May 12th, 2010

Below we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions relating to Thai real estate.

I want to buy some land and build my own home, how do I go about it?

We offer a ONE STOP PROPERTY SHOP an end to end solution and our services cover all aspects of buying property in Thailand from finding the right property or land, to assisting you with the purchase
(Siam Real Estate) , providing unbiased professional and legal advice (Siam Legal Advice) to setting up a company, obtaining Visas and work permits on your behalf to recommending design and development companies and managing your Villa while abroad, bill paying etc, cleaning etc. and finding you a tenant if required (Siam Home Care) .

Can a foreigner buy land in Thailand in his own name?

A foreigner cannot own land in his own name. He can purchase the land through his Thai limited company or he can lease the land for 30 years usually with an extra two 30 year options.

How do I buy property in Thailand?

What are the land owning laws in Thailand?

How do I form a Thai company?

We can assist you in all aspects of forming a Thai company both for business purposes and as a vehicle for freehold ownership of property.

What are the differences between a Tourist Visa and a Non-Immigrant Visa?

A Tourist Visa will be issued to applicants wishing to enter Thailand for tourism purposes. You are not allowed to work or conduct business with a tourist visa. On the other hand, a Non Immigrant Visa is for foreigners who want to stay or work in Thailand.

A tourist visa is valid for 60 days and can be extended 30 days at the nearest Immigration Office. If you need to extend your tourist Visa, please contact us now.

Non-Immigrant Visa (usually come with Multiple-Entry) is valid for 12 months. With this visa type you will need to exit and enter Thailand at least every 90 days to get a new entry stamp allowing you to stay a further 90 days. This is normally called a “Visa Run”. We can help you stop Visa Runs permanently!

What is a Thailand Non-Immigrant Visa?

According to Thai Law, a foreigner must apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa when you want to stay or work in Thailand (other than for tourism).

The Non-immigrant visa is of special importance, being the only visa for foreigners temporarily staying in the kingdom that entitles them to apply for work permits. Approval or rejection of application for work permits is done according to the 1978 foreign labour act, section 11, which states that:

“Foreigners applying for a work permit according to section 7 must be residents of the kingdom or have received permission to temporarily stay in the kingdom according to the immigration laws. They must not have received permission to stay in the kingdom merely as tourists or on transit…”

Common Non-Immigrant Visas has several categories depending on the purpose of your visit, however the most common are:

  • Business visa (B) for those who want to conduct business in Thailand
  • Retirement for those who want to retire and stay in Thailand
  • Dependent visa (O)

Getting a Non-Immigrant Visa outside Thailand

Apply at a Thai Consulate or Embassy outside Thailand

The easiest way to obtain a Non-Immigrant visa is to apply in your home country before arriving in Thailand.

UK, Europe, and Australia are known for being more generous and co-operative than Thai Embassies or consulates in Asia.

Always bring 2 passport size photos with you when applying for a Thailand visa.

How can I get One Year Multiple-Entry Visa?

Your best choice is to obtain a Multiple-Entry Non-Immigrant visa type B (Business Visa) which is valid for 12 months. With this visa type you will need to exit and enter Thailand at least every 90 days to get a new entry stamp allowing you to stay a further 90 days.

We can help you get Non-Immigrant Visa Type B (Business Visa) by the following options:
1. If you are in Thailand with a Non-Immigrant Tourist Visa obtained from the Thai Embassy in your country: Siam Legal Advice can help you change your status from Non-Immigrant Tourist Visa to a Non-Immigrant B in Thailand.
2. If you are in Thailand with Visa on Arrival (transit Visa or a stamped from the Immigration at the airport): Siam Legal Advice can help you apply for Non-Immigrant Visa type B (Business Visa) in Thailand.

In this case, you need to cross the border to the nearest country first. Then, visit the Thai Embassy in that country to apply for a Non-Immigrant Tourist Visa first. This option is more complicated so contact us now for advice.

What are Requirements for a Non-Immigrant B (Business Visa)

A foreigner, who wishes to apply for a Non-Immigration Visa under type B (Business), needs to meet one of the following requirements:
o Be employed by a Limited Company, in such case, the foreigner needs to have applied for a Work Permit and received approval from Department of Labour or;
o Investing a minimum of 3 million Baht in the Kingdom of Thailand by
- Deposit the money in a fixed account of a state bank
- Buy bonds issued by a state agency or government enterprise. The bonds must be purchased directly from a state agency or government enterprise or an authorised dealer
- Buy an apartment or condominium at the price set and registered by the Land Department
- Any kind of investment deemed beneficial to the country by the Immigration Bureau

Note: The foreign national must permanently possess the investment. If he wishes to change the kind of investment, he must first ask for permission to change the kind of investment and may then change to a new permanent type of investment.

Advantages of Getting Non-Immigrant B (Business Visa):
o Permanently stop expensive Visa Runs
o Stop inconvenience and distress
o Free to do business without any threat of deportation or becoming a persona non-grata (99 year blacklist)
o Easier to apply for a Thailand Work Permit without having to leave the country
o Ability to open a Thailand Bank Account

Remember to apply for a re-entry permit?

In the case where an alien who holds any kind of Visa for stay in the Kingdom wishes to travel abroad, the alien must apply for a re-entry permit before their visa expires. A re-entry permit allows the alien to re-enter the Kingdom and use the time remaining on their visa and if applicable work permit. If a re-entry permit is not applied for, the visa (and or work permit) will automatically be cancelled at departure, although it may not have expired yet.

How do I get a Work Permit?

First, you must have a Non-Immigrant visa to apply for a work permit.

Thailand Work Permit Processing

We assist in securing Thailand work permits for qualified individuals employed by qualifying employers and the process is as follows:
o Confirm & Identify Your Correct Non-Immigrant Visa
o Preparation of Your Work Permit Application
o Preparation of Letter of Employment
o Assembly of All Required Documents
o Our Licensed Lawyer will Represent You for Filing the Petition

Factors to be aware of:
o You must be present in Thailand on a non-immigrant status entry permit, on both the day your work permit application is submitted, and the day it is picked up.
o Your work permit will expire on the same date as the Visa entry permit you use to pick up your work permit. This generally means that your first work permit – if issued against a 90 day entry Visa permit, will have only 10 weeks validity, once issued. Most clients will need to use work permit to apply for extended entry permit – and once that entry permit extension is issued, apply for a renewed work permit whose expiration date matches the new entry permit.
o In most cases, for each work permit issued to a foreigner, the sponsoring company must have 2 million baht capitalization, and at least four Thai employees. If a company has four Thai employees, plus 2 million baht paid-in capital for each work permit requested, it is normally very easy to obtain a work permit.
o A job description is often the determining factor in the approval or denial of a work permit. Unless the written job description requires skills that a Thai does not or is unlikely to possess, the application will not be approved. Our licensed Thai lawyers are skilled in writing professional and accurate job descriptions in order for you to gain quick approval.
o The work permit once approved allows you to work at the noted company and location. If you change employers or place of work, you must make a new application. Also if you resign or are terminated or laid off, according to the law, within 10 days of this, you must return your work permit to the Labor Department. Do not count on your company doing it. It is your responsibility and you are liable to return it to the Labor Department.
o During the processing you must not let your visa expire . The Labor Department’s system links the non-immigrant visa (extension of stay) you listed on your application to the work permit paperwork. A typical time frame for approval of the work permit for a company of 2 million baht registered capital is up to 2 months in Phuket but the government is trying to reduce this.
o To satisfy new government tax rules, monthly salary of work permit holders generally needs to be at least 50,000 Baht (you must be paying monthly personal income tax on at least this amount).
o Your Work Permit is connected to the duration of your visa, so when your Extension of Stay expires, you will need to renew your work permit. If you have an unexpired multiple-entry visa, all you have to do is go over the border and then return. If required to go outside Thailand to obtain a new visa, you will need to provide the Embassy or Consulate with copies of your work permit and new recommendation letter from your company, company registration documents, and financial and tax reports. This must be done prior to your work permit expiration.

o Ensure Visa is renewed at least 3 days prior to expiry to avoid any delays to renewal of work permit.

Is a foreigner allowed to work right after he has filed a work permit application?

No, only when the work permit has been granted.

What is the income tax rate in Thailand?

Personal income tax is imposed at a progressive rate ranging from 5 percent to 37 percent. Corporate income tax is imposed at a rate of 30 percent of net profits.

Are payments by a Thai juristic person to a foreign juristic person subject to any Thai income tax?

Yes. Payments of certain types of income, usually in the form of service fees, royalties, interest, dividends, rent or professional fees from or in Thailand to a foreign juristic person not carrying on business in Thailand are subject to income tax in the form of a withholding tax at a rate of 15 percent, except for dividends, for which the rate applied is 10 percent.

What is the Thai income tax imposed on a foreign juristic person carrying on business in Thailand?

For a foreign juristic person carrying on business in Thailand , the income tax imposed is 30 percent corporate income tax on net profits and 10 percent profit remittance tax on profits remitted or deemed remitted abroad.

Is there a specific capital gains tax in Thailand?

There is no specific capital gains tax in Thailand. Capital gains are subject to tax in the same manner as any other forms of income.

Is there a sales tax in Thailand?

There is value added tax of 7% (VAT) instead of a sales tax. The VAT is imposed on sales of goods, provision of services and import of goods into Thailand .

What do property costs average on a property purchase?

Roughly fees, taxes and transfer costs will come to 2-3% of the property purchase price.

Who pays costs of property purchase?

It is customary in Thailand for the buyer and seller to share the costs of the transaction 50/50.

What are the costs involved in making a property purchase?(from June 1st 2010)

  • Lease or freehold set up fees
  • Lawyer fees
  • Transfer fees 2.0%
  • Stamp duty 0.5%
  • Business tax 3.3%
  • Income tax (Thai equivalent to capital gains tax at variable rate)