Immigration becoming friendlier

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The Chonburi (Pattaya) Immigration Office is becoming even more friendly and efficient in their operations. This was the message from Barry Kenyon who regularly assists foreigners at Thai Immigration.  Barry was introduced by Master of Ceremonies Drew Noyes at the Pattaya City Expats Club’s Sunday, June 26, meeting in the Amari’s Tavern by the Sea Restaurant. Drew noted that Barry until recently was the Honorary British Consul in Pattaya.

Barry began by noting that Police Colonel Chusak Panasamporn, the Chief of the Chonburi Immigration Office, oversees three locations, Pattaya, Sriracha, and Koh Si Chang.  Further, one of Colonel Chusak’s primary goals is making these Immigration Offices more friendly and efficient for foreigners. He has instituted some changes in the operations including reduced paperwork for retirees applying for or to renew their extension of stay (often referred to as a retirement visa) and a mobile service to go to locations where there is a need; such as international schools with a large number of foreigners on staff or hospitals making it more convenient for foreign patients handle their Immigration matters.

Barry Kenyon updates us on recent changes at Chonburi Immigration, which is located on Soi 5, Jomtien Beach.Barry Kenyon updates us on recent changes at Chonburi Immigration, which is located on Soi 5, Jomtien Beach.

Barry then mentioned several things that are of importance to many expats. One is that those that remain in Thailand using back to back Tourist Visas are finding it more difficult to obtain the visas in neighboring countries because Thailand is cracking down as they want long stay residents to obtain the appropriate Non-Immigrant Visa; but Thai embassies and consulates are also giving applications for Non-Immigrant visas more scrutiny to ensure they are being obtained for the purposes intended.

However, if you meet the requirements for the “retirement” visa, it is easier to obtain and can also be obtained from Thai Immigration in Thailand; even if you arrived with no visa or on a Tourist Visa (most western countries are visa exempt and their citizens can get a 30 day permission to stay upon arrival at an airport or 15 days if at a land border).

Well known Pattaya identity Peter Smith, of AA insurance, outlines new health insurance available to PCEC members.Well known Pattaya identity Peter Smith, of AA insurance, outlines new health insurance available to PCEC members.

However, Barry did point out that in the case of a married couple, only one is required to meet the financial requirements for the retirement visa. Although the one that meets the financial requirements can enter without a Non Immigrant visa and obtain it in Thailand, their spouse cannot. The spouse must either have entered with a Non-Immigrant visa or qualify in their own right by showing they also meet the financial requirements for a retirement visa.

One of the changes that Col. Chusak has put into effect is that the Chonburi Immigration Offices no longer require applicants using their country’s embassy letter on income to provide a letter from their Thai bank and copies of their passbook (those using the 800,000 baht or portion thereof in a Thai bank account to qualify must still provide the bank letter and passbook copies).

Barry said he was aware of some recent Internet postings claiming Immigration will now want to see back up documentation for citizens of certain countries using the embassy letter regarding income.  Barry said that is not the case, at least not at Chonburi Immigration. He also said Col. Chusak and the two officers that regularly process “retirement” extensions at the Pattaya Office state that only the embassy letter on income is required.

Barry also advised that many people are confused about the 90 day reporting requirement. It is required only if you have been in Thailand for 90 consecutive days. If you leave, and then return to Thailand, you do not have to report your address until you have been back in Thailand for 90 consecutive days. He also said that you can report your address up to 2 weeks before the due date and 1 week after.

And this week’s winner is: Albert of Chachoengsao, winning a two for one gift certificate for one of Pattaya’s less expensive but quality restaurants, via Hawaii Bob’s ‘Frugal Freddy’ special interest group. ‘Frugal Freddy’ meets every Monday night.And this week’s winner is: Albert of Chachoengsao, winning a two for one gift certificate for one of Pattaya’s less expensive but quality restaurants, via Hawaii Bob’s ‘Frugal Freddy’ special interest group. ‘Frugal Freddy’ meets every Monday night.

Another thing he wanted to point out was that Immigration does not have anything to do with the issuance of work permits; those are issued by the Department of Labor.  But, Immigration Police will arrest anyone they find that is working without a work permit.  Barry concluded his talk and opened it up for questions from the audience.

Master of Ceremonies Drew Noyes then called on Peter Smith with AA Brokers to talk about the club’s group health policy and other insurance matters of interest to expats.  Peter briefly mentioned the group policy and reminded those that have it that renewals were now due.

Peter then commented on a new full coverage health policy that is available for expats up to the age of 65 (those that have it can continue coverage beyond age 65). The plan is underwritten by Allianz and available for coverage of US$500,000 or US$1,000,000.  The policy premiums must be paid in US dollars. Unlike many policies, there are no maximums by category – it pays for all hospital services up to the maximum limit.  Also, no physical examination is required to obtain the policy; but Peter did point out that you do need to disclose any pre-existing conditions. He said that if anyone is interested in more information about the Club’s Group policy or the Allianz policy, they can contact him by telephoning 038-415-795/6 or sending an email to [email protected], or make contact through their website http://www. aainsure.net/pattaya.html.

Master of Ceremonies Drew Noyes then updated everyone on upcoming events and called on David Meador to conduct the ever informative and sometimes humorous Open Forum, where questions are asked and answered, movies and restaurants are recommended and sometime a joke or two are told.