How can I get 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.

157 Responses

  1. Dr Gabor Honthy says:

    Hi Zam,
    I just turned to 66 and have ten years here. Married to Thai woman and we have a kid. I worked here from the first minute. But work permit book and a residence confirmation are difficult to show. This latest because I usually worked for 12 months to a school. My Thai is very basic. What is my chance to get double citizenship?

    • Hi there,

      You don’t elaborate by what you mean when you say that ‘work permit book and a residence confirmation are difficult to show’.

      One of the non-negotiables for applying is that you have three consecutive years of work permits and extensions of stay – no gaps. If you have this, then you should check out the points system article on our site to figure out if you have enough points to qualify. Language ability is only one of the criteria you are assessed on.

  2. Zam says:

    HI Chris,

    Thanks for that detailed information much appreciated.

    I have just applied last month and did not know could piggy ride the family on the application.I am also checking through the Special branch to get more information which could share it on receipt.

    Its a good idea for what you have given to apply for my wife post getting the Thai nationality she could apply.

    Does the tax have to be 3 years minimum to be paid or just 1 year preceding the application will hold good for supporting my wife’s application for citizenship..

    Lastly the Civic exam is in Thai or English

    Do we need to sing the National Anthem and King’s Anthem.

    Please throw more light on this subject will appreciate it so so much.

    Keep up the great work as you are surely well verse and transparent on processes and have a great service to the guys around.

    Many Thanks!

    Kind Regards
    Zam

    • Hi Zam,

      The civics test will be in thai but depending on your thai skill level you can read it yourself or have it read to you.

      Not being married to a Thai you’ll have to sing both the Royal and national anthem as part of the process too.

      Once you get naturalised, and apply for Thai citizenship for your wife, you only need to show one years worth of tax returns and evidence of the previous years income and employment, so the bar is also set a bit lower on that front. The other thing that won’t apply to you is needing to show evidence of military service as that is not applicable to you. Neither will your wife have to do the civics test or have any particular level of thai language ability.

      If you do find out about the family application, please let us know as I think it would be helpful to a lot of people.

      Cheers
      Chris

  3. Peter says:

    Hi Chris,

    I have a quick question, maybe you can help. I want to apply for thai citizenship based on marriage and as far as I understand I actually tick all the boxes.

    – have been living in Thailand since 17 years
    – have been with work permit and 1 year extensions since 12 years without break
    – have been married to a Thai since 8 years and have 1 child with her
    – speak quite good Thai
    – will be 40 years old in January

    The only thing is, I never made a tabien baan in all those years but I understand you should have had one for 5 years.

    I’m wondering now, is it still possible for me to apply for citizenship even without the house book? Or do I have to make one and then wait at least another few years before I apply?

    Thank you in advance for your advice and thank you for making such an informative website.

    Peter

    • Hi Peter,

      No stress on not having been on the tabieen baan for 5 years. You only have to have one to apply and there is no minimum time you need to be on it.

      The 5 year thing only comes onto play as based on a reading of the rules, it bumps up your points count if you have held it for 5 years or more, which mainly favours PR holders who need to have held PR for 5 years before applying for citizenship. As you are married to a Thai national, obviously you can skip that step, so you can apply as soon as you have the TB in your hands and are otherwise qualified.

      The only thing I’ll say is to ensure that the registered address is in Bangkok so you are eligible to apply at the special branch HQ.

      All the best with your application.

  4. Simon says:

    Hi Chris,

    I have written some questions to you half a year ago regarding to my father’s situation. He was born in Thailand in 1952 and left Thailand around 1956 or 1957. I know it’s been a long time and what I have in hand is just his Thai birth certificate. There are some questions I would like to ask.

    1) I have asked someone to call and check if my father had a house registration but they did not allow the third party or authorized attorney to check on behalf of my father. In this case, is there any other ways that I can check about it?

    2) The name on his Thai birth certificate is different from the name on his current passport now. How can he establish a name change and prove to the amphoe that this is the same person?

    Please advice and thank you very much in advance.

    Best Regards,
    Simon

    • Hi Simon,

      It sounds like the case where your father might have to come to Thailand himself and speak to the relevant department if they don’t allow third parties. I know of a couple of people who have done exactly that, and have been able to re-establish their house registration.

      As you say though, he is going to have to show how he changed his name. I seem to recall he is now in HK, and I’m not sure what the established conventions there are in terms of naming, but if there is a paper trail of some sort which can be translated I think that is what will be needed.

      Obviously key details would need to match up otherwise as well between his Thai and HK documents, such as his date of birth, place of birth, parents names etc.

      • Simon says:

        Hi Chris,

        Do you have any recommendation or agency that can help regarding this matter? Thank you.

        • Hi Simon,

          Unfortunately I don’t. What people generally do is approach the district office where he was born in person (your dad should be the person to do this in the first instance) and normally they can dig up his records either on the computer (which will be free) or they might require someone to dig through the paper files. Generally the district office will do it themselves, or they can recommend an authorised officer who you might have to pay Overtime so they do it on your behalf.

          Annecodotally, I know of a woman in her 60’s who did just this. Her surname had changed via marriage after she moved to Australia in the 1970s, but was able to dig up her old files and subsequently get her ID card back. She had her old files of course which seemed to help greatly in the process. This is the best advice I can give you given third parties at this stage seem to be a non-starter.

  5. Zam says:

    Hi Chris,

    I have been living here 25 years and now hold PR and work permit for 6 years now. I have applied for citizenship but wanted to know the following.

    1– Can my spouse who is also a PR holder get a Thai passport.

    2–Both kids also hold PR are 24 years old can they get citizenship based on me or they have to apply separately.

    Kindly let me know with many thanks.

    Best Regards
    Zam

    • Hi Zam,

      I’m pretty sure the answer to both is they both have to qualify for Thai citizenship under their own steam if you apply now. In the case of your kids it will be because they are now considered adults. I think before they turned 20 they could have been included on your application, but I don’t believe this is possible now. I’d have a chat to special branch about their case however, especially if they were born here and studied university in Thailand as I believe there may be some shortcuts available (but please this is only semi-informed speculation on my part).

      Your wife has two options that I know of. She can obviously apply for citizenship based on her own qualifications as a PR, but that would mean she needs to have the requisite income, work permits etc. The other option, which might be worth considering (particularly if she isn’t working at the moment, or doesn’t have the 3 years WPs etc) is to simply wait for you to receive Thai citizenship, at which point, given the slightly sexist nature of the legislation, she can simply apply for Thai citizenship off the back of being married to a Thai husband (see our article here on it). In this case, the onus is off her to prove anything, but it shifts to you, with the main threshold is having a tax return showing you’ve paid tax on an income of 30,000 baht per year in the year before you apply. However given you will be Thai at that point, there is no requirements for the work permits etc.

      One of the gaps in my knowledge is if you wife (and maybe even your kids) are just simply able to piggy back off the current application. There are many family’s announced in the Royal Gazette as having received Thai citizenship at the same time, so its also something worth exploring with Special Branch.

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