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A Myanmar Pass - How do I get one?
That is the tale of my friend who recently purchased a Myanmar Pass. But, like many in Myanmar, she did not even have an identity document, which is a requirement for a pass. Please be aware that I have translated all expenses herein into THB, but in Myanmar they do not usually trade in any currencies other than the respective currencies denominated in Yahoo! and uS.
Myanmar's commoners can get one of 2 different passes. A first one, known as a "temporary passport", can be purchased in Bangkok for about THB15K, which includes a 2-year entry visas with the standard 90-day boundary jump. However, this pass is only issued for trips between Thailand and Myanmar and must be issued with a work permits (issued after the pass itself) if the pass owner wants to go back to Thailand.
Second is a "real" pass that is everywhere in use. It' much more hard to come by, and the topic of this piece, compiled from my comments on her experience, was made in anticipation of her leaving Yangon. They should realise that there is currently no feasible way to make wire transfer across the Myanmar-Borders.
Please, if your specific person from Myanmar needs a "real" pass, then do everything you can to get an identity document in Thailand and from this point on a Thai one. THB100K could be charged if the rumours were correct, but the costs would not be much higher than the actual costs of getting a Myanmar Pass for a Myanmar national.
To find out how to get a Thai ID, ask the Burmese people in Bangkok, especially the Bangkok Pass Services Tutorial. As you can see, once a Myanmar citizen comes home, it can be very hard for him to cross the same Thai frontier, especially if he does not have a Thai work-pass.
Their case, from zero to the pass, lasted almost a whole months and included a bizantine journey of red tape madness. When you think that the Thai migration is less than a wonder of effectiveness, then you were obviously not in Myanmar. There' s a series of tales on the Internet about folks who haven't even bought THB10K to get a pass.
This may be the case, but it probably holds for Myanmar residents who already have an identity document and the other necessary papers and reside near the Yangon or Mandalay Accesscent. Sometimes, on the basis of their talks with others who have tried, the trial doesn't work at all, so the ambitious passporter has nothing but a big pocket in his bill.
However, on the positive side, it sounds as if most of these failures included a rejection of bribery and that instead the usual 3 wks would be waiting for the pass after all the necessary documents had been filed. So, in theory, if you are paying for quicker facilities, then you will likely get the Passport and generally within a week of typing submission. What's more, you'll be able to get a new one.
Myanmar's transport is miles and miles away inexpensive, but due to the long distance travelled on twisty streets between remote towns or the permanent congestion in the towns, in real figures expesiv. By the way, this one was a policecar, which she said was severely congested.
It is not necessary to hire the policemen to drive your vehicle, but it is useful because it can keep you out of difficulties on the desperate roads between cities. Of course, this is probably a serious breach of my cops' duties, but seriously, this is Myanmar.
She was waiting several nights in her town to be transported to the locals to get an ID document. Finally, when she was able to get a motorcycle with a rider, she would pay via THB2K to get there, provided that her rider would accompany her through the whole identification acquisition as well.
When she arrived, she bribed THB40 to allow her to accept a document bearing her name and her father's name. I' m assuming this is one way to authenticate the certificates of childbirth without a cert. Then she went to another bureau to pick up her ID.
When she waited 4 hrs, she was informed that she needed a "family paper" with the name of the various members of her families and a photograph for the map itself. A loyal motorcyclist, whom I will call Mr. Bike, brought them back to their city to fill out the papers and get photographs, which totaled THB80.
After that she went back to the cops and bribed THB 120 to ensure her adoption. She' s been informed she needs a CBC. Then the next morning she went back to the cops. It was at this point that she was informed that she needed a piece of writing from her own college, which she had been attending as a kid and which she had abandoned many years ago.
After another lesson she came to her college on Mr. Bike. Sent it to another administration to get the postmarked form and explained that he did not know what information it had to contain. Then she took Mr. Bike to the station.
Upon her arrival, she encountered a woman who said that although she knew how to spell the debt instrument, she could not authenticate it because she did not have the formal seal of the university. This would require another visit to the academy. She and Mr. Bike found her shut down when they returned to college.
Understanding and saying that he would like to cancel the paper, but that the governor must sign it because he did not know how. So once again, the couple went back to the administration offices. Luckily, the offices were still open when they got here. that he kept the seal in college.
So, the group went back there, whereupon they received their signed certificate. Then Mr. Bike took her back to the cops for an hours, which was locked on her arrival. Then she presented the postmarked newspaper. The officer responsible for her case, however, said that the newspaper was inaccurate.
Over the next few lessons he switched between typing some words on a piece of hard copy as was necessary for her identity document, having dinner, chatting with colleagues and just sitting down in another one. Eventually he said she needed another piece of papers that could only be handled by another police officer who was out for dinner.
Hour later, just before the store closed, the officers came back. Looking at the stamps on old stationery, he said it was useless, probably because she quit college so many years ago. And then he stamps the stack of paperwork related to her case. Then the first police man issued an ID on site.
This is not the kind of forgery-proof ID that could be found in other states. This was more of a glamorous name badge that a kindergarten teacher could wear on the first lesson of schoolday. Half an hours later he was ready and gave her the map. This" ID card" is like a calling cards with a photograph, so it had to be lamination, which THB15 had to pay for before she came home on Mr. Bike.
They had, however, said that more documentation was needed. They needed a document to be taken to the Yangon Pass Inspector. From what I can tell, it was an approval form that gave the holder the right to a pass. Which idiot system demands the approval of its people by their own mob - I mean, the policemen's department - to get a pass?
Myanmar system! They had asked her to come back to the precinct three nights later to get this scandal. When she returned to the train she did, however, meet another officer who advised her that she needed another one. Then another cop stumped it, and the first cop fell into a tablet on his desktop.
You were fortunate that the cops as a group were so rotten that they decided not to be there. Then she knew they had to go to a second policestation to deposit these documents. The second stop was reached after a fast THB60 for copying in the near-store.
One officer refused the duplicates on the grounds that four were necessary. THB 160 and half an hours later they went back to the second stop. A civil servant told her that they only wanted to help her and did not want to ask for a corruption. Then the officer postmarked their papers and reiterated that he was not looking for a bribery, but it was a common practice for the locals to recover THB4K in the form of hard copy sales charges.
It' s difficult to believe, considering that the formal cost of a pass is 22 USD (yes, twenty-two dollars). It was now ready to go to Yangon to see the infamous Passamt. Only THB220 (in her case more, as she was to be escorted by a small entourage), but she had to rent a vehicle to go to the school.
It is a non-trivial job in the countryside of Myanmar and took about 10 working nights of time. Eventually she got a drive out, and many a few hour later, and impurity washed over. To be realistic, one could spend a good nights in a proper Yangon establishment at such a low rate.
Incidentally, as for the meal, we guess it was about THB3200 for her group for 8 nights in Yangon. Concerning the Yangon cabs, it was THB3K. Eventually she made her way to the immigration authority and paid THB200 on presentation of the first requested document, then THB800 after the second and THB80 after the third, then THB40 to persuade a police officer to give a document to another police officer.
By the time this was completed, she was said she could either be paying THB24K (yes, twenty-four thousand Bahts, correspondingly in Kyoto or USD) or waiting 21 whole day (and possibly never receiving a passport). She was clever enough to get the money, and she was said that the pass would be finished in four working nights.
Then she got another piece of writing (oh, joy!) and said to take it to another school. When THB80 had taken a cab, she came to the new offices and saw another officer. That officer asked again where she was going (i.e. how wealthy are you because of your relationships?), to which she answered "Thailand" again, then maybe somewhere else if she was saving it.
and sent her to a third room. Eventually she was asked to come back in 4 working nights to pick up her pass. Surprisingly, she was able to pick it up on time. It was planned to leave their family at the coach terminal and then drive to the Aiport.
Much as I valued their effort to help me earn my living and a journey to Yangon, I knew better. This was after all a regime that only a few years ago had killed countless individuals. Myanmar's Visa-on-arrival system is widely considered to be a malfunction.
All this, in additon to all the meals we had in Yangon and the cabs we took, the costs were about THB25K. Yes, I shudder at the thought of a Stan Linist administration that knows the name of my friend's relatives and knows exactly when and how she leaves the land, but there is nothing to do about it.
After experiencing the complete swamp of the Myanmar administration through their efforts and first-hand experiences, I am much less upbeat than the bunch of people who are currently here. It is not China: it is not an authority that is at least wise enough to organise itself. Mr President, I have published this in the hope that I can help even one individual to prevent the poverty that this administration has caused us, which is trite in comparison with the everyday lives of most of its people.
This is really an unbelievably sad trial to go through and which draws an even poorer image of Myanmar's red tape than I had hoped.