As many foreigners are starting to find out, as of 25th March this year there has been a recent policy decision to start enforcing section 38 of the 1979 immigration Act, primarily relating foreigners and their residence in Thailand. This is also referred to as “TM30 reporting”.
Section 38 of the act requires, “House owners, heads of household, landlords or managers of hotels who accommodate foreign nationals on a temporary basis who stay in the kingdom legally, must notify the local immigration authorities within 24 hours from the time of arrival of the foreign national.”
This new focus will become a lot more relevant to foreigners when they have to renew their visas and work permits, as Immigration is now expecting to see a TM30 form. If this is not produced at the moment the impact ranges from nothing to the delay or refusal of work permit and visa applications and renewals.
The basic rule is that the owner or lease holder of any premises in Thailand must report the presence of any foreigner who stays overnight at their premises, within 24 hours of the foreigner’s arrival. Failure to report can mean a fine of Baht 800 to 2,000 against the premises owner or lease holder (Baht 10,000 if a hotel) along with possible refusal by the Immigration Department to process applications for visa or work permit issue or renewals by the foreigner concerned.
Technically, all foreigners are required to be reported within 24 hours of arrival at a premises in Thailand. The good news is at the present time, there are some exceptions although these need to be confirmed (detailed below).
PROCEDURE AND RESPONSIBILITY
Landlords/House Owner/Head of Household/Managers Role:
- Property-owner including rental apartments (manager can do on owner’s behalf) to register with Immigration Office online to ensure they can report in a timely manner. The link is https://extranet.immigration.go.th/fn24online/# and should be completed using Chrome
- The owners (or managers on their behalf) are the only ones that can apply for an online login username and password. Once ready, they can simply log-in and register all new guests and tenants.
- Listing the property through property rental agency does not absolve their responsibility. If the agency does not follow through on the registration of guests renting property, they will be charged with the fine.
- The report must be done within 24 hours of the time of the foreigner’s arrival.
- Document from Immigration to be kept up-to-date and available for usage. This can be electronic or paper.
- Foreigners are responsible to inform their landlords of their arrival into the country or from their overnight visit to hotel as soon as they are back from trip.
- The information to be provided to landlords/agents are:
- Your passport details: Full-name, Passport number
- Personal information: Date of Birth, Sex, Nationality
- Visa details: Type of visa, Expiration date
- Other specific details: Arrival Card, Port of Entry
- Foreigners should request for the proof of Registration once the landlord has done the report. This can be in electronic form or copy.
- You may require this document in order to renew your visa, report 90 days, or any Immigration related process.
These exceptions include:
- Permanent residents of Thailand are not required to be registered either on their arrivals or under the Standard 90 day reporting process. Permanent residence used to be a regular process for those staying for extended periods in Thailand;
- Those with diplomatic status are already registered and closely monitored by the relevant authorities. The same applies to international civil servants and visiting official technical experts;
- Special categories of work permit holders are also reported to be exempt from registration. These individuals are those whose work permits are handled by the “One-Stop Service Center” at Chamchuri Square, designed for Board of Investment privilege holders; Smart visa holders, and also some companies with large capitalisation. (We are trying to confirm this at the moment)
- Foreign personal owners of property titles have also been reported to be exempt. These property owners will normally be condominium owners (not lease holders). Such foreign individuals will already be registered on house registration books (“tabien baan”) and mostly be holders of retirement visas, or stay permits linked to work permits. For foreigners have acquired condominiums in the name of a spouse or partner, in which case that person is required to register the foreigner in the capacity of property owner host. The exemption of condominium owners is uncertain and owners need to re-confirm their exemptions directly with Immigration authorities.
How can you register?
The documents that an applicant should present are the following:
- Copy of passport information page relating to the foreigner. This can be a copy but should be signed by the passport holder and dated;
- Copy of the page showing the arrival stamp placed on the passport at the time of arrival of the foreigner. This needs to be dated not longer than 24 hours before reporting. However if the foreigner arrives on a Friday night , Saturday or Sunday, an application may be lodged on the following Monday. If that Monday happens to be a public holiday, the next day Tuesday may be acceptable. Likewise, public holidays allow for time limit extensions.
- But what if the foreigner stayed overnight at a hotel, and then moves on to stay, for example, with friends, who are obliged to register their guest?Some evidence of the previous registration should be available and submitted as part of the application. Where a foreigner has stayed in other accommodation but has not been registered, then moves to a new location which proceeds to register the foreigner, the owner, lessor or host may be subject to a fine;
- The departure portion of the TM6 arrival/departure card submitted to Immigration on arrival should also be submitted for endorsement as evidence of correct submission of a TM30 declaration.
- Documents to be submitted in respect of the owner or lessor are complex and voluminous, including the following:
- A copy of the title deed of the property where the foreigner stays may be required although this is not always demanded;
- A copy of the purchase and sale agreement relating to the property may be required as a substitute for the title deed;
- If a company is the owner of the property where the foreigner resides, a copy of the company affidavit (“nang sue rab rong”) is required;
- A power of attorney authorising the person representing the company is required;
- A personal identification of the power of attorney holder is required, usually an Identity Card.
There are three possibilities for registration, as follows:
- The Immigration Department, Chaeng Wattana for Bangkok, or provincial Immigration offices are the normal locations for registration.
- The Chaeng Wattana office has two counters for TM30 registration, accommodating at least 300 applicants per day, each registering one or more individuals;
- On-line registration is permitted, with copies of all required documents. On-line applicants will need to register and obtain a code number in advance; https://extranet.immigration.go.th/fn24online/#
- Application by registered post is permitted.
- This must also be performed within 24 hours of arrival, with copies of all documents.
If the registration is performed more than 24 hours after arrival, and a fine is therefore payable, then the registration must be performed in person by the owner, lessor or power of attorney holder so that the fine can be paid and a receipt issued.
Prepared by Mr. Simon Wetherell, Director at AustCham Thailand; Australian Visas Thailand
For further information from the property market, see this guide from AustCham Member, Wandee (Lekky) Iamyoung, 1D Property