Thailand Visa

thai visaBriefly defined, visas are instrumental aspects of immigration control. They signify that its holders are entering a foreign territory legally. These travel documents do not only provide entry permission, but most importantly, it is for one’s safety and security. This is most especially to the receiving countries.

Misunderstandings on Visa Exemption

The misconception about the visa exemption can be identified as the culprit behind the notion of not needing a Thailand visa. So far, such belief has subjected foreigners to uncompromising situations with immigration authorities.

Thailand has formed bilateral agreements with other countries. In honor of such pacts and covenants, a visa exemption is given to selected nationalities. But then again, this “exemption” is valid for only 15 days and only applies to the tourist visa. Foreigners who have different purposes for entering Thailand are still required to obtain the appropriate travel document.  Evidently, it can be observed that such exemption is limited to a specific activity and does not encompass all travel purposes to Thailand.

Signs that a foreigner needs a Thailand visa

There are several signs which signify that a visitor must acquire a Thailand visa. These are – The need to eliminate the possibility of being blacklisted – Even with the exemption, a tourist visitor still needs to apply for a visa. Visa extensions are not forever and these are merely short-term solutions. Abusing visa extensions and non-compliance are grounds for one to be blacklisted. As a result, a visitor may not be permitted to return to Thailand.

The need to protect one’s rights – Thailand visas does not only protect the country but also its holders. Not adhering with the country’s visa policy exposes the holder to certain risks and problems that even their respective embassies may not be able to resolve.

The needs for practicality – Along with sanctions are fines and penalties. Evidently, it is far more cost-effective to pay visa fees than to succumb to shame and disgrace due to violating Thailand’s visa protocols. The need for more time – Instead of capitalizing on extensions, file a formal visa application and stay longer in Thailand.

Evidently, Thailand is not excluded from immigration practices and procedures. As a premiere tourist and retirement destination in Asia, the more that it should strictly observe and exercise its visa issuance policies.

 

See also Visa to Thailand for Australian Citizens

 

Buying a Condo

Buying Condo in Thailand

Foreigners or expatriates prefer to lease or buy condominiums in Thailand. Some buy it for retirement while others buy it to rent out and only use it as a holiday home. There are different options with regards to property in Thailand.

Buying a condo in Thailand is much easier that trying to buy a villa or a house as a foreigner may not own land in Thailand. You can own the structure but not the land that it is located on. This does present many problems hence people prefer to buy a condo unit. some of the most popular locations tend to be Jomtien in Pattaya and Phuket. Bangkok is not that high on the list when it comes to the number of expats living in Thailand who own their own homes.

The condo that you buy has to be certified as a condo. The Condominium Act defines what a condo is and the certification process. If you are buying a secondhand property it is always best to have an attorney view the agreement and the title deed which the owner more likely than not has as very few condo units sold between foreigners have mortgage bonds on them.  Now, this is very important. The amount of units in the condominium complex may not be owned by more than 49% foreigners. Many foreigners register the condominium in the name of a Thai registered company and this does not affect the ration as it is viewed as being Thai owned.

Due diligence should always be performed before you sign any agreement in Thailand with regards to property. Consult any of our attorneys in Thailand with regard to having due diligence completed on the property before purchase.

 

Fractional Ownership

Fractional ownership has not taken off well in Thailand where it concerns the locals. With a lack of laws governing fractional ownership it is still mainly foreigners who buy into it. There are however questions raised about the 49% condo ownership rule.

When buying a condo complex in Thailand foreigners may not own more than 49% of the units. With timeshare or fractional ownership now on the rise in Thailand questions are being raised about the current law regarding 49% ownership. Phanom Kanjanathiemthao, managing director of property consultant Knight Frank Chartered (Thailand) had this to say with regards to the current debate about property ownership in Thailand.

Restrictions on the foreign ownership of property create difficulties for developers using fractional ownership, who have to apply diverse strategies to attract Thai buyers, said Mr Phanom.

“Many properties in Pattaya and Phuket are not affordable for Thai buyers due to very high prices,” he said. “They cannot even buy with leasehold prices in some projects. Even a discounted price remains unaffordable for them.”

To encourage foreign buyers and prevent problems associated with using Thai nominee companies to purchase property for foreigners, Mr Phanom suggests extending the maximum property leasehold for foreigners to 75 or 90 years, from the current 30 years. In Vietnam, the government is amending the law to allow foreigners to own residential units, similar to Singapore and Malaysia.

“Today almost every country allows foreigners to buy property but they have a committee to set the conditions on what properties foreigners can own and how many they can hold,” he said.

Creating zones where foreigners could own condominiums outright was another approach, he said. Extending the maximum leasehold would benefit Thais and the country, said Praphaisith Tankeyura, managing director of Boathouse Hua Hin Co Ltd.

“We have to accept that almost all properties in Phuket and Samui now do not belong to Thai people,” he said.

Boathouse was among many projects that had to adjust their strategies to cope with shrinking foreign demand. Fractional ownership is a new concept in Thailand so speak to an attorney before you buy into any property scheme. There are currently no laws governing the concept and this might leave the system open to abuse.