Getting My Kids Immigration Visa To Thailand
Typing this up on the floor outside Thai Immigration at 6am.
The things you do for your kids, and to legally stay in a country.
Immigrants life is not an easy one
Mike’s Blog 201
So we are now into the 200s for the video blogs here. Thanks Andy Bravo for enjoying the content and sending me some words of encouragement to keep the videos coming.
I’m sitting on the floor – pavement – here in Promenada mall in Chiang Mai – hoping that I make it to get a queue (number) for my daughter to convert her tourist visa into an education visa. This has been about the fourth or fifth day of this saga – depending on how you count it (some days we didn’t count as we couldn’t get a number).
But today is the deadline. If we’re not able to get the number today I’ll have to fly Maggie out of Thailand and then back in and start the whole immigration process for her over.
Why just Maggie?
Yesterday, we had an agent wait in line for us – and when she got the numbers – they only get let take 1 number – as she was by herself (she said the policies have changed) and the number was only on Miles’s passport. So we spend the morning here yesterday and while both were out of school – only Miles could get it.
So what exactly are we doing here?
The kids (and myself) are still only on tourist visas. Many have asked how we stay in Thailand long term – and this is the process we re going through. We are converting the tourist visa into education visa. And there is a boatload of documents and certifications the school has to provide in order to do that.
The most inefficient part is the numbering system to get into immigration. Seems there isn’t an online system and you simply need to get in line to take a number.
Well – seems the demand is so great – there is a whole business of agents who will wake up bright and early and wait in line for you. We used this before but lost trust in it and now I am doing it myself this morning. Yet, I wasn’t early enough – I woke up a bit before 4am and took a taxi over here – Grab app technically – and there was already a huge line outside of the mall. The mall security won’t let people get into the mall parking lot until 5am.
Once 5am hit – the mall opened the doors to the parking lot – and then we went to get in line outside of the immigration center. Its 6:30am as I type this – and still am sitting on the floor outside of the immigration before it opens typing this up. I am number 9 in the line. So let’s see if I can make it – Wendy was told only 8 per day – but there are at least 5 or 6 people behind me.
I’ll take a break from writing this and update the blog once I get inside and through this nightmare of a process. Only wondering what the next steps are for me – this is only for my kids!
(Adding more info a couple days later). So – we had to give in to the agents, paid them their fee and they have their team to get there at midnight and sleep there and get the number. Thursday morning we got number 4, the agent sent us a Line (wechat style app) 7am and we drove the kids to get our queue number. I squeezed in a bit of writing and work at a cafe and by lunch time we finally had the paperwork submitted.
What exactly is all of htis? What we did was a change visa request – from our kids having a tourist visa and converting it to a student visa. If I had known it was limited to 8 people per day and you have to fight so hard to even get one of the kids – never mind 2 – I would have taken them with me to Yiwu, China or maybe a weekend trip to Malaysia to sightsee and process / change the visa overseas.
But now it is done – the kids didn’t need to fly out (we’re trying to reduce the requirement for the kids to do visa runs) and hopefully it is all finished in time before their tourist visas expire in early October.
If you’re still reading this here with me – isn’t this mind blowing? The struggle to remain in a country. To be an immigrant. I wonder what the right solution to this is – but all I can say is from my experience with Global From Asia blogging and services – to my own experiences – the current immigration system globally seems archaic and broken.
Hope I can be part of the change. To find a better way to let people live and build a life where they are most … happy.