KUALA LUMPUR: The Royal Thai Consulate in Kuala Lumpur has joined its counterpart in Penang in making it a great deal more difficult for foreigners working in Thailand to obtain a Non-Immigrant ‘B’ visa. A memorandum, dated May 21 and handed out to applicants on their arrival at the consulate, lists 10 documents – including confidential company papers – that must be supplied in support of a visa application by a company employee. The list appears to pertain to all visa applications, whether for a three-month, six-month or 12-month visa, and whether for a specified number of entries into Thailand or for multiple entries. The 10 items listed in the memorandum are: – Copy of passport and two recent photographs; – Copy of academic degree(s) or curriculum vitae; – Original letter from the ‘inviting company/employer’ indicating the reason for employment, position, and salary; – Copy of the inviting company’s registration document, certified by authorized director(s); – Copy of list of shareholders of the inviting company (if any); – Copy of inviting company’s latest income tax statement (Por Ngor Dor 50 and 30); – Copy of inviting company’s registration for Value-Added Tax (VAT) (Por Phor 20); – Copy of inviting company’s latest balance sheet; – List of all foreign employees employed by the inviting company (specified by name, nationality and position); – When the inviting company is export-oriented, latest bill of lading or bank statement(s) indicating export transactions. Those wanting a visa simply to come to Thailand on business [not for employment] must provide: – Copy of passport and two recent photographs; – Letter from applicant’s company indicating reason for visit; – If self-employed, financial statement of the applicant; – Letter of invitation from the inviting company in Thailand, indicating reason for visit; – Copy of the inviting company’s registration document, certified by authorized director(s); – Copy of list of shareholders of inviting company (if any); – Copy of inviting company’s latest balance sheet. Closer to Phuket, the consulate in Kota Bahru continues to require minimal paperwork to support visa applications. A consular officer told the Gazette today that all that is required is the applicant’s passport, a photocopy of his work permit, a supporting letter from his employer, and two photographs. However, the maximum validity of a B visa issued in Kota Bahru is six months, and the maximum number of entries into Thailand is two. The officer said this was because “This is just a small consulate.” The good news from the Singapore consulate is that it will issue 12-month multiple-entry B visas. The bad news is that the applicant must produce a work permit with an expiry (or renewal) date at least three months beyond the date of the visa application. This effectively rules out most businesspeople and employees in Phuket, whose work permits are tied to their Immigration entry stamp and are therefore valid for a maximum of 90 days. For these people, the Singapore consulate will issue three-month, single-entry visas only. With consulates south of the border ruled out for all practical purposes, the Gazette checked this afternoon with consulates in other neighboring countries. The consulates in Laos – in Vientiane and Savannakhet – issue visas with a maximum validity of three months. The same is true of the consulate in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The one bright spot appears to be the consulate in Yangon, Myanmar. A spokesman told the Gazette, “We usually give 12-month multiple-entry visas.” The decision, he added, is entirely up to the consul. Applicants, he said, are required to present their passport; two photographs; a copy of their work permit; a letter of support from their employer; a copy of the employing company’s registration document, including the list of shareholders; and a recent statement of the applicant’s personal bank account. The Gazette wishes to point out that the requirements listed above are valid today. Their validity tomorrow is not assured. Readers wishing to obtain a new visa are urged to contact the relevant consulate before going there. Contact details for all Thai consulates worldwide are available from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website at https://www.mfa.go.th
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