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About SantiSuk

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  • Birthday 02/12/1951

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    A. Kantharalak, Sisaket Province

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  1. Could be that my Thai daughter was whisked away for them without me noticing. I'll ask her when she gets back from uni tonight! Have been doing Schengen applications and neither France nor Germany repeat them if they were done within last 3 years or so. I made an assumption she must not have had/needed them in the absence of noticing.
  2. 2-day service start to finish Visa Type: Short visit 6 months for de facto adopted Thai daughter* Application Type: Priority Service - together with walk-in-unannounced appointment and premium lounge services VFS Office: Bangkok Online Application: Completed early March 2018 with standard appointment booked on 22 March. Then decided had to act much faster as Schengen country visa applications for the continental bits of a European tour of sights and family risked running out of time, given long processing times quoted by France (or Germany); plus impact of Easter/Songkran thereon Biometrics taken: must have been done on previous visits Appointment and submission of application: 13th March 2018 16:40pm. Walked in unannounced and ushered in straight away to dedicated facilities; allowed me 30 minutes to collect thoughts, assemble papers and do a bit of last minute copying before chatting to application handling clerk. Very informal no problem with me doing the presenting. My 21 yo daughter was asked no questions, but clerk had already read sponsor letter and must have formed view that this was a no-brainer. Notification of process completion: 27 hours later on 14th March (no indication as per usual, but obviously not a refusal!) Receipt of passport + visa 15th March 15:30pm, by collection at Trendy (47 hours after submission - promised service delivery is max 5 working days). They did make us wait nearly an hour to hand the passports back along with very few others waiting to collect - for no apparent reason; VFS punishment for not paying for passport return premium fee courier service??? Money talks if you are in a hurry (or applying for business etc visas)! The service mix I quote above cost 11,800 baht in additional fees to the US$ 128 standard fee. The element within that quoted for a walk-in-appointment (around 1,500 baht) was so much less than the alternative of booking a priority time appointment within the next day or so (US $110) that the illogicality of it spooked me and I therefore paid another GBP10 in a UK VI call center phone call to confirm these VFS guys were for real. UKVI merely confirmed what I had read and commented that it must be so (and it was). Premium fees for premium service highly recommended. Next time I'll plan ahead a lot better! * No papers or any documented custody status by either my Thai wife or I. But it's a 7 year adoption and this will be fourth time our family group has visited the UK. Application needed lots of supporting docs but was otherwise very straightforward for them to give a yes, based on prior history (ie low risk of disappearance of applicant into the UK netherworld!)
  3. Sandyf: I agree with your comment about needing to differentiate and you are right that there seems to be no requirement for the visa of final destination if you are applying for an EU Family Member visa. Thank you for reminding me to look at the document requirements for the EU Family Member. A combination of distraction by the problems I have faced with this application, the difficulty of getting TLSCC to respond to my request for help and downright stupid assumptions - that I have fulfilled the documentation requirements for my wife to Enter France once already (in 2010) so surely I can leave sorting all that out until I know how to sort the application process - has resulted in me looking at the documentation requirements rather late in the day. I now find that it has all got far trickier than it was in 2010. In particular to qualify for the EU family member (spouse) France-Schengen visa one must now: Get the Thai marriage certificate legalized Get proof that the marriage is recognized in the UK (yes I have seen that Thai Visa and the like say this is not legally required) Get my wife's birth certificate legalized Swear (I presume via a legal notary) that I can financially support my wife in the travels None of this was required in 2010 and none of it was required by Germany in 2012 and 2015 No way in hell can I get through that lot in the one day I can cut out for visiting Bangkok (again) one day before my selected appointment day Plan B is now to: Ask the French embassy if I can apply for a standard tourist visa, as though my wife were not the wife of an EU citizen. Have now found their online form for getting a phone call back. Crazy but true but this is far easier and not that much more expensive. Have to pay the visa fee and travel insurance but all that legalization and swearing and paying the UK embassy to say my marriage is legal would be expensive on the combination of fees, taxis, time and sanity! If necessary and possible, abort my Thursday appointment with TLSCC and apply at the embassy the following Monday morning Plan C is to abort France and go back to the German visit first and punt on them accepting both de facto adopted daughter and wife as EU family hoping that they are not as anal on requirements as seemingly are the French. Getting a walk-in appointment for both legal wife and de facto daughter (which I think they might do) early next week might still get me the visas in time. If anyone out there knows how to access the German visit visa requirements in respect of an EU family member application I would appreciate some guidance. I can navigate the (German and Thai only) website via Google translate, which does a good job on German language, but still cannot find reference to the EU family member documentation requirements. Plan D is two fingers and vow never to visit that continent again - or sole visits only. This stuff really is not worth the stress The problems with my French Schengen visa application is that TLSCC's software seems to be all screwed up and it severely mangled my data input to turn out semi-complete formal application documents that we are supposed to take along to appointment with our supporting documents on Thursday. TLSCC seemed to have given up responding to requests for call-back but after 42 hours and a pleading second message I was eventually called just before the weeken set in. The respondent seemed totally non-plussed by the suggestion my applications were a pale shadow of what I had entered and assured me it would be ok to turn up with those and they would sort it out. She did however refuse to give me her name so I'm without a parachute if the agents we present to say we have a pile of [email protected] and must start again! I noticed that the TLSCC software was down for maintenance over part of the weekend - perhaps it works properly now!
  4. 2018 update. The TLS Contact Centre on line guidance now makes it clear that there is an option to apply at the French embassy direct - but you can only do it on a Monday morning and appointments must be made via TLSCC. I may be trying that out myself as an energency Plan B. Having started the process through the standard TLSCC routines and filled out the information questionnaires that are supposed to then populate the formal visa application when you press a button to apply, I found that the applications I now have, to be used for an appointment at TLSCC in a few days time are a hopelessly poor reflection of the data I input - missing data on my daughter's application and data entries made that are not appropriate to the wife of an EU citizen on my wife's application (I did of course submit the info about her being an EU family member). After 42 hours TLSCC responded to my special pleading to respond to my (standard online request) for a phone call-back. However I am still wary with the respondent's nonchalance as though this is 'situation normal' and her assurance it will be 'alright on the night' at appointment (especially as said respondent refused to give a name in support of her assurances - 'company policy' apparently). Shades of the worst of VFS in its early days!. I thought the embassy process back in 2010 when we last got Schengen-France visas was excellent - seems these processing agents just {proverbial phrase} things up!
  5. Arsenal

    Tricky but winnable, provided Teresa May let's us play the dastardly Russians.
  6. Just been looking again at document requirements from French Embassy/ TLSContact Center. There is actually a clear requirement for the visa of your eventual country of destination* to be obtained prior to a French application. Sorry guys - had I had time to look it up properly a few hours ago I could have saved us all a lot of postings. No word from the French about my concern that their systems are f**d up despite calls via two routes to repeat initial calls of 40 hours ago. And now we go into the weekend with me worrying that we show up for appointment to be told the applications you submitted - bad data transfers by TLSContactCentre (supposedly data-validated by their systems prior to printing out the appointment/visa applications ), not my poor data input - means you will have to start again. I'll ring the French Embassy now and see if I can get through to anyone sensible. Message seems to be is that no two Schengen nations are the same despite working off the same (identical) visa application form (if Germany and France are anything to go by). Supporting document requirements, policy interpretations in some cases and systems processes for getting a visa are different and it's vital one studies the specifics well in advance, setting aside any previous experience and generalist guidance the likes of us might come up with *if required - ie a Thai will not require to do anything if leaving Schengen for Thailand, a Thai will require to show a UK visa if leaving Schngen for UK even if it's prior to going back to the UK and, maybe I as an accompanying sponsor might need to demonstrate I can return to Thailand (have rentry permit anyway).
  7. Woops - sorry Jipp99 - yes I did say that you have to show up with the visa for final destination in your passport when you attend the Schengen interview. That was in my second posting intro (I only looked at my OP) and for some reason I used the wrong reason as to why I was doing UK first in that second posting. For the avoidance of doubt you can do them either way around, but you do need to do them in sequence leaving the applicant's passport for the duration both times*. Sandyf said you don't have to do the UK first but my only postings at that stage did not state that I have to do UK first and nor was that my understanding. I then compounded the confusion by stating that I had to do the UK first for the wrong reason. As if its not confusing enough without this loop that I could ave closed out with a bit more focus/proofing! * there is a paid for service at VFS that allows applicants for a UK visa to get their passport back immediately and I did speculate that it might be useful and less expensive than the 5 day return service in reducing my combined applications timetable. Would have cost me around ten quid to phone or e-mail the UKVI contact helpdesk** to understand how the Visa is subsequently put into the UK passport once the applicant has used it to get a Schengen visa and I figured that a promised 5 day return service was easier and achieved my objectives under time constraints given that I don't live in Bangkok with time to run backwards and forwards between embassies (potentially an extra visit to UKVFS to get the UK visa implanted) **Amounts based on current experience - I used both e-mail and (returned) phone call services during the course of this UK visa application and both were 10 quid on my credit card, give or take. I thought they would be nearer 5 quid based on their online spec but hey ho - buttons compared with what else I've been paying for!
  8. Did I say that I have to do it first? If so apologies I didn't mean that - I thought I said I am doing it first*. Might have been Sandyf that introd the concept of a requirement to do it first and I overlooked correcting him in my last posting. There is a box on the France-Schengen forms that require you to put the country and date of your visa expiry (can get away with expected) for any country that you are exiting Schengen to. I think that they also expect to inspect your passport for evidence of entitlement to return to Thailand if you are not a Thai national, but I don't want to go down other loops that tie me up in research at this stage. Maybe when I write the whole story up *It's more important for us to get to the UK and if we can't complete the Schengen bit in time then we blow that bit off and still go to the UK
  9. For interest mostly of those in a tearing hurry; those with de-facto adopted daughters or those with choices to be made about which EU countries to visit Doing UK visa first as the Schengen form (for France at least) requires you to have the visa for the country to which you will depart Schengen zone to show at the time of the French appointment (France use an agent similar in concept to VFS, called TLSContact Center). Now doing France first as TLSCC currently cite a probable maximum processing time of 10 working days cf 15 working days at the German embassy (from point of attending the appointment to present documents to knowledge you have a visa). But in general one should do the maths based on time to get an appointment + time from attending appointment + time to get hold of it. For those whose family group of visa requirants is comprised of EU citizens plus direct family of EU citizens then yes, Germany has walk-in appointments. In my case I have a de facto (no papers) adopted daughter. The German embassy is unsure whether to treat her as direct family or not but the relevant attache encouraged me to submit on the basis she might be and they "would consider it" (she did so qualify with them when she was a child); I had no time to play that game, so I opted for France even though their earliest appointments were available at 5 working days notice and even though they said "no" to accepting my daughter as direct family. I should have asked the German attache if he would at least allow my daughter to attend a walk-in with my wife - I suspect he would and I might not now be struggling with the French process, even if it is promised to be 5 days less in processing. I'll write this all up when I've finished the process of applying for both UK and France-Schengen. It has been torture and I have lots of learning points for y'all, even if unofficially adopted daughters are not in your package! Meanwhile here's a taster: UK visitor 6 month visas can be got within 2 to 7 working days if you pay 10,000 to 12,000 baht extra on top of the US$128 standard fee. We walked in with our daughter's UK application and (relatively complex) documents on Tuesday 13th April at 4:30pm and collected her passport/visa at Trendy Building at 2:00pm yesterday - the whole thing in slightly less than 48 hours (but the 'promise' is within 5 working days). I welcome the additional services* even though that's a load of money. Next time I'll plan much further ahead and go standard/relaxed! Others will be critical and rightly question whether VFS are devoting service towards those who can pay at the disadvantage of the standard service. [the NHS v private health care type debate] My German brother in law told me we should have applied to the Czech Republic if we wanted to be sure of an easy and quick ride into Schengen, but you have to go there first (obviously) I am currently trying to sort out why the French application process is seemingly so screwed up. I have the visa application forms that TLSCC's software produced and an appointment in a few days time. Unfortunately the forms that were spat out for the appointment bear a very poor relation to the data I input - missing 30% of the info for my daughter and no reflection of the visa fee-free and other aspects of freedom that should be afforded to spouses of an EU citizen, despite me completing that section of data input. Worryingly they are not responding any more to the online message contact form that I submitted and it's the only way to contact them. I can foresee an emergency reversion to the German process - I think that German attache will allow my daughter to go with my wife for a walk-in service. * Our additional services also included Premium Lounge as we were arriving from a 7 hour car drive from Isaan with the documents all thrown in a file, but not sorted and one or two not copied - translation picked up from a Trendy translator and my primary bank statements - another bump in the road is that one can no longer print-off or see a complete 6 month transaction record online with HSBC UK (always relied on that for 10 years prior) and I received mine via special pleading just a few waking hours before leaving for Bangkok and 3 days after requesting it. Old Git - just seen while composing this your contemporary reply to this thread - I agree with it and I don't think there's anything that conflicts with what I'm saying in this or prior postings. The UK "suggests" that you show details of your intended travel (nothing is a "requirement", except passports new and old (of you are still in possession of them) and the form requires you to give - on data entry online or offline - the details of any family or friends you are staying with or hotels if touring. Still asuggestion, but I played safe and booked/paid for changeable/refundable initial hotels (and my family contacts obviously - but I did not provide or have a complete set of bookings for the nights we are not staying with UK sister or visiting Schengen zone and I did not include any booking evidence for flights or hotels as is in accordance with the guidance).
  10. Arsenal

    Forgot to mention "the dive". Was watching the game in Witherspoons in Pats. ACM fan sat nearby - he was pained throughout the first half by his team's performance, delighted by his left back's tremendous strike to put ACM right back into the tie and histrionic in only the way Italians can do when Welbeck went down under the gentlest of touches a minute or so later. Don't think he spoke English, so when he looked at me in pleading anguish I mimed the dive with my hands and waved an imaginary card. I don't think it helped much but it got a weak smile! Appalling officiating by the assistant who seemed to persuade the otherwise skeptical referee. Yellow card not a successful penalty should have been the reward. Well red really, but I don't think we'll ever get that far in football. PS - first posting meant to attribute Italianate Totti-esque midfield command to wilshere, not welbeck: 5 am not a good time to proof read!
  11. Arsenal

    5-1 in aggregate is an eye-popping score, though Milan have been dreadful over the 2 legs. Wilshere justifying his England recall-up. Welbeck back on form and ran the show (in a rather Italianate manner) both legs. Defence largely glitch-free. Ozil still a bag of variety and sat down on substitution with a look that recognised he aint gonna make it into the Germany WC squad. No Ramsey for the rest of the season (minor op next week per press) and Koscielney went off injured early on - still don't see us getting the back door entry trophy, but COYG! Don't want Athletico Madrid next round please!
  12. If you have a non-insignificant banking relationship with HSBC UK and you need to assemble a statement of transactions then you might like to be aware of my experience today. Others can move on! I am in the final throws of taking my Thai family to the UK, which I do at least once every 2 years. I have to show financial statements (or to be precise it is on the list of recommended documents) which would naturally include 6 months of transactions on my largest UK bank accounts - to demonstrate I have the resources to finance the trip whilst in the UK and specifically in the context of sponsoring our de facto adopted Thai daughter coming with us. You are unlikely to have such a similar specific need but I think everyone likes to think that they are able to see their transactions going back more than a couple of months when they log in online. I have had no problems with HSBC on downloading their 6 monthly statements in the past and had no problem with that today. That took me though to 25 Oct 17. I have always been able to access and print off transactions since the latest online 6 monthly statement up to the current date. Not today! I viewed "most recent transactions" and ticked on the "see more" button. That took me back to 1 Jan 18, but I could find no way of viewing or printing Nov/Dec 17 transactions. HSBC Premier call centre just agreed that this is very odd, so it may be a one off. I will follow through the complaint I Iodged and if they don't get the ad hoc statement into my online documents within the next 24 hours and I have to cancel an appointment at Trendy Building and pay $110 to get a prime time appointment soon after, my follow up will include getting reimbursement. [Believe it or not, in my experience UK banks are good at coughing up when they have made a genuine mess-up. While handling estates of 2 dear departed relatives I discovered that banks are appalling at handling non-ordinary transactions, but I secured over 500 quid of compensation monies for my estates over a three year period]
  13. Manchester United

    I doubt anyone will dominate English Prem for 10 years plus for the forseeable. Too much money in too may hands, so the critical success factors become as much about luck as they do about talented management.
  14. I have made application for a UK 6 month visit visa for my de facto (no legal papers) adopted daughter to come with us* and booked an appointment at Trendy Building in 10 days time. Have done this family trip several times before, but VFS premium services are relatively new. I now find there is danger of me running out of time, because we want to travel within Europe too and Schengen visa processing times at France or Germany (could choose either - France looks better form a processing promise perspective and user-friendly prior experience) coupled with the number of Easter and Songkran holidays coming up within the next month makes for a tight critical path. [One has to have a UK visa in the passport before showing up for a Schengen appointment] So I want to accelerate the UK appointment to early this coming week. I can book an appointment in one of their premium value slots as early as Monday (the next working day) but it costs US$110. VFS appears to offer other premium services including either a "Walk in without appointment service" priced at only 1,560 baht or a "Silver Service", which offers the same plus premium lounge and special care/attention at around 4,500 baht. Both of these are pay in cash at counter services, so presumably no need to pre-book or pre-notify. I find it curious that anyone would be mad to pay the US$ 110 service if they can effectively get the same for 1,560 baht. "Does not compute captain". Past experience leaves me sceptical of VFS and I would like to understand/confirm whether the 1,560 baht service is actually available. I could: contact VFS - NOT. As highlighted in threads here before, the system has been set up for several years to avoid anyone getting to them except by going to Trendy. pay 5 quid+ on an e-mail question to UK Visas and Immigration, which has been a useful and productive service this time and once before, but they promise only a 2 working day turnaround and I need to know sooner than that (actually the question asked a week ago was answered within 18 hours) pay £1.50 ish a minute on a UK VI contact phone call to the UK - NOT. I have been phoning them for the last 24 hours and get the immediate automated response "Sorry, this service is not available". Ridiculous and I have to say very untypical of the UK Civil Service who are usually professional enough to give reasons (HMRC were explaining specific daily weather impacts on staff as reasons for long waits or cut-offs last week) As I said - I do this regularly and there is always something about the process that pi$$es me off/stresses me out - so you don't need to turn this into a UK immi/embassy/VFS bashing thread on my account! But if you do have an experience in the last 2 years that might increase my confidence of travelling 540km with family on Monday with an expectation of walking in on Tuesday and being able to submit my documents along with the application already submitted online then I would be very pleased to hear of it. PS I am aware that I can pay VFS 8,500 ish baht for a sort-of-promised acceleration to a no more than 5 working days on the turnaround of the UK Visit Visa process and will probably have to go for this. Could end up paying about 500 quid in total just to get to see parts of my family that live on the continent. Unfortunately the whole process of applying and visiting has to be fitted into school and university holidays, otherwise I would have started a helluva lot sooner! Cautionary tale for anyone trying to fit in a multi-country visit for Thais to the UK and Europe! * "Us" = me, a UK citizen 10 years here, Thai wife with 5 year UK visit visa, Thaiglish 8 year old with British citizenship/UK passport and 21 year old adoptee from within wife's extended family (cared for by us for 7 years now and counting)
  15. Filed late for recovery of tax paid on on interest last year (about early May I think). I had been sent a reminder. They charged me 200 baht to prepare the return for me. Dunno whether that was an official late filing penalty or local bunce - done reasonably officially thru a cashier and with a receipt so I guess the former. Money well spent I thought - I'll do it that way again this year