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Yellow Tabien Baan the house registration book for foreigners living in Thailand

Yellow Tabien Baan  the house registration book for foreigners living in Thailand

So what exactly is a yellow house book?

Quite simply, it’s a type of government-issued document called a Tabien Baan (literally ‘House Registration’ in Thai) which lists all foreign individuals holding a ‘Temporary Stay’ or a ‘Long Stay’ visa/visa exemption who live at the condo or house address specified in the house registration book. What a yellow Tabien Baan is not, contrary to popular belief, is proof of ownership of the property; as it happens, the yellow house book won’t even record the foreign owner’s details unless they’re occupying the property as their main residence in Thailand. Instantly recognisable, the Tabien Baanfor non-resident foreigners is a little booklet with a bright yellow cover and emblazoned on the front with Thailand’s emblematic Garuda and, in the upper right-hand corner, the initials ’ท.ร.13’ (short for ‘Thor Ror 13’ which is the Thai designation for the yellow house book).

From where can I get a yellow house book?

When buying a house and, less so, a condo unit in Chiang Mai, it’s customary for the new owner to be given the Tabien Baan for the property during the transfer process at the Land Office. As a rule, though, it’ll be a blue house book (or ‘Thor Ror 14’) in which only the names of Thai folk and those foreigners who have permanent residency in Thailand can be entered. Still, it’s perfectly possible for a non-resident foreign owner living in their own condo or house to swap the property’s blue Tabien Baan for a yellow house book into which their name can be added. To apply for a yellow house book, pop into the  or, more commonly, the amphoe office which is responsible for administering civil registrations for the municipality or district in which the condo or house is located.

How do I get a yellow house book?

Being Thailand, it probably won’t come as too much of a shock to learn that application requirements for a yellow house book differ wildly from one thesaban or amphoe office to another! So your first task is to check with the local registration authority precisely what paperwork you need to gather; but at the very least, the applicant will have to submit the original as well as photocopies (signed) of the following documents:

  • current passport (containing a valid Thai entry permit)
  • work permit (if any)
  • marriage certificate together with your Thai spouse’s national ID card and own blue house book (if any)
  • lease agreement along with your landlord’s ID and own blue Tabien Baan (if renting the property)
  • existing blue house book (if exchanging)

Besides which, it isn’t out of the ordinary for a district or local registration office to request a notarised copy of the personal information page of the applicant’s passport translated into Thai in addition to a number of passport style photographs. And, more than likely, you’ll need to be accompanied by one or two Thai witnesses (each with their own blue house book and national ID card) who’ll be asked to attest to your identity and residential status then undergo an informal interview.

For some foreigners, the whole thing is nothing short of a breeze but alas for others, a slow and agonising death by red tape! Even having been provided by Thailand’s Interior Ministry with a Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA) instruction manual that explains the ins and outs of issuing a Tabien Baan, officials at some district and local registration offices are unwilling or, worse, flatly refuse to hand out a yellow house book. We can assure you, though, that not only are non-resident foreign nationals legally permitted to have a yellow house book but that every thesaban and amphoe office in the country is actually obliged by law to register all foreigners residing in their catchment area!

Is there a fee to get a yellow house book?

Though it’s not altogether unheard of for foreigners to be prevailed upon to ‘grease the wheels’ a bit before being allowed a yellow house book, technically, thesaban and amphoe registration offices throughout Thailand shouldn’t charge a single baht to churn out or update a Tabien Baan! If you’ve gone and lost or damaged your yellow house book, mind, expect to fork out a nominal sum for a replacement.

How long does it take to get a yellow house book?

Generally, foreigners are able to collect their brand spanking new yellow Tabien Baan within an hour or two of lodging the necessary papers. Even so, mileage varies and it’ll take rather more time (occasionally several weeks or even a few months) to sort out if, among other things, the registration office dealing with the application isn’t well acquainted with the process!

What information appears in a yellow house book?

With the book presented entirely in Thai, the opening page bears the full address of the property as well as the residence type (either a condominium or a house). The second page features the full name, nationality, unique 13 digit citizen ID number and date of birth of the ‘Householder’ (who may or may not be the owner of the property) while each of the remaining pages shows the particulars of every other non-resident foreign occupant (‘Dependent’) who lives at the same address.

Are there any benefits to having a yellow house book?

Unlike the blue house book for Thai nationals, holding a yellow Tabien Baan doesn’t bestow any additional rights (such as that to vote) for foreigners. It is, though, widely accepted nationwide whenever your address in Thailand needs to be verified; for example, when registering a Thai pre-paid SIM card, arranging a home broadband service, obtaining a Thai driver’s licence, enrolling as a patient at a hospital or clinic, purchasing a vehicle, transferring ownership of real estate, checking into a hotel or for an internal flight, opening a Thai bank account, or setting up a mains electricity or water supply. Plus, it offers the holder the opportunity to secure the Thai price at venues (like National Parks) which inflict two-tier admission rates, makes them eligible to receive a Pink ID Card for foreigners not to mention affording a sense of being more a part of Thai society. And, any foreigner contemplating putting in for Thai citizenship must have their own yellow house book…or remain forever an ‘alien’ in the Kingdom!

Care to share your own experiences getting a yellow Tabien Baan in Chiang Mai? Do you think the Thai house book for foreigners warrants having or is of no real value at all? We’d be only too pleased to hear what you have to say so feel free to post a comment below!

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(19) Comments

    • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

      on   said 

      Hi Aj, Yes, I have hear of banks ask for the yellow book, when considering their Thai wife’s for a loan.

      Reply
  1. Terry

    on   said 

    had one for years,never used it for anything just means staying with my wife, and living locally its only a document, if it helps people good i suppose

    Reply
  2. Rusty

    on   said 

    I’ve been trying to cet this as a renter and CM amphur office assures me it’s quite impossible as a farang. They don’t know their own laws and I haven’t been able to get any further.

    Reply
  3. Yes it does, buying cars/motorbikes, proof of residence etc I’ve also got a pink ‘ID’ card which is great ( 60 baht), Thai prices in national parks, better than a Thai driving licence. Try to get both if you can

    Reply
  4. Ludwig

    on   said 

    A yelllow book is quite useful, it gives you some sort of informal permanent resident status. Beyond differing submission requirements, my experience is that authorities want to make sure that the requisitioner is committed to stay in Thailand for the long term, and that he is accepted in the community.

    Reply
  5. Nick van der Net

    on   said 

    I’ve had so much difficulty getting this as a renter in CM. I’m prepared to pay for your service to help me get it.

    Reply
  6. Bernard

    on   said 

    I have one for where I eat in Doi Saket but they accept to deliver it (at the amphoe few year ago) only because I had already one from inside Chiang mai city, when I had a condo there. But my life long friend who is also registered on the deed of the property as a usufruct beneficiary with me until death, can’t get a yellow book for himself. He didn’t had one before, and Doi Saket amphoe said it will deliver one only if foreigner is married to a Thai wife. Is there a way to get one anyway, to make them respect the law ? by requesting to the thesaban for example? Thanks for any information.

    Reply
  7. Terence Gould

    on   said 

    If you apply and get a yellow book does that mean they keep the blue book with Thai wife’s name in or you keep both ?

    Reply
  8. David

    on   said 

    I had one and can only think of 2 not very important aspect that it help you with.
    1) not needing a Cert of Residence from Immigration.(how many times do you need that???)
    2) with it, you can can get a pink I.D. Card that is also of little use.

    Reply
    • Terry

      on   said 

      as said if it helps in any way get one I went to Amphur after we were married also some paperwork which 2 nieghbors signed also it was not a problem getting Thai Life medical insurance, not sure whether the asked for book i think they did

      Reply
  9. Pingback: Thai House Registration Book (Yellow Tabien Baan) For Foreigners Residing in Thailand - RE/MAX CondoDee

  10. Use my pink card and yellow book all the time, was worth the investment.

    I find the pink card to be the most useful, at the post office, checking into hotels, give it police, any business that wants to see ID. Only place I’ve never used it is my Bank, I guess I should try.

    Just used my Tambien Ban to extend by Thai Drivers license, so it saves trips to immigration and their charges.

    Reply
  11. hoare

    on   said 

    I see your web site details the yellow tabien knor nor 13 book.

    Could you please explain why the book is for “ILLEGALS” and those temporarily residing in Thailand.

    My reference to “illegals” comes from the header on pages 2,4,6 etc of the book.

    Reply
    • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

      on   said 

      Dear Hoare,
      Thank you for your comments on the yellow book, I must admit, we are not sure as to why it would refer to “illegals” I know foreigners get called aliens all the time.
      I will will look into it further.
      Maybe another one of our readers can answer this question better???

      Reply
  12. Dermot

    on   said 

    I have read on another website that foreigners have been able to get free or low cost medical care if they have a yellow book. Can anyone confirm?

    Reply
    • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

      on   said 

      Dear Dermont, I think you will find they were referring to the 30Baht health scheme, which was originally available to non-that nationals too. That was quickly canceled after launch.
      Currently I do not believe it is possible. You can use government hospitals and you will charged the local hospital rates.

      Reply

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