Pattaya Legal Corner: Thai baby is inconveniently born abroad


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Q: I am a Canadian citizen with a Thai wife, but our baby was born in Canada. Can we get a Thai passport for the baby?
A: Yes you can. But firstly the baby’s foreign birth certificate must be separately registered in Thailand and there are several other easy legal steps to complete, including proof of local address, to acquire the necessary documentation. It’s best to refer to a lawyer competent in this legislative field.

Q: I want my UK degree qualifications certified as genuine, but the Thai notary wont stamp them. What can I do?
A: A Thai lawyer or notary can’t authenticate documents issued outside the country for common sense reasons. You will also find that embassies are in a similar position – they don’t have a data base of qualifications issued by universities abroad. If you check with your embassy website, you will see there is a procedure but it will involve sending or taking the certificates back to UK. The advice to potential teachers here is to have your qualifications validated whilst you are still in the home country.

Q: I am in France but I cannot draw money out of my Thai bank account to send overseas. Why is this?
A: All Thai banks have broadly similar procedures although the details can vary. You would be expected to visit the bank in person if you wish to transfer cash in the way you describe. This is something impossible to delegate I’m afraid. You write in your email that you are terminally ill. Assuming you have a will, your executor will be able to obtain probate once you sadly pass away.

Q: I need the Thai internal revenue service to sign and stamp a form so that I will not pay tax in Sweden which is my home country. But they wont do it.
A: The Thai tax office can only certify what tax you have paid. They cannot sign a form saying you don’t pay tax here. You say in your message that you have a one year extension of stay based on retirement, so you are not working here in Thailand. You can’t pay tax when you haven’t any income produced locally. If you owned a condominium and rented it out, that might be an avenue to explore but you need to be registered with the Thai tax authority.

Q: If I am at a pool party when it is raided by the police, can I be arrested and what is the penalty?
A: It’s up to the police at the scene. At the moment, the authorities seem to be restricting appearances in court to managers, owners and staff. If you are arrested, you could be deported, but a fine is perhaps more likely. Blacklisting is a further possibility but is not usually done for being a customer. However, you would be obviously breaking the law knowing full well the dangers. The only sensible policy is to restrict your drinking and attendance to premises which ban alcohol from 9 pm.

Q: If I get a certificate of residence from Thai immigration, does this prove that I live here?
No. A certificate of residence issued by the immigration bureau simply shows that you showed proof of address at the time of issuing it. The word “residence” in this context is much narrower than you hope and is used mainly for opening bank accounts, buying or selling vehicles and obtaining a driving licence. The evidence of how long you can stay in Thailand is stated on your visa. The only exceptions are “permanent residents” who have no visa expiry date in their passport although they do need a reentry permit if they leave the country.