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Hi,

I was just wondering if anyone knows what the proceedure is for Myanmar nationals renewing their passports overseas?

I'd like to share some of my knowledge, as it's pretty dam_n annoying. I really welcome your experiences and bits of advice...

- For starters Myanmar nationals only get a first passport with a validity of three years.

- Next - and this is the obscene part - they have to PAY TAX to the government for every month they are out of the country. Officially, this is set at 10% of a person's salary. The embassy said that my girlfriend has to pay tax, and she doesn't even draw a salary (let alone a taxable one) because she's a student - nevertheless they quoted her a figure of 600 Baht per month!!!

- Then, when Myanmar citizens want to renew their passports before the three year expiry date, they have to pay a $300 processing fee on top of the two and a bit years worth of tax. This figure varies from country to country, but I'm assuming it's about the same here in Thailand.

I'm a bit peeved about having to shovel out all this dosh for basically nothing. We're just waiting for the Australian spouse visa to come through, and once we have that I'm assuming we can hang up the myanmar passport in the dunny...

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The government are more interested in getting foreign exchange from anywhere they can. This is a good idea - just think anyone going on holiday abroad - pays tax, retires abroad pays tax - here in the UK we need all the help we can at the moment!!! Sorry joking!!!

Sounds to me as if you need to get the Oz paperwork and get her away from the Myanmar authorities. Good luck!

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  • 4 months later...

i just found out that it will cost about 20,000 baht to renew a burmese passport - b4,000 for the renewal, and the rest for 'tax'!

but aparently my gf won't actually get a new passport, but a renewal stamp with a new date on it. has anyone had to do this, or knows anyone who can anyone confirm? it seems a bit wierd that you'd have a passport with two dates on it, but this is burma we're dealing with. it's just i don't want to get stopped on the way to australia, after waiting a whole year in thailand with my gf's spouse visa, to be refused travel because of some fuc_ked up country's money making schemes...

anyway of finding out what a passport renewal looks like?

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It's true about the renewal stamp. Not quite sure what is going on at the moment though as they've introduced new passports. The old ones were all hand written, whereas the new ones are supposed to have that electronic thingy that allows them to be scanned.

If you get married, get her registered as your dependant (with the Burmese Embassy), then she will avoid all the tax rubbish, but yes, it is true that they ask them to pay tax. This only happens in certain countries though, as far as I know Bumese in the UK don't have to pay it, but I know Burmese in Singapore do. Might not have to pay it in Australia. As you quite rightly say it is a money making scam, some of these embassies are instructed to pay for themselves and the whims of the Generals, it's not uncommon for some of the Embassies to call people up and charge them more because a General's daughter is in town and wants some shopping...

The prices you mention seem rather high though, is your gf using a broker?

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It's true about the renewal stamp. Not quite sure what is going on at the moment though as they've introduced new passports. The old ones were all hand written, whereas the new ones are supposed to have that electronic thingy that allows them to be scanned.

If you get married, get her registered as your dependant (with the Burmese Embassy), then she will avoid all the tax rubbish, but yes, it is true that they ask them to pay tax. This only happens in certain countries though, as far as I know Bumese in the UK don't have to pay it, but I know Burmese in Singapore do. Might not have to pay it in Australia. As you quite rightly say it is a money making scam, some of these embassies are instructed to pay for themselves and the whims of the Generals, it's not uncommon for some of the Embassies to call people up and charge them more because a General's daughter is in town and wants some shopping...

The prices you mention seem rather high though, is your gf using a broker?

great information!

the laws in thailand and myanmar don't permit us to marry legally, so we applied for an australian spouse visa whilst living together in thailand. do you know if her visa application that will count towards not paying the tax at the bangkok embassy (i'm guessing no)?

also, as part of her spouse visa application, i understand that she will be eligible for permanent residency two years after the spouse visa has been granted (providing she lives in australia for all of that time, and we're still together, etc). i've heard that permanent residents of australia from myanmar (even though they still hold a myanmar passport), may not have to pay the tax on a passport renewal. can anyone confirm this?

thanks again dagonkhan :)

and no, she didn't use a broker, but she managed to bring the price down. she's been on a student visa, but i don't think that comes into it. they quoted 500 baht per month tax, which is what i heard quoted a few years ago too. any advice on how to get away with paying less would really be appreciated :D

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the laws in thailand and myanmar don't permit us to marry legally, so we applied for an australian spouse visa whilst living together in thailand. do you know if her visa application that will count towards not paying the tax at the bangkok embassy (i'm guessing no)?

You can get married if you throw a bit of money at it! :D Expect to pay around Bt10,000. :) You won't get a letter from the Burmese Embassy, but the Thai Registrar's will do it if you cross their palms with silver. Alternatively you could fly down to Singapore and do it there. I couldn't say about the tax situation, I would hazard a guess that until you get married she will have to pay it.

also, as part of her spouse visa application, i understand that she will be eligible for permanent residency two years after the spouse visa has been granted (providing she lives in australia for all of that time, and we're still together, etc). i've heard that permanent residents of australia from myanmar (even though they still hold a myanmar passport), may not have to pay the tax on a passport renewal. can anyone confirm this?

I'm not familiar with the requirements of Australia I'm afraid. You see, Myanmar has a "double taxation" agreement with quite a few countries, I know the UK is one of them (but I also believe Singapore is as well) and Australia might well be. I think your gf needs to find out from the Myanmar community there in Thailand what the score is with their embassy in Australia. The problem is that it differs, there is no consistency in how they apply their scam!

Think very hard if she (and you) ends up in a position whereby she can get an Australian passport (citizenship), i.e. you get married. The Myanmar Govt. does not allow dual nationality and will strip her of her Burmese nationality if they find out she has become Australian. They will check her Myanmar passport to see that she has all the visas etc and the dates are consecutive, if they're not they will guess she has become an Australian and take her Burmese passport away, along with her NRC (if she has one). I know people who this has happened to, some are unable to travel back here to visit family, others are lucky enough to get a tourist visa to visit. Some lost land, houses and inheritances. I mention this because if you get married and she eventually becomes Australian, should anything happen between the two of you (marriage wise), she may find herself unable to return to Myanmar. Forgive me for pointing out something negative, but I think it's worth considering.

and no, she didn't use a broker, but she managed to bring the price down. she's been on a student visa, but i don't think that comes into it. they quoted 500 baht per month tax, which is what i heard quoted a few years ago too. any advice on how to get away with paying less would really be appreciated

I can't I'm afraid. It all comes down to who you know etc. It is essentially a scam. The problem is that all the staff in the Embassy benefit from this scam, sadly the only people who avoid it are the ones with money (and who have the connections). She can plead for a reduction, but whatever you do don't fight it. Even though you would be right to fight it, your gf will end up paying the price, it's just not worth it. Sorry! :D

I think your gf maybe needs to tap into the local Burmese community a bit more and find out what's what? Just a thought, they're quite good at helping each other out normally.

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