Yes, it's true. There is an ID card for foreigners. And best of all, it's pink!
Having this little known form of identification means you don't have to carry your passport around with you to prove who you are, even though most people don't do that anyway, despite it being a legal requirement.
For the record, you are supposed to carry your passport at all times, and photocopies aren't accepted.
As you might have guessed, to get your hands on this Pink ID Card, there are a number of hoops to jump through.
In this FAQ, I'll detail all you need to know.
What is a Pink ID Card?
This pretty little card is an official form of identification for non-Thai nationals living in Thailand long term. Those with permanent residency, and long-stay expats (O visa, etc) are eligible. The card also provides a form of ID for stateless persons.
How do You Get a Pink ID Card?
To get the ID card you need to have a Thai ID number. The way to obtain this number is by getting the Yellow Book Tabien Baan (see this article).
Basically, you register your place of residence at a local district office and receive a yellow house book with your name listed as an occupant. This book comes with an ID number.
Thai nationals and permanent residents get a blue book with their ID number inside.
Once you have your ID number, you're ready to apply for your Pink ID Card.
Here's the list of documents that you'll need to take with you to a local district office, known as an amphur. Every town has one.
- Passport (with visa inside): You'll need copies of the photo and visa page, which you'll have to sign.
- Your work permit (if you have one)
- House registration book (yellow or blue Tabien Baan)
- Marriage certificate (if you have one)
- Permanent residency books (if it applies)
- Birth certificate of Thai children (if you have any)
Please note that this list represents the standard requirements; however, your local district office may request additional documentation.
How to Apply?
As previously mentioned, you need to go to a district office in your place of residence.
On the day, in addition to your documents, you will require two Thai nationals as witnesses to the application. They will require ID cards to verify their status.
The witnesses will be verified and your documents processed. Once verified, the officer will take a picture for the photo card, and take your fingerprints to put on file.
Cards are usually issued the same day, though at busy times you may have to return to collect the card a couple of days later. In some instances, cards can take up to 30 days to process.
How Much Does a Card Cost?
The fee for the Pink ID Card is a very reasonable 60 Baht, and remains valid for 10 years.
When the card expires, simply visit the same district office to renew it. You will have your photograph and fingerprints taken again and be issued with a new card. The renewal fee is 60 Baht.
Pink ID Card Benefits
The ID card doesn't provide any significant benefits. However, it does get around the need to carry your passport, which, as a foreign national, is required by law.
You should be able to fly domestically using this card, too, as Thais do with their ID card. At least that's the legal theory. I haven't got a card, so I'd be interested to know if anyone has tried this.
It used to be the case that having a Pink ID Card meant that you would be charged the “Thai price” at national parks and historical sites. If you didn't know, Thai nationals pay up to 10x less than foreign nationals for entry at such places.
However, this doesn't seem to be the case anymore, certainly not at Doi Inthanon or Khao Yai. You may find that you get the concession at smaller, local places, but since the card doesn't make you Thai, I wouldn't bank on it.
Is the Pink ID Card worth having? Probably not, unless you had to get a Yellow Tabien Baan book, in which case you might just go the extra mile and get the ID Card.
It does serve as an easy way to identify yourself, and potentially as a way to fly domestically, which is useful if you've lost your passport. Other than that, it's just a pretty form of ID that makes you feel a little more “Thai”.