Wealthy foreigners can now buy land, houses in Thailand
The Cabinet on Tuesday agreed to let foreigners purchase houses and up to a rai of land provided they can show an investment of at least 40 million baht.
The directive will be in effect for five years after it has been published in the Royal Gazette, which should be soon, the government said.
The proposal had been drawn up by the Interior Ministry in May with the aim of pulling in foreign investment and bringing foreigners with special expertise to Thailand. The Cabinet, however, spent months weighing the proposal and listening to opinions from several concerned agencies.
The directive allowing the purchase of a rai of land and houses will apply to wealthy expats, retirees, digital nomads who want to base themselves in Thailand and those with special expertise.
To be eligible, foreign citizens will be required to prove they have invested at least 40 million baht in Thailand and can maintain the investment for a minimum of three years, starting from the day they submit an application for the purchase.
The draft says the following will be considered investments:
• Bonds issued by the Thai government, Bank of Thailand, state enterprises and the Finance Ministry.
• Shares of property funds, infrastructure funds and funds to rehabilitate debts of financial institutions.
• Shares of trusts for investment in property developments.
• Shares of legal entities that receive Board of Investment (BOI) privileges.
• Shares in businesses that are eligible for BOI privileges.
Foreigners applying for permission to purchase land and/or houses must produce certificates proving their investments.
The directive said foreigners can purchase land and/or houses in Bangkok, Pattaya and other municipal areas or zones marked out as residential areas in provinces. Foreigners cannot purchase land in military areas, the directive stipulated.
The process of applying for the right to purchase is as follows:
• Submit the application and required documents to the Land Department director-general, who will verify and then forward them to the Interior Ministry for approval.
• The bought land cannot be used for immoral activities or actions that violate local cultural norms.
• Once approved, the buyer is required to inform the local land department within 60 days.
• If buyers withdraw their investment, they must inform officials within 60 days.
The draft also specifies that foreigners can only buy one rai of land once, and the limit will apply even if the foreigner sells parts or all of the land.