Embassy clarifies visa rules – sort of

KUALA LUMPUR: The Royal Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur has clarified the reasons for its recent imposition of harsh “old” requirements for a Non-Immigrant B visa, in particular as they apply to any foreigner wanting to go to Thailand on a business trip. As reported by the Gazette Online yesterday the consulate in KL has, since May 21, been handing applicants a long list of the supporting documents it requires, including confidential company papers such as balance sheets, tax returns, etc. Tanee Sangrat, First Secretary of the embassy, told the Gazette that the requirements had existed for a long time, but that they were not previously “listed and recorded on paper”. In the past, he said, most people telephoned to inquire what paperwork was needed, but now the regulations are available in print [on arrival at the consulate]. “If you ask one of our officers, they will tell you the requirements, word for word from what is printed,” he explained. “They don’t have the authority to be flexible.” However, consular officers do apparently have the authority to be flexible when deciding whether an individual, having presented himself at the consulate, must actually provide all the documents. “It is not necessary that the applicant have all of the listed documents,” said K. Tanee, “but we will need as many documents as possible for countries that we consider [to] have problems.” K. Tanee declined to say which countries these are. “Our authorized officials will use their judgment in deciding how flexible they can be and whether to grant a visa or not.” He pointed out that confidential documents need not be given to the visa applicant. “In the case of confidential matters such as the company’s balance sheet, list of shareholders, income tax statement, and so on, these can be mailed to the embassy before the applicant arrives, along with a letter giving the name of the applicant and the date he or she will come to apply.” An embassy official who asked not to be named said, “Confidential company documents are usually faxed to us and we are the only ones to see them.” She denied that the more stringent requirements were aimed at making it difficult for Malaysians to visit Thailand on business. “These regulations are for the Thai embassy and consulates in Malaysia only, due to an agreement between the Thai and Malaysian governments. They are required of all [not only Malaysians] who come to apply here.” Thus the current policy is: everyone must supply all the documents on the list in support of a visa application. But, if they can’t get them all, they can still go to the consulate and hope that, first, their country is not one of those on the “problem” list and, second, that the official they deal with is prepared to be flexible that particular day. In addition to obtaining one of these esoteric visas, any person planning to visit Thailand on, say, a quick sales trip, is legally required to have someone in Thailand apply on his behalf for a short-term work permit. 🙂

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Legacy Phuket Gazette

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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