How can I get Thai citizenship?

For those who have moved to Thailand, acquiring Thai citizenship at first glance seems like an impossible dream.

The story is one you hear often. Arrive in Thailand, often for a short stay, and before they know it, they’ve been here a decade or even more. Work, marriage, the weather, the beaches, whatever it is, leads many people to want to spend their lives here. And you have to admit, it isn’t a bad place to live.

Is becoming a Thai citizen difficult?

No, it isn’t. Don’t believe the bar-stool gossip or web theorists who have heard ‘stuff’

While Thai citizenship isn’t available just to anyone, the simple answer is that it isn’t as hard to get as you think, and on par with the process required to get a western nationality.

Often, the perceived difficulty (as opposed to the reality) is generally the only thing holding people back from ever considering applying.

Time and again I hear expats and Thai people tell me that it is impossible for foreigners to get Thai citizenship. Common myths include:

  • You have to be able to speak, read and write Thai fluently;
  • Only 100 people per year are granted Thai citizenship
  • You have to live in Thailand for two decades before you can apply;
  • Only people who have ‘connections’ in high places get citizenship;
  • They only want millionaires to apply; or
  • You have to pay give lots of brown paper bags stuffed with cash to officials;


The reality is the complete opposite.

For many, having a solid working history here will be the starting point. For others, it will be a combination of family relationships (spouses, parents) which determines how you go about applying.

As long as you are eligible or getting yourself to the point where you soon will be eligible, the paperwork and processes are no more cumbersome – and in many cases easier – than applying for citizenship in say Australia, Canada, the US or the UK.

So how do I acquire Thai citizenship?

There are a couple of main categories of people who would generally qualify:

  • People living here on consecutive work permits and visas, paying income tax;
  • Permanent residents;
  • Those married to Thai citizens; and
  • Those born to a Thai parent


These are the main categories, and depending on which one you are, there will be specific paths to go down.

People on work permits will need to go down the Thai Permanent Residence path before being eligible for applying, while those who are married to Thai citizens can skip this stage.

For those who are born to Thai parents, or have kids for whom one of the parents is Thai, we also have some useful advice on issues such as getting your Thai birth certificate, dual citizenship, and military service obligations.

What are the benefits?

Non-citizens face ongoing administrative baggage just to maintain their stay in Thailand. This can include:

  • Annual visa and work permit renewals;
  • 90-day reporting;
  • Being at the whim of visa and immigration officials;
  • Having your permission to stay cancelled if you lose your job, or due to administrative stuff up from HR;
  • Unable to own major personal assets, like land (or that Thai beach house you always wanted!);
  • Barred from being majority shareholder in your own business;
  • Forced to rely on nominees to be the majority shareholders for your business; and
  • Shut out from many banking products, such as mortgages or business loans.


In and of themselves, these things may not seem such big deals. But over time, the frustration of each one of these can and does accumulate.

The benefit of removing those frustrations is benefit in and of itself. However, as someone who holds a Thai ID card, the benefit is pretty straight forward: Simplicity and certainty.

As difficult as life is as a foreigner, holding a Thai ID card literally the opposite. It cuts through all the administrative BS that one faces on a day-to-day basis making life extremely simple to deal with.

More importantly, your presence or ability to be in Thailand will never be questioned again.

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Wow, I’m very interested. I’m a retired doctor. I speak Thai and currently learning reading/writing. I am currently here on a non-OA retirement visa but interested in learning more about citizenship.


Dear sir,

I am 46, EU country, married to thai wife. I would like to be a real-estate agent of a thai registered company to provide service to european customers. I would stay most of the year in Europe, but having a salary and paying taxes in Thailand. Besides I own a condo in Thailand too. Would it be possible to get the thai citizenship considering, that I stay more than 183 days out of thailand? I studied your website but not sure about this one. Anyway, great thanks for the information you provide here.


Thank you. Dont you know please, what is the actual income treshold?


Hi there:

I understand that the language requirements for citizenship have increased. Do you have any clearer information about this? The last I saw about this was a few newspaper articles in January 2022. I can’t see any revised information on your site either, so I was wondering if you had any more clarity on this. Thanks again for all the work you do.


Thank you, from your comments it seems as if you are married to a Thai you won’t need to take a test. That’s a relief.


Hello, thank you for the information you deliver.

Work permit. I am working as a digital nomad and receive my money from Europe. I don’t need a work permit for that. How do the authorities assess this? Thanks.


Bad news, but thanks. So as a freelancer a PR is not possible? Have to be paid by a thai company? And I am right at least that I don’t need a WP to receive money from Europe for the digital work for an europe company? Thanks!!

Heli Pohjolainen

Hi, I have a question. I am interested to apply for thai citizenship. Do you need to apply in Bangkok or should you apply in the district where you are registrated (in my case Trat district)?
I have luved in Thailand 30 years. I have RP since 2012 and WP since 2012 until today. taxes paid every year from 2012.
I’m not married to thai but I have a son with a thai man, born here (born year 2000) who is thai citizen.
I speak fluent thai and can read and write thai as well.

Thai Citizenship
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