Friday, February 24, 2012

Sometimes I Wish They Would Just Deport Me

So we completed the application of my ninety day visa.  Sort of.  We hired someone to help us with the process.  Tim told me that she was told that the price was about $35 dollars, which we both thought was absurdly low.  It turns out she charged us over $300, which is absurdly high, about twice as much as the Thai monthly minimum wage.

In order for me to stay, I have to show that I have a minimum of 400,000 baht (~$13,000) in the bank for at least two (maybe three) months.  The idea is that I have the money to support myself while I stay here, even though I am certain that there is no scenario where I could receive government benefits intended for the impoverished.

In any case, they require an updated savings book and a letter from the bank confirming my account and the required balance.  I'm really not sure why they require both, as I think that if I were able to forge a bank book, that I could easily forge the letter.  The bank book shows all the transactions on the account, and it would be very easy to see if I had met the requirements.  In the Nonthaburi office, the bank letter is only good for seven days after which you need to get a new one.  When we submitted our application today, we included a letter from the bank date two days ago and the bank book that had been updated this morning.  Apparently that is not good enough for the Bangkok office.  They require a letter from the bank on the day of the application.

This is an absolutely ridiculous requirement.  The purpose of the letter and bank book is to show that I have the money at the time that I applied.  After I submit the application, I am free to go and empty out the bank account.  Are they concerned that I might have gotten the letter two days ago and then immediately emptied the account so that I never really had the money when I applied?  Do they really think that if I could let the money sit in the account for several months, I couldn't wait the two extra days to empty it?  Maybe, but my savings book was updated less than an hour before we submitted the application.  Can someone really believe that I went to the trouble of forging my bank book so that I could withdraw my money two days early?

I have a theory of why they require the letter dated the same day.  Every major Thai bank (many of them anyway) have a branch in the immigration and government building.  Tim is a premium customer (Wisdom) with K Bank and they never charge her for the letter.  This branch charged one hundred baht for the letter telling her that her Wisdom status did not entitle her to a free letter.  I'm guessing that most every person applying for a visa that requires a bank letter ends up getting them from the branches in the immigration building.  I'm guessing that this adds up to a lot of fees over the course of a year and I'm sure the banks are very grateful to whoever makes the decision to require a letter dated the same day.

We left after getting the updated bank letter, leaving the person we hired to stand in the queue for us.  Before we left, she took us before an immigration officer so that they could see that we were real. I would like to use the woman when we apply for the one year visa, but her fee is really excessive.

I am assuming that the application will be approved and I'll get my extension.  Although maybe I'll get lucky and they'll order me deported instead; send me out of the country for a six month cooling off period.

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