Thai citizenship for foreigners married to Thai spouse

Thai law provides an expedited path to citizenship for those who have deep connections to the country through marriage. Put simply, you can apply for citizenship without first having to hold Thai Permanent Residency for five years.

Foreign men married to Thai citizens are biggest category of people who are potentially eligible for Thai citizenship, but often don’t know it, or they think that the requirements are higher than they actually are.

To be sure, this path doesn’t apply to everyone (even if you are married). However, if all of the following points apply, or will apply to you at some point, then you are at the starting point of a realistic and attainable path to Thai citizenship.

  • Lived in Thailand consecutively for three years on valid non-immigrant visa extensions;
  • Have had three years of consecutive work permits from a Thai based employer;
  • Have a minimum income of 40,000 baht per month and have paid tax for three years on that income; and
  • Are married to a Thai citizen.


If this isn’t you (i.e. not working in Thailand for a Thai employer, or on a retirement or education visa), then at present current legislation doesn’t provide any realistic paths to citizenship.

If you are working here and planning to stay long term, but not marred to a Thai national, then check out Thai permanent residency, which you can apply for after a full three years of uninterrupted work permits. After holding PR for 5 years, you will then be eligible to apply for Thai citizenship.

If you are a foreign woman married to a Thai husband, then please read this article, as legislation applies differently for the wives of Thai husbands.

What the Legislation Says

The Thai Nationality Act (2008) states:

Section 10:

An alien who possesses the following qualifications may apply for naturalization as a Thai:

(1)    becoming sui juris in accordance with Thai law and the law under which he has nationality;

(2)    having good behavior;

(3)    having regular occupation;

(4)    having a domicile in the Thai Kingdom for a consecutive period of not less than five years till the day of filing the application for naturalization;

(5)    having knowledge of Thai language as prescribed in the Regulations.

Section 11:

The provisions of Section 10 (4) and (5) shall not apply if the applicant for naturalization as a Thai;


(4)   is a husband of a person with Thai nationality.

Interpreting the amendments

The changes made to the Thai Nationality Act in 2008 have opened an easier and expedited path to foreign men who are married to Thai citizens. The key ‘shortcuts’ are outlined in Sections 11 of the Act above and in plain english mean:

  • Having permanent residence in Thailand is no longer required – so you are eligible after 3 years living in Thailand
  • You are exempted from singing the Thai national anthem or the Royal anthem (Sansoen Phra Barami/สรรเสริญพระบารมี)


Although Section 11 refers to waving the Thai language requirement, in practice this has meant that the singing portion of the test isn’t applied to those married to Thai’s. Speaking Thai is certainly useful as far as the points test goes, and it be used to further boost your overall score which will determine your eligibility.

So this is me, what do I do next?

Married to a Thai citizen, three years work permits, tax returns and earning more than the 40,000 baht per month income – you are all of these. So what are the next steps?

Applications for Thai citizenship are made via the Royal Thai Police Special Branch rather than immigration. The full details of how you can do this all yourself are contained in this following article titled ‘Thai citizenship application process’.

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I LOVE your website and useful advice. Like many, I have been ‘drawn to’ a certain other forum that attracts (and appears to encourage) bitter sexpat know-it-alls who are never wrong. Saying that, a kind member of that forum led me here.

Anyway, I’m chewing through your pages to get my bits in order, but I would like to know how important the 40k/month taxable is. The company I have worked at for 24 years declares that I earn 35k/month. I could ask them to increase this declared amount to 40k for the next three years, but if this number isn’t ‘set in stone’ I could realistically apply for Thai citizenship almost immediately.

Thanks in advance and keep up the awesome work.



I have a worked in Thailand for 3 years now and Married a Thai girl for the last 4 months and currently working in Thailand . Am I still eligible for citizenship? Or should I wait for 3 more years to apply


Hi Chris,

Thanks for tons of very clear info.
Just 1 probably not so easy question: I do travel a lot out of Thailand to meet our SEA customers. I do it as a fully employed Thai company employee, pay taxes in Thailand etc. However some years I spend 6-7 months out of on Business trips (and I have proof of that) so I’m wondering if there’s a requirement of minimum 180day of “being physically” in Thailand. 180 days rule apply to for example Australia and NZ and it’s almost impossible to go around it unless you serve military/oil rig jobs etc.
Have you ever heard of this rule being required for Thai Citizenship? Thanks a lot!


Thanks, Chris. I have to say that you are absolutely THE best source regarding Citizenship matter. It was an info
I’ve been looking for ages 😉 Thanks a lot again!


I’m married with Thai since 3 years and I have a kid since 1 year and I bought a condo under my name,having a yellow&blue tabian ban + pink ID card ,I have non O visa for 3 years in a row and now I retired and have an income and shop and property in my country,Can I apply for a residency or resident visa? By the way ,I’m 54 years old,Pls.let me know,thanks

Michael Myall

I went to the Police Special Branch two days ago to collect my list of required documents. I can provide the following “updates” based on information we were given by the official we spoke to, later confirmed in phone calls between my Thai wife and the same officer: (1) I WILL be required to SING the two Thai anthems, and (2) donations can be made as recently as 2-3 months prior to the application, but not just days before. I don’t know if this agrees or conflicts with people’s own experiences, but the singing question came as a bit of a shock as most websites state this is waived for applicants married to a Thai national.

Michael Myall

I very much appreciate your swift response. I am applying in BANGKOK, and must say how impressed I was by the friendliness and helpfulness of the Police staff (in contrast to many at Immigration!). I hope that the officer was mistaken, as multiple sources report that the language requirement can be largely waived. It would be useful if this could be more explicit in the information provided in the document list provided by the Special Branch,

Thai Citizenship
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