When you are in Thailand you must much like Thai citizens carry your passport on you at all times. The very same goes with a work permit. The work permit and passport must be with you at all times. An interesting note that when the local newspapers asked Phuket Immigration about the issue after a number of foreigners had been arrested in Phuket for not having their passports on them during the raid on the nightclub.
“The law here is that all foreign tourist must have their passports to hand when the police ask for them. Tourists being in possession of their passports is similar to Thai people having identity cards – they must keep their ID cards with them for when police want to check their identify. However, if you are worried about losing your passport you can make a photocopy and carry that instead. At present we have problems in this country with international criminals, so inspection of passports is essential for safety and security reasons.” Pol Lt Col Panudej Sookwong, Superintendent of Phuket Tourist Police.
So always ensure that you have your passport on you while in Thailand. If you are afraid that you might misplace the passport on a night out on town then at the very least keep a copy of the front page of the passport and the TM card and also the entry and valid until stamp in your passport and the visa. Those are the 3 pages you would need to have to show.
- – Face page of your passport;
- – TM card in your passport;
- – Visa in your passport;
- – Entry date and due date stamp in your passport.
Those are the very same stamps and pages that Thai Immigration asks for when you apply for a work permit so ensure that those 4 pages are what you have when you make a copy. You can normally do this on 1 A4 page. This however changed a few months later when the reply to the Phuket Gazette was as follows
“The Gazette notes that the “photocopy rule” appears not to apply everywhere. Pol Maj Phanthana Nutchanart, of the Bangkok Investigation Tourist Police (Division 2) stresses:Tourists must carry their passports with them at all times. This is an international rule. A passport is like an ID card; if you don’t have it with you, the police may arrest you.
Better to be safe than sorry. If you don’t have the original then at least the photocopy. The work permit is another issue as they do not accept a copy for the work permit. You need to ensure that this is on you at the office, on your way to and from work. Better yet staple it to your passport to make much easier.
What is normally used is the following law:
Section 58: Any alien who has no lawful document for entering the Kingdom under Section 12 (1); or has no Residence Certificate under this Act; and also has no identification in accordance with the Law on Alien registration, (I have yet to find this Law on Alien Registration) is considered to have entered into the Kingdom in violation to this Act.
Then this is followed by:
Section 59 :The Director General, or the competent official deputized by Director General, shall have the authority to arrest and suppress any person violating this Act. They shall also have the authority to issue a subpoena, warrant of arrest or search, make arrest , search , or detain. They shall also have the authority to conduct inquiry into the offense against the provisions of this Act in the same manner as the inquiry official under the Criminal Procedure Code.