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A Hard Job Of Volunteering

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I haven't run across this twist in reading though the forums, so thought to try for some guidance here.

I'm in the Kingdom on a multi-entry "O" good until near the end of 2009. The "O" is the result of agreeing to give a few volunteer lectures for a charitable group. To volunteer, I needed a work permit, which has been applied for but not come through yet, and more paperwork has been requested before it will be issued.

I've been here for a few months without volunteering or doing anything resembling work and actually just returned from a business trip outside, so my current stamp is good for another ninety days. The volunteer work is scheduled to take place before that time is up, assuming a wp comes through. There is a possibility they will ask me to do more (the written agreement ends in May) or that a similar group will invite the same, but I don't believe I'm interested.

The short of it is that though I began with the best of intentions (as do we all) I'm being put through a lot of hoops in order to give away my time and while the host group is legitimate and well-intended it has a lot of internal politics (shocking) that don't concern me and that I'd rather stay away from. What started out as a friendly gesture is turning into a real pain.

I'm over 55 and from the States. My visa was issued at a Consulate there. Before the request to volunteer came up I was planning to apply for a retirement "O" . My income in the States is verifiable (trusting tax returns suffice) and my need to be there only seasonal. I can deposit the 800,000 baht if needed and have a Thai bank account, though naturally would like to be able to qualify with a combination of balance and income to limit my baht exposure in the current economic climate. Thailand is a good geographical base for my work with paying clients in other parts of Asia. I've been here often for a number of years on shorter term visas or visa exemptions.

So the practical questions:

1. If I pull out on the agreement to volunteer before the work permit comes through (a gentle and diplomatic reverse version of "the buffalo is ill"), I may feel like a rat but does that affect my current visa? The volunteer agreement expires many months before the visa.

2. If I decide the buffalo is ill after the work permit is issued but before I pick it up, is that a problem and does it matter if I actually don't do the "work" after all?

3. If the visa I have remains good until the date of expiry, am I correct in thinking the best time to convert to the retirement "O" is when renewal comes up? I'll be in the States at that time anyway, but should I make the conversion in Thailand before it runs out?

4. On the cautious (paranoid?) outside, while I doubt the organization would have any interest in causing hassles for me in the future if I don't follow through now, is that a possibility?

Thanks for any recommendations.

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You should do the extension here. Since you already have a non immigrant visa already it will be easy.

You can apply within the last 30 days of any or your entries.

For proof of income you will only need an income affidavit from the US embassy in Bangkok or the consulate in Chiang Mai. You will not need any proof because you are making a sworn statement that what's on it is true and correct.

Just be sure your the amount is equal to or greater than 65,000 baht per month.

You should open a local bank account and transfer some funds into it. Some immigration offices want to see a bank book to show you have the funds coming in and withdrawls.

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