Hastily enforced TM30 in Thailand sows widespread confusion

The Thai Immigration Bureau recently announced the enforcement of TM30 rules requiring the owners of all properties in Thailand to report all foreigners residing/present overnight on their premises to the Immigration Bureau or a local Police Station within 24 hours.  The Immigration Bureau at Chaengwattana first announced the new enforcement regime for these long-standing regulations regarding the “Notification of Residence of Foreigners (Form TM30)” that went into immediate implementation on 28th March 2019. The enforcement of these rules that have been implemented and enforced in at least four major Immigration Bureau offices in Thailand has caused widespread confusion and frustrations among foreigners and landlords alike. Of particular concern has been the consequential delay &/or rejection of Non-Resident Visa applications in cases where the foreigners Form TM30 requirements have not been compliant.

Who has to register?

All properties that have non-Thai nationals living in their premises must register these foreigners with the Immigration Bureau using the TM30 form. Applicants who fail to provide an official receipt for this Notification of Residence of Foreigners (“TM30”) compliance will not be eligible to apply for all types of Non-Resident Visa extensions (e.g., the “B” Visa and the “O” Visa required by work permit holders and retirees), 90-day reporting, and requests for multiple re-entry visas.

The Notification of Residence of Foreigners (TM30) is used by the Immigration Bureau to track and update the addresses of foreigners residing in Thailand, in addition to the 90-day reports in which foreigners have to notify their current address every 90 days. According to Section 38 of the Immigration Act B.E. 2522, the owner or the lessor of a house, condominium, apartment, hotel or other residence is primarily responsible for the reporting of foreigner’s stay in their premises with the Immigration Bureau or a local Police Station in the area within 24 hours, otherwise the owner or lessor of the residence will be subject to a fine with a maximum of THB 2,000 (and in the case of a hotel the maximum fine is THB 10,000).

Although the owner or lessor of the residence is responsible for filing the TM30 reporting process, foreigners must ensure that their Form TM30 has been completed properly on their behalves; otherwise, it may cause delays or rejection for their abovementioned visa applications.

Although the landlord/lessor of foreigners who have Permanent Residence status in Thailand  are also required to report their stay via Form TM30, the Immigration Bureau is currently not requesting these foreigners to show this TM30 report compliance as part of the rules being applied for their annual endorsement &/or re-entry stamp processes. Every other foreigner who resides in Thailand (including: Non-B, Non-O, Non-ED or Tourist Visa), is advised to make sure that the owner/landlord has reported their TM30 to the Immigration Bureau and can provide them with an acceptance slip (i.e., the official receipt issued by the Immigration Bureau upon filing their TM30) so that the foreigner can show proof to the Immigration Bureau when they need to extend their stay or renew their visas in Thailand.

Please note that although this compliance is certainly daunting, if a foreigner has no immediate need to go to the Immigration Bureau during their current stay in Thailand, typically the foreigners will have no immediate worry about their TM30 compliance, as it’s a responsibility of the property owner/landlord to comply and the Immigration Bureau’s airport check points are not currently imposing TM30 compliance on foreigners traveling outwards (or inwards upon return) at Thailand’s airports.  The focus of the Thai Immigration Bureau’s recent enforcement of TM30 rules has been centered around visa renewals; therefore, when foreigners are due to renew their visa (e.g., at the time of work permit renewal) then they are strongly advised to ensure that their property owner/landlord has complied with TM30 reporting in order to avoid unwanted delays or problems in renewing their relevant visas.  There have already been numerous confirmed cases where the Immigration Bureau has not issued necessary visas to foreigners unless their TM30 reporting was compliance and related property owner/landlord fines of between THB 800 and THB 2,000 have been paid to the Immigration Bureau by the foreigner on behalf of their property owner/landlord.

How to register?

Filing the TM30 is typically a one-day process (although newly introduced online filing is supposed to make this process more streamline, if the property owner/landlord is able to successfully navigate through this somewhat confusing online system), and the owner or lessor of the residence may file the TM30 for more than one foreigner at a time. The required documentations to file the TM30 includes:

For foreigner staying in Thailand, you should prepare:

  • A copy of foreigner’s passport photo page
  • A copy of the visa page
  • A copy of latest entry page and
  • A copy of the immigration departure card

The landlord should prepare:

  • A copy of the title deed of the property
  • A copy of the rental contract
  • A copy of ID card and hose registration of owner
  • Power of attorney (POA) appoint authorized person Thai/Foreigner to report TM30
  • The completed TM30 form

There are three ways the owner or lessor of the residence can file the TM30:

  1. Filing directly at the Immigration Bureau or related Immigration Office located in the area of residence.
  2. File by registered post mail (at the Post Office).
  3. File by internet. Note: the notifier must first register at https://immigration.go.th/index and obtain a username and password before being able to do this online. If the owner or lessor of the residence is current obligate to pay an outstanding fine, this online process will not be available.

After registration, foreigners need to request the owner or lessor of the residence to send official receipt that foreigners can use when going to the Immigration Bureau for visa renewal.

The relevant provisions of law regarding TM30 Section 38 of the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979):

Section 38: The housemaster, 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.

In the case the house, dwelling place, or hotel where the alien has stayed under provision of Para.1 is located within the Bangkok area, such notification must be reported to the competent official at the Immigration Division.

Making notification, in reference to the Para 1 and 2 of this Section, must comply with regulations prescribed by the Director General.

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