Getting a Residence Certificate


Last edited: June 21, 2022 at 04:30:00

If you stay in Chiang Mai long-term, sooner or later you will come across the need to get a so-called Residence Certificate from Immigration. You may need it for a variety of purposes, for example:

(Surprisingly, you don't need it to to buy a house or condominium, which of course is of much more value than a motorcyle, but there isn't that much logic to Thai red tape.)

The easiest way to get a Residence Certificate (or otherwise called proof of address or address declaration) is from the Immigration office, but you can also get it from your Consulate or Embassy. Normally, the fees at Consulates and Embassies are higher, while the conditions to get it can be stricter. This is because often, your Thai papers need to be officially translated, then legalised by a Thai legalisation office (both steps can sometimes be combined in one if you choose the right translation office) and finally legalised or certified by the Consulate or Embassy, but of course this depends on your country's policy. Also, not all countries have Consulates in Chiang Mai, so you'd have to travel to Bangkok to get it. For this reason, most people just resort to Immigration to get it done as the paperwork needed is fairly simply and straightforward and it's free (or nearly free).

If you have a Work permit or a Yellow House Book with your name in it, you don't need a Residence Certificate anymore, these documents can serve a a proof of address as well.

HOW TO GET YOUR RESIDENCE CERTIFICATE AS CHEAP AS POSSIBLE

If you're absolutely not in a hurry or you can plan well ahead, you can get a Residence Certificate entirely free of charge, following these steps below. The only thing you need is time to wait and time to queue up.

A free Residence Certificate can be obtained from the Immigration office at the airport. The approximate waiting time varies greatly, depending on the work load, but as a rough average it usually takes 3 weeks (when it's very busy, it can take a staggering 5 weeks!). You need to apply for this between 8:30 - 12:00 am, outside of these hours Immigration does not take in any requests for this and when it's busy there is a queue (but since covid-19, there is hardly any queue anymore). The counter for this is at the 1/F. Walk inside the building and go to the right or enter the building from the side entrance on the right where you find the staircases and go up 1 floor.

What to bring for residence certificate

What to bring?

  • Proof of address: this must be a rental agreement of a condominium, a house, or a serviced apartment for a minimum of 3 months. Most of the time, a shorter term booking at a hotel is not accepted. If you own a property, bring the title deed (chanod).
  • Orginal passport and copies of relevant pages (photo page, visa page, entry stamp, departure card TM.6). If you didn't make copies before you came, there is a copy shop outside in the southeast corner of the complex, outside of the main building (costs of copying double that of a normal shop in town).
    NOTE: there need to be at least 30 days left on your current visa
  • 1 Passport-sized photos (2 inches)
  • TM.30 slip which is the proof that your landlord has reported your stay. If your landlord didn't do this, too bad, you're now sitting in front of the Immigration officer and you've got to pay the fine of THB 1,600. (Then later, try to get that money back from your landlord, even though it's the landlord's responsibility, you may not be able to retrieve that money.) So, before you come to the Immigration office, make sure that you've got the TM.30 slip or check it with your landlord. If you don't have it, it may be cheaper and easier to use an a special agent in the same building.
  • If you have a 1-year visa, also make a copy of the 90-days receipt.
  • THB 40 cash for postage

Bring 1 copy of all these documents.
If you need 2 residence certificates at the same time, for example one for renewing your driving license and one for buying a new vehicle, you only need to bring one set of copies but 2 passport photos.

In the past, you would have to pick up your residence certificate in a few weeks, but since covid Immigration also has seen the light and they realize things can be easier for both sides, so you just pay 40 baht for registered postal fees and they'll send it to your home address.

HOW TO GET YOUR RESIDENCE CERTIFICATE AS EASY AND FAST AS POSSIBLE

If you don't have the time to wait for weeks, then there are "inofficial" ways to get it done faster. Officially, Immigration officers are of course not allowed to accept a "fee" to expedite a government service that ought to be carried out free of charge, that's why usually there is a way to do it more indirectly. How this is presented to you varies over time. There have been periods that there was a side-office named G4T, officially not run by immigration where you could pick it up the next day for a 1,000 baht fee. That was in the time that the main immigration offices were still at Promenada.

Officially, G4T had nothing to do with Immigration but the officers would plainly refer to it so one could guess it was either a covert way to by-pass the official rules that don't allow skipping the queue, or there were significant kick-back fees that were shared by the team, as is usual when authorities in Thailand provide preferential treatments.

After the main Immigration services moved back to the building near the airport, there were several agents across the road that would do it for the same 1,000 baht fee, including and most notably The Colonel, an interesting and daring name for an agent supposedly unlinked to Immigration.

And at the time of this re-writing (March 2022), there are reports you can simply do it at the 1F by paying THB 500. Pick up next day. 

No doubt that will again change again over time, typically when the people selling express services for extra money find the risk to be noticed by the head office in Bangkok to big, but rest assured you can always find a way in Thailand to get it done faster than the official time.

At all times, most visa agencies in Chiang Mai will offer express services in anything related to visa, because this way is indirect enough.

What to bring?

For the expedited service you would need the same documents, but sometimes the agent is able to sideskip some strict requirements, such as the TM.30 slip. That could be a big advantage if you happened to have forgotten to arrange for that when you entered Thailand.

The typical fee for the expedited service is THB 500-1,000 but some agents may add a surcharge to that. You can usually pick up your Residence Certificate the next day or 2 days later after 2pm.

So if you don't have the TM.30 you can actually save yourself some money (THB 1,600 - THB 1,000 = THB 600) and trouble by just using a special agent and be done with it.

500 baht bill for fast Residence Certificate by G4T
Old bill of 500 baht by special agent for quick Residence Certificate in the Promenada days

Validity

Note that the residence certificate you get from Immigration is only 30 days.

Getting your Residence Certificate is not difficult if you use the right approach
Getting a Residence Certificate is easy with the right approach

 


Do you have other experiences with getting your Residence Certificate? Share it here as a comment


Leave a comment

Note: By posting a comment or question, you will not automatically be notified when other people respond to your post (as in some other social media message threads). Please check the thread yourself if you’re interested in this topic.

Please put in your real email address. It will not be displayed with your comment or on the site, but we can answer you if needed. Comments with fake email addresses may be removed.
Some comments may be edited or deleted, according to our comments policy.

Plastic_Brontosaurus Posted on March 30, 2022 at 07:18:38
The information above is now several years old and partially incorrect. I've done the process twice this year (last month and today) to get the Residence Certificate at Chiang Mai immigration.
What you should bring: proof of address as mentioned in the article above (I brought a letter from my condominium). TM30. Photocopy of passport details page, and photocopies of relevant stamped pages (all stamps related to current stay). Photocopy of TM6. One passport photo. 500 baht (for expedited service; just ask for that, and you can collect the next day). This is on the first floor of the immigration building near the airport; just go up the stairs and you see the desk right there. Hours are 8:30 until 12:00 noon. Collection (in case of expedited service) next working day, between the same hours. I don't know if they still open in the afternoon. I also don't know the current waiting time for the free service (on some other sites they say it is between several weeks and one to two months, but it seems to vary with the time of year).
Geo Posted on September 19, 2020 at 03:18:29
I needed one to renew my driving licence in Phitsanulok. My worry was I only had 24 days until my birthday and would I get the letter beforehand. After reading others posts on the internet about the tie it takes I went there with no confidence. 30 minutes later I walked out with proof of residence and got my new licence the next day.
Patraeus Posted on January 23, 2019 at 18:46:54
I paid a fee at the pattaya immigration office and was able to open a thai bank account on my 30 day tourist visa. Just smile and act naive and talk money.

jkt Posted on November 22, 2018 at 11:41:22
great article , I know you are based in CM , but are you aware of any agents in BKK that offer this service
Chris Posted on October 10, 2018 at 06:11:29
Regarding your update, who do I need to speak to to get the expedited service and do I need a TM 30?
Jason Posted on October 04, 2018 at 05:20:05
UPDATE Oct 2018: it’s now possible to get residence certificate same day at the new immigration building, pickup at 5:30pm. Charge is 1000 baht. The old service of picking up next day is still available, pickup at 5:30pm, charge is 500 baht. I presume the “free” one is still available if you want to wait 2 weeks, but I didn’t ask.
Jason Posted on October 04, 2018 at 03:06:00
How does this apply now that Chiang Mai immigration is no longer at Promenada?

I don't want to wait 2 weeks, I need the certificate so I can renew my driving license and buy a new car.
chiangmaicharlies Posted on August 18, 2018 at 10:41:50
I went to 'no name office, and it was fast but cost B1500. B1000 basic charge, B200 for 6x4 cm photos from the copy shop as passport size were refused. and B300 for no name getting the TM30 slip using my docs. I went upstairs to do it myself, but at 11 am was told to come back at 1:30 pm!
Tony Posted on August 15, 2018 at 04:49:45
Note: immigration need to have 30 days left on your visa to get a residency certificate. I was 45 days into my 60 days (multiple entry) and was turned away by the special service based on this.
AK Posted on August 03, 2018 at 14:05:56
Went to the 'no name' place next to the photocopy shop on the ground floor today, Friday, 3 August, 2018. The required documents were: 1) original passport and its photocopies of relevant pages as mentioned above; 2) a photocopy of TM 30 slip (now they ask for it!); 3) 2 passport-sized photos for the 1st certificate (and one additional if you need one more certificate); and 4) 1000 baht per certificate. I wasn't asked for the proof of address. The place was closing, so they couldn't be bothered to check perhaps. I had to write down the address on the form myself. They said I can collect mine on the next working day at 4:30pm.
Ragabob Posted on May 21, 2018 at 05:48:15
Fee for Residence Certificate is now 1000baht. Just been there today Monday 21 May 2018. Apparently they doubled the fee after Songkran
Matthew Posted on October 24, 2017 at 08:27:51
My wife just applied last week for the residence certificate, and it will be ready in 4 weeks. No Fee. Promenada 2nd floor, apply 9-11AM. If you want it faster, it's 500 Baht, and you get it the next day. In that case, apply downstairs at Immigration, Promenada.