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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawThai Marriage Visas: UK Embassy to Stop Issuing Income Certification Letters

Thai Marriage Visas: UK Embassy to Stop Issuing Income Certification Letters

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Thai marriage visas specifically recent press releases regarding income certification letters associated therewith which are issued by the UK Embassy in Bangkok.

Why am I bringing this up? Well I am bringing this up because it pertains more to Thai visas notwithstanding that it kind of has a UK tilt to the story I guess. But it is of import. I do think that it is going to have rather substantial and lasting ramifications on Thai marriage visa holders in the future.

But there was a recent press release regarding the British Embassy from gov.uk. The title is British Embassy, Bangkok to stop Certification of Income Letters. "From January 1, 2019 the British Embassy, Bangkok will no longer be providing British Nationals with letters confirming their income." Quoting further "This letter has previously served as a supporting document for obtaining a Thai retirement or marriage visa. The British Embassy, Bangkok is stopping the certification of income letters because it is unable to fulfill the Thai authorities’ requirements to verify the income of British Nationals. British Nationals should now demonstrate that they have an amount of at least 800,000 Thai baht in an account in Thailand for no less than 3 months prior to the visa application or a monthly income of at least 65,000 Baht transferred into an account in Thailand for a retirement visa. For a marriage visa, the amounts are 400,000 Thai baht in an account in Thailand for no less than 3 months prior to the visa application or a monthly income of at least 40,000 Thai baht transferred into an account in Thailand. A bank statement should be used as the supporting documents for obtaining a Thai retirement or marriage visa. All British Nationals concerned should note that the last date for the income letter application is 12 December, 2018." Let's think about that again 12 December, 2018. It is kind of a red letter date. Those watching this video who are concerned about this issue, that is going to be the last date under which one of these income certification letters can be applied for from the British Embassy here in Thailand.

Why am I bringing this up? Well this is substantial. This is going to have a real impact on a lot of expats here in the Kingdom, especially those who are married to Thai Nationals. There are expats that don't have a great deal of funds on deposit here in the Kingdom. They may keep their funds overseas, abroad, or they may receive pensions back say in the UK or in other offshore jurisdictions that they don't actually get them here in Thailand and this income certification letter was quite a convenience for those folks because it was a little bit easier than having to transfer the funds actually in. But it appears Thailand has now basically reiterated a request for the Embassy to go ahead and verify the veracity of the income certification letters and the Embassy and the British Government appear to not really have the resources to go ahead and do that.

This stuff has always operated in a bit of a limbo. It is always operated in something of a gray area and that gray area emanates from the fact that common law jurisdictions take a decidedly different approach to the notion of notarization than civil law jurisdictions. In civil law jurisdictions, generally speaking notaries often times attest to the veracity of documentation or to the contents of a letter being notarized whereas a notarization in the common law tradition basically only deals with the authentication of the signature of the individual signing a given document. This is the case in the United States and it is similar with the UK. You go down and you get an income letter that says I make x amount per month, I make x amount per year or I have X amount on deposit somewhere and you sign it. When that is signed the embassy is simply authenticating the signature. They are not authenticating the veracity, the truthfulness of the statements made within the letter and Thailand apparently is taking the position that they want the embassy to go ahead and certify the veracity of those statements. Well obviously without substantial investigation they are not willing to do that and substantial investigation would require a rather substantial expense in terms of time and resources so I think this is being put to bed for that reason. Those who this would be an issue for, again the red letter date is December, 12 2018.

There has been a lot of consternation that has come about as a result of this policy change. I don't know, in fact I am fairly certain that I don't think they're going to reverse this decision. This decision again came about as a result of Thailand’s request that these letters be verified and as I said in the past this has always sort of operated in a sort of a legal limbo if you will, or a legal sort of grey area that just seems to be now sort of delineated to the point of specificity that the letter is effectively being phased out. So if something substantially changes on this topic in the future we will do a video on it but at least for now I think it is pretty safe to say that income certification letters are probably going to be a thing of the past come January 1, 2019.