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What is tabien baan?

Tabien baan (ทะเบียนบ้าน), or house book, is an official booklet listing all people registered at a particular address in Thailand. It is the main administrative document and forms the basis of the registration system for all citizens and permanent residents of Thailand.

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Tabien baan - house book in Thailand

Identity cards can be issued based on tabien baan; they provide further access to a huge number of government services (for example, health care, licenses, social security, and taxes) and are also useful for all types of banking and other financial services.

Entering data in tabien baan does not mean ownership of the place of registration. This is just a list of those officially registered at a given address. All tabien baans are controlled by the 'owner of the house,' a designated person who permits a person to register at a given address. However, this person does not have to be the owner.

There are two types of tabien baans:

  • blue tabien baan (Thor.Ror 14 or ท.ร.14) for Thai citizens and permanent residents and
  • yellow tabien baan (Thor.Ror 13 or ท.ร.13) for non-resident foreigners in Thailand.

tabien baan blue & yellow

Many foreigners in Thailand do not bother registering at the yellow tabien baan. This is mainly due to the lack of awareness of both foreigners and Thai officials about their existence.

However, these documents have become more popular in recent years, as having a tabien baan gives foreigners a unique identification number useful for dealing with certain government agencies.

What is tabien baan for

Without tabien baan, banks and government agencies usually use your passport number as their default ID. This usually works fine. However, if the passport expires and is replaced, the new passport number will not match the previous one. These small discrepancies lead to serious problems, such as when people try to replace lost passbooks or credit cards and their identification number doesn't exactly match.

In many cases, the yellow tabien baan also eliminates the need for a foreigner to obtain a resident certificate, which is often required to open a bank account, apply, or renew a driver's license.

Requirements for obtaining a yellow Tabien Baan

The list of documents for obtaining tabien baan largely depends on the whim of officials at the local district office (สำนักงานเขต). However, the requirements for documents usually consist of those listed below. These include copies of the following:

  • Your passport data page;
  • Your birth certificate;
  • Your passport page showing your Thai visa;
  • Your spouse's Thai ID (if you are married);
  • Lease agreement (if applicable);
  • Blue tabien baan of the address where you want to be registered;
  • Copy of marriage certificate (if applicable);
  • Two passport-size photographs;
  • The two witnesses are Thai citizens over the age of 20;
  • Optionally, and given that all tabien baan entries will be in Thai, please prepare basic information about yourself (name, date of birth) and your parents' names in Thai.
  • You will be registered in someone's home, and the "owner of the house" will have to be present and give official permission to enter the tabien baan. If you live in a rural area, you may be asked to invite the village chief or 'phu yai baan' (ผู้ใหญ่บ้าน).

In some cases, the District Office may require you to provide Ministry of Foreign Affairs registered translations of documents in a language other than Thai or obtained outside of Thailand.

As mentioned earlier, each district department applies its rules for issuing yellow tabien baan, so it's worth checking their exact requirements in advance.

Design time

Depending on your area office's familiarity with issuing them, they can be issued without hassle within an hour. In more remote district offices, you may encounter officials asking for instructions on issuing a document. This may take several days, especially if the signatures of senior officials in that particular branch are required. Other officials may also want to interview you to clarify why you want to be registered and to check on your relationship if you are married.

Unfortunately, from time to time, some offices are reluctant to issue such documents without good reason, but fortunately, in Bangkok and major cities, this happens less often.

Registration and real place of residence

Do you have to live where you are registered?
No - not necessarily. As a rule, most Thais do not live at the place of registration.

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Update: 20-02-2023
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