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Buying & Selling a Car in Thailand
Buying & Selling a Car in Thailand
Information on the paperwork and process involved whether buying a car from a dealership or a secondhand car through a classified advertisement. The documents required and where they must be sent.
Buying a New Car
There are a wide number of car dealerships in Thailand and most major makes are sold. Cars manufactured in Thailand have a much lower rate of tax added than imported cars and are often good value compared to luxury imported vehicles.
All registration procedures and transfers of vehicle ownership are completed at the local Department of Land Transport Office (DLT). Most new car dealerships will assist with this and issue all the necessary paperwork to the DLT.
- For the locations of DLT offices in Thailand: Click here
- DLT Head office
At: 1032 Phaholyothin Road, Lardyao, Chatuchak district
Tel: 02 271 8888, English language ext. 4712-4 or for Thai language 1584
For further information from the DLT:
- Tel: 02 272 3100 (may speak English)
Those who are not Thai citizens need to produce the following paperwork for the DLT with copies:
- Current passport
- Non-immigrant visa
- Work Permit or Certificate or Letter of Residence issued by Thai Immigration or the Embassy
A temporary black text on red number plate will be issued, which will be replaced by a black text on white permanent plate when the registration process is completed. This should take only a week but can take as long as six weeks, depending on how quickly the car dealership submits the paperwork and the DLT processes it.
The Blue Book (Lem Tabian)
The new owner will be issued with proof of ownership documents in the form of a registration book called the Blue Book (Lem Tabian) which includes the owner's name and address. If a car is bought with a loan then the finance company will keep the Blue Book until all monies have been paid; the new owner will be issued with a copy of the Blue Book.
A window sticker will also be provided by the DLT that indicates that the annual tax has been paid.
Compulsory Motor Insurance (CMI or Por Ror Bor) also must be bought from the DLT, the car dealership or an insurance company. CMI must be renewed annually.
Three additional levels of motor vehicle insurance are available in Thailand, 1st Class, 2nd Class and 3rd Class. The three levels indicate level of coverage with 1st Class being fully comprehensive.
All cars must display a tax sticker on the windscreen as proof that car tax has been paid. When a car is bought the tax sticker stays on the window and remains valid until it expires regardless of the owner of the car. Tax must be paid annually at the local DLT office.
To make the car tax payment take the Blue Book and proof of the CMI.
Buying a Used Car
There is a large used car market in Thailand. Classified sections of local and national newspapers (printed and online) have private advertisements and there are also some online forums. Although most of these are in Thai they are a good source of vehicle values and what types of vehicles are available.
Many Thai websites include advertising for used vehicles such as:
All used cars are accompanied by their registration book, Blue Book (Lem Tabian), which shows the owner's name and address. This book also contains information on the previous owners and will show whether all taxes have been paid on the vehicle. However, finance companies keep this Blue Book until the car has been paid for in its entirety, so if the seller cannot provide this Blue Book the buyer needs to ensure that any monies due on the car have been paid.
Transferring ownership of a used vehicle is similar to buying a new vehicle. The purchaser and the seller must both complete the transfer of ownership at their local DLT office, although the seller can give power of attorney to a third party. The DLT will check the engine and chassis serial number to make sure the car has not been stolen, so it is strongly recommended that money is exchanged only after this has been checked. The buyer and seller must provide the following documents:
- Signed copy of the previous owner's passport, visa and work permit or a Certificate or Letter of Residence issued by Thai Immigration or their Embassy
- The vehicle's Blue Book
- Signed copy of the buyer's passport, visa and work permit or a Certificate of Residence issued by Thai Immigration or their Embassy
- If the car is over seven years old, an up-to-date tax sticker will prove that it has passed the roadworthiness test
- If either the previous owner or purchaser is Thai they have to provide an ID card and House Registration Document (Tabien Baan)
Note: As all documents will be in Thai it is advisable to have them all thoroughly checked by a Thai-speaker or solicitor and the relevant authorities before making payment for any used vehicle.
- To find out the cost of a used car: Click here (in Thai)
Selling a Car
The procedure for selling a used car in Thailand is similar to the one for buying one and is completed at the local DLT office.
The following methods can be used to advertise a used car for sale:
The seller must provide signed ownership documents - the Blue Book, a passport, visa and work permit or a Certificate or Letter of Residence issued by Thai Immigration or their Embassy. If the previous owner is Thai they have to provide an ID card and House Registration Documents.
If the car is over seven years old it must have passed a roadworthiness test. If the car has an up-to-date tax sticker this will prove that the roadworthiness test has been carried out.
Normally the buyer and seller complete the transfer of ownership paperwork together at the local DLT office, but it is possible to give power of attorney to a third party.
The procedure for buying or selling new or used motorbikes is also carried out at the local Department of Land Transport office. The paperwork required is similar, although a tourist visa will be accepted for those who have a Certificate of Residence issued by Thai Immigration or their Embassy.
Owners will be issued with a registration book (Green Book) when the paperwork is complete.
If a motorbike is over five years old it must have passed a roadworthiness test. If the motorbike has an up-to-date tax sticker this will prove that the roadworthiness test has been carried out.