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Land Titles in Thailand

Chanote (NS-4) – Title Deed

The Chanote deed, or NS-4, shows full ownership rights to a piece of land.  Chanote deeds are the most dependable title in the Thai titling system.  A red garuda, or khrut, appears on a Chanote deed.

The Chanote deed lists the position of the land, total area, the title number, and the survey information.  A sketch of the property on the title shows the land parcel’s relation to neighboring parcels.  The original copies of Chanote deeds are kept at the Provincial Land Department. All land parcels represented by Chanote deeds have been fully surveyed by the Land Department.  Concrete or metal survey markers are used to mark the corners of the real property.  The Land Department correlates the survey of the parcel to the national survey grid and satellite photographs. Under Thai law, squatters who live on another person’s land without permission can eventually claim ownership of the parcel if the land’s rightful owner of does not evict them.  A Chanote title deed gives land owners 10 years evict squatters from their land before they lose their ownership.

Nor Sor Sam Gor (NS-3K) – Confirmed Certificate Of Use

The Nor Sor Sam Gor, NS-3K or Confirmed Certificate of Use, is almost as good as a Chanote deed.  A black garuda appears on a Confirmed Certificate of Use.

A Confirmed Certificate of Use shows that the Land Department has confirmed and certified the owner’s right to the land.  Land parcels represented by these certificates have been unofficially surveyed, but not been officially surveyed, by the Land Department.  The unofficial survey has been correlated with master surveys and satellite photographs.  Owners may petition the Land Department to officially survey the land and upgrade the title to a Chanote deed.

Confirmed Certificates of Use are kept at the District Land Department.  The Certificate includes the total area of the parcel, the location information, survey information, and a sketch of the property.  The certificates are numbered and dated.  Full ownership and rental records are attached. Landowners who own land titled with a Confirmed Certificate of Use only have one year to remove squatters before the squatters gain ownership through hostile possession. 

Nor Sor Sam (NS-3) – Certificate Of Use

The Nor Sor Sam, NS-3 or Certificate of Use, is the least definite Thai land title.  A green garuda appears on the Certificate of Use. The certificate certifies that the owner has occupied the land and put it to good use.  The certificate grants the landowner the rights of possession, but these rights have yet to be officially confirmed.  Because the rights have not been confirmed, any transactions (buy, sell, mortgage) must be published at the Land Department without opposition for 30 days without before they can be registered.

Parcels represented by a Certificate of Use may have been surveyed against adjacent plots, but the surveys have not been correlated with a master survey or satellite photo.  The Certificate of Use is a floating map of the real property and may not have parcel points depicting the relationship to other parcels of land. As a result, the parcel size listed on the deed may be inaccurate.  It is advisable to get the boundaries surveyed before you buy.

Certificates of Use are kept at the District Land Department.  They include information on parcel size, location, and ownership records.  Like the Confirmed Certificate of Use, landowners have one year to remove squatters before the squatters gain ownership through hostile possession.

Sor Kor 1 (SK-1) – Claim Certificate

The Claim Certificate, SK-1 or Sor Kor Nung, establishes a claim to land but not actual land ownership.  These documents are largely a product of land reform initiatives. Farmers could obtain the certificate after occupying land for six months and publishing a 30 day notice at the land department without counterclaims.  The certificate gives the land occupier the right to continue occupying the land. These certificates describe the land parcel in everyday language.  There is not even a sketch of the property.  Instead the parcel is described as “from the treeline down to the lake shore…”  Because of the inherent vagueness, these certificates may be used to fraudulently. Claim Certificates can sometimes be upgraded to a Certificate of Use or even a Chanote. To upgrade, the claimant must prove that the land was possessed legally and put to good use.

Bai Jong (NS-2) – Certificate

This certificate grants someone the temporary right to occupy a piece of land.  Preemption Certificates were issued under the authority of the 1936 Land Act with the understanding that they would eventually be upgraded to Certificates of Use.

Por Tor Bor 5

This document certifies that the occupier paid taxes on the land.  It provides no evidence of a valid claim to ownership, but can be used to prove possession against private parties. Often the actual owner of the land is the government.

Land Titles in Thailand

Land in Thailand / Foreign ownership

For foreigners it is not possible to buy land in Thailand and a lot of people are not happy with that. But is it really desirable that foreigners purchase land in Thailand without limitation?
The discussion on foreign ownership for land in Thailand is often done quite emotional. But with a focus a solution, it may be helpful to take a very pragmatic view of the needs of both sides:
• At the Thai side there is the fear that unrestricted land acquisition will lead to a sell-off of land to wealthy foreigners.
• At the side of foreign investors, there is a wish to get security for their investments inThai real estate.
Interestingly enough, in the current legal situation the needs of both sides can be already covert:
Thailand’s interests are already protected by the strict limitation of land purchase for foreigners. But a solution for a safe investment in real estate for foreigners is also already given. Foreigners in Thailand are allowed to possess houses and buildings and they can use land for example on a long term leasehold basis. The lease, which is currently limited to 30 years, can also be agreed with an extension of two times additional 30 years. However, a long term lease for 90 years would be significant improvement here.

For foreign investors who wish to invest in real estate on a larger scale, it would make sense to found a Thai company (LTD) , which may acquire properties as a juristic (Thai) person.

Of course, both ways to secure real estate as a foreigner are more complex than it looks in this very short introduction, but with proper research and the support from a qualified real estate agent, they provide a sufficient save background for foreigners to secure properties in Thailand.


Certainly, many foreigners would want a complete release of restrictions on property acquisition, but even from the perspective of a real estate agent, I can see the positive side of the limitations. Even with the existing restrictions for foreigners, Thailand has experienced an unprecedented real estate boom for decades which would overheat quickly without any limitation. An extension of the max lease period to 90 years is all I would wish for.

Land acquisition by Foreigners

  The following text is a copy of the oficial legal definition for land ownership by Foreigners of the land department:                     

According to Section 86 of the Land Code, an alien may acquire land in Thailand only by virtue of the provision of a treaty providing him with the right to own immovable property. Obtaining such acquisition is subject to the provision of the Land Code and the Ministerial Regulations issued under the Code, and the permission must be obtained from the Ministry of Interior. Before the termination of the treaty which was made on February 27th, 1970, there were 16 countries bided to the treaty ; USA, England, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, France, India, Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Japan, Burma, Portuguese, and Pakistan. Since then, Thailand has no longer made any treaty with any country to allow an alien to acquire land in Thailand by virtue of a treaty.

                         However, the Land Code has been amended with Section 96 bis providing that since January 19th, 2002, an alien is allowed to purchase land in Thailand for residential purpose and the land to be purchased shall be not more than one rai in area, and the following rules and conditions must be met:

 1.  Bringing money not less than Baht forty million into the Kingdom for investment and maintaining the           investment not less that five years

2.  Permission must be obtained from the Minister of Ministry of Interior;

3.  Money brought into the Kingdom shall be invested in one of the following businesses or activities;

 3.1  to purchase bonds of Thai Government, bonds of Thai National Bank, bonds of State Enterprise or               bonds which the Ministry of Finance secures the capital or interest,

 3.2  an investment in a property mutual fund, a property mutual fund or a mutual fund for resolving                  financial institution problems established under the law on Securities and Stock Exchange,

 3.3  an investment in share capital of a juristic person who is granted permission of investment under the          law on promotion of investment,

 3.4  an investment in an activity as declared by the Board of Investment to be an activity eligible to be            granted promotion of investment under the law on promotion of investment;

4.  the land to be acquired shall be located in Bangkok Metropolis, Pattaya City, or Tessaban (Municipality),      or in the area specified as residential zone according to the law on Town and Country Planning and shall      not be located in a military safety zone according to the law on Military Safety Zone;

5.  an alien, who is granted permission, shall utilize the land only for residence for his/herself and the              family in a way that is not contrary to the local custom or good living of the local community;

6.  if an alien, who is granted permission to acquire such land, does not comply with the rules and                    conditions specified, he/she shall disposes of such land in the portion of his/her possession within the          period of time specified by the Director General of the Department of Lands which shall be not less than      one hundred eighty days and not more than one year. If the time limit elapses, the Director                      General shall have the power to dispose of such land;

7.  if an alien, who is granted permission to acquire such land, does not utilize the land for residence within      two years as from the day the registration for land acquisition is made, the Director General shall have      the power to dispose of such land.

 Besides the aforementioned rules and conditions, an alien may acquire land by inheritance as statutory heir, in this instance, the land devolved when combined with the land already acquired shall not exceed that specified by law, for examples, land for residential purpose not exceeding 1 rai per household, land for commercial purpose not exceeding 1 rai, land for industrial purpose not exceeding 10 rais, and land for agricultural purpose not exceeding 10 rai per household.

 An alien whose spouse is a Thai national either legitimate or illegitimate, that Thai national can purchase land but the alien spouse of that Thai national must give a joint written confirmation that the money which that Thai national will expend on purchasing the land is wholly the separate property or personal effects of that Thai national and not the Sin Somros or jointly acquired property.


(a)  0.01% of the valuation price, in the case of purchasing the land located in the land development project (this rate is due in       December 2002)

 (b)  In the case other than (a) the fee is 2% of the valuation price

Taxes and duties

To be paid according to the Code of Revenue

0 - 0 (THB)
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