Tighter Passport Renewal Restrictions by Military Council Pose Challenges for Overseas Students

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U Htoo Chit, the Executive Director of the Education and Development Foundation, has expressed concern that Myanmar students studying in Thailand, may face difficulties due to further restrictions on passport renewal at the Consulate General Office in Chiang Rai Thailand.

The Consulate General’s Office issued a statement on April 17 stating that individuals seeking to renew their passports in Thailand, particularly for passport types such as passport for visit (PV) and passport for education (PE), must provide letter of endorsements in order to remain in the country legally.

“Some of the information they are now demanding is difficult to provide. I’m worried that students who can’t provide the proof they require , will lose their rights to renew their passport, “ said U Htoo Chit.

The Consulate General’s Office issued a statement on April 17 stating that individuals seeking to renew their passports in Thailand, particularly for passport types such as passport for visit (PV) and passport for education (PE), must provide letter of endorsements in order to remain in the country legally.

To renew a passport, six essential documents are required, including a letter of endorsement from the police station in the area where you reside in Myanmar, a letter of endorsement from the ward administrator, a letter of endorsement from a gazetted officer, a letter of endorsement from parents with National Registration Citizen (NRC) cards, a resume detailing the actions taken while abroad, and proof of attendance at school. These documents must be provided along with other necessary documents for regular passport renewal.

A first-year student at Mae Fah Luang University in Chiang Rai expressed concern that obtaining the necessary endorsements for passport renewal might be almost impossible..

She explained, “I have not lived in my own country for a long time. It’s a bit difficult to get a letter of endorsement and other letters of endorsement from the police station in my area. And now that politics is in a mess, I’m a little afraid that there will be accusations like that about whether you really went to school, and are you in the revolution.”

The Military Council has stated that these restrictions have been imposed because they suspect individuals of being involved in the ongoing revolution in Myanmar.

U Htoo Chit noted that obtaining a letter of endorsement for passport renewal also requires a letter of endorsement from a gazetted officer, which may pose a greater challenge for students studying in Thailand.

“What I noticed when renewing a passport is that Myanmar needs a letter of endorsement from a gazetted officer. So if the gazetted officer is not your relative or brother or sister, will he give you that letter of endorsement? If some of the students he endorsed are related to other political organizations and political activities, will that person be punished. So we are concerned about those issues,” said U Htoo Chit.

Each year, tens of thousands of students from Myanmar come to Thailand to pursue their education. With the current political situation in Myanmar, there are limited educational opportunities available, prompting an increasing number of individuals to seek education abroad.

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