Integrity Legal - Law Firm in Bangkok | Bangkok Lawyer | Legal Services Thailand Back to
Integrity Legal

Legal.co.th - Resources 

Research & gain insights into Thai, American, and International Law.

 

Contact us: +66 2-266 3698

info@integrity-legal.com

ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawVisa NewsThai Marriage Visa: Will the US Embassy Still Issue Income Affidavits?

Thai Marriage Visa: Will the US Embassy Still Issue Income Affidavits?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Thai marriage visas and we are specifically discussing the Income Affidavits with respect to Thai marriage visas.

What we talking about when we say Income Affidavits? Well one of the requirements for a Thai Marriage visa extension is that the, in this case let's just go ahead and assume it's an American citizen, the American citizen needs to show that they can support themselves and their spouse within the Kingdom pursuant to a statutorily defined financial threshold and generally speaking you are talking about Bt.400,000 in a bank account or Bt40,000 a month in terms of income.

However, there was sort of a middle ground with respect to Income Affidavits in the past and this middle ground was, it was possible to go down and get an Affidavit signed and notarized at the US Embassy, Bangkok which stipulated that an individual either had a certain amount of money in a bank account, presumably probably in the United States, or that an individual made a certain amount of income per month and then that affidavit would be notarized and then it could be used as primer facie evidence to go ahead and apply for a marriage visa extension and generally speaking, that Affidavit in and of itself, would be enough to go ahead and meet the sufficiency requirements on the financials for a visa extension. This may be changing here in the future. 

Now I want to be clear. Let me preface the rest of this video by saying, the rest of this video is simply speculation on my part based on information which has come from a different Embassy but I think that there is credible analysis which could be made that the American Embassy may take the same approach as the British Embassy moving forward with respect to these income Affidavits. I will get into why in a moment but basically, similarities of circumstances is probably the biggest reason why I think it could be possible that this could happen rather soon.

Let me also be clear. I have no information as of the time of this filming as to whether or not this is going to actually happen. I have gotten no insight from anyone or from any announcements from the US Embassy with respect to this issue, on the issue of Income Affidavits and how they may be operating or not operating in the future, but based on what has happened with respect to the British Embassy, I think it is fairly safe to infer that similar circumstances may come about for Americans in the Kingdom and for that reason this is rather important that I get this out there possibly so folks are prepared moving forward.

Now let me be clear. Again the British have made a specific press release on this topic as of the time of this filming and to the best of my knowledge the Americans have made no comment on this issue. So maybe nothing will change; I don't know but let me go ahead and get into what the British have announced and then we can do some analysis with respect to how this may impact Americans married to Thai nationals moving forward.

So first of all let's go through this announcement:  I got this from www.gov.uk. The title of the announcement is British Embassy Bangkok to Stop Certification of Income Letters. Quoting directly, "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 Authority’s requirements to verify the income of British Nationals." Let me get back to that because I think that is probably the main sticking point that could cause the same policy decision with respect to Americans so I will come back to that. Quoting further "the British national should now demonstrate that they have an amount of at least 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 a supporting document for obtaining a Thai retirement or a marriage visa. All British Nationals concerned should note that the last date for income letter applications is 12 December, 2018.“ That is a red letter date. I think Americans watching this you might kind of keep that date in the back of your mind. If an income affidavit is something that is important to you moving forward in the next few months or maybe even in early 2019, I want to stress MAY as this is all speculative but it may be possible to still get an Income Affidavit letter date perhaps in late 2018 that might be usable in 2019; again all speculation.

Let me go back to this specific issue.  “The British Embassy in Bangkok is stopping the certification of income letters because it is unable to fulfill the Thai Authority’s requirements to verify the income of British Nationals.” Going back to this disconnect between notarizations in a common law and a civil law context. In a common-law context a notarization is simply the authentication of a signature and the American Embassy and the British Embassy were always willing to authenticate signatures on letters essentially made out by the person getting their signature notarized. The embassies were never authenticating the veracity of what was stated in the letters themselves. Now there are certain consequences to saying false things to Federal Officers and I'm not even going to get into all of that. I am simply discussing the interaction between the way that the Americans and the British system deal with this issue of notarization and the way that the Thais deal with the issue of notarization. So in the past they were simply signing and authenticating the signature and the rest of the letter was kind of irrelevant for purposes of the embassies who were notarizing the document. It seems that the Thai authorities have now reiterated their desire to want to have the embassies verify that the contents of the letter are indeed true. The British Embassy has clearly stated that they don't have the resources to do that nor do they appear to really have the inclination to do that. I think there is a major possibility that the Americans may take the same approach. If the “rubber is hitting the road” on that issue, if for lack of a better word, pressure is brought to bear that the Americans go ahead and verify the authenticity of the contents of these letters, the Americans may take the approach that “no we are not going to that”. That being said, I don't know exactly how this is going to play out so for that reason, we are going to leave it here for now. I think it is safe to say changes could be in the offing but until there is an actual verified change in policy, and I want to be clear, as of yet I have seen no verification change in policy, I have heard no verification of change in policy, I haven't even heard of the possibility of a change in policy, I simply am  doing some analysis on my own that the Americans might take the same approach as the British and I am speculating  based on the analysis  and the assumptions derived from that analysis.

So the thing to take away from this video, this could be an issue moving forward. Those on retirement or marriage visas in Thailand are strongly advised to at least keep this in mind and if there is a substantial change with respect to American policy on this topic, we will do a video as soon as possible and get it up and out to you folks so that you can understand where things are moving forward.