Here’s a rather weird story featured on the Chonburi immigration website under the banner “Good guys in, Bad guys out” which usually refers to visa overstayers or foreign criminals. But no, the 38-year-old British national featured in the news section of the immigration website simply committed the crime to not be staying at the place where he was registered.
After immigration carried out random checks of condo buildings on September 13 it seems the Briton was found to be staying at a different place than the one where he was registered. According to immigration regulations, the poor bloke (who was likely unaware of the registration requirements for foreigners) was charged a whopping 4,000 Baht fine.
To make this clear: If you travel as a tourist and stay in hotels or in guesthouses the owners of the venues are required by law to report every foreign guest within 24 hours of checking in; otherwise a fine may apply.
Usually there’s nothing to do for tourists – you check in here and there and the respective hotel or guesthouse owners will report your current whereabouts to immigration. (If you rent a condo or a house, or stay with your Thai girlfriend, things may get a bit more complicated.)
Similarly, since November last year, every time a foreigner, e.g., applies for a visa extension at immigration he/she will have to submit some detailed proof of address.
Anyway, without knowing any further details regarding the British tourist’s case it’s hard to say whether he was indeed at fault himself and failed to report his current whereabouts to immigration or whether his landlord simply forgot to report him – in which case the landlord should have actually been fined.
Anyway, 4,000 Baht is a pretty hefty fine we think.
UPDATE – As it seems, the British guy in the article above wasn’t the only foreigner to be slapped with a 4,000 Baht fine recently for not staying where he had registered.
According to a report by ThaiVisa.com, only in September, at least eight more foreigners, including seven Indian nationals and one Canadian, were charged 4,000 Baht by immigration after they were found not to be staying at the addresses where they had registered to be staying.
The hefty fines also seem to be in line with immigration regulations “issued in 1979 and 1998.”
According to the report, “people offering accommodation to foreigners who fail to report guests to [immigration] within 24 hours” are also being fined. In other words, if you own a condo and rent it out to foreign guests and fail to report your tenants to immigration in time, you might likewise get hit with a fine.