Here are the only legal methods foreigners can own land in Thailand

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If you have lived in Thailand for any length of time, you’ve probably heard all manner of schemes or ways in which it is claimed that foreigners can own land in Thailand.

But Thai law restricts land ownership to Thai nationals, with few exceptions.

Sometimes, in order to circumvent these restrictions, foreigners often use nominee companies. A Thai majority shareholder is on record, while the foreigner holds minority shares but retains control through various agreements.

However, this is illegal and there’s a crackdown on such currently being carried out by the authorities in Thailand.

And now the Department of Lands (DOL) has revealed the three conditions under which a foreigner can own land in Thailand.

In an update released in early June, the Department of Lands stated that foreigners can legally purchase and own land in Thailand without breaking the law.

The DOL also revealed the penalties for holding land on behalf of foreign nationals, which include both imprisonment and fines.

Conditions for foreigner to own land in Thailand:

  1. Inheritance

Inheritance as a legal heir under Section 93 of the Land Code: Foreign nationals can inherit land as legal heirs under Section 93 of the Land Code, provided they receive approval from the Minister. The total land owned must not exceed the limits set forth in Section 87 of the Land Code (1954). For instance, a family can own up to 1 rai for residential purposes, up to 10 rai for industrial use, and up to 10 rai for agricultural use. The land must be used strictly for the approved purpose, as per Section 89 of the Land Code. Any change in land use requires prior permission from the Minister.

2. Make an investment of 40 million THB

Purchase of 1 rai of land for residential purposes by Investing 40 million Baht under Section 96 of the Land Code: Foreign nationals can own up to 1 rai of land for residential purposes if they invest at least 40 million baht. The investment must benefit the economy and society of the country or be in a business category promoted by the Board of Investment. The investment must be maintained for at least 3 years, and the land must be located in designated residential areas, such as Bangkok, Pattaya, or other municipal areas as defined by the town planning laws.

3. Land transfer

Transfer of land under other laws, such as the Investment Promotion Act of 1977:
Foreign nationals can receive land transfers under other laws, such as the Investment Promotion Act of 1977. This typically refers to the Board of Investment (BOI) of Thailand who may grant both tax and no tax incentives to foreign investors.

Penalties for holding land on behalf of foreign nationals:

Holding land on behalf of foreign nationals is a legal offense with both imprisonment and fines as penalties.

  1. Criminal Code Section 267:

Providing false information to a public official for recording in official documents carries a penalty of imprisonment for up to three years or a fine of up to 6,000 baht, or both.

2. Land Code:

  • Foreign nationals acquiring land illegally under Section 111 of the Land Code face fines up to 20,000 baht or imprisonment for up to two years, or both.
  • Legal entities involved in such violations are subject to penalties under Section 112 of the Land Code.
  • Thai nationals acting as representatives of foreign nationals or legal entities considered foreign nationals face penalties under Section 113 of the Land Code, with fines up to 20,000 baht or imprisonment for up to two years, or both.

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