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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawVisa NewsWill There Ever be a Single ASEAN Visa Framework?

Will There Ever be a Single ASEAN Visa Framework?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests we are going to be discussing the ASEAN Visa. This has been bandied about over the years, for a number of years now, I think I remember writing about this topic three or four years ago. It has always been kind of debated whether or not ASEAN as a whole is going to end up with sort of a unified Immigration system, maybe not unified but coordinated immigration system to where one could get, not dissimilar to the so-called APEC card, one can go ahead and get like a single ASEAN Visa for use throughout the region

As of the time of this video and in the past, and I think at least for the foreseeable future, I do not believe we are going to see a Single ASEAN Visa anytime soon. But that being said, a recent article gave me pause. There was recently a meeting of all the ASEAN Immigration heads in Malaysia. It was held between August 6th and August 10th. This video is being filmed after that and this article that I am reading was actually done before that meeting but I think it is worth noting and just to sort of generally comment. 

This article is from the star.com.my, so it is the Star Online. The title of the article is “Mustafar to Push for ASEAN Immigration Block”. It was published Friday 27th July 2018. Quoting directly, "The coming meeting between ASEAN Immigration heads next month is expected to be the stepping stone towards creating the ASEAN immigration block or Network says Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali. I have suggested at a previous meeting for such a pact to be established". Quoting further, "Immigration heads will discuss the matter further when we meet in Kuala Lumpur next month he said. While the dream of having an Asean immigration pact is not expected to be achieved in the near future, Mustafar believes next month's meeting is a starting point". I think probably as time moves ahead, we are probably going to see something akin to a single ASEAN Visa. If nothing else I can actually see something akin to sort of the Schengen coordination where you are still operating through a given country's Embassy but once a Visa is issued in any one of the given countries that make up this network, you might have some sort of rights or benefits or at least temporary stays sort of automatic just by dint of having the visa from the one country. Exactly how this is going to play out, in my opinion, remains to be seen. In fact I see and has proved itself to be very creative. It just doesn't pull things wholesale from other jurisdictions and then sort of implement them. They tend to use post of Taylor Made Solutions for this part of the world and I think this is going to be another situation where we see that. I guess I think something maybe akin to the Schengen and how they use that embassies, the Consular sort of aspect of it, not so much once you get to one country you can kind of go wherever. you are still going to have checkpoints here in ASEAN  for the very foreseeable future I think.

But that being said I can see a scenario where sometime in the far off future you may have sort of, if you get a Thai Visa, it automatically sort of gives you 15 days in Laos or 15 days in Cambodia or 15 days ASEAN wide wherever you go if you come into Thailand first.  Will that happen? I am not certain but I can see circumstances where something like that might be implemented. Again the APEC card is another precursor here that may be a good example as something that the ASEAN, the folks down here in ASEAN may come up with if and when they do a single Visa scheme. All this stuff remains to be seen and it's kind of a speculation but I do find it interesting, I find things like that interesting, so we will keep you updated if there is any further information about a single ASEAN Visa.