Q: Is the yellow book worth having?
The yellow residence book contains the names of farang resident(s) at that address. It is applied for in our area at the government office in which the residence (condo or house) is actually situated, i.e. Pattaya city hall or the district offices at Banglamung, Nongprue or Huay Yai. Although the documentation can vary slightly, you will need to produce your passport (probably authenticated by your embassy), your birth certificate to show parents’ names, a one year visa or better, proof of address from immigration and two witness statements from people who know you.
Our law company frequently assists foreigners with the bureaucracy. For example, any documents not in Thai must be translated by a competent authority. This will include your passport and your full name must be translated into the Thai language. We can also help you assemble the documentation and escort you, if needed, to the local authority office. In addition to the yellow book, you will receive a pink ID card which will have on it a 13-digit number which may come in very handy for registering on Thai apps. See below.
We are often asked if it is worth obtaining the yellow book and the pink card, not an expensive procedure but one that can take a couple of months or more. Well, they can’t be used for every single encounter with Thai bureaucracy. For example, the land transport department will still require you to obtain a letter from the immigration bureau to certify your address. But for many other purposes the pink card in your wallet will be accepted without further ado and may entitle you to discounts at some public entertainment facilities such as zoos or gardens. Most importantly, in the age of Covid, the 13-digit number on your pink card will enable you to register on the Mor Prom site for your post-vaccination certificate which looks like it’s going to be essential for all sorts of purposes.
Q: Are there really two 90-day reports?
Yes there are two in use at immigration offices. The most common one is the requirement to notify your Thai address every three months if you are staying here on a one year visa or extension of stay. If you leave the country in less than 90 days, you do not observe the requirement and the clock starts ticking again on the day you return to Thailand. Regular leavers never or rarely need to register provided their stay in Thailand is less than three months. It’s worth noting that everyone with a one year visa or extension of stay, or an Elite visa, is subject to the regulation. The only exceptions are permanent residents (who have a red police book) and a select group of Smart visa holders. This is a four year visa available to working specialists in advanced technology.
The 90 day report requires registration on or near the date when you have resided in the kingdom for three months. In reality, it is a window requiring registration two weeks before or one week after the due date. 90 days is not a visa or a permission to stay. Those who forget are liable to a fine of 2,000 baht. You can register in person or on the internet. A third party or agent can also register on your behalf. After the first registration, a paper is stapled into your passport which gives a barcode to be used in future. There is no need to show proof of address. If you change your address, you need to fill in a TM30 form.
The other 90 day report has nothing to do with the above and applies only to some of those with a one year retirement visa or extension of stay. If you apply for the retirement extension based on having 800,000 baht or more in a Thai bank, you must appear at immigration “not less than 90 days after your visa is issued” to prove to the officer that at least 800,000 is still there. The rules state that the minimum of 800,000 baht must be in your Thai bank account two months before the visa is issued and for three months afterwards. The other seven months of the year require you to keep at least 400,000 baht in your Thai bank account.