PENANG: In the beginning there was light. Then there was darkness. First, in September, the Thai Consulate in Penang introduced 12-month, multiple-entry non-immigrant B visas. Then, with effect from this month, the consulate began demanding a pile of paperwork, some of it consisting of copies of highly confidential company documents. According to an announcement issued by the consulate to any applicant walking through the door, provision of the following documents is now mandatory: – Copy of passport and two photographs; – Copy of academic degree(s) or curriculum vitae; – Original letter of recommendation of the company/employer stating the reason for employment, position and salary; – Copy of the company’s registration certified by authorized director(s); – Copy of list of company shareholder(s); – Copy of the company’s Memorandum of Association and Bylaws; – Copy of the company’s latest income tax statement (PorNgorDor 50 and 30); – Copy of the company’s latest registration for value-added tax (PorNgor 20); – Copy of the company’s latest balance sheet; – List of expatriates and foreign workers employed by company (specified by name, nationality and position); – In the case of an exporting company, bills of lading or bank statement(s) to substantiate export transactions. Contacted by the Gazette, the consulate in Penang declined to comment on the new rules but a source said that the new requirements apply to all non-immigrant B visas, whatever their length of validity. Regulations vary from one Thai consulate to another. For example, the other consulate in Malaysia within easy reach of Phuket, in Kota Bahru, will issue only three-month non-immigrant B visas. However, the only paperwork the Kota Bahru consulate requires is: – Copy of passport and two photographs; – Original letter of recommendation of the company/employer stating the reason for employment, position and salary; – Contract of employment, if any.
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