Sunday, 7 August 2011

UK visa application, the second part...the Thai side of things

Ok, so in this post I told you about all the evidence of my relationship that I have gathered over the past eighteen months or so which will be included in my wife's Family Visit Visa application.

Now I'm going to touch on what's required in Thailand.

Firstly, it's ok to help 'the applicant' (my wife) with her application. For us, this means that I'm actually filling in the online application form.  It's in English, which my wife can speak, but she can't read too well. Also she hasn't got the computer skills needed to fill it out herself.

The other thing to bear in mind is the way that the UK government words it's questions on the form. If you're from the UK you may be used to the way these are formed, but the official government language may be difficult for those for whom English is not their native tongue.

Photocopies and translations.

Thai people will be used to this part, everything you need to do in Thailand requires a photocopy of something! 

ID card บัตรประชาชน (bat bra cha chan) Tabien Baan ทะเบียนบ้าน (the house registration book, this shows where a Thai national is registered as a resident) Passport หนังสือเบิกทาง (nang sue berk tang, interesting literal translation of 'book (to) clear the way') 

All this and more, many Thai people photocopy on a daily basis! Perhaps they're more used to dealing with government forms and bureaucracy than we in the UK are?

Anyway, we'll need translations of all of the above, apart from the passport, and our marriage certificates. There's lots of translation companies in Bangkok and you will be looking to pay around the 200 baht per document page, not so many in the more 'up-country' locations, where you may be asked for quite a lot more!

So, all that needs to be done and added to the file (which is already quite large!). This should take a few hours at most. there are translation companies around the Ploen Chit area, it's near where the UK embassy is in Thanon Wittayu  (wireless road).

Printing the application form and getting the 'biometrics' done.

After the online application form has been filled out, you then need to print it out and book an appointment NOT at the UK embassy, but at the VFS centre at Regency House (again online) so that the applicant can hand over all the documents and have their photo and fingerprints taken.

It's then, and only then, that the 'clock' starts ticking. Your application has now been submitted and all you can do is wait. Here's agiude to the current processing times for UK visas.

We're almost ready, next week we should be able to start the 'clock'.

Wish us luck!


  1. Interesting blog, I followed your profile from Khun Steves blog, I'll throw my two pence worth in here as well :-)

    I agree with getting a holiday/student/family visit visa as a starting point, everyone I have met who has done this before moving to a settlement or business entry visa has not regretted it, as I have said to Steve it is all personal and no two couples or people are alike.

    On "" I could not disagree with you more, the information posted on "that" forum is more than subjective and with the volume or rubbish posted there it often takes longer to find quality resources than if you simply "googled" on your own.

    Interestingly my wife has now applied for 7 holiday and short term visa's to the UK and has never provided a photograph or translated copy of her Tabien Baan, in fact she only ever gives a photo copy of her land title and current bank statements, even when her first application was rejected it only came down to a technicality from the applications as I am a non resident for tax purposes so they wanted more details about me.

    The "stress" most people put on themselves over a visa application is to me unwarranted, even if you are unsuccessful you are pretty much given a detailed reason why so you can quickly and clearly address the issues and reapply.

    Good luck!

  2. Hi Biff,

    Totally agree about the wording of the forms. Being official government paperwork they're obviously going to be at a certain level of English but I think they could be "dumbed" down a bit. Or maybe put into an easier to understand format. I've read through the settlement application a few times just to get my head round it and I really can't see how anyone without a level above the required standard would be able to fill it in without a lot of help. But as with other things in the process, maybe this is intentional from the UKBA??
    Good luck with the visit visa


  3. Thanks for the comments guys!

    Lloyd, in our case we're going for a visit visa because that's what we want to get. I don't really see it as a preparation for a settlement, although who knows what he future will hold? I believe that we should first decide what we want to do, and then apply for the visa that suits that purpose, rather than planning our lives around the visa that we think is best.

    If two people already know that they want to settle in the UK then they should go for that right off the bat, as it were. I am of the opinion. however, that there will be a massive 'culture shock' in store for the Thai person. This is something not to be underestimated.

    As for TV, I suppose because I've been using it for over 2 years and have gleaned much of the information about many aspects of the 'foreigner in Thailand' experience, it has been my first port of call, my knowledge base, if you like.

    I've just amended the first post about the visa application here to include another forum. I agree, TV has some wankers on it, but overall, I still think it's a good source of knowledge, if you stick to the information areas and don't dwell to much in the 'general' forum where if you ask a question like "I've just been to Thailand for 2 weeks and now want to marry my girlfriend, how can I bring her back to England?"... you'll get shot down. Whereas, if you just read what's already there, you'll get the information you need.

    Steve, I reckon the wording of the forms is like that with any British institution, it has evolved over time into a different kind of language. Thai is the same, the government departments use very different language to what you will hear every day. As for it being deliberate, I'm not so sure.

    I think it's deliberately vague yes, but all the language in official UK stuff is that way now, they don't want to be specific, just in case they accidentally prevent someone from 'being included'. Also the forms have to be the same all over the world, so it's easier for them to use the UK bureaucrat-speak in all of them. It's also 'developed' over the years, so if your British, you will have become used to it.

    What I think they should do is, like my local council have to do, provide a version in the local language. I know for a settlement there is an English requirement, but as you say, the level required to fill the damn form out is way higher than it is to come and live in the country! This helps to feed the 'visa agents' and doesn't help the applicants, perhaps it is indeed part of some kind of 'stern face' they wish to show to any potential visitors or residents!

    Imagine if you're a reasonably well off Thai person (you'd have to be to think about coming to Europe). You have a job, you have the money to come to the UK for a holiday, but you don't speak English (why would you?) and you don't know how to use a computer. Straight away you're looking at paying some berk 30,000 baht just to fill out the forms for you!

    Still, I don't suppose the good folks down at the UKBA have much influence over how their departments produce the forms or present the application process, as with any bureaucracy, these things tend to result from a process of evolution rather than one of intelligent design!

    All the best guys, and good luck with whatever is in front of you at the moment!



  4. I should just add, for clarification, the 'local language' for my council, is officially English. What they are required to do is to have access to their information in a number of different languages.

    If a Thai person had already qualified for residency here, having passed the English language requirements, they would be able to have all the information provided by the council translated into Thai for them!

  5. The language used is what is commonly referred to as Legalese, its written so that it is as unambiguous as possible although it certainly doesn't look that way to most people (ambulance chasers aside). I work with financial contracts on a daily basis and still had to read through it slowly, as you say it makes it hard for a lot of applicants and leaves it open for people to make a killing to help people fill out what is essentially a straight forward form.

  6. Indeed, once I got to grips with it, it is reasonably straight forward. What stressed me out a little, is just getting it all together in one place. Perhaps stress is the wrong term. It certainly had my full attention for quite some time though!

    Maybe after all this (assuming we're successful!)
    I could become an agent! Oh, wait, I've just posted online how to do the application, ah well, another career idea up in smoke! :-)

  7. Lloyd, interesting what you say about never providing the copy of the Tabien Baan. I think we're going to include it anyway, to show that my wife lives where she says she does.

    That's another personal gripe of mine, the UKBA don't tell you what you should submit and what you shouldn't.