Real estate and real property in Thailand are good investment prospects for foreigners either for business or retirement purposes. However, Thailand’s Land Law is quite restrictive when it comes to property ownership by foreign nationals. Interestingly, Thai Land Laws have certain exceptions to the prohibitive provisions on land or property ownership of aliens (foreigners) in Thailand.
Generally, foreigners are not allowed to own freehold land in Thailand. Holding an investment in Thailand entitles the foreigner to a right to acquire land or property under the following conditions:
Land Acquisition by a Foreign National
A foreign investor with 40 million Baht or more may apply for land acquisition of not more than one rai in area, purely for residential purpose. Section 96 of the Thai Land Code provides that the application for land ownership shall conform to the rules, procedures and conditions as prescribed in the Ministerial Regulation, to wit:
- Alien 4 Form shall be lodged to the competent official to apply for permission to acquire land for residential purpose. The application shall be submitted together with the following documents:
Alien Identification Card issued by the Police Station in the domicile of the foreign national; or a certificate of residence issued by the Immigration Division, National Bureau of the Royal Thai Police Force, or Evida passport indicating the foreigner’s nationality.
- Evidence of Investment (bonds, property mutual fund, share capital in an investment promotion approved by Board of Investment, etc.)
- Evidence of Foreign Currency Transaction / Remittance to Thailand
- Letter of Confirmation from Provincial Officer of Town and Country Planning if property to be acquired is not located in Bangkok Metropolis, Tessaban (municipality) or Pattaya located within a residential zone under the Town Planning law.
- Confirmation from Ministry of Defense that the land is not located in a military zone as per Military Safety Zone rules.
- Sketch of map showing location of land applied for permission to own the property.
Conditions to Land Acquisition by a Foreign National
Any foreign national granted permission to property ownership shall:
- Maintain the investment for a period of not less than five years.
- Utilize the land for residential purpose for him and his family, within two years from the date of the land acquisition registration.
- Facilitate the competent official supervising on the use of such land or property.
A foreigner who is granted approval for property investment and who withdraws his investment in business or activity shall notify in writing the competent official within 60 days from the date of making the withdrawal.
Violation of the rules and conditions will prompt the Director General to order the foreigner to dispose the land within not less than 180 days and not more than one year.
All foreign language document required in such transactions shall be translated into Thai language by certified and accredited language translators.
Other Ways to Acquire Land
Aside from Investment, other ways to acquire property in Thailand include:
- Land Leases. Foreigners are allowed to hold 100% interest in a Thai land lease, which allows 1 30-year maximum lease period with the option to renew the lease for another 30 years.
- Company Ownership. As a majority shareholder of a Thai registered company.
- Thai Spouse. A foreigner married to a Thai national may buy land or property provided it is in the name of the Thai spouse and that the foreigner signs a waiver declaring no claim on the land or property.
- Usufruct habitation and Superficies. A foreigner may acquire a life-term interest in certain types of property rights in Thailand.
If you are an alien and need some legal help, click on this link to know more.