A Tabien Baan is a government issued house registration book which registers one’s address in Thailand. It can be a very important document which lists all the individuals registered at an address.
This article addresses whether foreigners need the Blue Book, the Yellow Book, or no book at all?
If you’re not familiar with a Tabien Baan, you are not alone. But if you are a long-term resident of Thailand or you own a property here already, you should probably know more about it.
Tabien Baan literally translates into English as “house registration” but is commonly referred to as a “house book” or a “blue book” (because for Thais it is literally a blue book).
It should not be misconstrued as a document confirming your ownership of the property, however. Rather than ownership, a Tabien Baan is issued by the local Amphoe (municipality) to register anyone residing at a specific address.
For Thais, the blue book is the official proof of residential address. When purchasing a car, opening a bank account, or even applying for visas to travel abroad, this is the address confirmation most authorities will require.
As in any country, an individual must be registered in the district where they vote, but in Thailand they must also take the Tabien Baan with them to the polling station.
It is not required by law that foreigners have a house book, or even that they be listed in one, which is why most people are unaware that there is also a Yellow Tabien Baan, specifically for foreigner residents.
When you buy a property you should be issued with the blue book for that property, and registered as the owner. You can then apply for the yellow book.
Because the requirements vary with each Amphoe (even within Phuket), it is best that you contact your local municipal office to find out what they require before you apply. If you live in one of the larger municipalities with town or subdistrict status (thesaban tambon or thesaban muang), such as Patong or Karon, it may also be possible to apply for your yellow book there.
If you are married to a Thai spouse, or you are a just a long-term or permanent resident, there are a number of advantages to getting your name in a Tabien Baan. (Please note, if you have PR, your name should go in a blue book.)
You’ve probably noticed that Thais need to have their Thai ID number for pretty much everything they do in this country. Whether it is a government form, a bank account, applying for a mobile phone or satellite TV service, or even getting a supermarket rewards card, Thais need that ID number. From a securing a mobile phone contract to setting up a bank account to getting a Thai driver’s license, it will make your life easier. (And your new ID number – not your passport number – will be your driver’s license number.)
But your life is also made easier when it comes to other government services. Whenever you submit forms to any Thai government office (whether local or national) you inevitably need a translated copy of a document proving where in Thailand you live. Typically, this must be issued by your country’s embassy in Bangkok, and it is done at your expense.
The Yellow Book takes care of this for you, and while there is there a bit of bureaucracy involved in applying for one, the Tabien Baan is actually free.
What Do You Have to do to Apply for a Yellow House Book?
Although the requirements to apply for a yellow book differ in each Thesaban or Amphoe, most of the documents required are the same. It may be worth calling or visiting the office first to double check what’s required at your local Amphoe.
Here’s a list of what you will usually need:
- Your old blue book
- Your current passport
- Your work permit if applicable
- Your marriage certificate if applicable with Thai wife’s ID card and her blue house book
- If your renting or leasing, your agreement together with the ID of your landlord, and his or her blue Tabien Baan
Where are the Local Amphoe Offices in Phuket?
There are three main Amphoe offices in Phuket tha issue Tabien Baan’s, falling under the Kathu District, Phuket Town and Thalang. You will need to find out which district you come under and make sure you visit the correct office.
Here are the contact details for each office:
Are You Applying for Thai Citizenship or Returning To Your Home Country With Your Thai Spouse?
If you have a Thai spouse and children and think that one day you may apply for Thai citizenship, having your name in a Tabien Baan is one of the requirements. On the other hand, should you ever return to live in your home country with your Thai family, your name in a blue book with your spouse can be substantially important to proving that you have lived together – a prerequisite for any marriage visa/green card application for your spouse.
When you buy a property in Phuket, you will receive a blue Tabien Baan, your government issued house registration book. It’s an important document and although your lawyer will likely keep a copy for you, you should keep it safe. At the very least you will need it to sell the property at some point in the future.
But for a foreigner who wants to integrate a little more into Thai society and feel more secure, applying for a yellow book is also an option open to you. The yellow book does in fact open the door to some services which may be denied to foreigners who don’t have one.