*Disclaimer: This guide is based on my own experience getting the tabien baan ทะเบียนบ้าน and Pink ID Card in Thailand. Rules + regulations are often interpreted differently by provincial and local governments around Thailand. Your own experience is dependent upon where you live and who works at your local municipal administration office.
For non-Thais staying in Thailand, the recurring bureaucratic processes required to remain in the Kingdom long-term are often the most tedious part of living here. There is absolutely no shortage of paperwork to be filled out, copied, processed, and filed away in Thailand.
Navigating through each of the various Thai government agencies presents a unique set of challenges. Often, the paperwork gymnastics on the Thai government side are just additions to the finishing touches required by respective foreign government agencies to accomplish one task.
Non-Thai employees living in Thailand often benefit from a company providing their visa and work permit services. However, as a business owner, the amount of documents required to remain compliant in business and personal affairs expands almost tenfold.
Regardless of your employment and/or living situation, though, there is an ever-growing need for non-Thai nationals to verify their address in the Kingdom. Some common examples of this are:
- Getting a driving license
- Registering a company
- Opening a bank account or changing addresses at a bank
- Applying for a line of credit
- Purchasing a motor vehicle
It would make logical sense that once you’ve received one form of “verified” identification— that is, a form of ID for which you had to provide legal proof of address —you wouldn’t have to keep getting affidavits or certificates of residence to prove your address.
However, that is not the current situation. If you get an original affidavit for your license, for example, the Department of Land and Transportation (DLT) will keep the original. So, when you need to verify your address again, you’ll have to get another affidavit or certificate of residence. It becomes costly of both time and money, quickly- especially if you are running your own company.
For me, I’d typically have to make an appointment with the US Embassy for a sworn affidavit that declares my legal address. These appointments were always challenging to get in situations where I needed the verification quickly. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, American Citizen Services (ACS) essentially stopped doing anything that they determined to be non-essential, even for the exorbitant fee of $50 USD per page for affixing their seal on the affidavit.
Enter: the Yellow House Book + Pink ID card.
What is the Yellow House Book?
A house book, also known as a “Tabien Baan” (ทะเบียนบ้าน) is a book issued by the official local government that shows who lives in a dwelling- a house, a townhome, or a condo. For Thai nationals, the book is blue. For Non-Thai people living in Thailand, the house book assigned to them is yellow and looks like this:
For the sake of bureaucratic processes, this document is called:
- The “house book”
- Tabien Baan (ทะเบียนบ้าน)
- ท.ร.13 (Tor Ror 13)
Why is the Yellow House Book necessary?
There are certainly ways to live happily and freely in Thailand without the tabien baan. However, if you have a regular need to verify your address and do not want to make repeated trips to your embassy to get affidavits or certificates of residence, the yellow house book is quite helpful.
The yellow house book, which does not expire, is accepted as a form of identification with your legal name and address printed inside. So, once you have this book (and accompanying ID card), you don’t need to get any other affidavits or certificates of residence to prove your address in Thailand.
How do I get the Yellow Book + Pink ID Card?
Receiving a yellow tabien baan is not as simple as just showing up at the Amphur (district office) and giving them the documents requested by the law.
For starters, here is the list of documents required to submit your application:
The Amphur does not provide any documents in English for this process. For your reference, here are the list of items in English:
- A certified copy of your passport from your embassy + a certified translated copy of it + MFA legalization from the department of consular affairs
- Two witnesses/relatives over the age of 25 + a copy of their ID cards (1 or 2 of these witnesses are allowed to be translators for you if you need it)
- A copy of the blue house book (owners original tabien baan for the property at which you will live and/or work if you are registering it as a business address)
- Birth Certificate (unless born outside of Thailand)
- Certificate of marriage, divorce (if applicable)
- Certificate of Residence
- Work Permit
- Alien ID Card
- The original purchase agreement for the condo with a copy of the title/deed (land)
- Thai naturalization certificate and copy of its publishing in the Government Gazette
- License to acquire Thai Nationality
- 4x photos size 1.5 inches, passport-style photos “straight face”
- 2-3 photos of the front of the house, including with the person living there and the owner
- Evidence of the relationship between owner/tenant.
- Other (Change of name, surname, etc.)
Highlighted items are the things that I was required to submit for my own application.
What is the process for getting the Yellow House Book?
The first thing you need to do is get your passport certified by your embassy. If you have an original certified copy of your passport dated within the last 6 months from the time of your application, you can use that one. If the certified copy is older than 6 months, it will be rejected.
Next, you need to get the certified copy of your passport translated and legalized. You must do this after you get your passport certified because the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) pays very close attention to the translation, all the way down to the words on the stamp + seal of the embassy.
There are quite a few legal translation services available in Bangkok to choose from. I went to one right outside of the Khlong Toei MRT Station, where one office of the MFA is located (downstairs).
So, you can get your passport translated upstairs on the street level and then take it downstairs to submit it to the MFA for legalization. The translation costs 500 THB, and the legalization of your passport by the MFA costs 500 THB. The MFA takes 3 days to process and legalize your translated passport. If you drop your translated passport off at their office before 10am, you can pick it up the same afternoon for an expedited fee.
Once you have all of your documents together, place them in the order they are listed in the requirements above.
Submitting the documents
You need to visit the Amphur (district office) closest to where you live to submit the application for a yellow house book. For me, this was the Phra Khanong district office, as pictured here:
The first time I tried to submit the paperwork, I was missing a few documents. The officer working on this specific task told me what I was missing and what to bring back. Upon the second attempt, I had all of the proper documents, and I brought the required two Thai witnesses with me. One of them was the owner of my house, and the other person was my Thai partner. They both brought signed copies of their ID cards.
When we submitted the completed application, I was asked a series of questions about myself, my work, and my background, including:
- Blood type
- Date(s) of the first trip to Thailand (for me, it was 5 years ago)
- Names of my mother, father, and my siblings
- My birthplace, including the city and state
After answering these and a few other questions, the officer processing the application told us that it would be reviewed and that I would get a call within 1 month to come back and complete my interview.
Like clockwork, the officer that processed my application for the yellow house book called a month later and told me to come back with my original passport, work permit, and Thai witnesses at a specific date and time.
When we returned to the Amphur, my Thai witnesses were taken and interviewed separately from me about who I am, what I’m doing here in Thailand (work and otherwise), and were asked some basic questions about my family and my character.
Then, I was taken to another area and given the same interview in Thai language. It wasn’t as daunting as it sounds, but having Thai language is essential at this point.
Once the interview was complete, they told me right away that my application was approved. Within about an hour, I was given the yellow house book and the Pink ID card. The house book doesn’t expire, and the Pink ID card is valid for 10 years from the date of issuance. Neither the house book nor the Pink ID card costs any money to issue.
One interesting note about the Pink ID card is that when it is issued, the person it is given to is assigned a national ID number (13 digits). This number is then also replaced on your driver license, work permit, etc. where your passport number used to be, along with your (now) legal name in Thai language.
Has it helped?
Having the yellow tabien baan + Pink ID card has certainly been helpful for me.
Since these documents were issued to me, the complications related to verifying my address have dissipated. After moving houses and changing my company’s registration, verifying my address was 10x as simple with the documents I’ve just described.
If you have questions, you can contact me here.