Whether you’re moving from one place in Samut Prakan to another, or moving from another province into Samut Prakan, you’ll need to notify immigration of your change of address in Thailand.
Changing your address isn’t the most challenging affair at immigration, but you should know what to expect ahead of time, as it could save you a lot of time and money.
- 1 Does this Guide Apply to All Immigration Offices in Thailand?
- 2 Who Does this Apply To?
- 3 Who’s Responsible?
- 4 When Should You Notify Immigration?
- 5 Why is it Important?
- 6 Documents
- 7 How to Change Your Address
- 8 How Long Does Changing Your Address Take?
- 9 Fines for Not Changing Your Address Within 24 Hours
- 10 More Resources
- 11 Final Thoughts
Does this Guide Apply to All Immigration Offices in Thailand?
As usual, each immigration office and officer in Thailand plays by their own rules. You can use this guide to help you change your address in other provinces, but it’s best to check with the immigration office in that province.
Who Does this Apply To?
Any foreigner granted permission to stay in Thailand (not for tourism) must notify the immigration office closest to them when they move to a new location.
There seems to be a grey area about who’s actually responsible for notifying your change of address at Thailand immigration offices. The Thai law states that:
House owners, heads of household, landlords or managers of hotels who accommodate foreign nationals on a temporary basis who stay in the kingdom legally, must notify the local immigration authorities within 24 hours from the time of arrival of the foreign national.” – Section 38 of the 1979 Immigration Act
However, I have never heard of any cases where the house owner went to immigration to notify the authorities that a foreigner was living in their house or condo. Some owners don’t even know about this rule. And if they do, they simply don’t care until you bring it up.
So it’s important for you to take care of it yourself. Because in the end, it’ll be you who gets in trouble for not doing so.
When Should You Notify Immigration?
ASAP. There is a 200 baht fine per day, not to exceed 2,000 baht, for not notifying immigration upon your change of address. But because it’s almost impossible to notify immigration of your new address while you’re trying to move and settle in, it’s usually best to pay the fine and notify them on your next 90-day check-in, which would be more convenient.
Why is it Important?
Aside from avoiding the fines and possible legal troubles, there are some more practical benefits to notifying immigration of your change of address. After you’ve changed your address you can get your Residence Certificate, which will come in handy when you need to get your Thai driving license, buy a car, or open a bank account.
Here are the documents you’ll need to notify Samut Prakan Immigration of your change of address.
- copy of your passport’s photo page
- copy of your visa
- copy of your TM.6 Departure Card
- your house/condo lease with your name on it (signed and dated by you and the owner)
- copy of your house/condo lease with your name on it (signed and dated by you)
- copy of the owner’s blue house book with the address of where you’re staying (signed by the owner)
- TM.28 (downloadable form)
- TM.30 (downloadable form)
If you don’t have copies of these documents, there is a photocopier in the Samut Prakan Immigration building on the second floor. Copies are 3 baht each.
The TM.28 and TM.30 forms are also available at the office. But I’d print and fill them out ahead of time.
How to Change Your Address
I’ll walk you through the same exact process I went through, so when you get to Samut Prakan Immigration, you’ll feel confident enough to go through the process.
Filling in Your TM Forms
When it comes to the TM.28 and TM.30 forms, you’ll have to handle the first, and the owner will have to handle the second. If you don’t have a helpful owner, you may have to fill in their form and then have them sign it.
- Written at: This means where you are right now, filing in the form. I’d put Samut Prakan to play it safe. Also add the date you are notifying immigration of your address change.
- Your info: As noted, add your name in BLOCK LETTERS, nationality, what kind of visa you have, and the date you entered Thailand on. You can find this date in the purple stamp on your TM.6 Departure Card. Fill in your passport number on the photo page of your passport and the Arrival Card number. You can find this number on the top right of your Departure Card (the other half of your Arrival Card, which immigration takes when you enter Thailand), just under the barcode.
- Your present address: This is for your new address. In other words, where you’re moving to, not where you’re moving from, even if you still live there.
- Notifying local police: You’ll only have to notify your local police department of your address change if there’s no immigration office nearby.
- Notifying immigration for short-term stays: You won’t have to worry about this section as well. Hotel managers and the like are supposed to notify Thailand immigration if you stay at there place for more than 24 hours.
- Immigration officer’s section: Don’t touch this section. This is for the immigration officer to complete. After you’ve completed the process, the immigration officer will give this section back to you. Don’t lose it. If they haven’t done so, ask them to fold and staple it to the last page in your passport.
- Written at: This means where the owner is right now, filing in the form. They have to date the form as well.
- Owner’s address: This section is not for the address of where you’ll be staying, unless you’ll be living with the owner. This address is where the owner lives. In other words, their residence.
- Tenant’s address: This section is for the house or condo address in which the owner has rented out to you.
- Notification: As mentioned at the beginning of this guide, owners are supposed to notify immigration of foreigners living at their place within 24 hours upon arrival.
- Immigration officer’s section: Don’t touch this section. This is for the immigration officer to complete. They keep this section.
Samut Prakan Immigration Office
Once you’ve gathered all your documents, you’ll need to go to the Samut Prakan Immigration Office (Google Maps link). I would go right after lunch, at 1:00 PM. This way the morning rush has cleared out.
- Sutthi Phirom Alley, Tambon Paknam, Amphoe Mueang Samut Prakan, Chang Wat Samut Prakan 10270
- ซอย สุทธิภิรมย์ ตำบล ปากน้ำ อำเภอเมืองสมุทรปราการ สมุทรปราการ 10270
- 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM (closed from 12:00 PM to 1:00 Pm and on public Thai holidays and weekends)
I talk about the easiest ways to get to the Samut Prakan Immigration Office in this section of another article. But in short, you can get there by BTS, taxi, or by driving. Check out the link for more details.
Getting Your Queue Number
When you get inside the immigration office, walk straight ahead to the help desk. The girl working behind the desk will check your documents and then tell you to go upstairs to the second floor. You won’t get a queue number at this point although the machine that dispenses queue numbers is right next to you.
Go through the doors just to the left of the doors you entered the building through. Walk straight through the office toward the back hallway. It’ll look like you’ve ventured off into the back rooms of immigration, but keep going. Once at the staircase, go upstairs to the second floor.
On the second floor there may or may not be a person sitting at a table. You’ll have no idea they work for immigration. They look like ordinary people. But you’ll want to get a queue number from that person.
If no one is at the table, quietly open the first door you see on the second floor and look for the young girl who’s working as a helper. She might be wearing a “help” vest. She can give you a queue number as well. I recommend opening the door quietly because that is the official immigration office. And two immigration police officers will be in there helping other people’s cases. So enter with respect.
Note that the immigration staff at Samut Prakan do not speak English. Even the girl with the “help” vest on. So if you could, bring a translator—unless you can speak Thai.
Seeing the Immigration Officer
It’s very unorganized at the Samut Prakan Immigration Office. But for what they lack in order, they make up for in friendliness. You actually feel like the immigration officers want to help you, as opposed to Bangkok Immigration, where it feels like you are the enemy.
They’re two men working in the immigration office upstairs. They are actually immigration police officers. And they are very helpful and friendly and go above and beyond. The first time I went there I was so pleased with the help I got that I wanted to buy the guy lunch, because I’ve never been treated so fairly by immigration before. But my wife talked me out of the idea since it could’ve looked like I was bribing him. But you get my point. He was that helpful.
When you sit at his desk he’ll go through your paperwork to make sure you have all the documents and they’re filled out correctly. Once that’s done he’ll give you your Receipt of Notification (the bottom have of your TM.28 form). If he doesn’t ask him to fold and staple the receipt onto the last page of your passport.
You’re free to go after that, unless you have to pay a fine (see blow).
How Long Does Changing Your Address Take?
If you show up with the right documents, you should be done within an hour. Because this office is not attached to the 90-day reporting office or the visa application office, there are usually less people waiting, which results in a shorter wait time.
Fines for Not Changing Your Address Within 24 Hours
If you or your house or condo owner don’t notify immigration within 24 hours of you moving into your new place, the owner is supposed to pay a fine of 200 baht per day, but not to exceed 2,000 baht.
The truth is, it’s nearly impossible for anyone to notify immigration within 24 hours of a foreigner moving into their residence. In fact, a lot of house owners feel this law was set in place just to get money from them.
And not all owners will be willing to pay the fine on your behalf. This is where the catch-22 comes in. Because if they don’t pay the fine, you can’t officially change your address. So what winds up happening is that you’ll have to pay the fine.
Luckily for me, the owners of the house I’m renting told me to pay the fine and then take it off the next month’s rent. But you might not get so lucky, as some of my friends have told me. And you might have to fork over the fine. So be prepared.
The Samut Prakan Immigration Office has a very well-structured website that’ll help you answer any further questions you might have. The website was put together with the help of long-time expat, reporter, and drone enthusiast Richard Barrow.
That’s how you change you address at the Samut Prakan Immigration Office. It might be an organized affair, but the staff are friendly and mostly helpful. If you have any concerns though, you can always bring a Thai translator to help you out.
Featured photo by David McKelvey.