Archive for January, 2014

My Retiring In Thailand Project Changed Dramatically Yesterday When The Visa Issue Suddenly Disappeared And Now I Can Stay Here Forever

The Thai Visa issue has been one of my main concerns since retiring to Thailand on 30 Jul 213.

In fact it was always a worry even before that inaugural flight – which was most delightful I must say flying Business Class on Thai Airways from London to Bangkok.

It’s a long story that really came to a head on my last (and only) visa run to Cambodia three months ago.

But the story can follow, first let’s look at how significantly my life changed.

Image Showing Thai Immigration Office Receipt Nakhon Ratchasima

Thai Immigration Office Receipt Nakhon Ratchasima

The above receipt proves my new Thai Non O Non Immigration Retirement Multiple Entry Visa is legitimate and it also proves the Thai Immigration system. I can renew this Thai Non O Non Immigrant Retirement Multiple Entry Visa every year and stay in Thailand forever.

  • No need any more to leave the country every three months (so called visa runs).
  • No need to return to the UK to get another Thai Non O Non Immigrant Retirement Multiple Entry Visa.
  • Not dependant any more on Kanyah anymore to get the Thai Non O Non Immigrant Retirement Multiple Entry Visa.

This last point is of massive importance to me. I have always been worried that if anything should happen to Kanyah (or to our relationship) that I could be forced to leave Thailand and lose my lifestyle and investment in our retirement house here in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

To renew this Thai Non O Non Immigrant Retirement Multiple Entry Visa I don’t have to rely on Kanyah. I don’t have to produce any marriage certificate or any proof of being married to a Thai. As long as I have 800,000 Thai Baht (about £15,000 or US$24,000) in the bank I can renew the visa.

Freedom!

The photo below shows my magical Thai Non O Non Immigrant Retirement Multiple Entry Visa in my passport:-

Photo of my Thai Non O Non Immigration Retirement Multiple Entry Visa

Thai Non O Non Immigration Retirement Multiple Entry Visa

How I Got My Thai Non O Non Immigrant Retirement And Multiple Entry Visa

There’s a bit of a story here – there always in in Thailand – and getting this Thai Non O Non Immigrant Retirement Multiple Entry Visa is quite a story.

It all started when I went to Cambodia at the Aranyaprathet/Poipet border crossing on a visa run. This is because under my Thai Non O multiple entry visa I obtained at the Royal Thai Consulate at Birmingham, U.K. I have to leave Thailand every three months.

For us living in Pakchong (Pak Chong) Poipet was the nearest border to any country. We drove by car and intended to take the car into Cambodia and visit Phnom Penh for a couple of days.

When we arrived at the border late in the afternoon and checked into the @ Border Hotel at Aranyaprathet (the only hotel in the area that we could find). Alex did some research on how to take a car into Cambodia. That’s another story in itself but briefly the paperwork involved is horrendous and we didn’t have all the documents required so we decided to leave the car in the hotel car park and walk over into Cambodia the next day.

About The Thai Aranyaprathet/Cambodian Poipet Border Crossing

This was possibly the most strange places I have ever been in my life and I have traveled a lot including some esoteric places like Iraq, Nigeria, Lesotho.

And once over the border and into Cambodia it got worse. The dirtiest, unkempt, weirdest dump I have ever seen.

I sat down and took long videos of the place to put on the website – it was so strange. Because this was such a bizarre place I’m not going to show anything here – it warrants a full page to itself.

But it wasn’t all bad. They had beer and cigarettes for sale at unbelievably cheap prices and we even bought a few cans of that rare Guinness Foreign Extra Stout that you can’t get in Thailand.

No let’s get back to the visa story.

How The Thai Immigration Messed Up My Thai Multiple Entry Visa

“Messed Up ” is a rather polite phrase. Other words come to mind to describe the complete and utter **!!-up they made of it but let’s leave it at “Messed Up “.

Getting out of Thailand was easy.

Getting into Cambodia (officially) less so.

I say ‘officially’ because as soon as you come out of Thai immigration  control you come out into what looks like no-man’s land as you would at any other border crossing. But when you go through the Cambodia immigration  control and get your Cambodian visa you just come back to the same ‘no-man’s land’. So is it ‘no-man’s land’ or Cambodia? beats me. Told you it was bizarre.

As I said getting the Cambodian visa was not straightforward. We had heard about Visa touts at the border and yes we were approached several times by people wanting to sell us a visa for 1,000 Baht. What was strange was that all these people selling visas were dressed up in some military Officer’s uniform.

So we passed up on the visa toutes and went to the Cambodian immigration number but directly where we filled out an immigration card. There was a box to write your Cambodian visa since we didn’t have one we left it blank. The official at Cambodian immigration looked at my passport and the card and handed it back to me, and waved me aside.

No explanation, no words at all.

So we figured out it would be worth the 1,000 Baht (per person – me and Alex – but not Kanyah – she was on a Thai passport) so we went to one of the desks on the street attended by two Army Generals (or so it appeared) and handed over the 2,000 Baht and the two passports. One of the Officers then went down the street into another building which was apparently the place where visas are issued.

He came back with our visas and immigration card properly filled out and we went through Cambodian immigration with no trouble only, as I said to come out onto the same street.

We waited a couple of hours before going back into Thailand and i whiled away the time taking the movies and drinking that  Guinness Foreign Extra Stout.

I Was Annoyed By My Cambodian Visa Too

Not only by the cost – 1,000 Baht is about £20 or US $30 – but also by the size of it. It took up a whole page in my passport.

Image of My One Month Single Visit Cambodian Visa

My One Month Single Visit Cambodian Visa

Why do they feel so important that they can take up a whole page in my passport for just a single entry into their country? Normally a visa is just a little stamp. Full-page visas are normally only given for multiple entry or very important visas. Not for day-trip visas.

I’m not being silly about this. That is valuable real estate they have squandered in my passport. There are not so many pages in a passport and under my current Thai Multiple Entry Visa I would have to lose one page every three months for the Cambodian visa. It wouldn’t be long before I would need another passport.

But things only got worse. It was then time to re-enter Thailand. We went through Cambodian immigration with no problem and they stamped my Cambodian visa “USED” as you can see in the top left of the photo above.

Thai Immigration On Entering Thailand At The Poipet /Aranyaprathet  Cambodian / Thai Border Crossing

I was a bit nervous about entering Thailand because we had only been in Cambodia for a couple of hours. it would be obvious to the Thai immigration that we had simply do what is called ‘ a visa run’.

I handed my passport over to the young female Thai immigration officer and reminded her in bad Thai that I expected a three month leave of entry. She seemed not to know what she was doing and a more senior officer went over to her to help.

Passport back in my possession and back into Thailand with a feeling of relief I checked my passport for the three month stamp and it was there. entered Thailand on 26 Oct 2013 and admitted until 23 Jan 2014. “No problem” then I thought.

I was dead wrong.

My Thai Multiple entry Visa Had Been Stamped “USED” By Thai Immigration

It was not until I got home and looked again at my passport that I discovered that the Thai Immigration officer at the Thai Aranyaprathet immigration office had stamped my precious Thai Non O Multiple Entry Visa as “USED”. Here it is:-

Image of Stamped Used At Aranyapathet Poipet Border Thai Non O Non Immigration Multiple Entry Visa

Stamped Used At Aranyapathet Poipet Border Thai Non O Non Immigration Multiple Entry Visa

You can imagine I was not very pleased at that.

I set about trying to find out what that actually meant. I posted the story on the Thai Visa Forum and started doing research on the Internet.

The general conclusion I reached from several people offering advice was that officially it is a ‘dead’ visa but that if I went through the same immigration office at  Aranyaprathet  / Poipet they ‘might’ agree that it was a mistake and let me into Thailand again. That’s a bit risky to say the least. The last thing I want to do was to be stranded in Cambodia.

This is an extract from one friendly email I received from a website called www.siamese-visa.com :-

Image showing "USED" Visa Advice by Email from Siamese-Visa.com

“USED” Visa Advice by Email from Siamese-Visa.com

I thought that even armed with this piece of sweet-talk it would be too risky to re-visit Cambodia and I might have to go back to the UK to get another Thai Non O Multiple Entry Visa at very great expense.

More Help About Thaii Visas From Siamese-Visa.com

Later I went back to re-read the email above because the second part of it (shown below) intrigued me:-

Image showing Offer By Email From Siamese-Visa.com To Get A Retirement Visa

Offer By Email From Siamese-Visa.com To Get A Retirement Visa

So I replied to the email from Akkamon at Siamese-Visa.com.  After some clarification emails he offered to get me both a Retirement Visa and a Non O Multiple Entry Visa within a few days.

This was too good to be true (and probably was I thought) but just look at what was on offer in addition to getting those visas:-

  • I would not have to go to Cambodia again and risk being stranded there.
  • I would not even have to go to Bangkok and visit any Foreign Office or other Passport Office.
  • I would not have to fill out any Visa Application Forms.
  • I would not have to go to the UK to get another Non O Multiple Entry Visa.
  • I would not have to have the 800,000 Baht in my bank account for three months. (A normal stipulation).
  • I would have to get Police Certificate from the UK. (A normal stipulation).

All I had to do was to follow Akkamon’s simple instructions and send my passport and other easily obtained documents to him in Bangkok and he would get my visas and send them back within a few days.

I couldn’t believe it and I was a bit apprehensive.

But it all worked out just as Akkamon said. There was a bit of a delay in getting my passport back because of the demonstrations in Bangkok closing down government offices it took less than a week.

I can recommend Siamese-Visa.com as a satisfied customer if you need a visa and will definitely be using them next year when this visa expires.

 

 

 

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