Looking to acquire Thai citizenship?

Chris Larkin

Long time resident of Bangkok. Married, three daughters. Managing director of CLC Asia (www.clc-asia.com). Lots of interesting knowledge and experience built up over time which I hope can be of use to people.

48 Responses

  1. brian Fogarty says:

    Thai citezenship. I have been married to a thai lady for 9 years. We have spent 3 years living in thailand and six years living in Australia. Is there a path for me to get citezenship? If so what is required?


  2. Thomas Garrett says:

    Hi Chris,

    I am tempted in applying for Thai Citizenship and for a Thai Passport. From my understanding, in order to be granted a Thai Passport, one needs to be a Thai Citizen first.

    I am half Thai. I was born in Chiang Mai. My mother is Thai and my father is British but I have emigrated Thailand back in 1991 when I was four years old. I even have a Thai Birth Certificate and my parent’s thai marriage certificate which would prove useful for me to apply for a Thai Citizenship and a Thai Passport. However, I do not a have a Thai ID Card

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but I think this still puts me in fairly good light to become a Thai Citizen and to eventually be granted a Thai Passport. If this is true, then that is great, but I cannot read nor write in Thai so is it possible to apply in English?

    More importantly, Once I become a Thai Citizen and a Thai Passport holder I certainly wish NOT to service any time in the Thai Military Service. If I become a Thai Citizen and a Thai Passport holder, would I have to service time in the Thai Military Service? Also, are there any other cons/disadvantages that I should be aware of in becoming a Thai Citizen and Thai Passport Holder?


    • Chris Larkin says:

      Hi Thomas,

      Thanks for reaching out. You say you have a Thai birth certificate? In the normal course of events, that means you are already a Thai citizen. No need to apply for it in your case.

      If born to a Thai parent (ie your mother) then at the top of the birth certificate you’ll notice in the top right hand corner you’ll have been assigned an ID number, and below that, it will state your nationality as Thai (ไทย). If you have that, it is a matter of going to the district office, ideally where your mother is registered, and ask about the process of putting you on the blue house registry. You may find you are already on one somewhere, given you were born in Thailand and it is compulsory for you to be put on one from birth.

      Following that, you can get a Thai ID card and with the ID card you can go apply for a Thai passport. Unfortunately that won’t cancel out your current visa, so you’ll have to fly out of Thailand using your current passport and then re-enter using your Thai passport. Note, you can’t do this over land.

      In terms of military service, how old are you? If over 30, you will be fine. Take a look at this article.

      All the best, and if you have any other questions, please let me know.

  3. Lisa says:

    Hi Chris,

    Is it still a possibility for me to obtain my Thai citizenship even though I don’t speak Thai? I was born in Udon Thani in 1969. I am a US citizen. My mother is Thai. I am going to be traveling to Thailand with my mom this year. She is going to put me on the blue house registry when we get to Thailand. I am just not sure if it’s a possibility because I don’t really speak Thai but of course my mom does.



    • Chris Larkin says:

      Hi Lisa,

      Sorry about the delayed response. The long and the short of it is, you are already a Thai citizen by birth.

      You should have a Thai birth certificate and being born to a Thai parent on Thai soil automatically grants you this.

      Your mum will simply be registering you on the blue house book so as to get you an ID card, and following on from that, a Thai passport.
      Not speaking Thai won’t be an issue from a legal perspective.

      Good luck and safe travels.

      Chris Larkin

  4. Alex says:


    Ist the 40.000 baht per month requirement strict? I earn 35.000 baht and have a Thai wife and Kids.

    Thank you

    • Chris Larkin says:

      Sorry about the delayed response. Yes, the income requirement is quite strict and must be evidenced with official tax receipts.

      • Alex says:

        Thank you for your kind answer Chris. What if my income is supplemented by investments that come from abroad? I earn about 35.000 baht from my job and another 55.000 from rental of a property in Europe. If I pay taxes on that income will it count together with my 35.000 baht?

        I tried to get in touch with a lawyer in Bangkok about this but he wanted a lot of money, told me that I have to renounce my citizenship (false) and need the PR (false).

        Thank you very much

  5. Aras says:

    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for making this informative site, it has been helpful, though I’m still confused.
    I’ve read previous comments from other children of Thai parents, born in Thailand, but I was born in and live in the U.S. so I’m hoping you can tell me the next steps/give me tips. I’ve obtained a Thai birth certificate and we’re trying to get me a Thai ID and passport. By having a Thai birth certificate does that already make me a citizen? Or is that only once I’m in the blue house registry.

    I don’t speak much Thai and the officials we spoke with today told my mom something about needing to go get my American passport translated….I’m afraid that they might be leading us in the wrong direction. Do you know?

    Is the next step to get on the blue house registry? My mom is from Roi Et, does it matter where we go?

    We’re here for two more weeks so if you see this in time I appreciate your help!


    • Chris Larkin says:

      Hi Aras,

      Yes, being born overseas to Thai parents also makes you a Thai citizen from birth. The birth certificate is merely one form of documentary evidence of this, but the important one.

      Getting registered on the blue house book allows you to get a Thai ID card, and from there, you can apply for a Thai passport.

      Getting an offical translation of your US passport is probably going to be required for the local officials just so they have some sort of offical proof of your ID. Don’t stress about it. Good luck with it all and sorry about the delayed response.

  6. Mike says:

    Hi Chris,

    I am interested in applied for naturalization. It seems that, recently, many legal firms are mentioning that the naturalization path is available. I am just wondering what the approval rate is. Is it still very unlikely that one will be approved from the ministry of interior eventhough they welcome everyone to apply?

    Thanks much,

    • Chris Larkin says:

      Hi there Mike.

      Basically, if you don’t qualify, Special Branch won’t take your application. If they do there is a very high chance of you eventually getting approved, it basically becomes a waiting game.

      Note, from time to time the MOI will send an application back to Special Branch in the event that they see a discrepency, but this is rare as Special Branch are careful to vet each application. Note, that you must remain eligible for the entire time your application is under consideration, so any changes in your status will, in theory, lead to a rejection should they check your paperwork. So staying employed, on consecutive visa’s with no interruptions are essential during that time.

      All the best with your application, and hopefully this website means you don’t have to use the lawyers!

  7. Sarah says:

    I have lived in Thailand for 20 years. I only had a work permit between 2004 – 2008. I was married to a Thai national for 10 years and we are now divorced. We have 2 children registered as Thai nationals also. Is there any way to get citizenship through my children. Thanks in advance.

    • Chris Larkin says:

      Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for your message. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, there isn’t any way to get citizenship or PR via your children’s Thai citizenship status. If you are based in Thailand, then you will have to go via the normal PR then citizenship route, which requires a minimum period of 3 years of work permits and a minimum level of income.

      From memory, you are able to get a non-immigrant O visa however for being the guardian of a Thai national child, but I don’t profess to be an expert on that area.

  8. Gladys says:

    I became permanent resident in 2012 and trying my luck on citizenship. One of the requirements is certificate of legal age. Is there a certain format to follow? Is it ok to just create it myself and have the embassy certify? I called our embassy and told me that they don’t have such form but they can certify. Thank you.

    • Chris Larkin says:

      Hi Gladys,

      Thanks for reaching out. As you say, it varies from country to country. For this, it is best to head down to special branch as you prepare your documents and simply ask for a template that is acceptable to them, and then use that template for the embassy to certify.

      Apologies for the vague answer on this, but there were a couple of instances where SB asked for things from us, and when we didn’t know they were more than helpful in providing examples of what was acceptable to them.

      Chris Larkin

  9. Einar Meling says:

    Hi, I am 72 years old and have lived in Thailand continously for 25 years, always on Non-Imm B visas. My present non-imm B visa has been extended 6 years though I no longer work so the extensions of my non-imm B is stamped as ‘retirement’. My state pension is lifelong at abt 100.000 baht per month. I have paid taxes in Thailand on my pensions during the last 10 years (average tax 90.000 baht per year). I do not have my name on a house registration but the revenue departments has issued Certificate of Residency each of the 10 last years.I have been married to my Thai wife for 11 years and I have a legally adopted Thai son, age 13. Do you think that I qualify for application for Thai Citizenship? Thanks very much, Einar

    • Chris Larkin says:

      Hi Einar,

      Firstly, thanks for finding our site and your question, it is an excellent one.

      Unfortunately, I’m sorry to say, based on how Police Special Branch and the Thai Ministry of Interior accept and vet citizenship applications, one of the “non-negotiable” aspects of the paperwork is three uninterrupted years of work permits, tax returns, and extensions of stay leading up to the time of application. Without all of these, they simply won’t accept your application. This unfortunately is also the same for people considering Permanent Residence applications.

      If you were for whatever reason considering returning to work, for the purposes of attaining Thai citizenship, you should be aware that in addition to the work permits etc, the process relies on the applicant achieving a minimum score of 50 out of 100, so for this, you should refer to our post on this which outlines the areas where SB and the MOI allocate points. http://www.thaicitizenship.com/scoring-criteria-for-thai-naturalisation-applications/

      • Einar Meling says:

        Hi Chris, thank you very much for your prompt and detailed response. I had hoped that having had work permit for many years would have enabled me to apply for citizenship (as I meet all other requirements). From your reply I understand that even Permanent Residency requires work permit, which comes as a great disappointment. I guess it wouldn’t help that I can show considerable personal investments in my Thai companies some 20 years ago and that I for many years employed dozens of Thai citizens? Presently I am in perfect health and don’t have any problems with the yearly extensions of my non-imm B visa, though I don’t know how fit and alert I will be in 10 or even 20 years. As ‘everything’ and ‘everyone’ I have are here in Thailand, it would be nice to live here for the rest of my life without any uncertainty relating to my immigration-status. Perhaps one day Thai government might recognize the value of foreign investors who spend decades promoting and helping the kingdom and offer them some peace of mind when they reach old age and want to retire here. So I will stay optimistic for some good news in the future!
        Again, Chris; thank you very much!

        • Chris Larkin says:

          Hi Einar,

          I think part of the reason I put together this website was to help people understand their options. For many years people thought getting Thai PR or citizenship was ‘too hard’ and then were suprised to find out they might have been eligible at the time.

          Unfortunately – and I agree with you – a long dedication to Thailand counts for nothing because the work permit and uninterupped visa requirement very much focuses things on ‘now’. There isn’t enough scope in the points system to take into account contributions such as yours. The irony of it all is that if you applied for PR 20 years ago, it would have been fairly easy and straight forward (usually it took one year and the fees were low). Today it is the opposite, PR applications can take a long time, the fees are high and the benefits are so-so (can’t own land, still need a work permit). But citizenship is much more attainable that it was 20 years ago, particularly if you are married. Hopefully the rules become a bit more flexible in the near future, and if they do, I’ll be sure to post them here. All the best, Chris

          • Einar says:

            Thanks again, Chris! It’s a superb job you do helping us understand what is otherwise quite confusing. Let’s hope for a few changes!

  10. Einar says:

    Thanks again, Chris! It’s a superb job you do helping us understand what is otherwise quite confusing. Let’s hope for a few changes!

  11. Kevin HARRISON says:

    Hello Chris.

    I have 2 sons living with their mother and I. I am British, she is Thai. One son was born in the UK. How can he acquire Thai citizenship? My other son was born in Thailand but adopted in the UK where he became a British citizen. Again his mother is Thai. What do I need to do to get them Thai citizenship?
    Best Regards


    • Chris Larkin says:

      Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for the question. For your sin born in the UK, check out this link, but essentially he just needs a Thai BC issued by the embassy in London and he is good to go (http://www.thaicitizenship.com/thai-citizenship-when-born-overseas/).

      For the other child born in Thailand, he is already Thai. He would have a Thai BC somewhere and that will be all he needs to get a Passport etc as it will contain his ID number etc. Given he was born in Thailand he is undoubtedly already registered on a house book. To get his passport, you just need to make sure you have full custodial rights, otherwise, a Thai passport application requires both birth parents to sign off on it.

      Hopefully this is useful.

      Regards, Chris

      • Kevin HARRISON says:

        Thank you so much for your considerate response on both matters. I greatly appreciate it.

        Many thanks


  12. Shaun Sheen says:

    Dear Chris,

    Thanks for all this; it’s really helpful.

    I am married to a Thai, been married for 4 years, however, just did the official paperwork a year ago.

    I have 5 years of BOI work permits, plus paying income taxes. I can speak, read and write Thai to a proficient level (although still always learning).

    However, due to the nature of my work, I am constantly traveling and often in Thailand for only a few months in total a year.

    Given my situation, am I likely to meet the criteria? Does the actual number of days in the country matter given that I’ve maintained work permits and married and can speak / read / write Thai?

    Many thanks in advance,


    • Chris Larkin says:

      Hi Shaun,

      The time you spend in country doesn’t have bearing so far as I can tell when applying based on marriage. Some people I know (women married to Thai men) had spent time outside of Thailand for significant periods leading up to the application with no harm to the final result. As long as you have current Thai work permits and tax returns, then that is great. My only concern is the length of your official marriage. It comes down to one year if you have kids, but I think is longer (3 years maybe) if you don’t have kids. I don’t have the information on hand right at the moment so best you have a chat with Special Branch. Otherwise, you sound like a petty good candidate.

      All the best, Chris.

  13. Marc Proksch says:

    I am Dutch and work for an international organization (UN) and have been in Thailand for almost 30 years. I am married to a Vietnamese woman. We both have stay permits and annual re-entry visas. My two sons were born in Thailand and have lived here all their lives. Because of my nationality they are also Dutch citizens. This means they can’t work in Thailand. My oldest son is 22 and will graduate from a Thai university soon but then he will not be allowed to stay in the country. Is it possible for me, my wife or my sons to get Thai nationality without losing Dutch nationality (The Dutch wouldn’t care, but the Thais may). Thanks.

    • Chris Larkin says:

      Hi Marc,
      Thailand doesn’t have an issue with dual citizenship, so as long as the dutch don’t either, you should be fine. http://www.thaicitizenship.com/thai-dual-citizenship/.

      In terms of how your wife and son’s would go about getting it, it would have to be via getting PR and then following that, citizenship. But all those routes require 3 years of work history at a minimum. I am researching to see if there is some dispensation for those who have been born here and have been subsequently educated here, but I am not sure there is, but will revert if I find something.

  14. Alberto says:

    I am an Italian citizen and my Laotian citizen partner, we have been living and working in Thailand for about 8 years, we have a 5-year-old son born here in Thailand with a Thai birth certificate, we are in good standing with the residence for about 3 years with yellow tabian ban, my son has been going to school for three years, in the birth certificate on the top right they wrote that he does not have citizenship, do I have any hope of making my son a Thai citizen?

    • Chris Larkin says:

      You would have to all apply as a family for PR and then move to citizenship as family as well. That would require you to have a work history here to qualify for PR (ie 3 years work permit, minimum 80,000 month salary). Holding that for 5 years and then moving onto citizenship.

  15. Mary says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the details.
    My children born here in Thailand. Elder son did all schooling and college ( unti Masters ) here. He has a job now for 2.5 yrs now. He speaks professional Thai (His marks is 67/100 in point system ) So can he apply directly for citizenship or should only go through PR?

    • Chris Larkin says:

      Hi there – unless he has a Thai spouse, he needs to get permanent residency first. As a basic rule, that will require three years of work permit, 80,000 per month salary but he sounds like he would have a very strong application if he did given his schooling here. He should really head down to Chaengwattana immigration to speak to the PR people there. They have a reputation of being very helpful, and it is good to be prepared given he is so close to 3 years. Applications for PR are only generally open for 2 to 3 weeks in December each year.

  16. Neil Edwards says:

    Hi Chris

    My wife was born of British parents in Thailand in 1963, birth registered in the British embassy and given a Thai passport at birth. She left Thailand at age 2 and never returned, though we still have her original Thai passport. Does she still qualify as a Thai citizen or is it possible that this becomes lost with age?

    • Chris Larkin says:

      Hi Neil,

      In situations such as your wife’s, her Thai citizenship remains. Post 1971 changed the rules to state that one must be born to at least one Thai parent, or if both parents were foriegn nationals, they must have been permanent residents, but because your wife was born prior to that date, then she remains a Thai citizen automatically by birth to this day (unless she of course has formally renounced it, by application).

      Additionally, the new Thai constitution expressively prohibits the stripping of Thai citizenship of natural born Thai’s and legislation since the 1990’s has been very supportive of holding dual citizenship.

      Her renewing a Thai passport may take some logistical legwork however, unless she already has her original Thai birth certificate and house registration, given that applying for a Thai passport as an adult requires one to be registered on a ‘tabieen baan’ or a house registry, and have a Thai ID card.

      If she lacks these, the odds are she’ll need to attend the district office of her birth and have official replacements made. She’ll likely also need a Thai citizen to vouch for her, as well as having a Thai citizen willing to add her to their house registry (unless of course you are intending on owning your own condo/property in Thailand, which can be used as an official address for registration purposes).

      This can be done fairly easily as I know people like your wife who were born in Thailand but migrated to other countries but returned in their 50’s and 60’s to re-establish their Thai ID cards and Passports. It may take a day or two for officials to dig through old paper archives, but any old Thai documentation you have will be very useful to them to find the paperwork. Once a house registry is established, a Thai ID can immediately be issued, and a passport can be done after that.

      If for some reason she already has her old Thai house registration (in addition to passport), it may be worth speaking to the Thai embassy in the country you live to see if they may be able to issue her with a Thai passport.

      Good luck with it all and feel free to ask any further questions if you have them.

  17. Max Maxwell says:

    Hello Chris,

    I am a 72 year old British citizen and have lived and worked in Thailand since 1991. I have a Thai wife and we have 2 grown-up dual nationality children who are now living and working abroad. I have held Permanent Residence since 1996 and have the pink Thai ID card issued to foreign nationals. I work part-time for the Thailand branch of an MNC, and my current salary exceeds the upper level on the scoring system you have provided on this site. However, if I discount income, my estimated score would only be slightly over the indicated minimum of 50.

    I can’t read or write Thai, but can hold a basic conversation
    I want to remain in Thailand for the rest of my life. But I am now faced with redundancy as my company is trying to cut down on its number of work permits.

    Despite holding PR and having Thai dependents, I’m told I cannot work freelance but would have to set up a company in order to obtain a work permit. I’m reluctant to do this at my stage in life, and would not want to work more than part-time anyway. Do you think I have a chance of obtaining Thai citizenship at my age and with poor prospects of future income apart from my UK state pension? I have some savings, but may need them if my currently robust health fails.

    Best regards,

    • Chris Larkin says:

      Hi Max,

      Thanks for your question. From everything I’ve heard, it doesn’t matter if you have 51 or 81 points in the end, only that you score over the registered 50 points. So from that perspective, you should feel pretty confident. Special Branch won’t accept an application they feel has a poor chance of passing, so going to speak to them will give you a very good indication and of course if they accept your application, that is a very good sign. Based on what you’ve outlined, I can’t see whey they wouldn’t.

      The only issue I would perhaps raise is the ongoing need for a work permit, particularly through the initial stages of the application where you will be interviewed by special branch, the NIA and where your documents are verified in the initial 90 day period after application.

      I know the idea of setting up a company is not necessarily something that you want to do, but I’d encourage you to explore the possibility. Aside from providing you with a legitimate way of maintaining a ‘live’ work permit for the duration of your citizenship application (which is strongly encouraged and I believe can be asked for at any point of the process), it really is a useful way to funnel any consulting work you may get. From experience, the administrative hassles are not as bad as people make them out to be, and a good Thai accountant is all you really need on a very part time basis to keep it ticking over administratively.

      On the health issue, this is an article I am going to put together shortly, but if you are an employee of a company and you have been contributing to Thai social security, do know that you can continue your SS medical coverage following your departure from employment by voluntarily paying 432 baht per month in ongoing premiums (careful to not let these payments lapse however). If you’ve paid in enough, you could be entitled to a small pension too.

      As for UK pension issues, also note another article I’ve written where I outline how it is possible to make back payments on your UK state pension contributions to maximise the payments: http://www.thaicitizenship.com/retirement-finances-in-thailand/

      All the best and please let us know if you have any more questions.

      • Max Maxwell says:

        Thanks for your thoughtful and detailed reply Chris – I really appreciate it.
        I will certainly take your advice and explore setting up a company as well as applying for citizenship.

        All the best,

        • Chris Larkin says:

          Not a problem at all, glad you found it useful. The one thing I forgot to mention, and this is quite important, is that there can not be any substantive gaps in the work permits in 3 years before you apply. Meaning, if you go from one job to the next, any break between the expiry of one, and the new one, may end up resetting the 3 year ‘clock’.

          As such, if you are intending to apply, it might be wise to do it while still employed with your current company, in the background setting up your new company vehicle. Once your application has been accepted, and your new company work permit issued, then it will be possible to end your current work permit which would create a seamless transition between the two. Hope this helps (and makes sense!). All the best with it.


  18. Shaun says:

    Dear Chris,

    Thanks again for all this.

    For the yellow house registration; I currently don’t have one even though I’ve been working in Thailand for more than 5 years. I have the work permits and marriage papers etc. I’ve discussed with my wife who asked would it be better if I get one at her home town in north of Thailand where the family are very well known with the local Government or in Bangkok? We have homes in both places. We know the police well at the Province; however, I’m bit unsure if that helps in this case. I understand that if I’m registered at my hw Province, I’ll need to be interviewed by police there – it would seem like a good idea from the outset but I have no idea how this could impact on the overall application process.

    Do you have any advice with respect to this?

    Kind regards,


    • Chris Larkin says:

      Hi Shaun,

      Each district tends to be a bit hit or miss when it comes to issuing the yellow tabien baan. Best to go where there is the path of least resistance. At its easiest, it can be done very quickly in less than an hour (which is the way it should be done), in other places there is a big song and dance and multiple visits, and other places simply flat out to refuse to issue one.

      My advice is to try Bangkok first, particularly if you work there and the odds are a district in Bangkok will be fairly straight forward to apply though. Failing that, you can obviously pull some strings and use your connections up north to get it done, and once issued, simply transfer it down to Bangkok where I guess the document will be most useful for you (eg drivers license renewals etc.).

      If you choose the latter step, remember it is essential that the district office up country issues you a document stating they have removed you from the yellow tabieen baan in their district, and then you simply take that document and the old tabien baan to wherever you want to move to and they should be able to issue you a new one easily without all the steps.

      If you haven’t already, check out our article on it:

  19. Mike says:

    Hi Chris,

    I have a question regards obtaining my Thai Passport.
    I was born in Luxembourg, my father is Luxembourgish an my mother is Thai.
    I am now 31 years old and I am waiting for my Thai birth certificate to be issued from the Thai Embassy in Bruxelles. My parents have done the paperwork. My mom went there but actually forgot to ask about the Thai Passport. 🙂
    I am currently staying in Thailand, but I will fly back to Luxembourg to get my Thai Passport.
    I read that in order to apply for a Thai passport I have to show them a Thai ID and a copy of the house registration in Thailand (Tabian Baan).
    But I am not have been registered yet in Thailand and I have no Thai ID.
    So, is the Thai birth certificate sufficient in order to get my 1st Thai Passport?
    Hope you can help me.

    Best Regards

    • Chris Larkin says:

      Hi Mike,

      Given you are in Thailand you’ll be able to get a Thai PP in Thailand. With your Thai BC, you’ll be able to go to the district office where you want to be registered and have your name added to a blue tabieen baan. This will require permission from the ‘house master’ as well as two thai citizens to essentially ‘vouch’ for you. You’ll also likely need your current passport and entry stamps.

      It may take a couple of visits, but once registered, you’ll be able to immediately get your Thai ID card issued on the spot.

      With the ID in hand, you can easily apply for a Thai passport in Thailand.

      Unfortunately, this won’t immediately clear your immigration stay, as you’ll need to depart, by air, on your current EU passport, and then return to Thailand using your Thai passport, at which point you will be free of immigration control.

      Hope this helps and let me know if you have any more questions.

  20. Chris says:

    Hi Chris,

    Our son is born in Hua hin have Thai birth certificate. Wife is Swiss and husband is Austrian, we all living and working in Thailand / Bangkok with work visa.
    Does our son have any rights to apply for Thai citizen or apply at least for a Thai ID card so he can be fit from it on a later stage ?

    • Chris Larkin says:

      Hi there,
      Unfortunately it doesnt sound like he does have a path to Thai citizenship based on birth. Both foriegn parents need to be permanent residents of Thailand for a child born to them to automatically get Thai citizenship from birth.

      I’m currently researching if there are paths to citizenship for people like your son, but it is not yet complete.


  21. Chris says:

    Thanks for the speedy reply, yes please we also tried, some say there is a way, some say no can’t

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