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Bornloser

Carrying Passport in Thailand!

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I am unclear on one important point. Is it mandatory that a foreign national have his Passport on his person in Thailand? I read on Thai-Anxiety that, during the recent Police raids of bars, customers who did not have their "ID's" were arrested.

 

I am such a careless, forgetful person that I am reluctant to carry my Passport. I usually carry a photocopy of my Passport's identity page with a photocopy of the page with my current visa. Is this adequate "ID" for the Police? MANY THANX!

 

CHEERS!

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I am unclear on one important point. Is it mandatory that a foreign national have his Passport on his person in Thailand?

 

Yes it is mandatory by law that everyone in Thailand carry his/her primary ID at all times - in your case the passport you used to legally enter Thailand. Yes, the police can demand it any time, anywhere.

 

Meanwhile in the real world... In such a case as you describe, people are told to go home and get it, or even accompanied home to get it. It is a VERY rare case, and not worth carrying your passport all the time "just in case". However, *if* it happens which is unlikely but possible, then you will be inconvenienced for a bit, maybe even a few hours while the cops sort out everyone's ID.

 

Many people make a photocopy of the front page of the passport and the page with the latest visa, and carry that. It can't hurt.

 

.

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From this week's Stickman column, there is a Bangkok law firm that responds to questions:

 

Question 1: What is the legal requirement for personal identification that a foreign visitor must carry with him in Thailand? When I go out on the town I never take my passport since with all the visas and work permits that I have, it is far too precious a document to casually carry everywhere. Does this place me in violation of the law? And if a passport is needed, then is a photocopy an acceptable substitute?

 

 

Sunbelt responds: According to the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO): “By law, tourists are expected to carry their passports with them at all times in Thailand. There have been incidents where tourists have been arrested because they were unable to produce their passport.” (See here.)

 

Also, the Irish, French, and Australian Foreign Office/Embassy websites (as well as others) all tell their citizens to carry copies of their passports with them when traveling abroad as a minimum requirement (and often when discussing travel in Thailand specifically). During the institution of Martial Law during and after the 2010 “Red Shirt riots” there were numerous announcements from the Thai Government stating that foreign nationals needed to carry their passports with them for identification.

 

The Thai Police will tell you that the law actually states that everybody in Thailand needs to carry an official document proving their identity. The law doesn't specify a passport for foreign nationals or, as a matter of fact, the Thai National ID Card for Thai citizens so in theory a Thai Driving license, a work permit or a National Identity card should all be considered valid (although you could always be asked to produce your passport later to a Thai Immigration officer). Copies of passports, despite what you may be told, are not official documents and while they are not technically acceptable, in practice they are generally accepted in most instances involving routine checks by the Thai Police.

Edited by ricktoronto

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Yes it is mandatory by law that everyone in Thailand carry his/her primary ID at all times - in your case the passport you used to legally enter Thailand. Yes, the police can demand it any time, anywhere.

 

Or if you'd prefer the word of a Thai lawyer vs. a WAG, see above.

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Many people make a photocopy of the front page of the passport and the page with the latest visa, and carry that.

Yes, it's the way to go, but don't forget the TM6 (Departure Card) copy, and the AuthorizationOfStay Stamp copy too.

 

As a guy living in Pattaya, I always have with me a small waterproof transparent bag with:

- my Thai Driving License (that I use as ID card when one is required or to get Thai prices in parcs/attractions)

- copy of passport (1st page, visa, stamp, TM6)

- my health card (for hospital in case of accident or sickness) with Insurance ref. & contact

- a Visa credit card

- a card with my address, phone, mail

+ contact ref. of a friend to contact in Pattaya in case of problem

and in the box of my motorbike I have copy of insurance and tax documents, + passeport copy again.

 

Just hope nobody will ever have to use them...

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We seem to have a lot of worry warts here...

I have lived here over 7 years and my habit is to only carry my passport on road trips...and to and from those annoying Immigration visits.

Mostly I do have my Thai driving licence with me.......

 

If you must have Redwing boots, and a top brand motorcycle helmet, then you should carry your passport too.

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Or if you'd prefer the word of a Thai lawyer vs. a WAG, see above.

 

You definitely want to believe that unnamed, unaccountable, possibly British person, because when the police stop you, you can say, "Well the Internet says I don't need to carry a passport, any old ID will do, so THERE."

 

This unnamed, unaccountable bureaucrat at the FO (heh, great name for that place, eh?) even states that the police will DEMAND your passport. In what way did I "guess" about that? I told the OP how to deal in the easiest way in the unlikely case of a police face-to-face, and the unaccountable foreigner who isn't in Thailand and has no credentials that he ever was in Thailand told you how to make it extremely difficult for yourself. By all means, go with the anonymous guy writing on the Internet from London and explain to the police how STUPID they are that they don't know the law and you don't have to give them your passport, and stop haranguing you about it. That should be quite helpful in sorting out any problems with the police, because you can refer to the Internet, police are certain to believe you on that.

 

We seem to have a lot of worry warts here...

 

No snit!

 

Mostly I do have my Thai driving licence with me.......

 

Right on. I have NEVER been in a situation where my Thailand driver's licence didn't work, aside from with an immigration (or embassy) person. For people who have a Thai driver's licence, they will never need anything else for any internal situation. But I left that out of my answer, since I was answering the OP, who doesn't have one.

 

I advise him not to carry his passport, but to cooperate with the coppers about it in the unlikely case he ever has to deal with them, and don't try to foist off something else by informing them they don't know Thai law. I advise that.

 

.

Edited by joekicker

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I somehow think that if when travelling we knew all the local laws that we as tourist were supposed to adhere to that we would stay at home! Its all a lottery. I have mentioned on another thread about riding a motor bike in Cambodia without a license. This can get you arrested, jailed and fined a bomb but no one seems to bother. I believe in Myanama there are dreadful penalties for taking one of thos smelly Durain fruits into a hotel and some tourists have been hammered for replacing half the furniture and fitting for having broke that one. Common sense seems to dictate what we do rather than what we have to do.

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Yes, living in Thailand where rules are rarely taken seriously can be refreshing.

I am quite certain Thais take the bulbs out of the rear light on their motorcycles to save on fuel....

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Yes, living in Thailand where rules are rarely taken seriously can be refreshing.

I am quite certain Thais take the bulbs out of the rear light on their motorcycles to save on fuel....

 

Only the rear light? Try driving at night upcountry. I do carry a copy of my passport but never the passport itself. My five year Thai license is normally enough for hotels and even domestic air flights.

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Been asked for my mine probably around 10 times on road trips between Pattaya and Khorat within road blocks, but only once in Pattaya after minor traffic infringement.....

 

Told him the passport was in the house on the Darkside, and he never mentioned it again.

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I keep a copy of my passport in my motorbike with my international license and other paperwork, but I have not carried even a copy of it around with me in 3 years. In the last 4 I have never been asked for it except during minor traffic stops when I am with my motorbike... I have been present during police raids of clubs, after fights, etc but never been asked.

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I have some recent first-hand experience of the need for foreigners to carry ID while in Thailand. A few nights ago on Suk Road in Bangkok, I was attacked by a crazy drunk farang. Turns out he had been in three or four fights that night and probably mistook me for someone else. I fought back, which resulted in injuries to both of us Cops came, slapped handcuffs on him and took away in the back of a pickup truck. They said I had to go to Thong Lor Police Station as well, but let me ride in a taxi.

 

The police were very peeved that I wasn't carrying my passport or another form of ID (they told me a U.S. or Thai drivers license would also have been OK). I was told to go get my passport and U.S. drivers license and come immediately back. The other guy couldn't (or didn't want to) produce his passport. Cops kept my passport overnight, said I had to come back to the police station the next day to talk to "big police." Long, complicated story made short: Cops really didn't care that farang had been fighting or injured each other. They decided to hold the other guy for violating immigration law, with the goal of expelling him, once they finally sorted out his identity.

 

Evil

:devil

Edited by Evil Penevil

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I have been done twice while riding a motorbike. Once was for an illegal right turn. The second time was for not wearing a helmet. In both cases, the only thing they asked was "what is your name?" I gave them my first name, which they wrote on the tickets. I have yet to have anyone ask for an ID of any sort.

 

With that said, I carry my passport with me everywhere, and will until I get a proper Thai driver's license.

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I always have my DL with me and have never been asked to produce my PP unless im checking into a hotel or cashing tcheques.

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I have been done twice while riding a motorbike. Once was for an illegal right turn. The second time was for not wearing a helmet. In both cases, the only thing they asked was "what is your name?" I gave them my first name, which they wrote on the tickets. I have yet to have anyone ask for an ID of any sort.

 

With that said, I carry my passport with me everywhere, and will until I get a proper Thai driver's license.

 

Thats exactly right 99% of the time.

 

I think I have had to show my passport page once, and that was on Suk road in najomtien, just before the turnoff to Khow Chee Chan. That was a random police stop, but since everything was in order he let me go with no fine. All the rest of the times either I was not asked for anything at all (usual), or only for the tax paper and international drivers license (which expired in 2009 but they have never noticed). Seeing both of those and without even reading either, they usually just pass me thru.

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... and international drivers license (which expired in 2009 but they have never noticed). Seeing both of those and without even reading either, they usually just pass me thru.

 

An IDL is a great "official looking" document that you can have as many copies as you want since the only qualification is to buy one. Also here at least you can get a replacement DL for $10 and keep the original for a official document you can lose if you never get it back.

 

That's what I carry in Latin America.

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I always have my DL with me and have never been asked to produce my PP unless im checking into a hotel or cashing tcheques.

I have found the DL covers me for hotels too.... never needed to cash cheques for a long time.

There is often a police stop on the railway line bypass road... all they ever want to see is my DL.

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I have found the DL covers me for hotels too.... never needed to cash cheques for a long time.

There is often a police stop on the railway line bypass road... all they ever want to see is my DL.

 

Ya they have those several times a week on Soi Khow Noi, but have never once even stopped me... If I have my visor down they wave at me, but when I open it they pass me thru. Not sure if they recognize me or maybe they are just not looking for falangs.

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I am unclear on one important point. Is it mandatory that a foreign national have his Passport on his person in Thailand? I read on Thai-Anxiety that, during the recent Police raids of bars, customers who did not have their "ID's" were arrested.

 

I am such a careless, forgetful person that I am reluctant to carry my Passport. I usually carry a photocopy of my Passport's identity page with a photocopy of the page with my current visa. Is this adequate "ID" for the Police? MANY THANX!

 

CHEERS!

 

Your supposed to do it but I never have. Ever. Not in the last 20 years.

 

i do carry my UK driving licence as ID.

 

On the two occasions when stopped by the BB (one in Pattaya after a car accident once on the way to Korat both while driving) I showed my UK driving licence and it was no problem.

 

 

If i carry it I will lose it and what do you do with it when your out for a run ?? Impossible.

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If i carry it I will lose it and what do you do with it when your out for a run ?? Impossible.

 

But you've never lose your British DL.

 

.

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But you've never lose your British DL.

 

.

 

No its not as important as apassport and i have two of them in anycase.

 

Dick head.

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The police were very peeved that I wasn't carrying my passport or another form of ID (they told me a U.S. or Thai drivers license would also have been OK). I was told to go get my passport and U.S. drivers license and come immediately back. The other guy couldn't (or didn't want to) produce his passport. Cops kept my passport overnight, said I had to come back to the police station the next day to talk to "big police." Long, complicated story made short: Cops really didn't care that farang had been fighting or injured each other. They decided to hold the other guy for violating immigration law, with the goal of expelling him, once they finally sorted out his identity.

 

Evil

:devil

I would be more inclined to give the BIB the benefit of the doubt. They had a guy who assaulted people and really didn't need to be walking the streets of their fair city. The immigration violation gave them a convenient route to make him go away.

 

I do carry my U.S. driver's license in Thailand as I'm now old enough to actually understand that any outing could end in the hospital. Generally not the pp.

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A few nights ago, I was at an entertainment area here in Udon Thani where there was a big drug raid. For the first time, I was asked to produce a passport and frisked. I showed him a copy of my passport I had in my phone as well as pictures of my wife and kid (both Thai). I asked if he wanted me to go get it and he said next time and to enjoy my evening. That was the end of that.

 

Once they figure out you're not a drug dealer/user, trouble-maker or the like, they will leave you alone... If for no other reason than they don't want to be bothered themselves.

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