EXCHANGE CONTROL REGULATIONS IN THAILAND
A Guide for the General Public
I. EXCHANGE CONTROL REGULATIONS
a. Rules and Regulations
The legal basis for exchange control in Thailand is derived from the Exchange Control Act (B.E. 2485) and Ministerial Regulation No. 13 (B.E. 2497) issued under the Exchange Control Act. These laws set out the principles of controls under which Notifications of the Ministry of Finance and Notices of the Competent Officer are issued.
The Bank of Thailand has been entrusted by the Ministry of Finance with the responsibility of administering foreign exchange. The governor of the Bank of Thailand appoints the officials of the Bank of Thailand as the Competent Officers under the Exchange Control Act (B.E. 2485).
All foreign exchange transactions are to be conducted through commercial banks and through authorized non-banks, such as authorized money changers and authorized money transfer agents, that are granted foreign exchange licenses by the Minister of Finance. Any transactions not conducted through the above-mentioned licensees require approval from the Competent Officer on a case by case basis.
c. Currency Regulations
1. Foreign Currency
Foreign currencies can be transferred or brought into Thailand without limit. Any person receiving foreign currencies from abroad in an amount equivalent to USD 1 million or above is required to repatriate such funds immediately and sell to an authorized bank or deposit them in a foreign currency account with an authorized bank within 360 days of receipt, except for foreigners temporarily staying in Thailand for not more than three months, foreign embassies, international organizations including their staff with diplomatic privileges and immunities, and Thai emigrants who are permanent residents abroad or working abroad.
Purchase of foreign currency from authorized banks is generally allowed upon submission of documents indicating international trade and investment. Companies in Thailand can engage in derivatives transactions with authorized banks to hedge against foreign exchange risk arising from foreign currency receipts or obligations.
2. Local Currency
There is no limit on the amount of Thai baht bank notes that may be brought into the country. A person traveling to Vietnam, the People's Republic of China (only Yunnan province) and Thailand's bordering countries is allowed to take out up to THB 2,000,000. A person traveling to other countries is allowed up to THB 50,000.
Any person bringing into or taking out of Thailand Thai baht bank notes, foreign currency bank notes or negotiable monetary instruments in an aggregate amount exceeding 450,000 Baht or USD 15,000 or its equivalent must make a declaration to a customs officer.
II. BANK DEPOSITS
a. Foreign Currency Account of Thai Residents
Thai residents are allowed to maintain foreign currency accounts (FCD) with authorized banks. Deposit and withdrawal of funds from such accounts are allowed under the following conditions:
Thai residents are allowed to deposit foreign currencies originating from abroad or foreign currencies purchased or borrowed from authorized banks without limit.
Deposit of foreign currency notes and coins is allowed 1) up to the amount brought into Thailand or obtained from commercial banks or non-bank FX licensees or 2) up to USD 15,000.
(1) For payment of obligations to entities abroad.
(2) For payment of obligations to commercial banks or non-bank FX licensees.
(3) For deposit into other FCDs of the same account holder or other Thai residents.
(4) For conversion into Thai Baht.
b. Foreign Currency Account of Nonresidents
Nonresidents may maintain foreign currency accounts with authorized banks in Thailand without limit. The accounts can be freely deposited or withdrawn. However, deposit of foreign currency notes and coins is subject to the same regulation as mentioned above.
Nonresident Baht Account
Non-residents may open Thai Baht accounts with authorized banks in Thailand as follows:
(1) Non-resident Baht Account for Securities (NRBS): The account may be debited or credited for the purpose of investment in securities and other financial instruments such as equity instruments, debt instruments, unit trusts, derivatives transactions traded on the Thailand Futures Exchange
(2) Non-resident Baht Account (NRBA): The account may be debited or credited for general purposes (i.e. other than investment in securities) such as trade, services, foreign direct investment, investment in immovable assets, and loans.
The total daily outstanding balances for each type of account shall not exceed THB 200 million per non-resident. Transfers between different types of accounts are not allowed.
III. TRADE AND SERVICES
Export proceeds in an amount equivalent to USD 1 million or above shall be repatriated immediately after payment is received and within 360 days from the export date. The proceeds must be sold to or deposited in a foreign currency account with an authorized bank in Thailand within 360 days of receipt.
Importers may purchase or withdraw foreign currencies from their own foreign currency accounts for import payments upon submission of supporting documents. Letters of credits may also be opened without authorization.
All proceeds from services in an amount equivalent to USD 1 million or above shall be repatriated immediately after payment is received and within 360 days from the transaction date. The proceeds must be sold to or deposited in a foreign currency account with an authorized bank in Thailand within 360 days of receipt.
Payment of services including service fees, interest, dividends, profits, or royalties to non-residents are freely allowed upon submission of supporting documents to an authorized bank. Traveling expenses or educational expenses are also freely permitted upon submission of supporting documents.
IV. FOREIGN INVESTMENTS
Transfers in foreign currency for direct and portfolio investments in Thailand are freely permitted.
Repatriation of investment funds and repayment of overseas loans can be remitted upon submission of supporting documents to an authorized bank.
V. CAPITAL TRANSFERS BY THAI RESIDENTS
Direct Investment and Lending Abroad
(1) A Thai company is allowed to invest in an overseas business entity whose shares are held by the Thai company by not less than 10%, or to invest or lend to affiliated business entities abroad without limit.
(2) A Thai company is allowed to lend to non-affiliated business entities abroad up to USD 50 million per year.
(3) A Thai natural person is allowed to invest in an overseas business entity whose shares are held by that person by not less than 10%, or to invest or lend to its affiliated business entities abroad without limit.
Fund transfers for such investment or lending to business entities abroad must be in foreign currencies only, whereas fund transfers for investment or lending to business entities in Vietnam or Thailand’s neighboring countries for trade and investment in Thailand or those countries can be in foreign currencies or in Thai Baht.
Portfolio Investment Abroad
(1) Institutional investors, namely Government Pension Fund, Social Security Office, provident funds, mutual funds (excluding private funds), securities companies, insurance companies, specialized financial institutions, Thai juristic persons with assets of at least THB 5,000 million, companies listed in the Stock Exchange of Thailand and brokers in Thailand Futures Exchange (TFEX) are allowed to invest in foreign securities without limit.
(2) Retail investors can invest in foreign securities without the need to go through local intermediaries up to USD 5 million per investor per calendar year.
The investors can also invest in foreign securities through local intermediaries, such as securities companies, authorized banks, private funds and derivatives brokerages, without limit. Such investment shall also be in line with the guidelines set by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Transfers for Other Purposes
(1) Purchase of immovable properties abroad in the own name and the name of family member is allowed up to USD 50 million per person per year.
(2) Transfer to any person abroad up to USD 50,000 per year; however, in case of transfer fund of Thai emigrants or to their families or relatives who are permanent resident are allowed freely.
Transfers for other purposes are generally allowed except certain purposes such as purchase or exchange of foreign currencies with non-residents and derivatives transactions which require prior approval from BOT.
Any person purchasing, selling, depositing, or withdrawing foreign currencies with an authorized bank shall notify details of foreign exchange transactions to the authorized bank. After conducting transactions, the authorized bank will issue an evidence of such transaction as prescribed by the Competent Officer to such person.
Foreign Exchange Administration and Policy Department
Bank of Thailand