What should a copy of my passport show?

I was interested and disturbed to read in the Issues & Answers section on the Phuket Gazette website [see ‘Passport worry’] about the need for all visitors to carry their passports, or a copy, with them at all times.

I must confess that I was totally ignorant of this requirement, though I have been travelling to Thailand annually for the last 15 years or so.

I should welcome clarification on the following point:

Is it necessary for the copy of the passport to be made once one is in Thailand, so as to show the immigration stamp and date of entry? Or is it sufficient for a copy to be...

  • Asked on Friday, December 3, 2004 | 11:44 AM
    Mark H. Burrill, Honolulu.

You should get the photocopy of the passport made after you come into Thailand. That way we can  check everything – name, nationality, date of entry, expiration date of visa and passport, last destination and so on. If you make the copy before you come to Thailand, we cannot check all this information.

If you are worried about losing your passport, you can leave it in the hotel and have the front office manager or another person in authority sign the photocopy and write his name and position on it to verify it is an accurate copy.

  • Answered on Friday, December 3, 2004 | 11:44 AM
    Pol Lt Col Panudej Sookwong, Superintendent of the Phuket Tourist Police.

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.

It’s like showing a driving license to the police – if you show them a copy, there is no way for them to tell whether it is genuine or fake.

Similarly, it is impossible to present a copy of your passport when cashing travelers’ checks. You have to show the bank the real thing.

  • Answered on Friday, December 3, 2004 | 11:44 AM
    Phuket Gazette
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