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Thai Retirement Visa Applications: Embassies vs Consulates

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Retirement Visas and applications and there has been a lot of consternation. I made a video last week regarding the possible and it looks like the increasing financial requirements associated with a Thai Retirement Visa from certain Consulates most notably the Thai Consulate in Los Angeles and now apparently the Thai Consulate in Sydney Australia.

It looks like these financial requirements are starting to go up. We have discussed the details of that at length in other videos but there seems to be and I have seen this in multiple different pieces of correspondence. Folks are kind of trying to figure out; trying to differentiate between Consular jurisdiction and Embassy jurisdiction, I will get into that in a minute. We have even had correspondence where folks have conflated Honorary Consulates with Consulates-General and I made another video contemporaneously with this one where we discussed that issue. Long story short, I just wanted to get into this sort of comparison of Embassies and Consulates. Sometimes when I make these videos, I have actually discussed these issues. If you go into our archives, just go into the search function of our channel, you can look up comparisons between an explanation of how Consulates work versus Embassies. Embassies yes they are the mission to the country and the Ambassador is stationed at the Embassy and generally speaking they have seniority and rank internally but Consulates are in Visa issuance that doesn't necessarily correlate with the diplomatic side. I will get into this here in a minute but I want to go ahead and read this. I did another video where I was talking about part of this quote. I am going to read the whole thing because it seems like the poster, this was a comment on one of our videos, is kind of conflating a few things and I wanted to parse this out because I think this probably causes some confusion for other folks because I have seen similar analysis that is just slightly off the mark. So quoting directly: "Ben is it possible that the state Thai Consulates in the US are all raising their financial requirements only on first application and return to previous financial requirements at all further extensions whilst living in Thailand?" I have done another video on that already. We have gone into that. There actually does seem to be some merit to that notion. Moving forward. Quoting directly: "This also seems to be the case in Australian state level Thai Consulates but not at the Federal level Thai Embassy. Since every country has only one Embassy with Thai jurisdiction, any application for an O-A retirement remains as previous," well you are presuming something I don't think it is necessarily the case but moving forward I will get into that in a minute, quoting further: "it is only Thai Consulates with local jurisdictions that have raised application financial requirements from that country only and an initial application only. Hope that makes sense." 

So what I think is being said here is the Embassy has jurisdiction over the whole country whereas the Consulate only has local jurisdiction over their own locality and that there somehow okay if you don't like, in a sense it is like forum shopping, if you don't like what you hear from the Consulate you can go to the Embassy or at the same time it may kind of explain this disparity where they are leaving this leeway where it is seemingly two sets of financial requirements for the same type of visa. The problem is in Australia and this analysis I have seen it conflated in the US as well, it is actually in my opinion extrapolating notions of federalism into an analysis of the way Consulates and Embassies work. The long story short is Consulates have Consular jurisdiction, that is it. If you live in that Consular jurisdiction that is who you have to deal with for Visa purposes. For example in the United States with respect to the Western United States, if you are under the Los Angeles Consulate's jurisdiction for Visa adjudication there is no alternative. I guess you could move to another part of the United States and try to apply through either a different Consulate or the Embassy but for example in the US, the DC Embassy, it has a Consular jurisdiction and that Consulate issues visas only to States within that jurisdiction. In fact we will go ahead and throw up the map there where you can see that. The long story short is the Western United States, if LA has requirements, that is the requirements.

There may be a little wiggle room and look, I deal with immigration Law, especially in a Consular practice not only in a Thai context but in the US context, this is not cut and dried stuff. It is not like Administrative Law where you are dealing in one country and you are dealing with all you know the same set of laws for example in the United States. This is nuanced thinking and yeah there may be circumstances where if you don't like the requirements in one Consular jurisdiction and there is some discrepancy between different Consular jurisdictions, yeah you might be able to figure out some way, I am sort of squaring the circle if you will and getting to your objective But the thing to take away from this video I would not presume a sort of federalist kind of system within the Embassy/Consulate structure. I would also not presume that just because the Consulate says something you can override them, that is not really going to be practically how it works. So if you are dealing with a Consulate and you are in that jurisdiction, they are probably going to be the only choice you have with respect to ultimately processing out your visa application.