Pattaya Legal Corner: When buying a condominium, what is the “foreign exchange transaction”?


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When buying a condominium, what is the “foreign exchange transaction”?

A foreigner cannot just pay for the purchase of a condominium unit anyway he or she pleases. The money has to be brought to Thailand specifically for the purpose of the transaction and verified on a form Thor Thor 3. The Thai land office authorities will not register the foreigner’s name as the owner unless the origin of the funds abroad is certain.

In a recent case, a foreigner paid for a unit from cash already deposited in a Thai bank some years ago.  But he ran up against the problem of the foreign exchange transaction because that money had not specifically been transferred from abroad for the purchase. Eventually, he had to go to the trouble of sending the necessary cash back to his home country bank and transferring it back again. This is just one of the problems that can arise if the purchaser does not know the details of the Condominium Act, mostly recently amended in 2008.

How can a gay foreigner best protect his or her Thai long-term partner?

The Thai constitutional court recently confirmed that marriage in Thailand must be between a man and a woman. But the judges did point out that the Thai parliament could certainly amend the constitution to cover other arrangements including same sex unions.  Still the situation at the moment in Thailand is that gay marriages or civil unions are not recognized. You sometimes hear of a gay “wedding” being blessed at a monastery, but it’s important to note that the ceremony carries no legal weight.

The best way at the moment for a foreigner to protect his gay partner is by making a will, naming him or her as a beneficiary. If the will is properly drawn up, probate or acceptance by the Thai court will be trouble-free in virtually every case.  It is very hard for anyone, say a relative of the deceased, to contest successfully if the documentation is in order. In fact, the situation for gays at the moment in this regard is akin to the man and a woman in a long-term relationship, but not actually married.

Is medical insurance now required by all foreigners entering Thailand?

Yes it is.  All entrants need to obtain the Thailand Pass and one of its stipulations is at least US$50,000 Covid insurance. Actually this currently is available online from the Thai General Insurance Association which charges according to length of the visa or permitted stay and the country of departure. There is no age restriction. The entrant can use either a Thai or foreign insurance company in case he is already covered.

Some visas required by entrants may require a second insurance for hospital care arising from accidents or other non-Covid causes. This is known as general medical insurance. For example, anyone applying for an O/A retirement visa or STV (Special Tourist Visa) will require general cover with a minimum of 400,000 baht for inpatient treatment and 40,000 for outpatient. These particular visas will require ongoing cover when applicants seek extensions of stay at the immigration bureau.  However, other visas do not normally require any insurance at all when applying for extensions within Thailand.

Do you think that 60 days Covid extensions will be extended again?

Any tourist unable or unwilling to go home has been able to obtain 60 days Covid visas on an ongoing basis for about 20 months. The system has recently been extended for applications until the end of December 2021 which will give permission to stay well into February. Whether the discretion will be extended for applications into the new year is unknown. Some sources say the Covid extensions will end when the land borders reopen. They are currently closed to foreigners.