Are You Living In or Renting a Private Property in Thailand to Foreigners?
Or simply have a someone staying in your property that is not a Thai national?
If so, you need to be aware of a law that has existed in Thailand for quite a while and applies to everyone who provides accommodations to foreigners.
While this law has been on the books for years, the enforcement of it has now been expanded to include properties which are not classified as hotels.
The law in question is called TM30. It is a section of the Thai Immigration laws that refers to accommodations of foreigners residing on Thai soil.
The law states that all properties not just Chiang Mai Properties that have non-Thai nationals living on their premises must register them with the immigration department.
The recent enforcement comes partly in the wake of the worldwide increase in terrorism. The Thai government is cooperating with Interpol and other international police forces in putting a halt to terrorists who have long seen Thailand as a relatively safe place to hide out.
This law was originally designed to increase the amount of monitoring and surveillance that Thai authorities can exercise on foreigners residing in their country, whether they’re on holiday or here on a permanent, residential basis.
The system was also designed to be useful to the government in gathering data on tourism.
At the same time, the immigration department saw it as an opportunity to crackdown on the number of foreigners who have over-stayed their visas (as well as their welcome) and were working here illegally.
Expansion of the Law
Recently, there has been an announcement by the government that is making a stir in the comment posts of Thai property websites.
The enforcement of the TM30 law has now been expanded to include those who are not covered by the definitions of the hotel act, but who are offering accommodations to foreign nationals nonetheless.
The law has actually been in effect for many years now and works along with the hotel act of 2005. When a foreigner on holiday checks into a hotel, the proprietor must make a copy of their passport details, their visa and their TM card. This information must then be forwarded to the immigration department.
In recent years this system has been updated so the proprietors can register their guests with immigration via an online registration system.
Who Has to Register?
When it was originally written, the hotel act specifically excluded properties having less than four rooms for rent from having to apply for a hotel license in order to operate.
This allowed private properties consisting of condominiums, homes and guest houses falling under the required number of rooms to avoid the expense and trouble of applying for a hotel license. It also exempted them from having to obey other provisions of the Hotel Act which were designed for the hotel business and didn’t really apply to them.
The lack of enforcement meant that virtually nobody except hoteliers knew that the law applied to everyone providing accommodations to foreigners.
This has all changed. Under the new expanded law, this non-enforcement loophole has been closed and anyone who offers accommodations must register their foreign guests with the immigration department.
Ongoing non-compliance can be costly for the private property owner. Fines are around 1,600 Baht for every instance of non-registration and can add up quickly as guests come and go.
Long-term tenants usually find out they have not been registered when they pop down to immigration to do their 90-day check in, or a visa renewal. So, if you’re on good terms with your landlord and want to avoid trouble for both you and them, you might want to warn them before you make your next trip to immigration.
Who is responsible for registering the person living on the premises?
Let’s put it this way, it’s the owner that will be fined, so the overall responsibility is with the owner. Many condominiums in Chiang Mai and Thailand in general will take responsibility for registering new tenants as they have access to an online system and they can complete the registration very easily.
Then again, there is a good number of less “foreigner-orientated’ condos that do not wish to get involved and will push it back on to the owners of the individual units or the property manager.
Either way, this can have consequences to the tenant as the tenant may be faced with having to prove to an Immigration officer where they have been all the time that they’ve been in Thailand. So, it’s important that your landlord keep the registration paperwork up-to-date. Even though they will be the ones fined, you’ll be the one with some explaining to do.
For houses and condos, the responsibility lies with the home-owner to register a non-Thai national staying on the premises within 24 hours of the time of their arrival with the local immigration office.
When dealing with rental homes in general it is the owner that will be entirely responsible as they are the only ones that can apply for an online login username and password. Once they have these, they can simply logon and register all new guests and tenants.
Even listing your property with a property rental agency does not absolve you of responsibility. If the agency does not follow through on the registration of guests that they rent your property to, you will be charged with the fine.
How Can Home and Condominium Owners Register?
There are 3 ways that the home and condominium owner can register his tenants and temporary guests.
1. The easiest thing to do is to apply online. The property owner will apply for a username and password that will allow them to login easily and register any guests or tenants that are staying on the property. The biggest drawback is that the online system is still very temperamental and it’s often the case that once applied they will not receive their login credentials. If you’re using the online system, it’s important that you receive a confirmation of the registration. (Online Site is down – Currently there is no answer as to when it will be back up and running)
2. Another way is to simply register in person. There is a form called the TM30 form that you can download here. The home owner or property manager has the tenant or guest fill out the form then they file the form in-person with the immigration office. Download ( Tm30 Form Part 1) (TM30 Form Part 2) – Microsoft Word Format
3. The in-person registration can also be done by the tenants of guests in person at the immigration office. The tenants/guests on the property submitting the TM30 document at the immigration office will also need a signed proxy from the owner stating that he/she gives permission for the tenants/guests to act on their behalf. Download (TM30 Proxy Form) Microsoft Word Format
Please note that every individual staying on the property needs to be registered, not one per household. Basically, anyone that needed a visa to stay in Thailand needs to be registered.
Once I Have Registered, Is That It?
That’s it unless you like to travel. If you don’t travel around and just stay at the premises you are registered at then you won’t have any issues. Your registration does not expire. As soon as you leave the country, even for a few days, you must re-register on your return.
If you stay in a hotel/guest house within Thailand, then you’ve re-registered in a different location. Once you return to your primary location in Thailand you have to re-register in that location again.
If you are a frequent travel and you’re living in accommodation that does not have access or does not use the online system, then it would be highly advisable to ask the owner for pre-signed proxies for the property for yourself and anyone else staying with you.
Do I need to register everyone staying at the property? Yes. Everyone staying at the property must register, there is the second form for adding multiple people to the property if you are doing it at immigration.
Do I need to register if I am living in my own home? Yes. If you are a foreign national and own your home in Thailand, you must register your occupancy.
Do I need to re-register if I have been out of the country for a couple of days? Whenever you leave the country, you must re-register upon your return.
Do I need to register if I have been on holiday and stayed at another hotel/guest house? Yes. The owner of the hotel/guest house will have registered you as a guest of the hotel/guest house. Once you return to your primary place of residence in Thailand, you must re-register.
Please copy and paste this link into your browser. https://extranet.immigration.go.th/fn24online/?sessionExpire=true
It some times showing as a virus or not going though but this is the link we use to register online.