Thai Immigration 90-Day Reporting

A minor inconvenience of living in Thailand as a foreigner is that the immigration law requires you to report your address to the authorities every 90 days. The procedure is explained here on the Immigration Bureau web site. There’s no charge for making the report.

I always made my report at the Bangkok main office on Soi Suan Phlu. But that office is now closed and I thought I would have to find the new one on Chaeng Watthana Road in the Laksi District (quite near Dom Muang Airpot). Being frugal I was going to take a BMTA #52 bus from Chatuchak Park Subway Station.

Note that Immigration have not updated their web site consistently about their office move. I wonder how many people are still showing up at Soi Suan Phlu.

You can also report by registered mail or pay somebody to do it for you. But again, I’m frugal.

However, I saw that there is another option for me to make the report. There is a One Stop Visa Centre operated in cooperation with the Board of Investment that will also process them.

After a bit of searching around I found that it is within walking distance of Phahon Yothin Subway Station in Nasa 2 Tower between Sois 15 and 17 on Phahon Yothin Road. (Nasa Towers also houses a British Council office).

One Stop Service Center Entrance

Nasa Towers, Phahon Yothin Road

Here is a photo of the outside of the building. There are two towers: Nasa 1 and Nasa 2. The office is in Nasa 2 on the 16th floor. The lifts / elevators are at the back of the lobby.

I found the office easily – it’s about 15 minutes walk from the station past the Central Lat Phrao department store complex.

Map

I arrived about 11:45am. Here’s a photo of their lobby.

One Stop Service Center

One Stop Service Center Lobby

There was a sign on the counter saying they were closed for lunch and to return at 1pm. I was about to leave when a worker beckoned me over. She was very helpful and processed my paperwork immediately. I was in and out in less than five minutes.

I was impressed. At the old Suan Phlu office I had to wait for a long time and the officers were often less than friendly. They are terribly overworked and it can’t be fun dealing with that routine task all day every day. In contrast there were very few customers and lots of staff in the One Stop office.

The One Stop Office is moving to the new Chamchuri Square tower next to Chualongkorn University in January 2010. That’s even more convenient as it is next to Sam Yan Subway Station.

So I won’t need to find the main Immigration office in Laksi until I have to renew my visa in August 2010.

A few notes on the 90-Day reporting requirement:

Like many bureaucratic procedures worldwide this one is fairly pointless. There is no check that a foreigner provides her correct address.  A bad person would keep in compliance with that law by giving a fake address.

Last year I was misled about the process and had to pay a 2,000 Baht fine. When I renewed my visa in August 2008 I specifically asked the Immigration Officer when I had to do my next 90-Day report. Is it 90 days after my last report or 90 days after I renewed my visa? After all I had provided my address on the visa application.

The officer told me it was 90 days after I renewed my visa. I had a Thai person with me and she was sure that’s what she said so it was not a misunderstanding.

So I reported 90 days exactly after my visa renewal. The officers in that department told me I was late and had to pay a fine. I had to wait a long time while they processed that paperwork. They also put a stamp in my passport saying that I was late reporting.

I questioned them but all they said was a “different department”. There’s nothing a foreigner can do in that circumstance – you have no power at all. I don’t know what more I could have done.

The “different department” reason is clearly not valid. If you leave and re-enter Thailand then that resets the 90-day clock – that’s explicit in the regulations. The officers who process arrivals at the airport are a different department too.

So if you are in that situation be aware that the 90-day cycle is independent of your visa process.

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