Rights of Foreign Ownership of Land in Phuket

Under the Thai law, foreigners are comprehensively prohibited from owning any kind of land except under some specific cases.  When exceptions are simply not available, foreign investors have chosen to buy land in Thailand through Thai companies. Since the year 2006, the Ministry of Interior Thailand has issued special instructions for all Land Departments in order to deter Thai companies whose sole purpose is to efficiently allow foreign ownership of Thai land. As of the date, foreigners who wish to safely own immoveable properties in Thailand are allowed to buy condominiums or use legal alternative options such as the lease agreement.

The options that are available for foreigners to own land in Thailand have been divided into 3 major heads:

  1. Foreign land ownership
  2. Buying land through legal Thai companies
  3. Other alternative ways to land ownership

There are four most common situations where Thai law allows a foreigner to own land:

  • A foreign owned company benefitting from the promotions through the Board of Investment or certain privileges from the Industrial Authority of Thailand. Under this the foreigner may be granted rights to own land for any kind of commercial activity.
  • Under the Thai Petroleum Act, under this land can be allowed to foreigners for operating
  • A foreigner who has eminently invested more than a sum of 40 million Baht in less than three years of time in an activity that is socially and economically beneficial to Thailand.
  • A foreigner can effectively hold the title of condominium units in a building that has obtained the condominium license.

Buying Land in Thailand through a Thai Company

  • It is no secret now that the foreign ownerships have been using Thai companies to buy land on their behalf. Strict application of law only allows a Thai company that is controlled by a foreigner to buy land. Setting up a company which has the sole purpose of circumventing the Thai Land Code is considered to be illegal.

Alternative Ways to Foreign Ownership in Thailand

  • Although all foreigners are prohibited from owning any piece of land, Thai law other to that bestows them many other rights such as entering into 30 years term lease agreements, owning and constructing buildings and acquiring the required surface rights.