With the confusions surrounding tourists who overstay and the border-runs and the possibility of them being banned from entering the Kingdom, the expat community share a similar confusion whether to have or not to have the passport handy at all times.
Thaivisa was quick to update us about the meeting in Hua Hin between immigration officials, hoteliers and the expat community a few days ago. It said on its earlier report that tourists should bring with them their IDs at all times. Failure to do so will result to a fine of 2,000 baht. Then there’s this report that no IDs other than the original passport will be accepted as an identification, thus, it should always be handy.
Earlier this afternoon though, thaivisa was able to get a clarification from Deputy Commander and Police Colonel Voravat Amornvivat, a senior official at Immigration headquarters in Bangkok.
Deputy Commander Voravat confirmed that foreign tourists and expats do not need to carry their passports with them at all times.
He said that tourists can of course leave their passports locked in their hotel safe and enjoy their holiday in Thailand without worrying about the need to carry their original passport.
Deputy Commander Voravat also said that for expats living here, a Thai driving license or photocopy of your passport can be used as a form of identification.
However, if Immigration Police suspect an individual to be overstaying in Thailand or being involved in illegal activity, then the individual would be required to produce their original passport promptly.
Deputy Commander Voravat referred to Section 58, which reads as follows:
Any alien who has no lawful document for entering the Kingdom under section 12(1);….under this Act; and has no identification in accordance with the Law on Alien registration, is considered to have entered the Kingdom in violation of the Act.
Entering or staying in Thailand without holding a valid passport and visa/extension is subject a fine and possible prison sentence.
“Making all foreigners in Thailand carry their original passports with them would be very difficult.”
“It’s about being reasonable and using common sense”
“But if we think a foreigner is involved in illegal activity then we will of course need to see their original passport, this is normal”, said Deputy Commander Voravat.
Deputy Commander Voravat is eager to avoid further misunderstandings and miscommunication regarding immigration matters and is happy to work with Thaivisa.com in the future in order to provide correct information to foreign tourists and the wider expat community in Thailand.
Thaivisa.com thanks Deputy Commander Voravat for his interview and taking time to clarify the situation.
The idea of foreigners being able to get a copy of their passport officially stamped by Immigration is currently not an option. However, it is always a good idea to have a copy of your passport with you at all times while in Thailand.