Thai Immigration Visits Me

Thai Immigration Officer

Thai Immigration Officer

What Happens When Thai Immigration Visits Me?

The USA and the UK are relaxed about foreigners but, when Thai Immigration visits me I find that’s not true in Thailand.  Your registered Thai address turns out to be more important than some people think.

Chonburi immigration is the first province to start insisting that resident farangs stay where they’ve registered and finding offenders 4,000 baht. Officers there have been checking their records against foreigners residing in the area then fining people for being in the wrong location. In September seven people were each fined 4,000 baht for not being where they registered. Last Tuesday Canadian Luc Lafreniere had to post up 4,000 baht for not living at his registered address. This is not arbitrary: the fines are in accordance with regulations issued in 1998. Chonburi immigration are also fining people offering accommodation to foreigners who fail to report guests to them within 24 hours, so AirBnB hosts might want to pay attention. Yesterday a manageress at the local Pratumnak Inn was fined 1,600 baht for failing to report that a Russian guest  was staying in the building. Chonburi Immigration calls the program “Good Guys In, Bad Guys Out”. Expats call it a nuisance

Thais know that their country is the most wonderful, beautiful place on earth (since that’s what they’re taught at school and on TV) and everyone would like to live here. There’s a lot of truth to that belief. Thailand is a kind of tropical paradise. The beaches really are wonderful, the girls really are friendly (really, really friendly) and the food really is quote wonderful. Why go abroad, since foreign visas are so difficult for Thais to obtain? So Thais stay home and add their weight to the 25,000,000 foreign visitors who tour the country every year. Thais are their own best customers for tourism.

But what about those foreigners who want to stay? The law requires them to be self-supporting and law abiding. Problem is, millions of them are penniless refugees and migrants who sleep on a floor with a dozen others and do the hard, dirty work that Thai men and women disdain.  Given Thailand’s long, unmarked borders, tracking those millions would be a herculean task. So Immigration officers wisely devote most of their attention to farangs (white Europeans). If farangs’ papers are not in order, their reasoning goes, it’s likely that they’ll either be offered a bribe or get a commendation from the Bureau for catching the offender. It’s a win-win.

Two polite, smartly-uniformed (and very cute). English-speaking Thai Immigration officers came calling this week. They were doing house checks at farangs‘ registered addresses and my Swiss neighbor made it worth their while to ride down to my street (doubling up on one scooter, but both can claim mileage reimbursement, of course). They found my papers were in order and we got to chatting. They were clearly curious about my standard of living, “How much do you pay for your house?”.

“Ten thousand Baht”, I responded.

They shook their heads in amazement. A single man, living alone in a 3-bedroom house. Why a dozen Thais could live there in air-conditioned comfort! And he  pays more rent than Immigration officers’ salary! Farangs really are rich.

Chonburi immigration is the first province to start insisting that resident farangs stay where they’ve registered and finding offenders 4,000 baht. Officers there have been checking their records against foreigners residing in the area then fining people for being in the wrong location. In September seven people were each fined 4,000 baht for not being where they registered. Last Tuesday Canadian Luc Lafreniere had to post up 4,000 baht for not living at his registered address. This is not arbitrary: the fines are in accordance with regulations issued in 1998. Chonburi immigration are also fining people offering accommodation to foreigners who fail to report guests to them within 24 hours, so AirBnB hosts might want to pay attention. Yesterday a manageress at the local Pratumnak Inn was fined 1,600 baht for failing to report that a Russian guest  was staying in the building. Chonburi Immigration calls the program “Good Guys In, Bad Guys Out”. Expats call it a nuisance.

Here’s a video to prove how rich I am:

My Chiang Mai House #2: Plants and Flowers Arrive.

Coincidentally, the next day I discovered that my US passport had expired, so I went down to the Consulate for the first time. You can read my suggestions for visiting the US Consulate in Chiang Mai here.

 

Law, Visas, Immigration

Comments

  1. Andy Moss says

    Could be the most beautiful immigration officer ever!

  2. sgtsmacks says

    She could check on me every day if she wished.

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