Thailand ancestry visas

It is estimated there are nearly 3 million people of Thai ancestry living outside of Thailand. This includes both Thai passport holders but also people with Thai ancestry but holding another passport.

For these latter group of people, there is a little-known visa class which allows people with Thai heritage to effectively spend an unlimited time in Thailand – all with extraordinarily little effort. So, if you have some Thai background, please read on.

Visas vs extensions of stay

Lets get the technical speak out of the way first. Officially, once you land in Thailand, the word ‘visa’ isn’t applicable. A ‘visa’ is the sticker in the passport from a Thai embassy before you arrive. For Thailand, the longest visa’s normally allow you to stay for is 90 days after arrival. If you want to stay longer than the date stamped in your passport when you first arrive, you are going to need what in Thailand is known as an ‘extension of stay’ from a local immigration office.

You need to have a reason to be granted an extension of stay. Most extensions of stay are granted based on things like work, education, marriage, retirement or having a Thai citizen child. But all require a lot of proof and some come with hefty strings attached, like needing 800,000 baht (US$25,000) in the bank. Other long-term permissions to stay in Thailand, such as Thailand’s ‘Elite’ Visa start at 500,000 baht (US$15,000) for 5 years.

Extensions of stay – having a Thai parent

Amid all the potential reasons for extending your stay, exists a specific clause designed for people with Thai ancestry. Immigration Order No. 327/2557 allows for the following:

2.23 In the case of a person who used to have Thai nationality or whose parent is or was of Thai nationality visiting relatives or returning to his or her original homeland:

Unlike other ‘extensions of stay’ categories, the evidence needed here is very simple. The applicant:

1) Must have evidence that the applicant used to have Thai nationality or that his her parent is or was of Thai nationality.

In essence, providing evidence of your one of your parents Thai nationality will be enough to grant you a year’s extension of stay in Thailand.

How does this work?

Unlike other ‘extension of stay’ categories, there is no need to get any special visas before you enter Thailand. If you are from a country which is granted visa-free entry into Thailand (usually for 30 days) you can simply fly into Thailand and be stamped in, initially for 30 days.

Once in the country, you can head to the immigration department in your closest province and request an extension of stay.

  1. A completed TM.7 form (available here);
  2. Copy of the applicant’s passport; and
  3. Copy of documents showing that the one of the applicants parents either have, or, used to have Thai nationality.

For (3), this usually involves certified copies of the Thai parents ID. This could include their citizen identification card, their passports or Thai birth certificates. Also needed is your birth certificate showing your Thai parents name on it.

It is important that when showing evidence of Thai nationality, the spelling of all names should align, and if they don’t, then a certificate from a Thai embassy or consulate or evidence confirming that they are the same person should be provided. The regulations also say that declarations from Thai citizens are also acceptable.

The exact Thai immigration link is here at point 23 on the list (Thai only).

But…with a Thai ancestry, doesn’t that make me a Thai citizen?

Yes, it does. A child born to a parent with Thai nationality is automatically a Thai citizen by the Thai government regardless of the place of birth. There are also no generational limits on how far this right can be handed down. As such, you have the right to a Thai birth certificate, and passport, which is outlined in our article “Thai citizenship when born overseas”.

Usually, it is mostly the case that it is easy enough (and recommended) for those with Thai ancestry to go down this route and enter Thailand on a Thai passport if you intend to stay for an extended period of time. It is also recommended that you get your Thai house registration and Thai ID card issued on your first trip back.  However, a person with a Thai parent who wishes to live in Thailand might not always be able to use that option – an issue we discuss in further detail below.

Pros and cons of this the ancestry clause

This type of extension of stay holds a few decent upsides, but also a couple of significant downsides. The main ‘upside’ is that people effectively have access to an unlimited stay in Thailand – subject to annual renewal with minimal requirements proving your parent is Thai. The main downsides come with the fact that on this visa, you are still considered a foreigner for immigration purposes.

As such you:

  • Are subject to TM30 registration, 90-day reporting an having to extend the visa ever year;
  • Have no automatic work rights in Thailand, and still require a work permit if you are going to work; and
  • No rights to own land.
The extension of stay stamp for those with Thai a Thai parent.

So who is this visa really going to benefit?

We can think of a few different types of situations where this visa is going to be useful. This includes:

  • Those from countries where dual citizenship is prohibited;
  • People who have been born to a parent from Thailand, but where that parent was forced to renounce Thai citizenship to take up a new citizenship (e.g. Austria, Singapore). As such, unless you were born before that parent renounced their citizenship, you don’t have access to Thai citizenship.
  • Those looking to spend an extended period of time in Thailand in excess of the usual 60-day tourist visas;
  • ‘Digital Nomads’ who aren’t working for a Thai employer but wish to base themselves in Thailand;
  • Males under 30 born overseas to a Thai parent, not yet registered on a house registration in Thailand and who do not wish to expose themselves to military conscription by entering Thailand on a Thai passport; and
  • People struggling to put together the paperwork to get a Thai passport or get their Thai ID card issued in a prompt and timely fashion from a district office.

So I’m a Thai citizen, but I’m not?

Yes – and no. As stated earlier, if you were born to a Thai parent you are automatically Thai according to the Nationality Act. So it is strange that this extension of stay exists in some ways.

But at the end of the day, until you have the paperwork in order, you can’t get a Thai passport. And while it is mostly straight forward to do so, there are some instances where it isn’t.

Based a variety of questions we’ve received on this website, the divorce or death of a Thai parent is a main why people aren’t immediately able to get a Thai passport. So, while alternatives such as DNA testing or going your parents home district to register yourself as a Thai citizen, these things take time, and this visa would also be useful to give you time to do these things.

As such, while coming to Thailand and entering as a Thai citizen is the simplest and optimal way for most, this visa is a good substitute for those with Thai ancestry who can’t.

On the Thai ancestry visa but have recently gotten a Thai ID card?

So many people use the ancestry visa as a ‘holding pattern visa’ while they wait in country to process their Thai ID card. While this is normally a straight-forward process, for some people it can take many months due to a lack of all the correct documentation by the applicant. However, once you gave your Thai ID card and a registered properly in the system, you are still technically in Thailand on your foreign passport. In this case, and this case only, it is fine for your ancestry visa to lapse. Recent changes in 2023 mean that if Thai dual citizens entered on a foreign passport they won’t get charged overstay when departing so long as they can show their Thai ID card to immigration on departure. We cover that in this article titled ‘Entering Thailand on a foreign passport‘.

Help support us

Found our content useful? Any donations are warmly welcomed and help to continue running as a free resource to all. 

Leave us your email address and we’ll update you when new information is posted on our forum.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Thanom Vélez

Thai citizenship
My mother is Thai and I was born in Udon Thani. All I have is a copy of my birth certificate and my US passport that states I was born here in Thailand. Is this enough to get my ancestry visa?

I do not know where my mother is and haven’t seen her in 45 years. Also my father recently died.

Thanom Vélez

I want to get my citizenship back but I can’t find my mother and the district office in Udon Thani have no record of my mom and I. Yes I have a copy of my Thai birth certificate also.

Thanom Vélez

Yes my thai birth certificate states my mom is Thai. I was born in 1971 in Udon Thani. Left Thailand in 1976 and want to retire in Thailand.


Hi, my situation has a bit more to it but I was wondering if it is still worth a try. My grandmother was Thai, she has passed away since. This means my mother is Thai by birth but she has never had a Thai citizenship. I have blood relatives that are still living in Thailand. Do I have any eligibility for a Thai citizenship?

Thank you.


Get a dna test, the article said that works, my grandfather is Thai, on my mother’s side but he abandoned my grandmother after she and supposedly my aunt were born. We don’t know my grandfather’s name and my family migrated to america after the war. So we have no idea what happened to him. My only choice is to do a dna test.


Hi, my grandfather is a Thai but died in the Philippines. Can I still get an ancestry visa? I have lots of relatives here in Thailand.


Hi there.

My mother was Thai; she passed in 2020. I am arranging to emmigrate to Thailand.
It’s a downer that I wouldn’t be able to own any land, once there.
Is there any other way round this

Thai Citizenship
error: Unfortunately, due to unscrupulous scammers who try and copy this content and pass it off as their own, this is protected and not available for cut and paste.
Need some help? Leave a comment!x

Join our mailing list

Enjoying our

If you’re finding our content helpful, please help support our site and consider leaving a small donation. This allows us to continue providing more free and helpful content in the future.

All donations are warmly welcomed

PDRP & Cookie Consent

This site uses cookies to help improve user browsing experience and to help us to better analyse our traffic. In order to be compliant with PDRP, you must consent to the storage and handling of your data as per our Privacy Policy.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get notified for on latest posts

We’ll never spam your inbox