Stickman Readers' Submissions February 1st, 2010

An Immigration Visit

A story of our visit to the new Thai Immigration Center in the city of Lak See.

Lak See Immigration center is a beautiful, well designed, modern facility surrounded by gardens, ponds and lots of parking. It is situated in the middle of the new Thailand Government complex which includes Administration offices and the Supreme Court.

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The purpose of our visit was to extend our visas from 30 to 60 days. I was with by my Thai wife, an American citizen, and her two friends from the university. All three are licensed to practice law here in Thailand.

We arrived at approximately 10 AM, checked in at reception desk, were told where to go to start process, given the correct form, filled it out, two sides, and then off to the queue counter to get a numbered tag for the K1 visa area.

As we waited I began to notice that people that were leaving the K1 cubicle were not smiling, shaking their heads, and still had all their paper work with them. They had the look of “what do we do now” on their faces.

After waiting approx 90 minutes our number was called by the Immigration officer’s assistant. A pleasant young man showed us to the Immigration officer's desk.

We sat down, and then we met the Immigration officer <Somchai Anonymous>, a scowl on his face and a better than you posture.

My wife handed him our well organized document packages that were in order and complete. She had checked earlier with Immigration that we had all the proper documents. He stood up shoved them back at her and began to berate her and indicated there was a new land ownership form that was now needed by a Thai who is trying to extend her and her husband’s visas. She asked about this and he rudely, in a loud voice, shoved the documents back at her and pointed to the bottom of the application form which says he has full authority to approve or deny the request. This is at his discretion and that is the way it is. He, <Somchai Anonymous>, continued to stand over her, berate her to the point the Immigration officer's assistant turned his back and left the cubicle.

We left having the same look on our faces as those we had noticed earlier leaving the cubicle.

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Fortunately for us, one of my wife’s friends knew where the land title office was so we decided to go for the document and see what happens.

As it turns out it is only a few miles from the Immigration office and a quick 10 minute drive. We arrived, got a queue number, were called before we even sat down, greeted by a very pleasant young lady and had the required document in 10 minutes or less.

After lunch we returned to the Immigration office complex to try again. It should be noted they close the entire section for lunch between noon and 1 pm.

Went thru the check in process again, 10 min max, and returned to the dreaded K1 section.

There were approx 20 people waiting to be called but the line seemed to be moving a little quicker than in the morning.

We were called by the Immigration officer's assistant and sat down at the desk, greeted by a pleasant looking female Immigration officer, handed her the documents, she reviewed them, ask a few questions, smiled, signed them and gave us a 60 day extension. Ten minutes perhaps, no shoving papers at us, standing over us, nice professional handling of the process.

You are then given a pink numbered slip and will be called when they have processed and stamped the passports. This process took another hour but at least we were finished with Immigration.

It is too bad we had to meet and deal with Officer <Somchai Anonymous>. What a poor representative of the Thai people and the Thai government he is. It was a difficult and time consuming process by itself just to enable people to spend more time and money in this beautiful country, but then to have to deal with Officer <Somchai Anonymous> makes it more distasteful.

Stickman's thoughts:

I edited the officer's name. You're playing with fire attempting to post a Thai official's name online. No way would I allow that.

So he had a go at your wife. It happens. I'm not defending what you claim he said, but would just say that this sort of thing happens sometimes. 99% of the time it doesn't happen.

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