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.

30 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?

    cheers
    brian

  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?

    Regards,
    Thomas

    • 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.
      http://www.thaicitizenship.com/thai-military-service/

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

  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.

    Regards,

    Lisa

    • 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:

    Hello,

    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!

    Aras

    • 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,
    Mike

    • 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. Thank you for your blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

  9. Gladys says:

    Hi,
    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.

      Regards
      Chris Larkin

  10. 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!
        Einar

        • 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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

    Kevin

    • 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

  13. 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,

    Shaun

    • 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.

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