Canadian Expat Faces Deportation For Overstaying His Visa
No matter which expat advice website or book you look at, typically one of the very first pearls of wisdom offered is ‘get your paperwork in order.’ A seemingly simple instruction, but a vital one.
Finding out the Visa conditions of the nation you intend to move to should be done extremely early into the immigration process.
Often, applying for a Visa can take several weeks (in some cases it can even take up to three months) so getting organised early on and knowing what kind of Visa you need, as well as what conditions you have to meet and what documentation you’ll have to produce, is essential.
And staying on top of your paperwork isn’t something that stops once you’ve been granted access to your host nation.
Remaining in a country after your Visa has expired is a criminal offence, punishable by fines, deportation and, occasionally, imprisonment.
64 year old James Nelson is one Canadian expat who has recently learnt just how important having the right paperwork can be.
According to official sources Nelson arrived in Phuket, Thailand, in September 2010 on a Tourist Visa. Although his Visa expired at the end of November that year, Nelson never left.
Acting on a tip-off, immigration officers arrested Nelson yesterday and held him overnight in Tungthong Police Station. He is due to appear in court today.
According to Wattanatorn Bamrungtin, Captain of Tungthong Police, the penalty for such an offence is a fine of 500 baht per day overstayed, with the amount usually being capped at 20,000 Baht.
A two-year jail sentence could also be imposed, and Nelson is almost certainly going to be deported after he’s paid off his fine.
Captain Wattanatorn intimated that Nelson was living off a Canadian pension equivalent to 11,000 Baht a month.
Hundreds of expats like Nelson are believed to be living in Thailand, running the risk of falling foul to these serious penalties.
If you’re living in a country without the correct paperwork, or considering overstaying your Visa, remember that while organising a Visa might be a stressful process at times, it’s certainly less stressful than being caught out.