New Process for BOI visa transfer at the Once Stop Service Center

Thailand Immigration Alert – New Process for BOI visa transfer at the Once Stop Service Center and visa renewal problems at Chaengwattana

Effective February 14, 2017, the process for the visa transfer from an old passport to a new passport has now changed for Board of Investment (BOI) sponsored visa holders who use the One Stop Service Center (OSSC). This change affects those who have only been granted a visa until the expiration date of their old passport, even though they are entitled to a longer visa validity period as per their BOI approval letter. Under the change, the BOI will no longer automatically enter the full visa validity period into the new passport. Instead, the visa holder will need to follow a two-part process:

After obtaining a new passport, the visa holder must first have the existing visa transferred from the old passport into the new passport at the OSSC. Once the old visa has been transferred, the applicant must submit an application to request a new visa stamp at the OSSC. The new visa extension stamp will be given for the remaining work authorization period as granted in the BOI approval letter. After obtaining the extended visa, new reentry permits should also be obtained in order to maintain the visa when travelling overseas.

As a result, applicants must be prepared for longer waiting times at the OSSC because the existing visa must first be transferred before the visa holder is eligible to obtain the queue number for visa extension. The processing time could take an estimated 4-5 hours.

If visa holders wish to shorten the time spent at the OSSC, the first part of the process can be handled by a representative. In this case, all required documents should be sent to the representative before the planned appointment date to make the visa transfer. On the day of the appointment, the visa transfer can be concluded before the applicant arrives. The waiting time will be shortened to approximately 2 hours.

Note: Although the BOI approves the visa period beyond the validity of passport, the visa holder is eligible to stay in Thailand only until the endorsed visa date in the passport. If the visa holder remains in Thailand after the visa expiry date in the passport, he/she is considered to have overstayed his/her Thai visa.

Problems Encountered with Visa Extensions through Regular Process at Chaengwattana

Situation:
Recently, Thai companies applying for long-term visa extensions for foreign work permit holders through the Immigration Bureau at Chaengwattana through the regular process have encounter problems and delays. In a number of cases, the required documents such as certified tax forms, photographs of the company premises, and company leases have been rejected for reasons that appear to be overly stringent or inconsistent. For example, one company that has submitted the same office photograph for the past six years had the photo rejected this year. The stricter scrutiny could be a result of the Immigration Bureau discovering fraudulent documents. However, this scrutiny is putting a serious burden on companies and visa holders who need to spend extra time obtaining and resubmitting documents. In some cases, visa extensions have been declined. Note: This problem has not occurred with applications made through the One Stop Service Center (OSSC).

Solution:
We highly recommend that all required documents for visa extensions at the Immigration Bureau be carefully prepared as far in advance as possible. We also recommend that the persons applying for visa extensions submit their applications at least two weeks before the visa expiration date in order to give extra time to obtain additional or revised documents, if required. Note: The visa holder is only permitted to apply for a visa extension 30 days before the visa expires

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