Whenever you stay at a hotel, they usually ask to see your passport and you have to fill out a form with your details. I always presumed that they had to do this in order to inform the authorities. Though I wasn’t sure if they had to tell the Tourism Authority or the police. As it turns out, they are supposed to inform Immigration.
According to section 38 of the 1979 immigration act, “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.”
By law, hotels must pass this information onto Immigration within 24 hours, though in reality many don’t bother to do this. But did you also notice the part about “head of households”. Yes, that means if you have a house guest, paid or otherwise, you must inform Immigration within 24 hours. According to a Phuket newspaper, the fine is 2,000 Baht per guest if you fail to do this.
Of course, most people don’t do this as it is not common knowledge. But this might all change soon. At least in Phuket. They are running a publicity campaign at the moment to inform people of this law. They will then start cracking down at the end of next month. The form you need is “Notification of residence for foreigners” (TM30). You can either submit it in person or send via post. For hotels, they can do it online.