Author Topic: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples  (Read 3641 times)

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Offline thaiga

New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« on: December 03, 2013, 12:15:51 PM »
BANGKOK: -- The Thai Immigration Bureau has announced that the foreign wives of expats with a one-year retirement visa will in future need their own separate pension income or cash in a Thai bank.

In the past, these wives have been able to “join” their husband’s visa by simply showing a marriage certificate and a current non-immigrant visa in their passport. It was not necessary for both partners to show their own income or cash.

Under the revised guidelines, both foreign partners in a marriage will separately need to demonstrate yearly income in the first country of at least 800,000 baht equivalent or maintain separate bank accounts of the same minimum amount, or provide a combination of both.

Letters from an embassy are still required as proof of the income whilst the 800,000 baht in a Thai bank must have been there for three months prior to the application (2 months 1st application) and be supported by a letter from that financial institution.

The toughening up of the rules on retirement visas is believed to have been caused by concerns that some farang-farang marriages are not genuine or may have broken up.

The requirement for each partner to show evidence of 800,000 baht in cash or income, or a combination of both, is seen as the best guarantee from an Immigration Bureau viewpoint. Nor is it possible for a married couple to present a joint bank account. Each partner is now treated as a separate entity.

Some visa specialists say that the move is aimed at strengthening immigration regulations ahead of the onset of the ASEAN Economic Community in two years’ time which is likely, in the medium term, to lead to more migration across the regional 10-member block.

There has been concern in the Immigration Bureau for some time that mere possession of a marriage certificate is not proof of the ongoing relationship and could be used simply to gain a long-term visa. The new ruling also applies to same-sex marriages or civil partnerships now performed in some countries, though not yet in Thailand.

Separately, the British Embassy has confirmed that none of its provincial staff is empowered any longer to provide notarial services. Those Brits requiring income letters for the Immigration Bureau must now deal with the main embassy in Bangkok or find another local consulate willing to provide the service.

The German honorary consul in Phuket stated recently he believes that his office could provide some such services for Brits but that he was seeking formal permission from Berlin. It may take some time before European Union consulates in places such as Pattaya, Koh Samui and Phuket feel confident enough to fill the gap left by the retreat of the British Embassy from provincial Thailand.

pattayatoday
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sicho

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Re: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2013, 12:28:11 PM »
This is the first I have heard of the government implementing laws in line with ASEAN requirements, if indeed, that's what this is. If the Immigration authorities suspect that some foreign couple aren't really together, why not put them through the same annual wringer as Thai-foreigner couples?

As for the British Embassy, it's once more showing that it doesn't give a jot about UK nationals here.
 

Offline Al

Re: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2013, 01:21:30 PM »
The piece of the press release that states -

The requirement for each partner to show evidence of 800,000 baht in cash or income, or a combination of both, is seen as the best guarantee from an Immigration Bureau viewpoint. Nor is it possible for a married couple to present a joint bank account. Each partner is now treated as a separate entity.

seems like it could be a challenge.  Speaking from our personal situation, after being married for almost 40 years, everything, other than IRA accounts, we own is joint.  Sounds like they are creating a bit of a logistical, perhaps even tax generating (if investment sales are required to perform the split) challenge.

Of course, I could be over analyzing, as I often do.
 

Online Chimera

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Re: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2013, 08:59:34 PM »
I have friends here who have always been treated separately as far as visa requirements are concerned. They both have to qualify regarding income/deposit.

They or i are not aware it was previously not the case. 
 

Offline thaiga

Re: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2013, 09:24:06 PM »
looks that way -  just seen this posted by Nutcracker on t/v

This is not a new regulation. Well not in Phuket anyway where the Phuket Immigration Department have been operating the two bank book for husband and wife system for at least 2 years.
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Offline Johnnie F.

Re: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2013, 10:05:23 PM »
Already six years ago they attempted to change officially, that dependant visa for spouses over 50 would need proof of own income or own funds. But the outcry was so loud, that many immigration officials just kept on doing as before, understanding that the dependant visa still would not require own income or funds, as wives were dependants. In section 2.20 of the decree Nr. 777/2551 of the Royal Thai Police of 25 November 2008 about dependants it doesn't say anything about own income. But the spouse and children of a businessmen in Bangkok are not the same as the wife of a pensioner...

It was time they clarified this! I still think they overdid, exceeded the target, because a farang-Thai couple only needs 40,000 THB, while a farang-farang couple needs 130,000 THB. Too far out of proportion!
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Offline thaiga

Re: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2013, 03:55:32 PM »
Yes j/f - This regulation has actually been in effect since November 2008

Phuket Immigration vows strictness on retirement visa requirements

PHUKET: Phuket Immigration has vowed to become stricter in its enforcement of retirement visas for married couples by upholding a law that came into effect in November 2008.

The law states that foreign retired couples must each show evidence of 800,000 baht in their bank accounts in order to apply for or renew retirement visas, Phuket Immigration Inspector Napat Nusen confirmed for the Phuket Gazette yesterday.

“This regulation has actually been in effect since November 2008, but has sometimes been misinterpreted by applicants and by our staff,” Lt Col Napat said. “We will start to enforce the requirements more strictly from now on.”

The misunderstandings may stem from the way the regulation is worded, Lt Col Napat said.

“The rule uses the phrase ‘50 per cent per person’ to refer to the amount in the bank account, and this may have led people to believe that each person needed only 400,000 baht,” Lt Col Napat said.

“In fact, they must each show evidence of 800,000 baht in the bank. That means that if they have a joint account, it must show a balance of at least 1.6 million baht,” he explained.

An alternative is to show a regular pension or investment income of at least 65,000 baht a month, he said. Applicants must show proof of this income for the three months prior to submitting the application.

Lt Col Napat noted that foreign retirees who are married to Thais may opt to apply for a marriage visa instead of a retirement visa. For this visa, the applicant must show evidence of 400,000 baht in a Thai bank account.

phuketgazette
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Offline thaiga

Re: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2013, 07:07:12 PM »
Phuket Immigration clarifies retirement visa rules

PHUKET: After several days of confusion, a senior officer at Phuket Immigration today explained clearly the way the rules on retirement visa extensions will be handled from now on.

Lt Col Napat Nusen insisted that nothing has changed. However, rules will, it seems, be interpreted more tightly.

For couples where one spouse (usually the husband) applies for a Non-Immigrant visa one-year extension, the wife (whether she is over or under 50 years of age) may receive a “follower” permit to stay in Thailand without having to show income or a specific amount in a bank account.

However, the husband must be able to show that he has a minimum income of B65,000 a month (attested to by his country’s embassy) or B800,000 in a Thai bank.

The bank account must be in his name alone. If it is a joint account it must hold double the amount – B1.6 million.

If the wife is over 50 and prefers not to have “follower” status but wishes to get an extension on the basis of being a retiree herself, then she must make a separate application for extension and must meet the same financial criteria as her husband – income of B65,000 a month or her own bank account with B800,000 in it.

If the couple both apply for retirement visas and share a joint account in Thailand, the account must contain B1.6 million.

Col Napat said, “Nothing has been changed. It has been the same since 2008. A wife can still use the same type of follower visa as before if her husband applies for a Non-immigrant O visa.”

In the past, The Phuket News understands, some wives were allowed “follower” extensions even though the bank account used to back the application was a joint on and contained only B800,000. From now on the “joint account = B1.6 million” rule will be applied with no exceptions.

Applicants, whatever the approach they take, must be able to show that the money has been in the account or accounts for at least two months for the first extension application, and for three months for subsequent applications, backed by a letter of confirmation from the bank.

thephuketnews
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Offline Johnnie F.

Re: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2013, 07:24:40 PM »
...may receive...

Verrrrrry clear! :lol


Never put your wife's name on the account then, just authorize her to withdraw. ;)



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Re: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2013, 09:59:59 PM »
Can somebody explain why this rule/regulation is not applied throughout Thailand at every immigration office in exactly the same way, or maybe it is...................


"may receive" 


Now what possible reason could there be to deny "a follower" visa if the main applicant complies with the relevant rule/regulation.


No doubt there's a few........ :evilgrin


 
 

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Re: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2013, 10:01:56 PM »
Verrrrrry clear! :lol


Never put your wife's name on the account then, just authorize her to withdraw. ;)

I don't see the problem with having two accounts  :uhm
 

Offline Johnnie F.

Re: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2013, 10:47:23 PM »
I don't see the problem with having two accounts  :uhm

It's not a problem of two accounts.  It's a problem of 800,000 or 1,600,000 Baht! If the farang-farang couple uses two accounts, one for each, they must have 800,000 Baht deposit on each of them (2 x 800,000 = 1,600,000); if they use one account in the name of both spouses, they need 1,600,000 Baht on that one account. If just one of them has an account, they need only 800,000 Baht on it. The spouse doesn't need own income or own deposit: the one account or income counts for both of them.

I've been laughing, because there was somebody trying to explain something, he doesn't understand the purpose of, somebody who obviously has never been taught about teleological application of laws, of the understanding what the law is meant to cause. Somebody making loopholes plainly visible.

In 2007 Immigration had realized there were many people coming into the country on visas as spouses or other dependents of pensioners. Many of these dependents didn't have the funds or income they needed, so they took up illegal activities to generate income. Also pensioners don't live forever, due to their pension age sometimes even not so much longer anymore. When the pensioner dies, not always does the surviving spouse receive a widow's pension high enough to sustain on. Etc. Immigration tried to find a way how to handle the problem at the root, the visa, the "extension of stay", as it is correctly called. In my opinion they are still struggling to find an applicable regulation easy enough for a general rule. On one side they are welcoming the pensioners to spend their money in Thailand, on the other hand they haven't found an applicable way to curb the problems associated. 
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Offline Johnnie F.

Re: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2013, 10:57:04 PM »
Now what possible reason could there be to deny "a follower" visa if the main applicant complies with the relevant rule/regulation.

It's difficult to tell, whether the guy from the Immigration in Phuket really said that nonsense of "a follower", or whether the writer of the article just didn't understand. I think he meant "dependents".

Can somebody explain why this rule/regulation is not applied throughout Thailand at every immigration office in exactly the same way

The Immigration law has a clear and overall valid regulation about dependents: they don't need proof of own income or bank deposit! Their support must be guaranteed by the person they depend on. The problem applying that regulation is the multiple of work: The immigration officers have to check and determine whether the person with the main visa is able to support his dependents before dependents' visa are granted for them. A workload without clear definitions and rules, where a huge number of single cases has to be decided upon complicated circumstances, isn't something typical government officials like to be dreaming of. It's much easier to see people on their own, instead of having to decide about them qualifying for dependent status, the guaranteed support by the person they depend on. That's how the Immigration in Phuket sees it now! Because they need to find ways to decrease their workloads.:-[
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Re: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2013, 07:27:56 AM »
Thanks for your explanatory posts 'Johnnie'. No wonder expats are confused, it would appear the authorities don't know their arse from their elbow. I see massive benefits in this "follower/dependants" process if it is applied nationally. Just imagine as an expat retired couple, you only need 800K and not 1.6M tied up in a Thai bank account earning i understand nil interest, the other 800K could be put to much better use, Pattaya's Soi 6 would be a great start  :lol

I personally know of one couple who would be delighted if they could get it. Why have i never heard of this before ? not that it applies to me but i do like to keep abreast of Immigration requirements, have they hidden this info away somewhere you would never find or has it been recently made up !!!!! Is this info on their website to enable you to refer to it for any doubting IO ?

A very interesting development. 
 

Offline Johnnie F.

Re: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2013, 10:40:42 AM »
have they hidden this info away somewhere you would never find or has it been recently made up !!!!! Is this info on their website to enable you to refer to it for any doubting IO ?


It's from Nov 25, 2008, and it's on their website:

http://immigration.go.th/nov2004/doc/temporarystay/policy777-2551_en.pdf

Look at section 2.20! But it's of no use confronting any immigration official with that. You'll always get the answer that the law has changed just recently. What they mean, is, that the implementing regulations change on a daily basis at each location. You won't be able to tell them differently! :-[

I found in my 24 years over here, the best way to succeed at immigration is to appeal  for their help. A friend of mine was devastated, when the exchange rate dropped and his pension wasn't sufficient anymore for a retirement visa. He stays with a Thai woman and has a child with her.  For extremely complicated reasons he cannot marry her. I advised him to tell the officials at immigration, that he wants to support and stay with his Thai child, meaning, that  teleologically the  same regulation does apply there as with a marriage visa (farang-Thai). First they made sad faces, didn't think so, but promised to ask in Bangkok. And yes, it worked! But at each extension he has to undergo the same complicated and lengthy procedure as with a marriage visa. What I mean is, that you have to think ahead of them and carefully prepare what and how you tell them, so they can find the solution you want them to. Telling them the law they have to follow isn't helpful at all. We're in Thailand! If you tell a government official how to do his work, he'll loose his face. And that he cannot let you do. So you have to "lead" them to what you need, but let them "find" it. :)
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Re: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2013, 01:01:31 PM »
It's from Nov 25, 2008, and it's on their website:

http://immigration.go.th/nov2004/doc/temporarystay/policy777-2551_en.pdf

Look at section 2.20! But it's of no use confronting any immigration official with that. You'll always get the answer that the law has changed just recently. What they mean, is, that the implementing regulations change on a daily basis at each location. You won't be able to tell them differently! :-[

I found in my 24 years over here, the best way to succeed at immigration is to appeal  for their help. A friend of mine was devastated, when the exchange rate dropped and his pension wasn't sufficient anymore for a retirement visa. He stays with a Thai woman and has a child with her.  For extremely complicated reasons he cannot marry her. I advised him to tell the officials at immigration, that he wants to support and stay with his Thai child, meaning, that  teleologically the  same regulation does apply there as with a marriage visa (farang-Thai). First they made sad faces, didn't think so, but promised to ask in Bangkok. And yes, it worked! But at each extension he has to undergo the same complicated and lengthy procedure as with a marriage visa. What I mean is, that you have to think ahead of them and carefully prepare what and how you tell them, so they can find the solution you want them to. Telling them the law they have to follow isn't helpful at all. We're in Thailand! If you tell a government official how to do his work, he'll loose his face. And that he cannot let you do. So you have to "lead" them to what you need, but let them "find" it. :)


Yeah i'm aware of the "support of a Thai/farang child" scenario if your pension does'nt stack up anymore, thats really sensible imo. I am hearing/heard, current and historically, that IO's are not so pig headed as a lot of farangs make them out to be and can/will show some compassion particularly to expats who have been here a while with no adverse record and are known to them.

Of course the secret is, show respect and keep calm and smile all the time and only burst out into crocodile tears when and if they are going to turn you down and you have to go home, the last resort so as to speak  ::) 
 

Offline Johnnie F.

Re: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2013, 02:05:13 PM »
There's another "secret": prepare to explain your situation as simple as possible. Misunderstandings are the biggest obstacle, and cause most of any problems. Like when they ask on the TM 7 form for your reasons for the application to extend your stay. That is the most important part of the process. In my case I simply write "I am a pensioner", before that it was "I am married to a Thai". I have seen people writing lengthy stories on there, probably thinking they have to fill all those lines...

Oh, and try to write in letters they can read easily, block letters is best.
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Re: New Visa Restrictions for Foreign Married Couples
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2013, 02:15:53 PM »
There's another "secret": prepare to explain your situation as simple as possible. Misunderstandings are the biggest obstacle, and cause most of any problems. Like when they ask on the TM 7 form for your reasons for the application to extend your stay. That is the most important part of the process. In my case I simply write "I am a pensioner", before that it was "I am married to a Thai". I have seen people writing lengthy stories on there, probably thinking they have to fill all those lines...

Oh, and try to write in letters they can read easily, block letters is best.

Me too, but i always take wifey with me to interpret, not that i should need to as i comply in every respect. I can never understand why on a retirement extension they want details from your wife, ie house book, ID card, simply because you are married, what would they do if i was'nt ? i know, grant me the RE as i qualify.......

The mind boggles.....
 

 



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