A Tabien Baan is a house document, which translates literally as ‘House Registration' in Thai. The type of document relevant to foreign nationals is the yellow book Tabien Baan (ท.ร.13, Thor Ror 13).
This house registration book contains the details of all foreign nationals registered as living at the address (as their primary residence).
The Tabien Baan doesn't prove ownership of the property, only residence.
This yellow book differs from the standard blue book issued to Thai nationals (the ท.ร.14, Thor Ror 14). A foreigner can't be listed in a blue book, but you can apply for a yellow book to prove where you reside.
The Tabien Baan is used in Thailand for address verification, and is also a voter's roll used to identify those eligible to vote in elections.
Why Do Expats Need a Tabien Baan?
Not everyone does need one. In fact, many people live here for years and never need one. However, it reduces the paperwork when applying for a driving license or buying a car, because you won't need a residence certificate for proof of residence. Some types of bank account may require you to provide a Tabien Baan.
Depending on the requirements for the service you are dealing with, you may be able to avoid the need for a Tabien Baan by going to your embassy and getting a stamped letter to prove your residency. Doing this as a one off isn't a big deal, but doing so multiple times will become a hassle.
Getting your yellow house book is also the pathway to obtaining the Pink ID Card, which is an ID card for foreign nationals. More on that another time.
In summary, the benefit of the house registration book is hassle-free address verification.
What Details are Contained in the Tabien Baan?
The yellow book is written in Thai and contains details about the property. The first page contains the address and type of property (house or condo). Flip the page over and you'll see the name, nationality, date of birth and ID number of the house owner/master.
The proceeding pages of the book list the details of all other non-Thai residents residing at the property (that's you).
How Do I Get a Tabien Baan?
When you buy a property in Thailand, you are given a Tabien Baan as part of the property transfer process. However, by default this is usually a blue Tabien Baan and not the yellow one a foreigner requires. You can exchange this, though, at a local district office.
It's actually a good idea when buying a property to request the correct Tabien Baan prior to the transfer, so that you don't have to mess about with applying for one.
Outside of buying a property, you can apply for your yellow house registration book at a local amphur (district office).
As is par for the course, you may find slightly different requirements between district offices, but below are the standard requirements:
Please note that you will need a ‘house master' to approve your application to be listed at the property. This will be the owner of the house, or your landlord. If you live rurally, perhaps with your Thai partner, you may also need approval from the head of the village (the Phu Yai Baan).
Unless you're a long-term renter and have a good relationship with your landlord, don't be surprised if your landlord refuses your request for a Tabien Baan. Generally speaking, most expats with the yellow house book got it issued off the back of their partner's family home.
- A current passport (containing your visa entry stamp)*
- Two passport size photos
- Your work permit (if you have one)
- Your marriage certificate
- The ID card of your Thai spouse
- The house master's blue book (Tabien Baan). Or your lease agreement coupled with a copy of your landlord’s ID card and his/her Tabien Baan
- Two witnesses of Thai nationality and over the age of 20. They will need their ID cards with them.
You will need original copies and photocopies of your documents.
* My understanding is that the yellow Tabien Baan book is for expats on long stay visas (O, OA, OX, Elite, B, etc) and not for tourist visas or those entering on an exemption stamp. However, don't quote me on that as I'm sure someone will arrive in the comments and say they've gotten one on a tourist visa.
Again, this is office dependent, but most district offices can issue a Tabien Baan within an hour or so. You might have to come back the next day if they are really busy.
Rurally speaking, if you or your partner knows someone who works there, a small donation to the tea jar usually results in an expedited service.
The Tabien Baan is free, officially, but you may find that some district offices charge an administrative fee, or simply charge you because they can.
Generally speaking, if you go along with a Thai person you won't pay a dime. You may have to pay a fee to replace a lost or damaged book.
How Long do I Need to Have Lived at the Property?
It might seem a little strange, but you don't actually need to live at the property where you are registered. There is no time frame requirement either.
This is not unusual, though, not when you consider the millions of Thais who work away from the family home and return perhaps once a year for Songkran.
For address verification purposes, you might choose to register yourself at your wife's family home in Nakhon Nowhere but spend much of your time in Bangkok.
Have Your Say…
Got a question about getting a Tabien Baan? Have you already got one? And if so, has it been beneficial?
Share your questions, comments and experiences to help others get through the process as smoothly as possible.