Last week we talked about the function of a blue book (tor ror 14) for a house. You may know a foreigner who has a yellow book (tor ror 13) for his or her house. What is the purpose of this?
To explain the use of the yellow book, we have to clarify something about the blue book we didn't mention last week. It is that a Thai person may have his or her name put in the blue book.
When is a Thai person's name in the blue book for a house? When the house is that person's principal residence. It is required as a matter of registration with the Provincial Administration Department at the district where the house is located. Under the Civil Registration Act as amended, if a person has his or her principal residence registered in a blue book and changes to another principal residence, the head of household must notify the Provincial Administration Department and have them change the blue book within 15 days of the move.
Many people think that the blue book, discussed last week, always has the name of the resident written in it. But this isn't true. The function of the blue book is to show that the house is a registered address in Thailand. If, for example, you are renting a house owned by your landlord, the house will have a blue book, but your landlord's name won't be in it.
Why not? Because a person can have only one principal residence in Thailand and the blue book for that house is where his or her name will appear.
So, for example, let's say your landlord owns 10 houses. She lives in one and rents the rest of them out to various tenants. Some of them may be the principal residences of the tenants, in which case their names, not the landlord's, are in the blue book-with the consent of the landlord. Other houses may not be the principal residences of anybody because, for example, these houses:
Are occupied only temporarily or occasionally by people who have principal residences elsewhere.
When a house is no one's personal residence, there will be a blue book, but it won't have anyone's name in it.
In the above example, will your landlord have his or her name in any of the blue books for his or her her various houses? Yes, but only in the blue book for one of the houses-the one in which he or she lives.
Can and must foreigners register their names in blue books? Foreigners can only have their names in blue books if they have ID cards for foreign nationals, and relatively few foreigners have these.
Otherwise, to register a house as a foreigner's principal residence in Thailand, the Provincial Administration Department will issue a yellow book.
What if a foreigner who doesn't have an ID card is building a house? He or she must apply for a blue book, even though it doesn't contain anyone's name. As stated earlier, there is a fine of 1,000 baht for not doing this on a timely basis.
What is the procedure for getting a yellow book? The foreigner who wants one must show up at the district office where the house is located, with someone to translate into Thai if he or she doesn't speak Thai. The documentation required varies between district offices but in general includes:
Photos of the applicant.
Work permit, if any.
These documents must be translated into Thai in a translation certified by the Foreign Ministry. The granting of the yellow book is at the discretion of the deputy director or director of the district office in charge of the case.
You probably know that in practice few foreigners take the trouble to get a yellow book. What are the advantages in doing so?
The yellow book is not evidence that anyone owns the house. As with the blue book, the house can be owned by someone other than the person whose name is in the yellow book. It is simply used to prove that the foreigner has his or her principal residence in the house.
To be honest, the need to prove one's principal residence in Thailand is pretty limited. Some car dealers in Thailand won't provide financing to a foreigner unless the recipient has a yellow book. Likewise, some banks require evidence of a yellow book before giving a foreigner a safe deposit box. It can also be used in applying for a driver's licence, though this isn't required, and in applying for Thai medicare in some government hospitals.
James Finch of Chavalit Finch and Partners (email@example.com) and
Nilobon Tangprasit of Siam City Law Offices Ltd (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Researchers: Arnon Rungthanakarn and Sitra Horsinchai.
For more information visit www.chavalitfinchlaw.com.
Questions? Contact us at the email addresses above.
About the author
Writer: James Finch & Nilobon Tangprasit