Newsletter No. 11 (EN)

90 Days Reporting for Foreigners
in Thailand

 

March 2022

 

 

Although Lorenz & Partners always pays great attention on updating information provided in newsletters and brochures we cannot take responsibility for the completeness, correctness or quality of the information provided. None of the information contained in this newsletter is meant to replace a personal consultation with a qualified lawyer. Liability claims regarding damage caused by the use or disuse of any information provided, including any kind of information which is incomplete or incorrect, will therefore be rejected, if not generated deliberately or grossly negligent.

 

I. Overview

 

In case that a foreigner stays in Thailand for more than 90 days, he or his representative has to send a written notice to the Immigration Bureau upon completion of every 90 days period to inform the authority about his place of stay according to the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979) Section 37(5).

 

The foreigner or his representative can inform the Immigration Bureau 15 days before or 7 days after the exact date. If he fails to report in time, he has to report by himself and he will be subject to a fine not exceeding THB 5,000 and a daily fine not exceeding THB 200 until complete rectification according to Section 76.

 

However, in practice, the actual fine will be THB 2,000 if the he reports by himself.  In case he is being caught while trying to leave the Kingdom the fine will be THB 4,000.

 

Furthermore, in order to ensure the safety of the foreigner as well as the safety of the Kingdom of Thailand, the Immigration Act provides the following regulations governing the stay of foreigners:

 

  1. The foreigner shall stay at the place reported to the immigration authority, except where it is with a reasonable cause, not possible to stay at the said place, in which case the change of the place of stay must be reported to the immigration authority within 24 hours from the time of moving, according to Section 37 (2):

 

“Section 37 (2): [The foreigner shall] stay at the place as indicated to the competent official. Where there is proper reason that he cannot stay at the place as indicated to the competent official, he shall notify the competent official of the change resident, within 24 hours from the time of removing to said place.”

 

  1. If the foreigner changes his place of stay he has to report at the local police station(s) within 24 hours after such change.

 

“Section 37(3): [The foreigner shall] notify the police official of the local police station where such foreigner resides, within 24 hours from the time of arrival. In the case of a change in residence in which new residence is not located the same area with the police station, [the foreigner] must notify the police official of the police station for that area within 24hours from the time of arrival.”

 

  1. In case the foreigner travels to any other province and will stay longer than 24 hours, he shall report to the police authority at the police station of that locality within 48 hours from the time of arrival according to Section 37 (4).

“Section 37(4): If the foreigner travels to any province and will stay there longer than 24 hours, such foreigner must notify the police official of the police station for that area within 48 hours from the time of arrival.”

NOTE: However, according to a Police Department Regulation effective since 30 May 1979, an exemption for reporting according to Section 37 (3) and (4) applies to foreigners who received permission to stay temporarily under certain purposes of stay as follows:

  • Diplomatic or consular mission
  • Official duties
  • Tourism
  • Sports
  • Business
  • Investment which has been approved by the ministries or departments concerned
  • Investment or other affairs connected with an investment under the law governing investment promotion
  • Traveling through Thailand to another country
  • Crewmembers
  • Study or observation
  • Scientific research or teaching in a research or educational institution in the Kingdom
  • Performance of skilled or expert work
  • Mass media
  • Missionary work under the concurrence of the ministries and departments concerned

 

  1. The householder, owner or possessor of the place or the manager of the hotel must report to the immigration authority of the local immigration office within 24 hours from the time the said foreigner moves in according to Section 38.

 

“Section 38: The house-master, the owner or the possessor of the residence or the hotel manager where the foreigner, receiving permission to stay temporarily in the Kingdom has stayed, must notify the competent official of the Immigration Office located in the same area with that house, dwelling place or hotel, within 24 hours from the time of arrival of the foreigner concerned.  If there is no Immigration Office located in that area, the local official for that area must be notified.”

 

If the host does not report to the officer within the said period, he will be liable to a fine of THB 4,000 in practice, even though the law states in Section 77 that he shall be liable to a fine not exceeding THB 2,000, or if the said person is the manager of the hotel he shall be liable to a fine ranging from THB 2,000 to THB 10,000.

 

“Section 77: Whoever fails to comply with Section 38 shall be liable to a fine not exceeding THB 2,000, but if the said person is the manager of the hotel he shall be liable to a fine ranging from THB 2,000 to THB 10,000.”

 

Since 1 April 2015, foreigners who stayed in Thailand over 90 days can make their 90 days report online. Applicants can submit this online application within 15 days and not less than 7 days before the due date of notification at www.immigration.go.th.   

 

The applicant needs to fill in the information in the online application as follows:

 

  • Passport number;
  • Personal information ( Name, Birthday, Nationality );
  • Arrival Card Number;
  • Date of arrival in Thailand;
  • Mode of transport which the applicant used when last entering Thailand (i.e. via air, land or sea);
  • Vehicle number.  

 

After submitting the online application, the applicant can check the application status via aforementioned website. The application should be approved within 7 working days.

 

When the application has been approved, the applicant will receive the receipt of notification directly online showing the due date for the next 90 days report. The applicant should print out and keep this notification in his passport.

 

In case the application is not approved, the applicant has to submit the application again at the nearest Immigration Office and has to bring his original passport, departure card (TM.6) and completed TM.47 form for the submission.

 

For advice or assistance for using the online service, you can call the Immigration Service      Hotline at 1178 or 1111

 

Conclusion

 

The Immigration Act from 1979 has not yet been amended, although there has been a press release stating that there were some considerations, concerns and efforts. However, the proposed amendments are not yet effective and therefore unenforceable.

Accordingly, any foreigner who is permitted to stay in the Kingdom temporarily and stays in the Kingdom longer than 90 days has to report to the Immigration Bureau for each and every 90 days period. 

 

Moreover, if a foreigner stays at a different place than informed to the Immigration Bureau (the address written in the Custom Card submitted to the Immigration Officer upon arrival in Thailand), the law states that such foreigner should also report to the Immigration Bureau. 

 

These reporting regulations may be time-consuming for foreigners, but since the Immigration Bureau is acting quite seriously on 90 days reporting, these regulations should not be overlooked since they are still effective and binding by law.  Furthermore, in case of emergency and other necessary purposes, it might be helpful if the Immigration Bureau has the foreigner’s contact information.

 

Attachment: 1

Translation of the Immigration Bureau Press Release Regarding the 90 days reporting to the Immigration Bureau on October 30th, 1998 at 15:00 p.m.

               

Since the announcement of the Penalty Committee of the Immigration regard­ing the adjustment of the Penalty fee for any person who is at fault according to the Immigration Act 37(2),(3),(4)and (5), in case where foreigner does not report at the place, and time according to the law, they will be subject to fine of :

 

  • Baht 2,000 if he personally reports to the authority (Baht 1,000 was the previous rate)
  • Baht 4,000 and daily fine of Bath 200 for each day exceeding the time limit if he is caught by the authorities (the old rate was Baht 2,000 and daily fine of Baht 100)

 

This announcement is effective as of October 1, 1998.

 

Before this announcement was made, the BOI organised a seminar for foreigners who are doing business or residing in Thailand. During this seminar, the representative of the immigration Bureau made the announcement to all the participants. Since then there have been many foreigners reporting to the Immi­gration Bureau. Some of the foreign communities are able to comply with the law but a majority still cannot.

 

Therefore some of them were fined at the new rate and this caused a lot of dis­satisfaction among the foreigners who blamed the Immigration Bureau for not notifying them beforehand. However, in reality, this Act has been enforced by the bureau since the date it promulgated as an Act. In addition the foreigners should know this law already since there is a warning written on the Arrival/Departure Card that everybody has in their passport. (Note number 5 of the TMG).

 

However, there is a certain number of foreigners, investors who are residing in Thailand confused by this Act. They have made many inquiries to several places regarding the enforcement of this Act. The Deputy Secretary of the Board of Trade, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, the Taiwanese Business Community and Canadian Chamber of Commerce arranged a meeting with the General Commissioner of the Immigration Bureau for the purpose of clarifica­tion.

 

The General Commissioner of the Immigration has been notified of the matter and would like to clarify as follows:

 

  1. The Immigration Bureau understands the problem foreigners have regarding this Act and would like to reduce the problem by taking the following actions:

 

  • The Immigration Bureau has already written an urgent memo to the Penalty Committee requesting the reduction of the fine so that the one who does not report will not have to be subjected to such a huge amount.

 

  • Supply the new rules for reporting to the Immigration so that it will not be so much of a burden for the foreigner and at the same time compromising the security of the country. The Immigration has submitted the following regulations

 

  • Foreigners residing in Thailand more than one year have to report once a year. This is a change from the previous 90 days counting from the date that the foreigner arrives in Thailand.
  • If any foreigner changes his/her address they should report to the Immigration the new address within 72 hours counting from the time of moving.
  • For foreigners who stay in Thailand not more than a year or within one year, it will be the duty of the owner of the condominium, apartment, guesthouse and hotel to report to the Immigration within 24 hours counting from the time of moving in.

 

  1. Any foreigner, who complies with the law, has to report to the Immigra­tion every 90 days.

 

  1. In the case where any foreigner does not comply with the law, they should wait for the agreement between the Immigration Bureau and its Penalty Committee. The Immigration Bureau has already submitted its suggestion for changes in this Act for the new revised amount of fine as an urgent matter and it should be corrected as soon as possible. However, the office in charge of this matter cannot use his/her judgement in reducing the fine.

If you report to the Immigration officers, they will proceed according to the present amount of fine. If they don’t, the officers will be neglecting their duties and charged with negligence.

 

Apart from this press release, the Immigration Bureau has already explained to all the Chambers for example, Taiwanese, Japanese and Canadian to help eliminating the confusion.

 

If there is a case of any body try to abuse the Immigration Bureau’s authority to check on any foreigners regarding this 90 days please inform the Immigra­tion so that legal action can be done from the Immigration bureau.

 

 

 

We hope that the information provided in this newsletter was helpful for you.
 If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

 LORENZ & PARTNERS Co., Ltd.
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