Monday, 4 July 2011

Visa Fee - Another Money Making Scam?

***Amendment 30/08/11 - Well maybe the Embassy are reading my blog :) from earlier this month the rate being applied by the Embassy has been changed to 50thb to the £.  Still not quite the more realistic 48 but its a start***

Can anyone remember the last time they were getting 52thb to the pound in Thailand?  It certainly hasn't been within the last two years from what I can remember.  Yet that is the current exchange rate being applied to visa fee's by the UK Embassy in Bangkok "These fees are effective for all visa applications made from 6 April 2011. The consular rate of exchange is 52 Baht [THB] to £1". 

The UKBA website sets the settlement visa fee at £810 or 42120thb using their out of date exhange rate of 52thb to the £.  In reality, using the ACTUAL rate which is more like 48.5thb, that makes the fee substantially more at around £868. 
Given that the Embassy process hundreds of visa's every month, that difference in fee must be making them thousands of pounds over and above what they should be charging than if the fee's were linked to current exchange rates.  For example, the statistics for processing visa's found on the guidance to processing times, claims that 146 settlement visa decisions were made in May.  146x the difference of £58 would make the Embassy £8.5k more than they should be charging by using the current rates.  Surely it would be a much more fair system to regularly update the exhange rate, even on a monthly basis?
I can't help but feel that the government are maintaining the out of date rate as another way of squeezing even more money from those that have no choice but to pay.  Afterall, what price do you put on being able to join your loved ones in the UK?


  1. It doesn't surprise me. However, nothing will get done unless people start kicking up a fuss....petition maybe? What is this visa for, a thai settling in the UK?

  2. Yes this is for a settlement visa for my Thai wife to come live with me in the UK. However because its an exchange rate issue it will apply to all visa categories be it visit, work etc

  3. The problem with complaining or petitioning about stuff like this is that, once you've paid it and, hopefully, got your visa, it stops being a problem, for you anyway!

    Just another example of how 'our' government nicks a little bit here and there. It all adds up!

    Thieving bastards is what they are!

    Good luck with everything Steve :-)

  4. Cheers Biff, Same to you with your wife's visit visa. The exchange rate has gone down a little again recently so it's becoming even more expensive. Yet the 52baht embassy rate still remains unchanged. The rate only needs to fall a little more and the actual charge will be £100 over the published fee. Not fair but we have no choice.
    I agree that when we have the visa in the bag it may all seem irrelevant. But for now its a hard thing to have to take on top of all the other hoops the embassy are making us jump through


  5. The whole thing is a money-making scam. Why on earth should it cost 800 pounds to process a visa?

    They know that people will do anything to bring their family members over and will pay whatever the government asks.

  6. This was brought up on one of the Thai forums recently. The question was, why is a settlement visa so much more expensive than a visit visa when the processing is almost exactly the same. Some will argue that the higher fee is to discourage fake applications. Others suggest it is to cover the cost of other areas of immigration like such as the "illegals"