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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawThe Royal Thai Consulate in Penang, Malaysia

The Royal Thai Consulate in Penang, Malaysia

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the Royal Thai Consulate in Penang, Malaysia. We are specifically discussing this to provide some insight to folks who may be needing to do Visa runs in the aftermath of COVID-19. I am currently making this video during the COVID-19 lock-down albeit during one of the latter phases of reopening. That being stated, this should be viewed as a video for general consumption. It should not be viewed through the specific lens of COVID-19 as this is general information about the Thai Consulate in Penang. The address of the Thai Consulate Penang is 1 Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Taman Barat, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia. 

So first of all this is an important Consulate.  A lot of folks from Phuket especially but also from up here in Bangkok, choose to do both Visa Runs and Border Runs to the Thai Consulate in Penang. I know it seems like a semantic point but I make a distinction between a Visa Run and a Border Run. So a Visa Run is when somebody goes to a Thai Embassy or Consulate, gets a new visa to return to Thailand. A Border Run is when somebody just hops out of the country and hops back in to sort of reset their status if you will. So it may be an actual land border which does happen from Phuket.  A lot of folks go from Phuket and the southern provinces over into Penang in order to get visas as well as just hop over and hop back. There are a lot of shuttle services that provide that service. That being said, in the aftermath of COVID-19 it remains to be seen what that is going to look like but I think that to one degree or another, we are going to see the Border Run and the Visa Run activities resume at some point in the relatively near future. 

The thing to take away from this video though is different Consulates, different Embassies do things differently. For example, Penang has a certain queueing system that they utilize down there that can be somewhat a source of some consternation for folks who go down there who don't understand that that may happen. Different Consulates and different Embassies require different documentation in support of a visa application and this arises from the plenary authority granted in Consular Officers to adjudicate these types of cases. Immigration law is a uniform body of law but there is Administrative discretion which is in placed if you will in these Officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that are operating out of Thai Consulates and Thai embassies abroad to make adjudications based on their best efforts. They are having to essentially make findings of fact and conclusions of law and the conclusion of law might be issuance or non-issuance of a given Thai Visa

So in closing, the thing to take away from this video is different Consulates will do things differently. I hear people all the time say "well I went to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and got a Visa like this but they gave me a problem getting it in Malaysia." Well different posts do things differently. They have different adjudicators. Those adjudicators may have different levels of stringency and scrutiny when making determinations on Visa applications and they are well within their authority to have that difference of opinion and to have that difference of adjudication if you will. They have the right to make different determinations in cases that may not be substantially dissimilar from one post to another; it is just sort of the nature of Immigration law and that is across the board. It is very similar within the US system as well. 

So those who are looking to get a Visa, there are certain long-term visas that may be sought at the Thai Consulate in Penang. It is also is a place where folks often go to obtain a Thai Tourist Visa to return for a short period of time to the Kingdom of Thailand.