Filipino expats in Thailand are quite numerous. This large population coupled with the gregarious nature of Filipinos, news may it be important or trivial, will surely spread like wild fire. The experiences described here, though, should not be construed as general of all immigration officers. These are specific experiences of particular people I know. I am writing these to serve as guidelines and spare us from any unpleasant encounters with Thai immigration. Of the four countries that I’ve been to, Thai immigration is the most lenient and courteous.
Here are some immigration-related experiences of some Filipino friends of mine.
1. A Filipino mom travelling to the Philippines via Sadao Thailand Border was interrogated for a long time. She was almost left behind by the bus she was travelling in.
Reason: Her Thailand-born baby, who was not granted Thai citizenship has no passport. To read about guidelines on Thai citizenship and nitty-gritties of travelling with babies born here, please read EXPAT BABIES TRAVEL 101.
2. A Filipina friend was going to spend her October vacation in Vietnam. She was not allowed to go out of the country.
Reason: She misplaced her departure card.
This piece of paper is very important. If you misplaced or lost this, you must prepare yourself to endure the long, slow process of reporting to the police, securing affidavit of loss from an attorney, going to the immigration, and paying some penalty.
3. Burmese, Laos, Malaysians, and Filipinos doing visa runs have to candidly insert 1 ringgit in between the passport pages. Recently, there are few officers who would outrightly ask for 10 ringgit (100 baht). This has become customary, I think. Van drivers from Thailand would just ask for 20 baht from their passengers, and give it to the immigration officers to prevent delays.
4. My co-teacher paid 2,000 baht to do her 90 days notification.
Reason: She lost her 90 days notification slip.
5. I am no exception. I paid 15,000 baht penalty for unintentional over-staying.
Reason: I lost my passport… err… My bag containing my passport was stolen. The snail-like processing of the machine readable passport then made it impossible to have my visa extension on time.
So guard your passport with your life.
As expats, it is our lifeline!
Tell us about your immigration-related experiences.
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