Aug 24, 2010
The Thais certainly love paperwork! I imagine their consulate down in L.A. must rent out a warehouse to hold all the bulky visa applications they receive each year.
For my humble solicitation, I had to make four copies of the main page of my passport, the one that contains my picture and expiration date (the passport’s, not mine). Along with this, four passport-sized photos. Then there was the police report, notarized medical form and latest checking account statement (showing a hefty deposit) that all required a spin through the Xerox machine. Those people down at the consulate are in some ways going to know me better than my mother ever did.
But the fun did not end there. I also had to do a trip to my friendly bank to get a manager’s notarized signature on what’s called a deposit verification letter, which proves that the funds in my checking account actually do exist. Lastly, there was the matter of finding a “Contact & Guarantor”. This has to be someone who actually resides in the country. Fortunately, my friend and Thailand mentor Alex graciously agreed to volunteer. (If it were not for him showing me around, I never would have become so infatuated with the place. I owe the guy big time.)
Then it was off to Kinkos again for more copies (and I’m now on a first name basis with a couple of the employees). But that was the final expe-dition. Arriving back at my hotel, I managed to assemble the blizzard of forms and copies in such a way that they matched the order in the con-sulate’s application instructions. The intent is to make things as easy as possible for whoever ends up processing my special package. It never pays to get on the bad side of a bureaucrat.
Tomorrow I’ll make a final check of the paperwork, attach my passport, and mail the whole thing off.
Laborious as all this was, I’m not complaining. I understand the Thais’ need to screen applicants. My country, in fact, is even more stringent with would-be residents. And in a perverse sort of way, I’ve enjoyed the challenges. Perhaps I have too much free time on my hands.