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John Berns | Controlling people from dark shadows.
+ Your AuthorsArchive @jfxberns Building the best data science & engineering teams in SE Asia. A Chicago-boy who's wandered; likes guitars, bourbon, motorcycles, fishin', Chicago-style pizza. Sep. 08, 2020 3 min read

"I want to buy a car."

A simple transaction right? Not in Thailand....

"Well, in Thailand you need a Certificate of Residence."

"How do you get a Certificate of Residence?"

"You can get a notarized letter from your embassy. It costs B2000 at the American Embassy--but they've reduced their notary staff and only do notarizations by appointment and only if if you can prove it's necessary to avoid hardship."

"That might be difficult; I need three--I am selling my motorcycles to buy the car."

"You could go to the Thai immigration office to get one. You shown them your passport, your visa, your arrival card, a copy of your lease, fill out a form, give them two photos and pay B200."

"Then immigration will mail the stamped form back to you in two weeks."

"Couldn't I just show the passport and lease to the dealer when I buy a car?"

"No, you need an official form."

"Couldn't they stamp it while I wait?"

"No, it takes two weeks, then they mail it."

"OK, so I go to the immigration office on Sathorn?"

"No you have to go to Chaeng Watthana. The immigration office on Sathon no longer processes paperwork."

"Where is Chaeng Watthana?"

It's 30-60 minutes north of town by taxi, depending on traffic."


Prepares paperwork, leaves in taxi...

...arrives in Chaeng Wattana 45 minutes and 430 baht later.

"I need a Certificate of Residence, please."

"Oh, we now issue Certificates of Residence at the Temporary Visa Extension Center by Impact Mueang Thong Thani. It's only 15 minutes further away.

Leaves in taxi...

...arrives in Mueang Thong Thani 20 minutes and 120 baht later.

"Wait in line outside to get your temperature taken."

Five minutes later "Go to floor two to get queue number."

Goes to the second floor (by stairs, elevator broken) and is ushered into... open air parking garage in 36C heat, told to fill out forms, then wait in line to get a queue number (wait in line to get a queue number?) then wait to be called to stand in the indoor queue.

Finally reaches immigration agent.

Agent fumbles through my papers...

"Where is your 90 day reporting stamp?"

"I don't have one, I haven't had one since last year. I was on a tourist visa and under the Covid visa amnesty program I did not need to do 90 day reporting. I just got a non-O immigrant visa though.

"You need a 90 day reporting stamp."

"But I don't need to report yet."

"Look at my passport, I have many 90 day reporting stamps from when I had my business visa. I have visas and a lease that show I've been living here for two-plus years.

"But you don't have RECENT 90 day reporting stamp."

"I looked online and found five different sets of requirements for the Certificate of Residence on immigration websites, none mentioned the 90 day reporting stamp."

"Must have stamp. Cannot get Certificate of Residence. You get letter from your embassy.




Wife calls.

"Did you get your certificate?"

"No, I don't have the right papers. Did you get your education visa?"

"No, the lawyer never showed and is not answering his phone. The school says if he does not reply by tomorrow they will call the police to try to get money back."

A half day each, B1000+ in taxi fares, nothing achieved.

I don't need people telling me "Well, it's Thailand, you have to live by their rules."

No shit. I know that.

I just want to point out how Thailand frustrates those that want to support it and live by their rules.

You can follow @jfxberns.


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