I haven’t been back to Ireland in well over 2 years so I’m looking forward to going there in December. Our main reason for choosing this time of year is so that my son can experience an Irish Christmas with our family over there. It does mean taking him out of school for a few weeks, but my wife and I feel that it will be worth it. This could be his last chance as a child to experience this time of year in Dublin because taking him out of school as he gets older will be more of a big deal. Timmy was in Ireland for Christmas 2009, but he was then too young to appreciate it.
Irish Immigration and Their Love of Hoops
In order for us to be able to go to Ireland in December we will first need to get my wife a tourist visa. Up until a few years ago the wife or husband of an Irish national could easily obtain this type of visa – in fact they were entitled to an Irish passport if they wanted. This has now changed and my wife is treated like any other Thai person who wants to visit Ireland – i.e. made to jump through lots of hoops.
I wrote a blog post a couple of years ago about the hassles we needed to go through in order to get my wife an Irish holiday visa. It seemed unnecessarily complicated but now they’ve added additional hoops for my family to jump through. As well as all the documents that were previously required we now need additional paperwork including:
– My bank statements for the last six months
– My wife’s bank statement for the last six months
– My wife’s house book (tabian baan) with a copy translated into English
– Evidence of travel insurance
– Utility bills from my home in Ireland (even though I have not lived there for 12 years!)
– Evidence of flight booked.
Another new requirement is that we turn up to the Irish Consulate in person in order to apply whereas before we could do everything by post. This means that I’ll lose a day of work. I will also need to hunt down an official translator to have my wife’s documents translated into English. After these hoops have been cleared we will then have to wait for a few weeks to hear if the visa has been granted.
Demands for an Irish Holiday Visa for my Thai Wife are Unfair
It might sound like I’m whining about having to provide a bit of paperwork, but I do feel that this whole system put in place by immigration is unfair. Irish people can just turn up in Thailand and get a holiday visa on arrival – the only documentation required for this is their passport. I thought these visa agreements were meant to be reciprocal? Oa is married to an Irish citizen, and is the mother of an Irish citizen, yet she is expected to provide a mountain of paperwork and assurances just to get a lousy holiday visa. I just don’t understand it. Ireland is hardly the land of milk and honey these days now the economy has tanked. My wife has been there twice already and had no problem sticking to the conditions of her visa. So why all the extra documentation? Oa doesn’t understand why Irish people can come to Thailand so easily yet it is so difficult for her to travel to Ireland – I can’t give her an answer.
The Irish Consulate here in Bangkok wants evidence that we’ve booked our flights but they do not want us to pay for it until the visa is granted. This is unreasonable because it is difficult these days to book a flight without first paying for it. In order to get a good deal I’ve already needed to pay over 3,000 euros on a non-refundable ticket. This means that if my wife’s visa is not granted I’ll lose a huge chunk of money.
I don’t expect there to be any problems with Irish immigration granting my wife’s holiday visa for Ireland this year but who knows. It does bother me that the demands for obtaining this visa are increasing every time we apply for it. The people we deal with at the Irish Consulate in Bangkok are consistently friendly and helpful but the demands coming from higher up the immigration chain are unreasonable and unfair.