Stickman's guide to Bangkok
Getting A UK Visa
I have a Thai girl who I met in Hong Kong about 4 months ago and we headed out to Bangkok with a mission to get a visitor visa for my girl to visit the UK for a two-week holiday.
First off I looked on the internet ploughing through the various guides on this site:
It didn’t take long to realise this was not going to be easy, but we were successful and this piece outlines how it was achieved, which I hope may be useful to others.
1) I filled in the application form neatly in black ink, with no spelling mistakes and answered every question truthfully.
2) I obtained original bank statements from my UK & Hong Kong bank accounts, pay slips covering the last 3 months and my latest building society statement showing savings.
3) During the past 4 months we have had a day trip to Macao and 3 days in Bangkok over the New Year. I photocopied the pages of our passports showing matching immigration stamps. The rules state you must have proof of a relationship with most other couples having holiday snaps.
4) I obtained a letter from her previous employer where she worked as a lab assistant in a clothes dye-manufacturing plant in Rayong.....This cost over 3000 baht; another story of frustration and despair, not from her former employer but from her ‘friends’ that met us at the bus station.
5) Original utility bills showing my proof of residence in Hong Kong.
6) A covering letter stating my age, occupation, salary, reason for travelling to England (holiday), relationship with my girl, country of residence and our future plans together.
7) Four passport photographs.
8) 2700 Baht.
9) A photocopy of everything.
The British Embassy opens at 7:30AM and we arrived at 7:00. This was too late, there were already over 20 applicants in front of us and each one has to have an interview.
We waited about 2 hours before being summoned to the window. The embassy official was an English girl, late 20’s accompanied by a female battle-axe Thai translator, maybe mid 40’s. I was politely told to sit down in the waiting room, to be summoned if necessary. My girl said the expat official was very pleasant, systematically going through each section of the application form asking relevant questions. The battle-axe however was more interested in why she was in Hong Kong without a job and the type and name of the venue where we met. It was obvious she was fishing to see if she was a bargirl on the make. The reason my girl was in Hong Kong is her mother works there and she was visiting at the time and.....errr.....I guess if a western guy turned up that would be an added bonus but she didn’t mention that. We did actually meet in a bar in Wan Chai but they do serve food, so calling it a ‘restaurant’ was only being economical with the truth.
The interview took about 20 minuets and it was looking good until my girl was asked, “do you have a copy of your mother's passport and Hong Kong ID card”......Eh! No we hadn’t but she was told if she produced a copy of these documents the visa would be issued so without any further questions we left. I guess the battle-axe wanted proof her mother did actually live in Hong Kong.
We returned the following day at 12:00 PM and after a further 10-minute interview and a 3-hour wait she was finally given her passport complete with 6 months UK visitor visa.
Others were not so lucky however. One girl in tears on the phone to her boyfriend somewhere in Farangland was mumbling things about “they say we only together short time” and “they want to know why I not have job and you send money” etc. On the other hand there were many girls smiling and taking photographs, which was nice to see.
Overall it was a long drawn out experience taking up almost 2 days in Bangkok including rising at 6:30 AM. The staff were pleasant but I couldn’t help get the impression every girl is branded a gold digging bargirl unless they can prove otherwise.
Just a couple of other comments, which to most people would be obvious but read on-
1. Dress sensibly. My girl, along with 90% of the other girls, wore clothes suitable for an office; I had a decent pair of black jeans and a ‘T’ shirt with a collar. Some girls arrived like they were heading straight to Nana after the interview, a couple of guys turned up in a full suit and tie which in my opinion is way over the top and one guy pitched up in a tatty pair of jeans, a vest that didn’t fit, no shave and had obviously been on the town the night before.
2. Be polite. There is a sign on the wall indicating that abusive behavior will not be tolerated, however when they asked for a copy of my girl’s mother’s passport I had to bite my lip. The hung over guy I mentioned above had a go at the clerk at the first window, whose sole job is to collect passports and papers and issue a queue number. Khun farang wasn’t happy with the number he was given (he was one of the last to arrive) and insisted he was bumped up the queue. I would have liked to have been there when his girl’s visa rejection came through.
3. Have the originals in one envelope and a copy of everything in the other, all written neatly and attached together in an orderly fashion. Some people turned up with just originals, others with just copies, one girl didn’t have the 2700 Baht, and another couple had to dash off and get passport photographs. It is clear what you need on the application form but some girls just didn’t bother reading it.
4. Be able to speak English. I am not joking, while collecting our visa I could over hear one of the interview windows. The girl could hardly speak English but ‘no propem” her boyfriend would look after her when she arrived. When asked if her boyfriend could speak Thai she said “No”......oops. She was asked politely to leave and advised to apply again when she could speak a little English.
The basics of it all appears to be that your girl has to prove she is:-
a. In a genuine stable relationship.
b. Has enough money to cover the period of stay.
c. Does not intend working in the UK.
d. Intends to return to Thailand when the visa runs out.
e. Is not a bargirl.
I reckon that working in an embassy would be a prick of a job, especially if you had to deal with visa applications.
The author of this article can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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