1. TM30 FORM
The TM30 form is an obligation for any house owner, possessor of a dwelling place or a hotel manager ("Hosts") to declare a foreigner residing on his property ("Guest") within 24 hours. This notification of residence, resulting from Section 38 of the Immigration Act (2522 B.E-1979) is now strictly imposed.
According to Section 77 of the Immigration Act, whoever fails to comply with the provisions of Section 38, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand baht. However, if the host is a hotel manager, the punishment shall be by a fine from 2,000 THB to 10,000 THB.
Even if according to the law, it is clear that the obligation of notification and punishment belongs exclusively to the Hosts, the worst consequences fall on the Guest for the following reasons:
- The controls on the regularity of the presentation of the TM30 form do not take place on the obliged subject (the Hosts) but the Guest when he goes to the immigration for certain administrative matters, such as the 90-day report or to request the extension or renewal of the visa.
- If the TM30 is not presented or presented late, the immigration will fine the Hosts, but failure to pay does not lead to serious consequences for them and instead causes the blocking of the administrative procedures requested by the Guest (eg, 90- report daily or visa extension/renewal).
Therefore, to avoid incurring further problems, the Guest is forced to pay the fine, even though it was issued against a third party (the Hosts) for a violation for which the Guest is not responsible (to file the TM30 form). The TM30 form registration can be done at the immigration office, by post, or online and the form can be downloaded via the following link: http://bangkok.immigration.go.th/en/base.php?page=download
The following documents are required for the registration:
For foreigners residing in Thailand:
- A passport copy
- Departure card (after leaving Thailand a new registration must be made)
For the Hosts:
- Title of ownership
- A copy of the rental agreement
- House registration book
Please note: If the foreigner is the Host, he still has to register himself.
Legal consequences and exemptions
In case of failure, it is not possible to make several requests:
- The 90 days report
- Any Visa application
- Visa renewal application
- An application for re-entry into Thai territory
The registration is free, but with a delay of more than 48 hours, a fine of THB 800 up to THB 2,000 depending on the duration of the delay will be payable.
At present, it's not possible to predict if this measure will be permanent or reworked. The strengthening of this measure is justified with a fight against the terrorist threat. The control of the TM30 has not yet been observed when departing at airports; however, it is now strictly required for any renewal of visa and 90-day notification.
Several exceptions exist:
- Foreigners working for a BOI (Board of Investment) promoted company as well as people holding a SMART Visa;
- Foreign owners of condominiums (not tenants) already registered in house registration books ("tabien baan"). If having a title deed, expatriates do generally not have to remake the TM30 for their permanent residence (we recommend to verify this with the local immigration), but it must be declared during displacement to hotels, a friend's or family's house, etc. Indeed, the principle is the notification of the presence of a foreigner at home or in the establishment for more than 24 hours;
- Foreigners with diplomatic status already registered and carefully monitored by the competent authorities. The same applies to international public officials and visiting official technical experts;
- Persons holding a permanent residence permit in Thailand.
2. PERMANENT RESIDENCE
Holders of a so-called "Permanent Residency Permit" are not obliged to present the TM30 report.
There are also other benefits of holding a permit for permanent residency in Thailand. A person with a permanent resident status can
- live permanently in Thailand without the need for periodic stay extensions.
- become a director of a Thai public company/
- have the name on various documents (e.g. house registration),
- buy a condominium without transferring the money from abroad and
- obtain a work permit with a facilitated process.
The permanent residence permit is also the first step to become a naturalized citizen of Thailand. It entitles the non-Thai family members of the permanent resident to apply for such status as well.
The application for the permanent residence permit requires patience and persistence since the process might take up to one year. The applications are processed by the Royal Thai Immigration Commission every year during a specific period that varies each year but usually starts in October and ends in December.
Thailand has an annual quota of 100 persons per country.
An applicant must meet the following criteria to become one of the top 100 people on the qualifying list:
- Holding a Thai Non-Immigrant visa for at least three years;
- Holding a Non-Immigrant visa at the time of submitting the application;
Meeting one of the following categories:
- Investment in Thailand (minimum investment 3-10 million Baht)
- Work / Business in Thailand: Please note that the applicant must work at least three consecutive yearly extensions prior to the submission of the application with the minimum salary of 80,000 THB;
- Family support or Humanity Reasons in Thailand: Thai family member; husband or wife with a permanent residence permit; dependent of a Thai father or mother; guardian of a Thai child under 20 years of age;
- Experts / academics;
- Others as determined by Thai Immigration;
- Pass an interview (Thai language).
The permanent residence permit never expires. Nevertheless, it can be revoked for some reasons. Furthermore, travelling out of Thailand and returning requires a re-entry permit even if holding a permanent residence permit.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.