News that the British embassy in Bangkok is to cease issuing income verification letters – the last date for applying is December 12 – comes as no surprise.
It has long worried officials there that they don’t know whether claimed income is true or not. The website asks for supporting evidence, for example a UK bank statement, but freely admits there is no investigation at all.
Meanwhile, immigration authorities expect embassies to verify meaningfully, which would be impossible in a short time scale. The appointment of a new hardline immigration chief in Bangkok may not be a coincidence to the timing here. The bigger issue is whether other embassies – including those which don’t even ask for a bank statement – will follow suit.
It looks like we are moving to a scenario where farang married to Thais must keep their cash here to qualify for repeat one-year extensions of stay.
Maybe Cambodia has the answer. There, a multi-entry, one-year visa costs around US$285 (Bt9,400) and virtually no documentation is required. But if you run out of money or need medical treatment, expect the worst.