Contrary to popular belief, foreigners can be named on the Tabien Bahn, or house registration book. In fact, there are two colours, the blue one for Thai nationals and the yellow for aliens residing at that address. The blue document is very useful for Thais as it is used for all official notifications requiring proof of address, voter registration, military draft, etc. But what is the point of foreigners applying for inclusion in the yellow book?
The process is certainly not compulsory so there is no need if you don’t mind queuing at embassies and the Immigration Bureau to obtain proof of who you are and where you live for various bureaucratic procedures, or that your official documents are genuine. The yellow book avoids the need for these various bureaucracies and the only criterion is that you live at the address in question. Another perk of the yellow book is that the foreigner receives a special ID card with an identification number accepted for all official purposes.
There is no single list of required documents to make an application as the process varies somewhat from area to area. Here, in greater Pattaya, the latest regulations now in force are exhaustive probably because there is a large proportion of foreigners residing for most or all of the year. First of all, you need a one-year visa and a certificate of residence from the Immigration Bureau. There is also a need for two face photos, one inch square, and two Thai witnesses with their personal ID card and blue book.
After that the process becomes more complex in the most recent regulations. Your passport needs to be guaranteed by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs which recently announced that it needs to see first an embassy stamp of confirmation. In most cases, this will require a special trip to the relevant embassy in Bangkok. The passport also needs to be translated by a member of the Institute of Translators also found in the Ministry. Translations completed by ordinary translation companies will likely be rejected on technical grounds.
Another recent change concerns the need to provide your birth certificate, again officially confirmed through the process known as legalization. This process can be convoluted. For example, the British embassy in Bangkok cannot legalize a birth certificate and will refer you to the Legalization Office in Milton Keynes, UK. The document must then be separately legalized by taking it to the Thai embassy in London, personally or by courier, for the next stage of the process. Finally, the document must be collected and then needs to be stamped and signed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok. The website of the American embassy similarly says they cannot legalize documents issued outside of Thailand. Pattaya Today has been informed that, in any case, the birth certificate of any national will not be recognized unless formally confirmed in the alien’s home country.
A spokesperson for the city authorities told Pattaya Today, “With an increasing number of foreigners residing here, the checks on documentation must be very thorough. Although not essential for living in Thailand, the yellow book is a valuable resource with its own identification card that can be widely used in daily living.”
Note: We have been asked to emphasize that different municipalities may not follow exactly the same regulations.