Integrity Legal

6th December 2009

Living in Thailand is a dream of many, but the logistical difficulty of remaining in the Kingdom long term can be confusing to some. For those living or residing long term in Thailand there are some obstacles which must be overcome in order for a foreign national to unilaterally deal with personal business issues in the Kingdom. Most important for those staying in Thailand is Immigration status. One must remain in lawful status while in the Kingdom. This can be difficult for those who initially entered the Kingdom on a Thailand visa exemption. A Thai visa exemption only allows lawful status for a period of 30 days and it is very difficult to have this document converted into a proper visa. After conversion it may be even more difficult to have the newly acquired visa extended. Therefore, having a proper long term visa on arrival may be the best course of action for the new expatriate.

Bank Accounts are another major issue for those living in Thailand. Thai bank accounts can be difficult to open for those who do not have a valid Thai visa and work permit. Many Thai banks have different rules on this issue, but at the time of this writing, the prevailing rule seems to be that one needs a Thai work permit and visa in order to open a bank account. There are some who have noted that one may have less difficulty opening a Thai bank account if one has already obtained a Thai business visa and remains in lawful status on said visa. In certain situations, it may be possible for a foreign national to open a Thai bank account without a Thai work permit, but one should consult an attorney in Thailand regarding bank account setups without a work permit.

Mortgages are also an issue for foreign nationals wishing to remain for an extended duration in the Kingdom of Thailand. Thai banks are very reluctant to loan money to non-Thais. Therefore, a foreign national may find that it is very difficult to receive financing for an abode in Thailand. An ancillary issue is that of house registration, many foreigners find it is very difficult to obtain a foreign Tambien Baan (House Registration Booklet, also spelled Tabien Baan) from the local Amphur Office (Civil Registrar’s office). In the case of Thai mortgages, the foreigner’s financial situation will likely be the determining factor in actually obtaining a mortgage. As to the House Registration, success in this endeavor may hinge upon retaining a Thai lawyer.


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