Acquiring property in Thailand
Generally, foreign persons or corporations are not permitted to hold titles to land. However, under existing regulations, foreigners may purchase a freehold interest in land if they are:
Joint ventures where foreign parties control not more than 49% of the company
Foreign manufacturers promoted by the BOI
Oil concessionaires under the Petroleum Act
Businesses located in certain industrial estates
Foreigners may own up to one rai of land (0.4 acre) for residential purposes if granted permission by Minister of Ministry of Interior, and must remit a total of at least THB 40 million into Thailand over a minimum period of five years in a specific businesses or activities.
Moreover, the land to be acquired shall be located in Bangkok Metropolis, Pattaya City, or Tessaban (Municipality), or in the area specified as residential zone according to the law on Town and Country Planning and shall not be located in a military safety zone according to the law on Military Safety Zone. However, if the land is not utilized for residence within two years from the day of the land acquisition registration or if an alien, who is granted permission to acquire such land, does not comply with the rules and conditions specified, the land may be disposed.
Foreigners are allowed to purchase leasehold interests in land. For residential purpose, the maximum lease term is 30 years with additional 30 years renewable.
Foreigners can purchase any condominium project up to 49% of the total space of all units in that condominium at the time of the application for condominium registration without the need for permanent residence. Eligible foreigners include:
Those with Residence Permits
Those granted permission to enter the Kingdom under the Investment Promotion Act
Limited companies with more than 49% of its capital owned by aliens who have been registered as a foreign ‘juristic person’ under Thai law
Foreign juristic persons with Investment Promotion Certificates
Foreign individuals or juristic persons remitting foreign currency into the Kingdom for payment for the condominium units
A foreign individual who does not hold a Permanent Resident Certificate or foreign company purchasing a condominium unit is required to bring 100% of the amount of the purchase price from an overseas source into Thailand.
Prior to April 2004, foreigners could purchase up to 100% of a condominium project provided it was located in Bangkok Metropolis, municipality area, or other administrative area and the site area was less than five rai (two acres) as stipulated in the Condominium Act (No. 3), B.E. 2542. This law was in effect between 1999 and 2004 and is still valid for properties purchased during the period.
Importation and Repatriation of Personal Funds
There is no limit on the amount of foreign currency a foreigner in transit may bring into or take out of Thailand. However, the law requires that any person receiving foreign currencies from abroad is required to sell such foreign currencies to an authorized financial institution or to deposit them in a foreign currency account with an authorized financial institution within 360 days of receipt, except for foreigners temporarily staying in Thailand for not more than three months, foreign embassies, and international organizations, including people with diplomatic privileges and immunities.
Additionally, any person who brings into or takes out of Thailand an aggregate amount of foreign currency exceeding USD 20,000 or its equivalent must declare to a customs officer.
Some financial institutes operating in Thailand offer financing services to foreign individuals purchasing a condominium. However, the lending is generally limited to foreigners including expatriates working in Thailand and those with a residence permit. These financial institutes include HSBC, SCB, UOB, TMB and Tisco.