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søndag 6. november 2016

Own a car in Thailand

How to buy a car in Thailand and insurance formalities 


Thailand is over 500,000 square kilometres in size. This makes it the third-largest country in ASEAN. Infrastructure is therefore very important to facilitate quick transportation between Thai cities throughout the country. The largest share of Thailand’s infrastructure comprises roads, including over 70,000 kilometres of highway network. In comparison, the railroad network is only 4,000 kilometres in length. This makes private cars the more efficient means of transportation in Thailand.
Buying a car is not as easy as finding a 7/11 in Bangkok. Getting the correct paperwork and licenses can be quite a hassle. This article will guide you through your purchase of a new and used car.

Buying a new car

Because Thailand charges around 200 percent tax and import duty on imported cars, it is wise to buy a new car that was manufactured in Thailand and is sold at a Thai car dealership. Thailand has many car production sites allowing you to choose between a fair amount of car brands: BMW, Chery, Chevrolet, Dongfeng, Ford, Hino, Honda, Hyundai, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MG, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Proton, Saab, SsangYong, Subaru, Tata, Thai Rung, Toyota and Volvo.
After purchasing your new car, you will need to register it at the Department of Land and Transport (DLT).

For non-Thai citizens, you need the following paperwork, with copies, to register:

- Your current passport
- Your non-immigrant visa
- Your work permit or your certificate/letter of residence issued by the Thai immigration or a Thai Embassy.

The DLT will provide you with a red temporary number plate until they have processed a white permanent number plate. The registration process can take up to six weeks depending on the speed of submission of all paperwork by the specific car dealership.

You will receive a car passport or “blue book” or “lem tabian”. This booklet will include your name and address and is your proof of ownership. If you do not yet own the car because you bought it on credit, then the third party financer will hold onto your blue book until you pay off your loan. In the meantime, you will receive a copy of the blue book.

Lastly the DLT will provide you with a sticker that proves you have paid your annual car tax. Place this sticker on your windshield.

Buying a used car

There is a large market for used cars in Thailand with over 11,000 private cars and pick-up trucks already registered. Be careful though when buying a used car!

You will need to transfer the ownership of the car officially at the DLT.

Be sure to bring the following documents with signed copies:

- Your current passport
- Your non-immigrant visa
- Your work permit or certificate or letter of residence issued by the Thai immigration or the Embassy.

The seller or a third party with power of attorney must bring the following documents with signed copies:
- Their current passport
- Their non-immigrant visa
- Their work permit or certificate or letter of residence issued by the Thai Immigration Department or the Embassy.

- Their household registration document or “tabien baan” if they are a Thai resident
- The car passport “lem tabian” or a copy of the passport in case the car has been bought with a loan. Always check if the seller has made all his due payments to the lender.
- If the car is over seven years old, an up-to-date tax sticker will prove that it has passed the roadworthiness test. This can also be obtained at the DLT.
The DLT will check the engine and chassis serial number of the car to make sure it is not stolen.


All cars in Thailand must at least have compulsory car insurance.

This insurance can be upgraded to five additional car insurance types:
Type 1, 2, 2+, 3 and 3+.

Find your perfect personal car insurance via an online car insurance brokerage. They can offer up to 50% on your car insurance. See:

Other article:

Retirement in Thailand - How to buy a car as an expat

Buying a New Car

Can I finance a car in Thailand as a foreigner?
Can I finance a car in Thailand as a foreigner?

Can I finance a car in Thailand as a foreigner?


Where to find used cars. (Coming!)


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