Category: Living in Thailand (5)

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Passport and Visa information when living in Thailand In order to enter Thailand, you must have a valid passport and an appropriate visa. If you stay past the time allowed on your visa by one or two days, you may simply be fined 800 Baht per day as you leave Thailand. But overstaying your visa is a serious offence, it is better to stay within the limits of your visa. If you are coming for a period of time longer than a brief holiday and expect to leave and re-enter the country before your visa expires, you must obtain a re-entry visa. If you do not obtain a re-entry visa, your existing visa will be invalid upon leaving Thailand. All visas expire on the expiration date of your passport. Apply for a new passport well before your current one expires, in order to re-apply in time for new visas.  Visas valid up to six months are often required when travelling abroad.  When applying for a visa, there is a fee. Take two passport-sized photographs and two signed copies of every relevant page of your passport. These are the papers identifying you and the pages with your most current Thai visa entries. If you are considering a longer stay, it is worthwhile having a large batch of photographs taken at once. There are many photo shops and photocopying shops located along busy streets and in all the large shopping centers. On Arrival Permit If you are ‘in transit’ and have a ticket for your continuing journey, you will be given an entry permit upon arrival in Thailand. This is valid for 15 days, but application to the Immigration Office may gain an extension of a further 7 days. This permit is not issued to all nationalities, but it does include Australia, Japan, USA and most European countries. New Zealand, Scandinavian and South Korean nationals are eligible for a special permit for 90 days, which is extendable for an additional 35 days. A permit valid for 30 days (without a visa) has been extended to citizens of more than 50 countries including Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Malaysia, Oman, South Africa, South Korea, USA, United Kingdom. Check with your embassy if you have any questions. On Arrival Visa If you are ‘in transit’ and not entitled to the above permit, obtain a Visa on Arrival. You will need your passport and transport ticket for the completion of your journey. This 15-day tourist visa can be extended for an additional week for a small fee. Tourist Visa (60 days) Obtain this visa from the Royal Thai Embassy in your own country before departure. Although valid for 90 days – according to the dates stamped on your visa – this tourist visa entitles you to only 60 days in the country. It may be extended for a further 30 days. Extensions are obtained from a Thai Immigration Office. It may be renewed for 60 more days at the Royal Thai Embassy in another country. Cambodia, Singapore and Penang in Malaysia are popular visa renewal spots. Details of ‘visa runs’ may be obtained from travel agents. A limit may be put on the number of renewals allowed. Non-immigrant Visa (90 days) Obtain this from the Royal Thai Embassy in your own country before departure. You must have a valid reason for needing this length of stay. An extension of 30 days may be obtained from a Thai Immigration Office. Non-immigrant Visa (1 year) This is usually only granted when a work-permit has been obtained. In order for the spouse to be granted this visa as well, a marriage certificate must be produced; a photocopy is not acceptable. Sometimes, without apparent reason, this visa is granted only for shorter periods of time but may be extended without leaving the country. Each child with a separate passport needs a visa. There is a new One-Stop Service Centre located in Bangkok. It is specifically designed to reduce the red tape for foreign business people and investors. It can help expedite processing for visas, work permits and re-entry permits. It is advisable to take a Thai representative from your company or a lawyer familiar with the process. See Immigration and City Halls, in this section for location. Retirement Visa (1 year) If you are over 60 and in a financial position to retire, you may be granted this special visa, which after three or more years could lead to permanent residency. If you are considering this, obtain up-to-date information covering your particular circumstances from the Thai Immigration Office. There will be a financial security requirement, possibly a health requirement, proof that you have no police record and possibly a test of basic knowledge of the Thai language. Re-Entry Visa If you are leaving the country temporarily before your visa expires, obtain a re-entry visa from the Thai Immigration Office. You will need two passport photographs and a photocopy of your visa and passport. For convenience, you may purchase several re-entry visas at once. The cost is the same, currently 500 Baht each, but only one session of form filling is involved. Multiple Re-Entry Visa Once you have been granted either a 90-day or one year Non-Immigration visa you must get a Multiple Re-entry Visa, which is available from the Immigration office. Work Permit A work permit is only issued if your job could not be filled by a Thai national. Normally your company will have obtained this for you. Embassies On arrival in a new country, it is advisable to register with your country’s embassy. Passports and Children If you are here for a long stay and have children, it is advisable to have individual passports for them and not have them on your own passport. According to Thai law, parents cannot leave the country without the children they arrived with (as stated in your passport). If one parent is leaving with the children, don’t forget to carry a written, signed and embassy notarized statement from the other parent giving permission to do so. Babies Born in Thailand Foreigners born in Thailand do not receive Thai citizenship but the birth still needs to be registered. The hospital will file a certificate of birth at City Hall. To obtain your new baby’s birth certificate you must go to City Hall. You should have both parents’ passports, marriage certificate and a parent’s work permit. The birth certificate is written entirely in Thai. You must then have the certificate officially translated. It is a good idea to do this straight away, as there are sometimes errors in the original birth certificate. You may then take your child, the official translation of the birth certificate and the original Thai language birth certificate to your embassy to apply for a passport. Many countries require other documents as well, so please call your embassy prior to making the trip to Bangkok. You may also want to check with your embassy concerning the best time to come as some close early on certain days and others only do certain tasks on certain days.

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What days the Thais celebrate:
Magha Puja or Wan Makha Bucha Day: Veneration of the Buddha
Chakri Memorial Day: The founding of the current dynasty, Rama I
Songkran: Four day traditional Thai New Year
Coronation Day: Celebrates the 1950 crowning of HM The King
Visakha Bucha Day: Celebrates the birth and enlightenment of the Buddha
Asarnha Bucha Day: Commemorates the day on which Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon
Chulalongkorn Day: Commemorates King Rama V

National and Regional Holidays in 2014:
7 April (Mon)     Chakri Day Holiday
13 April (Sun)     Maha Songkran Holiday
14 April (Mon)   Maha Songkran Holiday
15 April (Tue)     Maha Songkran Holiday
16 April (Wed)   Maha Songkran Holiday
1 May (Thu)        Labour Day
5 May (Mon)      Coronation Day
13 May (Tue)     Visakha Bucha
1 July (Tue)         Banks are closed
11 July (Fri)         Asalha Bucha Day
12 August (Tue)   Queen’s Birthday
23 October (Thu)   Chulalongkoun Day
5 December (Fri)    King’s Birthday
10 December (Wed)       Constitution Day
31 December (Wed)       New Year Eve

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Thailand has a land area of 513,115 sq.km (198,000 sq. miles), of which approximately 3,200 km (2,000 miles) is coastline along the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. The official population is just over 65 Million people, with an annual growth rate of 0.85%, which is the lowest in SE Asia. About 75% of the country is ethnic Thai, 14% Chinese and the remaining 11% is mostly made up of Indians, Malay and Khmer.
National Flag/ Symbol: The current striped red, white and blue flag was introduced in 1917, with the 3 colours representing the 3 pillars of the Thai nation. Red is the life blood of the Thai people, white shows the purity of Buddhism, the national religion and the blue stripe symbolizes the monarchy. The national symbol of Thailand is the Garuda, a mythical half bird, half human figure that adorns King Bhumibols scepter and royal standard. The Garuda is a sign of Royal Appointment and only granted at the King’s discretion, therefore such an award is considered a great honour.

Currency: Thai currency is the Baht (THB). One Baht is divided into 100 Satang. The paper denominations are B1000 (brown with green), B500 (purple), B100 (red), B50 (blue) and B20 (green). There is a B10 coin of white metal with a bronze center, a metal B5 and B1, and a bronze 50 and 25 Satang.

The Monarchy: The monarchy is a strong unifying force within Thailand; the King’s powers are regulated by the constitution but he is still the Head of State and greatly loved and respected by his people. All over Thailand you will see many pictures of the King and Royal Family in every type of building.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej or Rama IX was born in the USA on December 5th 1927 and came to the throne on June 8th 1946. On April 28th 1950 he married Queen Sirikit with whom he has 4 children, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, Princess Ratana, Crown Prince Maha Chakri and Princess Chulabhorn. The King is a gifted photographer, painter, jazz saxophonist and composer as well as being dedicated to his people. The Royal Family is involved with many conservation and environmental projects in addition to giving aid to disaster victims when needed. The Thai’s highly respect and honour their royalty and it is illegal to insult royalty and this is an arrestable offence.

Thai Religion: Here in Thailand over 92% of the population is practicing Theravada Buddhists. With the teachings of Buddha being compatible with most religions Buddhism is at the very heart of Thai culture, giving life to all the traditions, social systems, art and literature of the nation. On your travels you will see four faced Brahma statues, trees with coloured ribbons around them and vendors of good luck charms. These are practices from Brahmanism, the early form of Hinduism and Animism and such elements have been absorbed into Buddhism to varying degrees.

Courtesy: The Buddhist belief of earthly impermanence makes the Thais a fun loving people who appear unruffled by events and rise above the problems of life with never mind attitude. They accept frustrating situations easily and never seem to be in too much for anything. If as a foreigner you make the effort to respect Thai customs and culture they will appreciate you for this. Be aware of how you dress, your general manner and avoid very affectionate gestures with others in public. Here are a few tips:
Never be disrespectful to the Monarchy or Royal Family.
Show proper respect to Buddha statues by not touching them, climbing on them for photos or pointing your feet towards them when seated.
Dress appropriately in temples.
Do not use your feet to point at someone or something.
Remove your shoes before entering a house.
Do not touch anyone’s head.

Loss of Face: To raise your voice or lose your temper is seen as bad manners in Thailand and no Thai will respect you for this. You will not gain anything by getting angry or assertive; in fact it is counterproductive. These actions will be considered a loss of face and most Thais will stop interacting with you.  For a Thai the loss of face is an awful disgrace; so try to avoid direct confrontation and in any dispute make sure there is a suitable compromise that allows everyone to keep face.

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Moving to Thailand by Powerhouse Co,.Ltd: Step by Step guide Things to consider when moving to Thailand Importing Personal Effects into Thailand: In theory personal effects can only be imported if you have a work permit, however, some shippers can get around this situation for you.  If you are moving to Thailand for work your company should be able to handle everything for you. If not it is advisable to use the services of a reputable broker here in Thailand to deal with customs for you. Import Duty when relocating to Thailand: Imported personal effects can be taxed up to 160%, this also applies to packages and gifts received from overseas. If someone is sending you small items have them send it by air via an express courier and write “ No Value Gift “ on the package, this will prevent any import duty. What are Illegal Imports I can’t bring into Thailand when moving there: Pornography, drugs, certain types of fruits, plants and vegetables are all illegal imports. Drug offences in Thailand can lead to heavy fines, lengthy jail terms and even the death penalty. Illegal Exports: It is illegal to export artifacts from old temples and Buddha images. For works of art and antiques an export permit needs to be obtained from the National Museum; a process that can take some time. Tax Free Rules: When leaving your home country to live in a foreign country for at least 6 months VAT can be claimed back on goods bought for export. The moving company that you use can take care of this for you. Should you wish to export the goods yourself the following steps should be taken. Find out the minimum value for export, ask the retailer for a receipt for export with your new address on it. Show the goods and receipts to customs when leaving . The receipts will then be stamped and returned to the retailer who will refund the VAT to your account. Bringing Pets into Thailand: Before departure it would be advisable to contact the Thai Embassy/ Consulate in your home country for the relevant information. To bring a pet into Thailand you will require: An entry permit for animals coming by air. A certificate in English identifying the animal with details including breed, sex, age, colour and markings plus owners name and address. A health certificate signed by a vet stating the animal does not have rabies, leptosporosis, ectoparasitism and that they have been vaccinated against infectious and contagious diseases. The country of origin must have been rabies free for at least 12 months or the pet has had the appropriate vaccination. The animal should be vaccinated against leptosporosis or tested negative against the disease within 30 days of departure. The animal maybe quarantined for up to 30 days. If you decide to bring your pet to Thailand be sure to give them heartworm medication and be aware of the hazards involved of having a pet in Thailand. If you have any concerns or questions you can contact the Airport Quarantine Station on 02 535 0814.

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If you have a young family schooling will be a major concern. There are a variety of educational opportunities in the region varying from small community based playgroups, through kindergarten to primary and international schools. Several factors will influence your choice of school and you will need to consider the cost, children’s ages, the educational system in your own country and the length of your stay. Fees: The cost of schooling will be a major consideration with the fees varying considerably from school to school and according to the child’s age. Some schools charge an application fee and the majority of schools will also charge a non-refundable registration fee; some may offer a discount for more than one child. As well as the tuition fees there will be additional costs for books, uniforms and transportation to name a few. Nursery/Play Groups/ Pre-school: The major schools in Pattaya offer placement for pre-school children. This may be the best option if your child is to continue on to Elementary/Primary school. Nursery schools, kindergartens or playgroups which cater for this age are other alternatives to be considered. Choosing A School: Here are some of the points you need to consider when selecting a school: Class size- What is the ratio of staff to children. Teaching Qualifications- What qualifications do the teachers have? Curriculum – Is it British or American, how compatible is it with that of your home country. Cost- See fees. Location & transportation. Nationality Mix- What is the ratio of nationalities. Schedule – What are the hours and term times? Registration – Is the school licensed by Chonburi Welfare Department of Education. International Schools: The international schools in the Pattaya area are based on either the British National or American National Curriculum. The tuition is in English but many of the schools offer the opportunity for the child to study their native language. Thai studies have to be included in the curriculum as a government requirement and all schools accept local students. Some of the schools, such as The Regents School, offer high school programs through to year 12/13; others offer a limited high school program with higher grades being added each year. It is important to become familiar with the programs offered at the schools before your child approaches their senior years. Before deciding to enter an international school the complexities of educational systems and the consequences for the placement in universities needs to be realized. International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE): Under the British system Cambridge University administers a range of courses for English speakers abroad. The course is a 2 year course with examinations at 16+ years old. This course offers similar syllabuses to the GCSE courses found in the UK. IGCSE provides a foundation for pre- university courses such as North American Advanced Placement Test, International Baccalaureate and GCE Advanced levels for British universities.