In Thailand, there are signs every day that, for all its development, it’s still a third world country. Case in point is anything where you have to deal with Thailand’s immigration, with the most irritating thing being Thailand’s 90-day reporting law.
Every expat or foreigner who lives or stays in Thailand longer than 90 days must report to Thai immigration with details of where they’re living. For those of us, like me, who’ve lived in Thailand for years at the same address, it’s annoying. Every 90 days, I must contact the Thai immigration department and tell them I still live where I lived nine years ago. But, there’s no way around it.
If you have a long-term visa, or work in Thailand, if you’re late with your 90 day reporting, you will be fined. If you report yourself to immigration, the fine starts at 2,000 baht and goes up by 200 baht every additional day you are late. If you don’t report and you’re caught, the fine starts at 5,000 baht and increases by 200 baht per day.
One of my friends recently paid a 9,000 baht fine (around $285) simply because he forgot to tell Thai immigration he was still living at the same address he’d been at for 15 years. Crazy, eh? So, make sure it doesn’t happen to you. Here’s how.
How to Report Your 90-Day Address Notification – If you live in Bangkok, you must either report your address in person or send someone to do it for you. It used to be you could do this by mail every 90 days but the Thai immigration has now stopped this for those in Bangkok and a person physically going to the Immigration Department is necessary. However, take heart. It doesn’t have to be you. You can pay a maid, a driver, a motorcycle taxi guy, a friend, a spouse – anyone can report for you. (Make sense yet? Nah, not to me either!)
What to Do When You Arrive at the Immigration Department – Head to the reception desk and tell them you want to do your 90-day address report. They will give you a copy of form TM.47, which you must fill in correctly and then attach to it a photocopy of your passport’s main page, a photocopy of your work permit or visas, and a photocopy of your entry/exit card (the white card stapled into your passport by immigration when you arrived in Thailand). Occasionally, I haven’t been asked for any photocopies when I’ve gone but it’s best to be safe than sorry. Just take them with you anyway.
Go to the counter you’re told to report to, hand everything in and wait. Your passport should be returned to you in less than 15 minutes with the lower part of form TM.47 returned to you as your receipt, plus a new copy of form TM.47 for your next 90-day reporting.That’s it until the next 90 days are up. Then, you’ll have to do this all over again. Welcome to Thailand!
Reporting Your 90-Day Address Notification Via Registered Mail – If you’re outside Bangkok, you can do your 90-day reporting via registered mail. (The Thai immigration website actually doesn’t specify this but I’ve been told repeatedly at the Immigration Department in Bangkok, if you live in Bangkok it must be done in person or by another human being. Registered mail will not be accepted).
Gather together all of the same documents (copy of passport pages, entry/exit card) and a completed form TM.47. Put all these in an envelope, along with an SAE – so that the lower part of form TM.47 can be returned to you as your receipt.Mail this at least seven days before your 90-day notification expires. If you do it after, it will be rejected and you will be fined. Send everything to:
90 Day Registration
Division 1120 Moo3
Chaeng Wattana Road, Soi 7
Laksi, Bangkok 10210
The receipt will be returned to you within a week to 10 days. Make sure you keep this for your records to prove you did report as you’ll need to send a copy of this the next time you do your 90-day reporting.