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Posts Tagged ‘Yellow Tabien Baan’

6th August 2019

It appears that as of July 25, 2019 the Immigration authorities in Thailand have begun accepting petitions for permanent residence. For those unaware, it should be noted that Thai Immigration authorities tend to only open the “window” for PR applications for a few months to allow applicants an opportunity to file their petitions. Those seeking permanent residence in Thailand may apply based upon the following categories: investment, working/business, humanitarian, experts, and extraordinary circumstances on a ad-hoc basis. Those who obtain permanent residence are able to have their name listed in a blue Tabien Baan (also known as a House Book). Furthermore, individuals with permanent residence in Thailand no longer need to deal with 90 Day reporting nor do they ever need to renew a Thai visa as their status is considered permanent. Those seeking Thai PR should note that there are quotas on the number of residence books which will be allocated in a given year. These quotas are based upon nationality.

Meanwhile, it appears that as of the time of this writing the Thai Immigration authorities have yet to implement recently announced regulations pertaining to health insurance for retirement visas in the Kingdom. In a recent article in The Phuket News it has been noted that Thai Consular Officers and Embassies and Consulates abroad and Immigration officials in the Kingdom have yet to be ordered to begin evaluating insurance policies for those seeking retirement visas and/or retirement visa extension. To quote directly from the The Phuket News:

Phuket Immigration Police Chief Col Kathathorn Kumthieng confirmed to The Phuket News this week that his office has yet to receive an order instructing his office to start enforcing the mandatory health insurance requirement, approved by the Cabinet on April 2.

It remains to be seen exactly when the retirement visa insurance scheme will be fully implemented. However, it appears imprudent to presume that these proposed rules have been abandoned even if they have yet to be implemented.

Meanwhile, many foreign nationals in Thailand are increasingly irritated by the increasingly enforced TM.30. For those unaware the TM30 form is used to comply with the Immigration Act provisions requiring foreign nationals temporarily present in Thailand to report their address to Immigration officials. There appears to be some confusion whether TM30 rules apply to those in the Kingdom who maintain a yellow house book. Some foreign nationals in Thailand are calling for TM30 to be scrapped in favor of a more efficient and up to date system. Although rules regarding the TM 30 have not been enforced for many years, if not decades, the Immigration Bureau in Thailand began enforcing the law on residence reporting in earnest earlier this year with the result that many foreigners have been asked to file TM30, or pay fines, before being allowed to extend a Thai visa. This has caused a great deal of consternation which recently has come to a head in the form of a petition requesting that the Thai government reevaluate its TM30 policies. How exactly this initiative plays out remains to be seen, but there are valid arguments in favor of streamlining the TM 30 process.

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30th March 2011

This blog routinely posts about issues related to Thailand visas and Thai Permanent Residence in an effort to provide some information on these issues to the general public. It would appear that there is some consternation among foreign nationals in Thailand who are awaiting the adjudication of Thai permanent residence applications at the Ministry of Interior.  To quote directly from a recent opinion piece on the website PhuketGazette.net:

PHUKET: It’s time for the Ministry of Interior (MoI) to set up a special task force to begin fast-tracking the processing of the huge backlog of permanent residency (PR) applications it is now sitting on in silence.

Such a move would have multiple benefits for all parties involved, including, especially, foreign investors (potential and extant) and Thailand’s all-important tourism industry.

For reasons that have apprently never been divulged by the MoI, the stacks of stale PR applications, submitted in good faith and at great expense by law-abiding, long resident “visitors” to Thailand, continue to gather dust at the ministry.[sic]

Those reading this blog are highly encouraged to click upon the hyperlinks above to learn more about this issue.

Clearly, this is a significant issue for foreign nationals in Thailand, especially those who have been in Thailand for a long enough duration so as to be eligible to apply for Thailand Permanent Resident status. Those holding permanent resident status in Thailand are permitted to be placed upon a Tabien Baan (also referred to as a house registration booklet). This should not be confused with a Yellow Tabien Baan or Foreign Tabien Baan which allows foreign nationals, without Permanent Residence status, to obtain a house booklet under certain circumstances.

Unlike the United States Permanent Resident process, the Thai PR process can be quite long and cumbersome. Many have noted that there currently exists a substantial backlog of Thailand Permanent Resident status applications as there have yet to be any new Permanent Residence booklets issued for many years.

Those wishing to obtain Thailand Permanent Residence should note that this status is highly coveted amongst foreign nationals while simultaneously being difficult to obtain. Those seeking permanent residence in Thailand are only eligible after remaining in Thailand on Thai visa extensions for a period not less than 3 years. Also, most permanent residence applicants must also have maintained a Thai work permit for a significant period of time at a salary level which comports with relevant Thai Ministry regulations.

There is a common misconception about Thailand regarding the country’s immigration procedures. Many from so-called “Western” countries do not understand that Thais take immigration issues quite seriously and make rules and regulations which could be described as stringent. This is especially true in matters pertaining to Thai permanent residence as Thai PR applications are capped by a nationality quota and subjected to intense scrutiny by the Royal Thai Immigration Police and the Thai Ministry of Interior. Therefore, those thinking of applying for Thai permanent residence are well advised to conduct research into the issue and, in some cases, retain qualified counsel to assist in such an undertaking.

For related information please see: Thai Visa.

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26th June 2010

In a recent posting on the Chiang Mai Mail website, issues surrounding foreigners’ rights in Thailand were discussed. The issues came up in the context of a recent road show conducted by the Thai Ministry of the Interior. Foreigners residing in Thailand sometimes find it difficult to fully exercise their rights as the rules themselves can be somewhat vague. For example, the issue of alien registration on a Thai Tabien Baan can be confusing as few foreign nationals are fully aware of their right’s regarding registration. To quote the Chiang Mai Mail’s report about the recent Interior Ministry Roadshow:

Holders of Permanent residency can get a blue book (Tor Ror 14) and holders of temporary visas can get on the yellow book (Tor Ror 13) before they can apply for naturalization. The Provincial Administration reiterated an important point, that foreigners have the right to be listed on the census registration, “It is not well known even among officials. We have contacted registration officials that you have this right and you should insist on it.”

For many, registration on a Yellow Tabien Baan is beneficial because many Thai government offices view a Tabien Baan as definitive proof of lawful presence in Thailand and use the information in the Tabien Baan accordingly. Another issue that came up at the aforementioned roadshow was the issue of naturalization of those seeking Thai Citizenship. In the past, the language requirements for naturalization were rather stringent. During the recent roadshow the spokesperson for the Interior Ministry commented upon the revised linguistic requirements for naturalization to Thai Citizenship:

The requirements for naturalization were laid out, including the income requirements for both those married to Thais and those not married to Thais. The linguistics requirement has been reduced but the applicant must be able to sing the National and Royal anthems. Speaking and listening is mandatory but reading and writing is no longer required.

Finally, of particular interest to many foreign nationals in Thailand is that of the 90 day “check in” for foreigners present in the Kingdom on a “temporary” visa such as a Thai business visa or a Thai O visa. Regarding the Ministry of Interior’s stance on the issue, the Chiang Mai Mail was quoted as saying:

The next issue under discussion was Immigration and the right of habitation. Immigration officials discussed the various visas and how to obtain them as well as how to obtain Permanent Residency. The main issue of contention brought up by multiple Consul Generals, including Japanese Consul General Junko Yakata, was that of the 90 day reporting required of all foreigners on long stay visa extensions. Consul General Yakata told the officials that there are 3,000 Japanese nationals living in Northern Thailand. She requested a simplification of the process, perhaps by extending the length of time needed in between reports.

Chinese Consul General Zhu Weimin requested a change in the 90 day reporting procedure as well, citing the large numbers of Chinese students who attend Chiang Mai schools who cannot take time off from school to travel to Immigration to report. He suggested they open on the weekends for those who have jobs and classes.

The official justified the 90 day reporting by saying “it allows us the best possible protection. If someone goes missing then we have more recent information as to their whereabouts to give to the Embassy.”

90 day reporting is currently required of those foreigners remaining in Thailand on a Thai visa extension. Anyone in the Kingdom on an extension must report their address every 90 days. As can be gathered from the above quotation, some foreign nationals in Thailand feel that the 90 day reporting requirement is cumbersome. However, Thai authorities seem unwilling to change the rules as the current system would seem to provide the most efficient method of maintaining records as to the last known addresses of foreign nationals in Thailand. This is important as Thai authorities can use the data from 90 day reporting to apprise foreign governments of the location of their citizens for purposes of death or disappearance in Thailand. In this author’s opinion, the 90 day reporting scheme is rather cumbersome, but no one, as of yet, has provided a feasible alternative which would comport to the needs of all concerned.

For Related Information please see: Thailand Permanent Residence.

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14th March 2010

An often asked question among foreign nationals in Thailand is: Can we get married in Thailand? More often, the question is posed with some variation. For example: Can two Americans get married in Thailand? Or, can two Canadians get married in Thailand? Finally, a common question: my fiancee is British (or any other nationality) and I’m an American, can we get married in Thailand? All of these questions can be answered relatively quickly: Yes, provided all parties meet the legal requirements.

Thailand marriage registration can be very quick when compared to certain common law jurisdictions. In many States in the USA, there is a statutorily prescribed waiting period between marriage license obtainment and marriage solemnization. In Thailand, there is no such delay. In many ways, the Thai civil administration system is much more streamlined when compared to the common law system, particularly that of the United States. In the US, the separation of powers and federalism create a system in which different sovereigns have different methods of registering a marriage. In Thailand, the system is uniform and marriage records are kept at the local Amphur Office (or Civil Registrar’s Office). The Amphur keeps copies of Marriage Registration information as well as household registration information known as a Tabien Baan.

Obtaining a household registration for a foreigner (known as a Foreign Tabien Baan or a Yellow Tabien Baan) can be difficult, but marriage registration for foreign nationals really depends upon the country of nationality. Thai officials require that foreigners prove their marital status by obtaining documentation from their Embassy or Consulate that is accredited to Thailand. For those from common law jurisdictions it can be relatively easy to obtain such documentation, but other civil law jurisdictions can cause difficulties. It may be best for those interested in registering a marriage in Thailand to check with their Embassy or Consulate to ascertain how long it would take to obtain certain necessary documentation (Most notably, an affidavit of an ability to marry).

Although it is not something that some people wish to discuss at the time of marriage, the issue of divorce in Thailand is important. Thai Courts may or may not take jurisdiction over a divorce involving two foreign individuals married in Thailand and therefore jurisdiction for a later divorce proceeding may depend upon other factors. Finally, in any conversation about marriage registration it should be noted that a Thai Prenuptial Agreement will only be enforceable if it is registered at the same time as the marriage.

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3rd March 2010

As readers of this blog may recall from a previous post, the Thai authorities recently announced that the fee waiver for Thai tourist visas was ending in March of this year. However, ThaiVisa.com has recently reported that the tourist visa waiver program is to be re-instituted in April of this year. Apparently, the positive impact upon the tourism sector is one of the underlying reasons for the extension of this program:

“Less than one month after Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed Thaivisa.com that the free tourist visa scheme would end on March 5, 2010, the Thailand Government has announced the tourism stimulus package will continue for another year, including $US10,000 in free riot insurance for tourists. The extension of the tourism industry stimulus package was approved by the cabinet today, March 2, 2010 in response to a request from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. The extension will be effective from April 1, 2010 and go through to March 31, 2011 and appears to leave a three and a half week window in which tourist visas for Thailand will be charged for.”

As some may recall from another previous post on this blog, many Royal Thai Embassies, Consulates, and  Honorary Consuls around the world were unhappy with the no-cost tourist visa scheme as the funds previously accrued from processing tourist visas were no longer being paid. How this recent announcement will impact the Honorary Consulates as well as the Embassies and Consulates-General remains to be seen.

Another interesting aspect of the recent announcement is the fact that foreign nationals are also to be provided with no-cost riot insurance as part of this new program to revitalize the Thai tourist industry. To further quote from ThaiVisa.com:

“The $10,000 free riot insurance coverage was introduced last year and initiated by the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) in response to international insurance firms’ refusal to sell insurance coverage to visitors to Thailand following the 2008 closure of Thailand airports by members of the Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD). When the insurance coverage was first introduced last year, Kongkrit Hiranyakit, president of TCT, said the government had set aside Bt190.75 million ($US5.820 million) for the initial six month period covering May to October, 2009, with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports responsible for paying the insurance premium of $1 per visitor. The insurance policy provides for payments of up to $10,000 in the event of death, injury, and/or trip inconvenience, and appears to only cover people in possession of a 60-day tourist visa. Resident expatriates living and working in Thailand on non-immigrant visas do not appear to be covered for death, injury or inconvenience caused by riots.”

It will be interesting to see if the provision of this insurance will cause any stir among foreign residents as all of those who do not have Thai Permanent Residence are technically considered non-immigrants and therefore only “temporarily” staying in the Kingdom. This even applies to those with a Foreign Tabien Baan (also know as a Yellow Tabien Baan) as these registrations are specifically noted as “temporary.” Even though all non-residents are classified as non-immigrants, the category of the visa determines the privileges that will be extended to the visa holder. Therefore, those with a Thai business visa are entitled to file for a Thai work permit while those holding a tourist visa are not accorded that privilege. As a result, the provision of riot insurance could be viewed as as specific privilege that is only accorded to those holding certain types of Thai visas.

For further information about Thai Immigration please see: Thai visa.

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26th January 2010

There are many foreign nationals who have opted to take up long term residence in the Kingdom of Thailand. For many expatriates, a pivotal question regarding residence in Thailand deals with the issue of Thai property law. Under the current laws in the Kingdom of Thailand foreign nationals are effectively barred from purchasing a Freehold Chanote (Title Deed) to land in the Kingdom. This being said, foreigners are allowed to take freehold title to Thai Condos provided certain legal requirements are met, but for many foreign nationals in Thailand actual home ownership is the preferred method of living in the Kingdom.

In the past, a Thai company could be used to own Thai Real Estate, but the company had to be structured in such a way that it comported to Thai law. In recent months there has been some discussion by Thai government officials about doing away with this system of property ownership. How this will play out remains to be seen, but some foreigners, who are still interested in enjoying Thai property, are looking at other ways of structuring their interests so as to properly comport with possible future restrictions.

One method involves the bifurcation of Thai title. What this means is that the land underneath a structure is owned by a Thai while any structures on the land are owned by a foreigner. This arrangement would be legal under current Thai law, but many are confused about how such an arrangement could be set up. This is where the Yellow Tabien Baan becomes an issue.

A Yellow Tabien Baan is used by foreign nationals who live in the Kingdom. However, they are very difficult to obtain and are usually only promulgated if the foreign national has bought a Thai condo. That being said, a foreign national who is on a Tabien Baan can obtain a building permit to build a structure in Thailand. Once the structure is built, it can be owned wholly by a foreign national. A foreigner could secure long term lease to the underlying property while maintaining ownership of the structure. Use of a Thailand usufruct or superficies would also strengthen the foreigner’s property interests without violating the de facto restriction placed upon land ownership for foreigners. This is not the only benefit that a Yellow Tabien Baan can confer upon a Foreigner in Thailand as there are other major benefits that foreign nationals can enjoy by being on a Foreign Tabien Baan.

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30th July 2009

The Tabien Baan, or document proving House Registration, is distributed by a village, city, or other  municipal authority. The Tabien Baan (sometimes spelled Tambien Baan) reflects the residents who live at a specific property (this document is not used as proof of Real Estate ownership, for that one must have a Thai Chanote or Title Deed). The Tabien Baan (House Registration) is issued to Thai Citizens and is used as a permanent address for service of process and other official mailings.

A Tabien Baan is an extremely important document for Thai nationals because it acts as proof of a Thai person’s residence. Therefore, it is used to determine a Thai person’s voting district and in the case of Thai men of military age, the Tabien Baan is used to ascertain what district the Thai man will be placed in when drawing for the military draft. This can be critical because if one district reaches a certain level of volunteers then it is not necessary to further draft any inhabitants of that district. As a result, a Thai man’s House Registration (Tabien Baan) can have a massive impact upon their life and career depending upon the district in which they live.

Can a Foreigner (Farang) Get a Thai Tabien Baan?

For a foreigner (farang in Thai) it may be possible to be registered on a Tabien Baan in Thailand if:

  1. the foreigner has acquired a Thai lease that has been legally registered at the Thai land Department
  2. the foreigner has used a Thai company to buy land in Thailand (This is becoming less common as the Thai Land Department officials are more heavily scrutinizing cases involving a Thai Company to own land.)
  3. the foreigner has bought a Thai Condo as a freehold Title owner pursuant to the Thai Condominium Act

A Tabien Baan issued to a foreigner residing in Thailand is generally referred to as a “Yellow Tabien Baan” because the booklet is the color yellow. Yellow Tabien Baan’s are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain because the local Amphur office (or Khet office in the Bangkok Metropolis) is reluctant to issue Tabien Baan’s to foreign nationals.

There are some benefits to having a Tabien Baan in Thailand. Most notable is the fact that a foreigner can obtain a building permit based upon a Tabien Baan and as a result could more easily obtain a superficies for structures built upon a piece of Thai property. Thai banks are also more cooperative about granting Thai mortgages to foreigners who are noted on a Tabien Baan.

Those with Permanent Residence in Thailand can be placed upon a blue Tabien Baan in the same way as a Thai National. However, this does not denote Citizenship nor voting rights, it is simply an administrative change based upon the foreigner’s residential status.

The Tabien Baan may become an important aspect of the USA visa process as well. For those Thai nationals applying for a K1 visa or a K3 visa, the Tabien Baan may be requested in order to prove the Thai’s residence in Thailand.

(Please be aware that this information is imparted for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No Lawyer/Client fiduciary relationship is created by reading this posting.)

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