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I write in relation to an item in the Nov edition _ the interview with the head of Chiang Mai Immigration Office. The officer who was interviewed correctly stated that the requirement for 400,000 baht in a Thai bank account no longer applies when you seek a 12 month visa based on marriage to a Thai national. What is required is proof of at least 40,000 baht monthly income as verified by the relevant embassy. This is the law as stated in Thai Police Order 606/2549.
At around the same time that your interview took place, I visited Chiang Mai Immigration as my 12 month visa is soon to expire. I was given a colour brochure produced by Chiang Mai Immigration which stated that both the 400,000 baht AND 40,000 baht monthly income criteria applied. We queried this, firstly with one of the counter staff, and then with one of the more senior staff. They both confirmed that the requirements set out in the brochure were correct.
I am now in the very awkward position of deciding whether to argue the point or satisfy both criteria. I have little doubt that I would risk being extremely unpopular (quite possibly to my detriment) should I try to point out what is actually required under the law. The problem with complying with the 400,000 baht requirement is that most of my funds in Thailand are invested in shares and managed funds. To liquidate these now (simply to place cash in a bank account) would turn a very big paper loss into a very big real loss. Further, the staff may also decide to impose a requirement that the funds be in a bank account for a minimum of three months prior to applying for the visa (as in the case of the retirement visa).
I have absolutely no criticism of the service I receive at Chiang Mai Immigration generally, nor with the Thai Government’s right to impose whatever restrictions they deem appropriate on temporary residents. I do however have a problem with incurring considerable unnecessary expense simply because individual members of staff are unfamiliar with the law or choose to implement their own private version thereof.
[ Ed. We went to the immigration office to get more information for you. We share your frustration on getting different responses and hearing different criteria from different places/people. In the November issue of Citylife
we interviewed Col. Prayut Chommalee and he stated that you no longer need 400,000 in the bank. Unfortunately he has moved to a different district and we were not able to get a hold of him to confirm his original statement. Two different officers at the immigration office both stated that for a spousal visa you need both 400,000 in the bank and 40,000 income per month. We are sorry to be the bearer of bad news. ]
I am currently on holiday in Chiang Mai. I was given a copy of Citylife
by my son, who is resident here. Whilst I am most impressed by the layout and content of your magazine, David Hardcastle’s article in the last issue compels me to write and disagree with the sentiments issued at the end of the piece.
I was born in 1936 and a mere child during the Second World War. However, I have listened over the years to horrific tales of trauma experienced by POWs working on the Thai/Burma ‘death railway’ as I’m sure have many others. My late husband and I visited the bridge on the River Kwai, along with the cemetery in Kanchanaburi in 1999.
Whilst I agree with many of the writer’s comments concerning the needy families, and the work carried out by Konishi Makoto, the final paragraph I find particularly offensive and condescending towards all of the men who suffered or lost their lives. I suggest David Hardcastle writes to the emperor of Japan in an endeavour to obtain the words “we apologise.”
This may be a good time for Citylife
to give your readers some ideas as to the extent the financial crisis will affect businesses in Chiang Mai in 2009. Worrying times ahead.
Tourism numbers are not only down, they appear to be non existent. How are the local hotels surviving? How is Chiang Mai going to be affected? How are we to survive? My wife and I are OK as we live off my retirement pension, but I fear for our neighbours and friends.
T.R. Wolf (Mae Rim)