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‘Better if you do’: Phuket Immigration chief urges foreigners to re-register addresses, even if staying off-island just one night

‘Better if you do’: Phuket Immigration chief urges foreigners to re-register addresses, even if staying off-island just one night

PHUKET: The Chief of the Phuket Immigration Office, Col Kathathorn Kumthieng, has confirmed that all foreigners registered as living in Phuket must re-report their address to immigration after being registered as staying in a hotel within Thailand, even for just one night.

By Shela Riva

Saturday 27 January 2018, 09:00AM

Chief of the Phuket Immigration Offce, Col Kathathorn Kumthieng, urges foreigners to re-register their addresses, just in case. Photo: Shela Riva

Chief of the Phuket Immigration Offce, Col Kathathorn Kumthieng, urges foreigners to re-register their addresses, just in case. Photo: Shela Riva

The confirmation follows complaints from long-term expats that they were fined B2,000 for not re-registering their home addresses after travelling within the country.

“By law, it is a requirement to register your address within 24 hours after being registered elsewhere, such as at a hotel or a guesthouse,” Col Kathathorn told The Phuket News this week.

“This is because the hotel or guest house will have to register you, also by law, as residing somewhere other than your residence. So when you return to your residence, you must inform immigration,” he explained.

The same also applies for foreigners living in Phuket who leave the country and return, say for a weekend trip to Singapore.

Col Kathathorn played down concerns for honest, law-abiding expats.

“Although it is the law, if it’s a short stay, for example a day or two, and nothing happens to prompt officials to check then there usually won’t be a problem,” he said, for stays away from home within the country.

“However, if you become involved in an incident and become a suspect in a case for example, not re-registering your address will be a big problem. So it’s better if you do.”

Regardless, although the overall effect for most foreigners caught not re-registering their address each time on returning home to Phuket might be deemed negligible, foreigners will be liable to a B2,000 fine for each infringement and the incident will remain on their immigration record.

CIBS 2020 - The 25th China (Shanghai) International Boat Show

Col Kathathorn explained that the requirement for foreigners to re-register their address in Thailand, even if they have lived at the same address for many years, derives from an archaic immigration law, specifically Section 37 (2) of the Thailand Immigration Act of 1979.

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

“It must be done because it’s the law. It’s the law in many countries,” Col Kathathorn said.

Col Kathathorn explained that in order to re-report an address, the foreigner must come to Phuket immigration offices, in Phuket Town or in Patong, in person and provide their passport, a filled-in TM30 form and a letter of authorisation – or literally a power of attorney empowering the foreigner to register details on the landlord’s behalf – if the landlord is not present.

“If it’s the same address as they were previously staying, the foreigner does not need to bring the rental contract proving their rental of the residence. We will have that information in the system,” Col Kathathorn noted.

“If you have this letter (of authorisation from the landlord), the landlord does not need to come to immigration,” he added.


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Fascinated | 28 January 2018 - 14:46:15

.... and how does one get a letter of authorisation from the landlord when the landlord lives overseas?

Kurt | 28 January 2018 - 07:34:57

And:... I not have a landlord.
So coming back from Singapore, entering the Kingdom, see the Airport Immigration, handover the TM.6 Arrival Card with my Phuket address on it should be enough. That is my re-registering.
Don't tell me that Phuket Airport Immigration and Phuket Town Immigration are not linked.
If not linked, than the Colonel has a job to do, link it!
Make it Smart 4.0

Fascinated | 28 January 2018 - 00:28:23

Unfortunately most people seem to miss the fact in the story that even the boss himself thinks the law is archaic. Give him a bit of space to sort this out- even though it is the law. I am currently caught in this conundrum after just a couple o nights away from where I have lived for the past 7 years.

Wilma | 27 January 2018 - 19:55:24

Want about my 1 one year visa, its applied to the same address, what ever i going to visit another province or country and return to Thailand.
Immigration have my address already. Why does the computers not share there information ?
The law around should be change to the better and easier way handle.
Does this law also count for people of neighbor countries with borders to Thailand ? 

suave | 27 January 2018 - 18:39:31

I just did a Tm30 at Phuket on Monday after returning from abroad.  All I gave him was the Tm30 form filled in only on the front and my passport and he did his thing and that was that.  It was a madhouse in there though and I had to wait about an hour or so.  A guy came back into the waiting area and stood in front of everyone an tore up his number and threw the remains on the floor and walked out

stegee68 | 27 January 2018 - 17:34:37

your headline states "off island" however i often stay at a hotel in another part of phuket to avoid drink-driving.. does this mean that every time i have a few sherries on a night out i have to go to immigration the following (mon)day to let them know or not??

Christy Sweet | 27 January 2018 - 16:35:08

Calls to Bangkok  have it only if you leave the country-and can be done by mail. So, which is it and why is it not available online? BTW When will there be an Immigration office for us up in the north? It's a death run to  drive down to Phuket Town and back every few weeks. 

Nasa12 | 27 January 2018 - 16:15:52

Which country has this law like Thailand  Mr Col Kathathorn Kumthieng ??

Jor12 | 27 January 2018 - 16:04:05

Dunno what you griping about. Trying living in China or the USA where the rules are the same. Got fined in China for not reporting my change of hotel address. Homeland Security also want to know your movements in the US so they can throw you out when you overstay. As Col Kathathorn rightly states, "It’s the law in many countries.” 

Kurt | 27 January 2018 - 15:15:22

Guess a new Colonel, a fresh broom 
To refer to a thai immigration act of 1979, is amusing
That was the time there were no Computers in Thailand

If I report arriving Phuket airport with TM.6 Arrival Card to immigration officer I do fulfill my reporting duty!
Stamp in passport approves
It is up to the Colonel to Link Airport- and Phuket Town Immigration.
Hey, get Smart, Immigration wise

Concernd | 27 January 2018 - 14:33:54

Ouch - Welcome to Land of Smiles or where foreigners who bring money and prosperity get treated like in a Prison Camp? There are many other Tropical destinations to go where foreigners expiate get welcomed treated with respect and freedom to travel around liked they desire.

BenPendejo | 27 January 2018 - 12:27:36

This has got to be the stupidest freeking rule that Immigration chooses to half-assed implement.  Listening to Col Kathathorn confirms that there is no consistent application of the laws and rules...just complications for the sake of confusion.  Change the stupid law...it serves no purpose other than to open the opportunity to fine law abiding expats for living here and doing nothing wrong. 

Kurt | 27 January 2018 - 10:52:11

When I return from a international trip I hand over the Arrival Card with my address ( re-registering) to the Immigration officer at airport.
So, I did do a full report to Phuket Immigration.
Why this double-up?

What about the thousands of not registered thai workers on Phuket, those who work here for years but remain registered in 'home' villages/towns?

nParadise | 27 January 2018 - 10:34:04

For god's sake, how archaic can it get to live here. It's just not worth it. 

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