Pattaya immigration this week continued their ongoing crackdown on long-term visa overstayers and foreigners not staying at their registered address, or rather landlords who failed to report them to immigration within 24 hours of arrival as is required by Thai law.
As for foreigners whose visa were found to have expired, a 29-year-old Kenyan woman set this week’s numerical record. When the African lady was arrested last Wednesday at her rented room in Jomtien she had accumulated a total of 691 days overstay. That’s not quite but almost two years of living without a visa.
A 55-year-old Finnish man and a 32-year-old British national finished first and second runners-up in this week’s “longest overstayers” list. Their visa were found to have expired by 594 and 592 days respectively.
As the tightened new overstay rules stipulate that came into effect this March, all three will now be deported and blacklisted from setting foot on Thai soil for 10 years. We’ve covered the new rules extensively here, here and here (as have legions of other media), so the trio shouldn’t really be surprised by their fate.
What we find more irritating is the following.
As in the previous month, immigration police appear to be continuing their crackdown on foreigners found to be staying at another address than the one they’ve registered with them, or rather their negligent landlords who failed to report them in time.
We’re not bothered much about the guesthouse manager who was fined 1,600 Baht this past week for missing the 24-hour deadline specified by Thai immigration law to report a South Korean guest to Soi 5.
What we find more worrying is that a 40-year-old Thai woman with the family name Sinfield was fined the same amount by immigration after failing to register what seems to be her British husband, 66-year-old Keith William Sinfield, within 24 hours after he had moved in at her rented room.
Let’s face it, that’s really an everyday situation: Farang visits his Thai spouse in Pattaya and lives with her in an apartment rented not in his but in her name.
So here’s the bottom line: If you stay with your wife or friends in Thailand rather than in a hotel or guesthouse (in which case the management should report you to immigration), do always make sure that your landlord – be it your Thai wife, girlfriend or just an acquaintance – registers your name with the local immigration bureau (in Pattaya that’s on Soi 5 in Jomtien) within 24 hours of moving in.
As it seems, immigration are currently super busy with hunting down those pesky Farangs not staying where they should be in their territory. (We’ve described the exact process and what paperwork is required to do so in more detail in this post.)
UPDATE (October 26) – According to another report on the ThaiVisa forum, immigration in Hua Hin recently also informed homeowners (obviously including those who only rent a property but have foreign guests staying with them) that they must report any foreigners who are staying in their property – regardless of whether short or long-term – to immigration within 24 hours of arrival, or else face penalties and fines.
A notice distributed to property owners via a the management of an unnamed “leading property development in Hua Hin” reportedly read as follows:
Re: Immigration Notification
This morning, we have been informed by Hua Hin Immigration Office that
ALL RESIDENTS RETURNING TO HUA HIN MUST REPORT TO THE LOCAL IMMIGRATION OFFICE WITHIN 24hrs OF ARRIVAL
We are led to believe that anyone not following the new regulations will be subject to penalties and fines.
Please also note that any owners who are renting their properties – either long- or short-term – have a legal obligation to inform their tenants of the same. (…)
While it remains unclear whether this is part of a nationwide crackdown not just on professional accommodation providers but also on private property owners who fail to report their guests in time, it might always be better to be safe than sorry and report any foreign visitor, even if he should stay at your place just for a couple of days, to your local immigration office straight away and fill the required TM.30 form.