Purchase of land by foreigners in Thailand

According to Section 86 of the Land Code, a foreigner may purchase land in Thailand only by virtue of the provision of a treaty providing him with the right to own immovable property. Obtaining such acquisition is subject to the provision of the Land Code and the Ministerial Regulations issued under the Code, and the permission must be obtained from the Ministry of Interior. Before the termination of the treaty which was made on February 27th, 1970, there were 16 countries bided to the treaty ; USA, England, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, France, India, Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Japan, Burma, Portuguese, and Pakistan. Since then, Thailand has no longer made any treaty with any country to allow a foreigner to acquire land in Thailand by virtue of a treaty.

However, the Land Code has been amended with Section 96 bis providing that since January 19, 2002, a foreigner is allowed to purchase land in Thailand for residential purpose and the land to be purchased shall be not more than one rai in area, and the following rules and conditions must be met:

1.  Bringing money not less than Baht forty million into the Kingdom for investment and maintaining the investment not less than five years;

2.  Permission must be obtained from the Minister of Ministry of Interior;

3.  Money brought into the Kingdom shall be invested in one of the following businesses or activities;

3.1 To purchase bonds of Thai Government, bonds of Thai National Bank, bonds of State Enterprise or bonds which the Ministry of Finance secures the capital or interest,

3.2 An investment in a property mutual fund, a property mutual fund or a mutual fund for resolving financial institution problems established under the law on Securities and Stock Exchange,

3.3 An investment in share capital of a juristic person, who is granted permission of investment under the law on promotion of investment,

3.4 An investment in an activity as declared by the Board of Investment to be an activity eligible to be granted promotion of investment under the law on promotion of investment;

4.  The land to be purchased 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;

5.  A foreigner, who is granted permission, shall utilize the land only for residence for his/herself and the family in a way that is not contrary to the local custom or good living of the local community;

6.  If a foreigner, who is granted permission to purchase such land, does not comply with the rules and conditions specified, he/she shall disposes of such land in the portion of his/her possession within the period of time specified by the Director General of the Department of Lands which shall be not less than one hundred eighty days and not more than one year. If the time limit elapses, the Director General shall have the power to dispose of such land;

7.  If a foreigner, who is granted permission to purchase such land, does not utilize the land for residence within two years as from the day the registration for land acquisition is made, the Director General shall have the power to dispose of such land.

Besides the aforementioned rules and conditions, a foreigner may purchase land by inheritance as statutory heir, in this instance, the land devolved when combined with the land already purchased shall not exceed that specified by law, for examples, land for residential purpose not exceeding 1 rai per household, land for commercial purpose not exceeding 1 rai, land for industrial purpose not exceeding 10 rais, and land for agricultural purpose not exceeding 10 rai per household.

A foreigner whose spouse is a Thai national either legitimate or illegitimate, that Thai national can purchase land but the foreigner spouse of that Thai national must give a joint written confirmation that the money which that Thai national will expend on purchasing the land is wholly the separate property or personal effects of that Thai national and not the Sin Somros or jointly acquired property.