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BANGKOK 13 December 2018 23:56

tgarrett100

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About tgarrett100

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  1. I am an old guy (79 yrs) in Thailand with a retirement visa now extended for 11 years. With my articulate wife (U.S. Citizen, Thai National, married in U.S.) visited Chang Wattana Immigration Office (IO) on Wednesday 15 November for the annual extension. Visit to U.S. Embassy for routine income affidavit then to IO for the annual extension process. Wife joined me for paperwork processing so she could hopefully get some answers regarding the income verification process for next year. The immigration officers are reluctant to speak much in English but seemed happy to vent (in volumes) in Thai. First level Officer was very sympathetic with our income validation plight but had no answers. Immigration offices have apparently not been informed about any 2019 requirements. Our only income is from a monthly annuity payment plus a small U.S. Social Security payment and there is no way we could accumulate or afford to “park” 800,000 baht. We’re well within the monthly income requirement which of course has been the basis for my visa extension here in our only home (cut all ties in U.S. when we came to Thailand). First level official, as she finished processing the paperwork, told us that we should direct our questions to the higher ranking officer to whom we were directed for the visa extension document review. Did that – at length – with my very polite wife becoming visibly frustrated with the lack of substantial information provided. Bottom line: The Review Officer told us that the Immigration Office operations staff was also frustrated because no one had been provided ANY information beyond the summary statement that the income affidavit would not be accepted after 1 January 2019. She told us that it was her opinion and the opinion of her associates that it was a U.S. (and by implication, other countries) Embassy problem. She said she thought it was the responsibility of the U.S. to take care of their citizens living here, that there was certainly no problem as far as she knew with the Thai Immigration Office accepting the Embassy affidavit, and that we should direct our questions to the Embassy. She also told us to check “the website” after January for hopefully clarifying information. Asked “which website?” Response: “not sure; just check around”. I initially presumed that the change regarding acceptance of income affidavit was initiated by Thailand because someone in authority at the Thai Immigration Bureau noted that a “mere” sworn signature on an income declaration document was not actually proof of income. Thai morning news is replete with notice of scams based upon false assurances – call centers, etc. – so guess I can understand the perception. But then the lack of information at the Thai Immigration Office and their guidance to “complain to your embassy” has me wondering. Does anyone have information regarding the rationale for the change in policy? Is anyone organizing a unified protest, petition to the Ambassador, or otherwise generating a joint complaint that will be heard by the Embassy? Since expatriates from all countries seem to be present on ThaiVisa forums, perhaps this is an appropriate place to aggregate signatures/comments for a petition to Ambassadors?
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