Although in affect since 1979, TM30 filings were loosely enforced and mainly expected from hotels, focusing on travelers with tourist visas. However, over the last few years, Thai police and immigration authorities have looked to TM30s to keep track of foreigners, particularly those here illegally through overstayed visas or involved criminal acts. Since they may not necessarily be staying at hotels, the full definition of the law is now being enforced. Unfortunately, this resulted in increased bureaucracy for all foreigners, especially those with long-term visas who plan on renewing them.
TM30 Filing is the Property Manager or Owner’s Responsibility
According to the Immigration Act of 1979, Section 38:
The householder, the owner, or the possessor of a dwelling place or a hotel manager, who takes in, as a resident, an alien with permission to temporarily stay in the Kingdom, shall notify the competent official at the immigration office located in the locality in which the house, dwelling place, or hotel is located within twenty four hours from the time the alien has taken residence. If there is no immigration office located in that locality, the police officer at a police station of that locality jurisdiction shall be notified.
Basically, any property owner or manager hosting a foreigner must register them by filing a TM30 either at Immigration (if in Bangkok) or at a local police station (if in another province) within 24 hours of that foreigner staying with them. There is an online option, but, as of this posting, its accessibility is inconsistent.
This applies to all types of properties and to all foreign visitors staying for any time period, including married couples where the Thai spouse owns the property and foreigners who own their own condominium. In the case of the former, the Thai spouse must file regarding their foreign spouse, and, for the latter, the foreign owner/resident must file regarding themselves.
Property owners or managers who do not file TM30s within the deadline may face a fine of up to THB 10,000.
But Foreigners Need TM30s For Visas
For tourists here on a short-term visa, this is not necessarily a problem. The issues arise for foreigners who live or work in Thailand and will be applying for a long-term visa or renewal. This is can be especially problematic if you plan on traveling abroad, as a TM30 filing is required every time you enter Thailand, even if you are at the same address. This is because now the TM30 filing is mandatory for almost all long-term visa applications and renewals.
Many owners/managers are unaware or unwilling to take the time to file a TM30. One way around this is to have the landlord sign over a power of attorney or proxy specifically related to TM30s. However, if there’s a chance a fine may be levied, the property owner/manager must appear in person.
GPS Legal Can Help
New enforcement of an old regulation can cause a lot of confusion, and this case is no different. GPS Legal has been tracking this development and speaking to relevant officials to help our clients ensure their paperwork is up to date. If you are not sure about your TM30 situation, please contact us, and we will be happy to discuss your options with you.