Certain Thai Laws and Rules Resident Expats Should Know

Thai laws 2In a foreign land which you have adopted as your home now, knowing the laws of the land is an utmost necessity. Many might have this notion that in Asia and particularly in a tourist-dominated country like Thailand, you can get away with anything. Contrary to this view, Thailand has some of the strictest laws for its citizens in order to make it a foremost location to retire.

In our earlier articles we have extensively discussed about the laws surrounding resident visas, so we move on to some of the laws you should be aware of once you start your new life in Thailand.

Labor Laws: Now in Thailand, if you are looking for employment, the labor law prescribes that expats working in Thailand must have a work permit. The period of validity of work permits follow the same dates as the Category B visa and it’s necessary to re-apply for extension of work permits at the same time as applications are made to extend visas. The work permit will specify the place where you are working, your job description and the period of validity. If you change your employer, you will need a new work permit. Getting the permit can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

Income Tax Laws: Now that you are employed during your stay in Thailand, you are subject to income tax whether you are working for a Thai employer or for an employer outside Thailand. If you are working for a Thailand employer, the employer will deduct withholding tax on all earnings paid in Thailand and overseas income, which has been or will be charged as an expense in Thailand.

Double Tax Treaty: If you are in Thailand for 183 or fewer days, it may be possible for the employee to be exempt from Thailand tax on your earnings pursuant to a double tax treaty. However, a double tax treaty does not override any of the Thai Immigration and Labor (work permit) laws.

Buying a Car: Now that you will be staying for a longer period in Thailand, you might want to buy a vehicle. So it’s worth knowing the laws around owning one.  If you have a non-immigrant visa and either a work permit or a proof of address, you can easily buy a car and register it. You’ll have to give copies of your passport main page and visa page, and a letter from immigration.

Taking a Vehicle Insurance: Like in most Asian countries, there are two types of insurances in Thailand – the comprehensive insurance which is not mandatory, but highly recommended, and the Government mandatory third party insurance and. You can approach an insurance company and after physical verification of your vehicle you will be issued insurance. Please note that insurance is a must and without one can attract a fine up to THB 10,000 (USD 308). The insurance is valid for a year, and after 12 months you need to renew it.

Driving and Parking: The legal driving age in Thailand is 18 for car drivers and at least 15 years of age for motorbike drivers.  Expats are required to have an International Drivers’ License, even as it is advisable to carry a copy of your passport information page and Thai visa with you at all times. Except for the touristy areas, road signs (parking signs included) are mostly in the Thai language. Make sure you know them well to avoid committing a mistake unknowingly. For starters, Curbside or lot signs with a one red diagonal in a blue circle indicate “no parking,” and signs with a red X in a blue circle indicate “no stopping/no parking.” Painted curbsides also indicate parking regulations. Red and white paint means “no parking;” yellow and white markings mean short-term parking or a bus stop; a white rectangle painted on the road indicates a “parking” zone; and multiple diagonal white lines means parking for motorbikes only.

Know any other laws/ rules expats in Thailand should know? Share with us.