How to transfer Thai car ownership

If you buy a second hand car in Thailand, you will need to put it into your name. This is a post about how to transfer Thai car ownership into your name, including what documents you need for Thai and non-Thai citizens, as well as the steps involved. 

The local Department of Land and Transport is the place to go, I wish I could give you a nice easy list of them, but the website is in Thai, so best just search for your local office online! The actual transferring of car ownership shouldn’t be a difficult process, just a case of filling out forms and waiting in queues really. The only delay I have come across personally is our neighbours had a car with LPG conversion, but the DLT said the tank was not in the correct place, so had to be removed. This caused multiple visits to the office (and much frustration) but hopefully this is not too common an occurrence!

To buy or sell a car you need the blue book (tambien rot in Thai) for the vehicle, as well as the vehicle itself, as it will be inspected on site. The vehicle needs to have a current tax sticker and minimum insurance. You can get the forms in person at the DLT, or if you read Thai you can download them from the DLT website

Documents required for a non-Thai person: copy of passport photo page and visa page, signed. Work permit, or if they do not have a work permit – a certificate of residence, available from Thai immigration or the local consulate.

A Thai person just needs a copy of their Thai ID card, signed. Some office may need a copy of the tambien baan (house registration book) however this wasn’t requested when we went. Oh, this is probably a good time to say my experience was at Chiang Mai DLT, which is located on the southbound side of Hang Dong Road (108)  just before Big C (see the map for the exact location). The office is open 08:30 – 16:30 Monday to Friday. 

We arrived and headed to window 7 for transfer of motor vehicles. Here a lady gave us two forms and helped us fill them out, because they are all in Thai! If you need copies of any ID etc, then there will be a copy shop somewhere in the DLT office. In Chiang Mai it’s upstairs at the back of the building.

We went back to window 7, she checked through the paperwork, and sent us to the vehicle inspection desk. This is window 120, which is in a seperate building out the back, just exit the back doors and enter the next set. The lady at this desk checked our paperwork and told us to drive to vehicle inspection. The queue of vehicles was pretty massive, trailing around the whole building and outside onto the road! The vehicle inspection team doesn’t close for lunch unlike most government offices which close at 12 for an hour. We went for lunch and once back the queue had halved – it took about 30 minutes. 

In the inspection office we turned off the engine, opened the bonnet and turned the wheels to hard left. We were given a number. The inspector checked the chassis and engine numbers matched the blue book, and it was over in minutes. We drove out, parked the car and waited for our number to be called at desk 120 again. 

20 minutes later our number was called, and we were given our paperwork back and asked to go back to window 7. We popped our paperwork into the tray at window 7 and waited. When we were called forward we were asked to pay 530 baht. I think this is related to the purchase price, but I really couldn’t tell you for sure! Once the fee is paid we were given a ticket and asked to come back on Monday (we went on a Thursday). On Monday I went straight to window 7 and collected the updated blue book, and that was it! 

One caveat I need to mention is that if you are transferring from another province that you will have to get new number plates, I believe this involves another form, and you collect he plates when you get the blue book back. Another helpful site I found after going through the process here – which has the form with the English translation! Doh!

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