It’s Official: Expats in Thailand traveling overnight need not notify Immigration

Image: Immigration Bureau
Image: Immigration Bureau

Foreign nationals do not need to notify immigration if they leave their home for over 24 hours, the Immigration Bureau announced today.

In a brief notice published online, the bureau announced that “aliens are not required” to provide such notification, despite an article stipulating so in the Immigration Act.

“During the visit to Thailand, for purposes of tourism, sports, business, investments, education, practicing of skilled craftsmen or specialists, aliens are not required to notify the competent official of changes of their residence,” it read in full, emphasis theirs.

The announcement specifically references Section 5 of police regulations.

It would seem to put to rest one aspect of contentious enforcement of long-ignored rules that came into strict enforcement earlier this year.

Obeying Thailand’s strict immigration rules ‘not that hard,’ says Thai immigration

Retirees are not mentioned. Immigration officials were reportedly meeting this week to discuss improving the requirements.

While the news that the most onerous requirement won’t be enforced is likely to be welcomed by foreign residents, though many did not take it seriously and traveled at will.

Section 38 of the Immigration Act mandates that landlords must report foreigners to the authorities upon their arrival, within one day. Section 37 requires foreigners to report themselves when they leave home and travel elsewhere in Thailand.

Last month, top immigration officials took the hot seat at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand to argue that complying with the newly strict enforcement of long-overlooked rules was “not that hard,” which went over like a sack of bricks.

“It’s not that hard, and we try to make things easy,” said Col. Thatchapong Sarawannangkul, the superintendent of an immigration police subdivision covering metro Bangkok. “Trust me, it’s not that hard.”

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