, never overstayed, and paid my bills with foreign-sourced income, so was always in full-compliance with the law/rules pertaining to my permission of stay. I'm on a Non-O now, but none of that has changed - my "activity" here is indistinguishable from a Tourist, as would be the case for most on Retirement-based visas or extensions. There is no law or ministerial order stating limits on Tourist Visa use in terms of days-per-year or entries-per-year. Clearly, those in authority could choose to create such limits if they desired to do so. No one who is following the law is "getting away" with anything untoward. OTOH, those denying entry to people on false-pretenses are doing something untoward.
  13. U.S. citizens moving to Thailand

    As others have stated, start with a METV from the USA. Because you are returning to the USA twice per-year, this would enable you to get new METV Visas each time, and because you will stay a month each time, it breaks the "living here full time" perception, and shows you have the finances for frequent, expensive flights. Many people have stayed here most of the time for many years, by getting tourist-visas in the region, and by using friendly entry-points, since there is no legal limit on entering the country repeatedly with valid Tourist Visas. There are a few points of entry - unfortunately including Bangkok and some other airports - which seem to be staffed with (and/or supervised by) people who resent any non-Thai staying here for an extended period. You can avoid any trouble with Immigration by using entry-points with friendly staff. At some point, this may mean that your return-flight could be to Penang, after which you could take a train to Hat Yai, crossing at the Pedang Besar entry-point, then fly onward to your destination via a domestic flight (which do not involve immigration). Be sure to always have 20K Baht worth of cash or travelers checks, each, when entering Thailand. Although travelers checks and wads of cash are no longer necessary in the real-world, Thai immigration has been known to pretend that ATM machines don't exist, when using the lack of these funds to deny entry to travelers.
  14. Thai embassy Taipei

    This is the most recent report I've seen: It might be a good place to go when one has just received a new passport, or if one rarely, and not recently, (per stamps in the passport presented) has been in Thailand.
  15. You complete a TM-6 card on entry - not a TM-30. You'd think that would be enough, but ... You need to go to your local immigration office and file a TM-30 if: Your local immigration office enforces the TM-30 rules (Bangkok's Chang Wattana doesn't) Your local immigration office's particular interpretation of the TM-30 law requires you report returning to the same place you have always lived (some do, some don't, some did and now don't but might start again when high-season ends), sometimes depending on how long you were gone. You ever intend to use your local immigration office for an extension or other service, at which point they might do a check to see if you have filed a TM-30, and take the opportunity to collect a fine from you if you haven't. Many use the Multi-O visa to avoid ever going to their local immigration office due to bad experiences, but others choose to get 60-day "visit wife" extensions of some of their 90-day entries, which could lead to a TM-30 reporting check.
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