Vehicles are registered at the local Land Transport Office (LTO) when the vehicle is purchased from a dealer (new or used) or from a current owner. Ownership is evidenced by a Green Book for motorcycles and by a Blue Book for other vehicles.
The books are issued as a record of ownership and and payment of the annual road tax. If there are any modifications to the vehicle, e.g., different paint, etc., the description in the book must be updated at the LTO to reflect the changes.
Photocopies of the relevant pages should be kept with the vehicle to show if requested at police checkpoints. If the vehicle is financed, the holder of the note will retain the book and provide photocopies to the owner until the debt is paid.
A foreigner purchasing a vehicle will need their passport and a Certificate of Residence from Thai Immigration or from their Embassy - click here for information on obtaining the Certificate from Chonburi (Pattaya) Immigration Office.
Dealer - The dealer (new or used) will usually handle all the paperwork with the local LTO to register the vehicle in the purchaser's name. Dealers for new vehicles will have a temporary "red" license plate to be placed on the vehicle until the the permanent "white" plate is received from the LTO. A nominal deposit is required for the "red" plates, to be returned when the dealer receives the permanent "white" plates and ownership book - if financed, the ownership book will be retained by the lender until the debt is paid.
Individual - When purchasing from an individual, both should go to the local LTO to change the ownership information in the Book. In some cases, a "power of attorney" may be used if one of the parties cannot be present. If either the seller or buyer is Thai, they will need their Thai Identification Card and House Registration Book (Tabien Baan). Caution: Some considerations before paying for a used vehicle:
The amount will vary depending on the type and value of the vehicle. There are nominal penalties for late payment. The LTO will provide a “sticker” to be placed on the vehicle which has the expiration year in large numbers and the month in smaller Thai script. Other than motorcycles, it is placed on the left side of the windshield (screen). For motorcycles, one can acquire a “clear” cylinder holder to attach for display.
The tax will be based on size of engine and age of vehicle. It is our understanding it can be done up to 3 months early. There is a nominal penalty for late payment.
Payment is made to the LTO, but there may be satellite locations available for this purpose. In Pattaya, payment can be made on the 5th floor at Central Festival Beach shopping mall on Saturdays from 11am to 7pm.
Documents Needed - The person making payment will need:
If a Road Worthiness Certificate is needed, the vehicle will need to be inspected at the LTO or at one of the many authorized Inspection Stations. Most inspection stations also sell Government Compulsory Insurance and will, for an additional fee, handle the paperwork at the LTO.
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