Long-term foreign residents of the kingdom have spent the weekend scratching their heads in bewilderment over the baffling requirements of the now notorious TM30 form after a recent forum at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand (FCCT)
with senior Thai immigration officials present on the panel.
On Thursday evening at the FCCT, foreign expats and guest speakers alike expressed concerns about the lack of clarity and consistency in the application of the TM30 regulation, and the officials said they would do their best to forward the
complaints and queries to Immigration Bureau
Thai Immigration has recently been stepping up the enforcement of an old law whereby the owners of the accommodation used by visitors to Thailand have to report new arrivals to the provincial immigration office within 24 hours. This law has been
in place for a while and underpins hotels registering your passport details when you arrive at reception.
However the Thai authorities have now extended this requirement to all forms of accommodation and has made it the responsibility of the foreign visitor to get the Thai landlord/hotelier/house owner to report to the immigration office. Large
numbers of fines are handed out to visitors who have failed to comply. And even if you don't change your address you still have to report when returning to the same address from a trip to another province, or a trip abroad.
The requirements are massively intrusive and massively inconvenient, especially if the immigration office is 80 km away, or your landlord is simply not around, or you work for a living and cannot spend hours wasted on a trip to the Immigration
Office. Another problem area is where the owner doesn't want to get involved for legal issues, such as not having the official licences to offer accommodation. AirBnB renters are particularly under the cosh from the authorities and may not want
to identify themselves. Similarly it is very difficult for small hotels to get the required licences.
The requirements are interpreted differently in every province so many of the rules may vary. In fact Bangkok only recently required this registration. But it was when Bangkok started enforcing the rules that volume of complaints suddenly went up
Note that authorities have tried to counter some of the complaints by saying that there is an online app for registrations to save a trip to the immigration office. However the app was designed for commercial use by hotels and requires a certain
amount of red tape to get a login. Hoteliers probably already use it, but it will not be available for more informal arrangements.
There is a lot of discussion on Thai forums and one particularly influential post by Isaanlawyers is as follows:
Yesterday, I met officer Longtor at Korat Immigration. He was very nice, very polite and we had a conversation in Thai. I had with me a copy of the petition made by a group of expats and Thai people, a translation, some examples of problems
related to TM30, statistics and an interpreter in case I could not fully understand. The interpreter is also a witness of everything that was said.
I live in Thailand since 2004. I have permanent residency and do not need to make Form TM30, form TM47 or a yearly extension. If I helped this group of expats with the petition, it is because I feel the current system needs to improve. It was
recently reported that numbers of Australians and British coming to Thailand are falling, because of the high value of the baht. It was reported that there has been a 10% fall in the number of Scandinavians living in the land of smiles. The
current system seems a mess, and foreigners don't know what to do. I don't do this for exposure, and spent an incredible amount of time on this project. I manage a law firm in Thailand, and know how things work in Thailand. Often you need
connections, it is important to avoid losing face, and I work on difficult cases each month. I was pretty well placed to try something new via a Facebook group. A closed group. I work with Thai lawyers every day, even if visas are not our
specialty. We are more litigators, making contracts and documents in Thai and English.
Recently, I was told that foreign teachers travelling to other provinces on weekends had to report to immigration Monday morning, so even Thai students were penalised by the strict enforcements of sections 37 and 38 of the immigration act. Like
the Bangkok Post mentioned this week, Thailand is shooting itself in the foot, and expats are furious about these rules that some found draconian.
It is Thai tradition to discuss, negotiate and not to confront people in Thai culture. The petition is a way to show discomfort and open a dialogue with authorities. It is not a perfect document, some complained about the English (I am a French
native speaker -the first version was edited) some complained about it not going far enough (debate about health insurance, or bank deposits required, but we cannot mix everything), some complained about the SSL security of the website (added).
In other words, many pissed me off all week as all I was doing was trying to help others, and I know what I am doing. I am not perfect (nobody is) but nobody else had the guts to do it, and many feared to sign the petition, thinking they might be
deported. In the past, I personally helped change some laws in Canada, so I am not afraid to say what I think. Here I sued immigration twice (never for fun) in the administrative court with success. I felt that our voice needed to be heard. So
with the help of hundreds of people, we made this petition. Yes, hundreds of people helped to correct texts, set up the websites, commented on the website, translated into Thai, and much more. I couldn't see what else could be done? You want to
contest articles 37 and 38 of immigration act based on clause 34 of the constitution? Well, good luck. Talking directly to Bangkok immigration is the next step.... but things in Thailand move slowly. Mediators, arbitrators, negotiations are often
used in court. Starting by talking to local immigration, on the back of few thousand signatures, was the best idea we had.
It became quickly the talk of the town in English medias: Richard Barrow, the front page of Bangkok Post, cartoons by Stephff, The Thaiger, the Thai Examiner, Pattaya News, etc. I was amazed it went so quickly, but I was expecting more
signatures. The website is still there, Reform-Thai-immigration (com) and we hope you sign and share so things go faster.
Here's a summary of yesterday's conversation with immigration:
We were told that tourists are not affected by these rules. They want the same as before. But AirBNB must report foreign guests just like hotels. Immigration understand that expats brings a lot of money to Thailand. But they seem to see two
i) A large proportion of foreign workers are from Cambodia, Laos and Burma. Something like 3 million in the country. Often, they do not respect rules and regulations. That is a major problem for immigration. Rules are enforced largely for them
but as there is only one law, it affects foreigners from Western countries.
ii) it seems that some Indian visitors have abused rules, arriving for example in Phuket, arranging fake marriages with Thai ladies, then disappearing in other provinces. TM 30 started to be more rigorously enforced especially for them, to be
able to trace criminals or people abusing the system. Of course terrorists won't provide their addresses, and I pointed this out. Still, immigration want to be strict on TM30 and TM30, and once registered, it is the responsibility of the Thai
landlord to conform.
However each immigration office can apply its own rules, which I think is a headache and doesn't make sense. But this senior officer explained to us how he wants them to apply in Korat. If you are not a tourist and arrive from abroad, even if
articles 37 and 38 mention 24 hours, they will give you 7 days to register the TM30. Foreigners have to register TM30 only ONCE (and not tourists) and afterwards, it is the responsibility of the Thai landlord. If you leave Thailand for a while
and never registered TM30, you will be fined as a foreigner. I believe it is between 800 to 2,000 baht.
Once you are registered in the system, it is the Thai landlord, and NOT the foreigner - the Thai landlord (or hotel) that will pay the fines.
Now, if you look at clause 37 (4) of the immigration act, a foreigner that goes to another province for 24 hours must report to authorities. This was never previously enforced to my knowledge and in Nakhon Ratchasima, they don't care about it.
They care about TM6, that you made on your arrival in Thailand (airport), the registration of TM30 that you make one time, the 90 days notice (TM47) that you make if you live 90 days in Kingdom, and your yearly extension
Each immigration office can have its own rules, which I think is a headache and a non sense. But this high officer explained us how he wants them apply in Korat. If you are not a tourist and arrive from abroad, even if articles 37 and 38 talk
about 24 hours, they will give you 7 days to register the TM30. Foreigners have to register TM30 only ONCE (and not tourists) and after, it is the duty of the Thai landlord. If you leave in Thailand for a while and never registered TM30, you will
be fine as a foreigner. I believe it is between 800 to 2,000 baht.
Two great pieces of news:
1) There is a committee set up, looking to modify the immigration law already in place. But changing laws take time. The head of immigration in Korat is part of that committee and they know some changes must be made. They want to make it easier
for foreigners. I even talked about the high value of the baht, and they know it causes problems for some retirees.
2) But the best news is a document, an order signed on 5th August 2019, that I saw. They did not permit me to make a copy as it is an internal document. However summing up, it is an order from Bangkok to make an application online for all forms,
to simplify things. That means TM6, TM30, TM47, will all be online, accessible on your phone, and you won't have to go to immigration. You will only have to go once a year to immigration for your extension. The 5th of August is the same day that
the Bangkok Post mentioned our petition on the front page with the title « Furore over TM30 forms ». Quite sincerely, I think the authorities did listen to us, and the petition helped. It is a coincidence?
Other comments were made but again, it can be different depending on the immigration office where you live. In Korat, they told us that if we go to Pattaya on a weekend, we don't have to report. This is clearly against the articles 37 and 38, but
I think immigration understand that they do not want to hurt tourism. But if you do go abroad, yes, your landlord must report via the TM30 on your return.
Other comments were said but again, it can be different depending on the immigration office you live. In Korat, they told us that if we go to Pattaya a weekend, we don't have to report. This is clearly against the articles 37 and 38, but I think
immigration understand that they do not want to hurt tourism. But if you do abroad, yes, your landlord must report tm30 at your return.
If you go and sleep at a friend's house, outside the province, this officer told us not to bother with reporting and paperwork.... that is also against the rules, but if you think about it, who could know if you slept over at your friend's house.
This is different situation from hotels and hotels, or from landlords, who still must report your stay. Again, 37(4) is not enforced according to immigration guidelines. Let's hope this online application works well, and will happen quickly. On
that, we have no guarantees.
The current system is confused. There are too many forms, too many rules and I clearly told them our views. Immigration could explain the rules on their websites and apply them the same way in each office nationally. That would be a great
On 15th August, the FCC (Foreign Correspondents Club) is planning a panel on TM30 and immigration rules. Foreign journalists will be invited, and the subject might hit the news again. We were told that if the FCC wants an immigration officer
present, they need to write a letter to immigration. I should be there if this event takes place.
No names of anybody who helped, signed, or contributed were made public. You can share this post, copy it and provide the information to whoever you want. If you think something is wrong in the following text, let me know. Thanks.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha formally resigned as the head of the military government on Monday, whilst taking his position as prime minister of an elected government.
Hs government is supported by a 15 party coalition with a slim majority on the lower house, but has strong support from the upper house where the 250 members were appointed by the military.
The former army chief Prayuth seized power in a 2014 coup, saying that the intervention had been necessary to restore order after six months of street protests and violent clashes. Prayuth has a second job as the defence minister in the new
From my experience, farmers certainly know the score, and it is standard practise to soak all vegetables in a mild detergent solution. The most worried about vegetables are cucumbers, runner beans and watermelons. Thai farmers are also very keen
on organic farming, not because of concerns about consumers, but because they passionately believe that pesticides kill them and their families.
Pesticide watchdog Thai-PAN has just published its most recent survey, which reveals that 41% of all vegetables in Thailand's fresh markets are contaminated with chemical pesticides to a level that exceeds internationally acceptable standards. 12
types of banned chemicals were also discovered.
Prokchol Ousap, coordinator of Thailand Pesticide Alert Network (Thai-PAN), reported that the organization recently analysed 286 samples of vegetables. She said that the sample sources ranged from fresh markets and shop houses to produce shelves
in city department stores. The samples included 15 types of vegetables and nine types of fruit commonly consumed by the public. They were sent for analysis by ISO-17025 certified laboratories in the United Kingdom.
The result is shocking as they found that 41% of the samples were contaminated with chemical pesticides, said Prokchol.
The worst contamination was found in bok choy, kale, Thai basil, chili, cauliflower, oranges, rose apples, guava and grapes. The lab also found contamination of 33% of imported fruit was over the standard, while 48.7% of locally grown produce
exceeded acceptable contamination standards.
She went on to say that fresh fruit and vegetables on the shelves of large department stores were more contaminated than those sold in local fresh markets, adding that products that are labeled as meeting GAP and GMP standards are safer as only
26% were found to be contaminated.
Thailand's Office of Atoms for Peace (OAP) has warned of excessively high levels of radiation from the so-called energy cards that their distributors claim can cure illnesses and help relieve aches and pains.
Tests on sample cards conducted by the state agency found radiation measuring at 40 microsieverts per hour, which is 350 times higher than the maximum exposure humans should get to radiation a year.
The agency also warned against drinking water in which an energy card has been dipped, as doing so raises the risk of cancer. It said OAP would take legal action against the distributors once it has gathered enough evidence from its tests on the
The OAP warning came in the wake of media reports saying that many villagers in the Northeast had been tricked into buying these so-called energy cards from distributors, who made money from both selling the cards and recruiting new distributors
as part of what appears to be a pyramid scheme.
The cards are being sold at Bt1,100 to Bt1,500 each.
The OAP also said that anyone who wants to discard these cards can contact the Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology for assistance.
Thaivisa has spoken with Immigration at Prachuap Khiri Khan in a bid to try and clear up some confusion surrounding the recent announcement regarding mandatory health insurance for Non-Immigrant Visa O-A.
The office told Thaivisa that the new requirements only affect people seeking Non-Immigrant Visa O-A, as obtained from people's home country.
The requirement for mandatory health insurance does not affect those people who stay in Thailand on a Non O extension of stay based on retirement.
The requirement also does not apply to those staying in Thailand on a marriage extension or an extension of stay based on being a parent to a Thai child.
The US Embassy has added to concerns that the Thai authorities are gearing up to requiring expats to get health insurance.
The US Embassy has just issued an advisory:
Thailand remains one of the most popular retirement destinations in the world. Great culture; great food; great people. And as US citizens age, Thailand also offers access to excellent health care, provided at world-class private hospitals by
internationally trained doctors. But you need to be able to afford it.
Sadly, we at the Embassy in Bangkok have seen many instances where US citizens discover, too late, that essential, high-quality health care is out of financial reach and their options are limited. As you contemplate your own preparedness, we
urge you to plan for a few key expenses: medical treatment, nursing care, and, if necessary, medical evacuation.
The Nation newspaper will stop its print editions and go fully online from July 1, when the independent English-language daily turns 48.
Somchai Meesen, chief executive officer of Nation Multimedia Group Plc (NMG), said the decision by the management was aimed at halting The Nation's financial losses, in addition to expanding its market.
Over the past five years, The Nation has lost Bt30 million a year on average, he said.
The CEO, citing a survey, pointed out that only 36% of The Nation's readers are based in Thailand while the remaining 64% live overseas, including 25% in the United States. He said that meant most of the newspaper's readers did not buy its paper
editions, and they read its reports and articles from the website and through different digital platforms.
Health insurance has been made mandatory for foreigners aged 50 years and above seeking long-term stay in Thailand.
An acceptabe insurance policy must offer up to Bt40,000 coverage for outpatient treatment and up to Bt400,000 for inpatient treatment.
The Cabinet has already approved the new rule, Health Service Support Department director-general Nattawuth Prasert-siripong revealed yesterday. According to Nattawuth, the new rule applies to both new applicants for the non-immigrant visa (O-A),
which offers a stay of up to one year, and those wishing to renew their visa. Each renewal is valid for one year. He added:
Foreigners can buy valid health insurance from longstay.tgia.org or if they wish to use health insurance that they bought overseas, they must ensure that the coverage amount is no less than what is required by the rule. We are going to discuss
with relevant authorities on to how to check the validity of health insurance bought from overseas
Asked about foreigners who cannot buy health insurance because their health risks are considered too high, Nattawuth said relevant authorities might consider requiring them to have higher deposits in bank accounts so as to make sure that they
have enough to live in Thailand.
Forum comments suggest that a rough ballpark figure for this level of cover costs about 50,000 Baht a year for 50 year olds, 100,000 Baht a year for 60 year olds, and is not even available for 70 year olds.
The deputy commander of immigration told the press of the latest arrests in a long running crackdown on over-stayers and people breaking the law by not continually reporting their whereabouts.
Maj-Gen Itthiphon Itthisanranachai was speaking on behalf of immigration and a large number of other police departments outside The Street on Rachadapisek in Bangkok at 1am this morning.
The latest sweep checked 229 places such as hotels, schools (both language and private), restaurants and private addresses. In total 490 people were arrested many from Thailand and neighboring countries.
The Maj-Gen said he was following government orders to rid the country of romance scammers, ATM skimmers and drug dealers. The Thai Rath newspaper story didn't suggest any of the recent arrests had been linked to such issues.
Of the recent arrests 14 were for visa overstays; 338 for entering Thailand illegally; 70 cases of not reporting an alien's whereabouts within 24 hours; 20 not staying at a registered address; and 16 illegal workers.
Of the 229 places raided 68 were businesses and shops, 6 were entertainment venues, 62 hotels and other accommodation and 93 others. The arrests for unreported whereabouts suggest that the police were targeting short time hotels.
A little-known political party competing in next week's Thai general election revealed one of its priority proposals for Thailand was to legalise the production and sale of sex toys.
The Tai Rak Tham party also proposed 24 hour opening for entertainment venues.
Deputy leader Chitsanupong Trairatrangsri said the party wished to emphasise the policy as the country has a huge amount of rubber which was the raw material for sex toys. Therefore, if the production of sex toys was allowed in Thailand, it would
add value to the rubber trade, he said.
Cecilia Cornu was in Phuket for a family holiday in January and was caught by Karon police holding an e-cigarette on Jan 30 whilst on a scooter with her fiance as her parents and brother followed behind.
Cornu said she was stopped by four police officers who snatched the e-cigarette and demanded B40,000, which she refused to pay. She said she was then arrested and taken to Karon Police Station where officers tried to bully her into paying a
Cornu was charged, her passport confiscated and a trial date set for Feb 11. Her return flight was scheduled for the following day. She posted bail of B100,000 and was released the same day pending trial.
On Feb 11 Cornu attended Phuket Provincial Court where she was convicted for the offence and says she was fined B827 (23 euros). She was then sent to Phuket Immigration for what she thought was to collect her passport. Upon arriving at the
immigration office, she was informed that she would be transferred to Bangkok for deportation.
Cornu was then taken to Bangkok where she claims she spent four days and three nights in a prison cell shared with 60 other women in dire conditions where she had to sleep on a hard, dirty floor with no sheets or mattresses before returning home
Karon Police Chief Col Prasarn Hankotha responded to Cornu's claims by denying the bribe but seemed to confirm the arrest, jailing and deportation.
Thai immigration has announced a major change regarding the financial requirements needed when applying for an extension of stay based on retirement using the 800k baht in the bank method (or the combination of income method) now need to keep
800k baht in the bank for five months, (for 2 month before and 3 months after the application). Furthermore 400k Baht must be kept in the bank thereafter.
The requirements for a retirement extension according to the new police order include:
(4) At least 2 months prior to filing date, and at least 3 months after being granted permission, the alien must have fund deposited in a bank in Thailand of no less than THB 800,000. The alien can withdraw the fund 3 months after being granted
permission and the remaining balance must be no less than THB 400,00 or;
(5) Must have and annual earning and fund deposited with a commercial bank in Thailand totalling of no less than THB 800,000 until the filing date. The said fund must remain in the account prior to and after the permission is granted and the
alien can make a withdrawal under the same conditions as stated in (4).
The new requirements to keep money in the bank for three months after the retirement visa is granted is effective from 1st March 2019.
The new requirements are likely the result of immigration officials trying to put an end to the practice of visa agents falsifying bank statements for foreigners who do not have enough money to meet the financial requirements needed for a
Thai people have little interest in European history and most seem to know nothing about the Second World War even if the country did get involved on the margins. However the west seems to somehow expect that Thais should be aware of the horrors
and sensitivities from that time... but they are simply not.
Now foreign diplomats have got all wound up by a female pop star unknowingly wearing a t-shirt decorated with a Nazi flag.
The band has issued an apology to match the tearful one delivered earlier by 20-year-old singer Pichayapa Namsai Natha. It was a bad fashion choice based on ignorance, she said.
But envoys from Israel and German have expressed dismay after a member of the popular all-girl singing group BNK48 sported a T-shirt bearing a swastika.
Smadar Shapira, deputy chief of mission of Israel in Thailand, said on Twitter that the Israeli Embassy was shocked and dismayed over the singer's outfit, noting that the Holocaust remembrance was imminent:
Presenting Nazi symbols by the band's singer hurt the feelings of millions around the world whose relatives were murdered by the Nazis.
German Ambassador Georg Schmidt, whose country has gone to great lengths to amend for the crimes of its wartime regime, also tweeted.
We share the shock and dismay expressed by @ShapiraSmadar from the Embassy of Israel. We invite members of #BNK48 to discuss the terror to the Nazi dictatorship with us.
The manager of BNK48 and singer Namsai later attened a meeting with the ambassador of Israel, Meir Shlomo, at the latter's residence to express their apologies in person. the ambassador said following the meeting:
I understand that it was an act arising from lack of knowledge and awareness, and I'm pleased that they have apologised and agreed to hold together educational activity in the future. The BNK48 has proposed that its members join an educational
workshop on the Holocaust, in order to emphasise their commitment to this important subject.
Thai immigration has confirmed it will show some leniency to foreigners with regards to proving income when applying for retirement and marriage extensions.
In an order dated 22nd December, Immigration chief Police Lieutenant General Surachet Hakpal, acknowledges that some applicants may have difficulty in providing the now required 12 months worth of bank statements showing income.
Where this is the case, the Pol Lt. Gen Hakpal has instructed immigration officers that from 1 Jan to 31 Dec 2019 they have discretion to accept evidence of less than 12 monthly transfers from overseas.
The applicants given leniency in this way are to be told by the officers that this is a one-off exemption and that their applications for the next renewal will not be accepted without a complete set of documents according to the order.
Previously incomes were verified by obtaining a letter from the relevant embassy but many of the estern embassies will no longer provide these letters.
Now that several foreign embassies have ended their service of providing letters supporting visa applicants income cliams, Thai Immigration has outlined replacement rules for evidencing ncome.
The income requirements remain unchanged in value (40,000 a month for those supporting Thais and 65,000 a month for retirees). Thai Immigration will now accept evidence as follows:
Tax receipts of the supporting relative presumably thos issues by the Thai tax authorities.
Evidence of a pension. Letter of certification from a Thai bank supported by bank statements showing a pension being transferred to the pensioner's bank account every month for at least 12 months. Exceptions are allowed for those who have been
retired for less than one year.
Evidence of income from a foreign embassy or consulate for those whose embassies are still providing the service