What documents do you need to buy or sell a car in Thailand?

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If you are living long term in Thailand, you may wish at some point to buy a car in your own name. You may hear that a foreigner cannot register a car in their own name but this is not true, it just requires collating the correct documents and following the process.

If you buy a car from a dealer, they will most likely do most of the work for you and as a foreigner this is the most straightforward way to buy a car.

The most basic documents required are:

  • Your passport and copies showing your Thai visa, this should be the minimum of a tourist visa
  • A residence certificate from your local immigration office
  • Your Thai work permit if you have one (if you have a work permit you don’t need a residence certificate).

If you buy a car privately it can get a bit more complicated as you and the vendor may need to attend the transport dept together to complete the transfer.

If the vendor will sign the transfer document in advance and give you a copy of their ID and house registration if they are Thai or their passport if they are a foreigner then you may be able to complete the transfer by yourself.

Please note that the transfer documents usually need to be completed in Thai, so you will need some assistance from a Thai friend.

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Selling your car is a similar process, just make sure that you are always in a position to get a residence certificate as if you cannot sell the car without it. If you leave Thailand, someone else cannot sell the car on your behalf, if you cannot return to Thailand for any reason such as illness or being banned from entering the country then the car cannot be sold.

It is also possible for foreigners to obtain car finance in Thailand. There are a few options for this but the most straightforward is financing a brand new car from a registered dealer. You will need to pay a deposit of at least 20% and some dealers require 30% and have a Thai guarantor who can prove enough income to cover the payments if you were to default on the payments.

In most cases, it is actually pretty simple to buy a car in Thailand, especially when no car financing plans are involved.