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:
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.
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 here.
Does the spouse of a Thai national have to work year-round or could he or she earn 360,00 baht (30,000 x 12 months) in 7 months then exit Thailand for 5 months? Can this schedule be maintained for the 3+ years and qualify the spouse for citizenship in respect to work, earnings, and time in Thailand?
On this one you’ll just need to be careful that whatever you report in tax matches what your employer declares to the tax office. In terms of one off payments I can’t see an issue, but I’d check with special branch (for citizenship) or immigration (for PR) to see if they are happy with those arrangements. Note you’ll have to be doing this for a Thai company with valid work permits etc.
Hi, i married thai women 7yr back and I registered in Thailand and i hold yellow book and pink card. Kids are thai national. I am working outside Thailand and i dont have any income in Thailand. My wife working and she paying her tax. Her income is more than 80000thb per month.
Indo rotation job, so I couldn’t able to 1yr non-o visa always. But now i am planning to obtain thai citizenship, so kindly advice. I cant speak thai language. My age is 35yr and my kids age 3yr. How i can pay tax in Thailand without i am having a job?
So unless you are tax resident in Thailand the simple answer is: you can’t.
But the issue of taxation isn’t really core here. Unless you’ve got three years of work permits and extensions of stay with a salary derived from employment with a thai entity, then you don’t qualify to apply for either PR and citizenship under current rules.
My next step is taking the oath. I had the BORA final interview last May 2022. I have been waiting since then.
Is there any way to follow this up? If Yes, which department should I follow up with? Any recommendations please.
Congrats on your progress so far. So what it sounds like you are waiting for is the signature of HM the King and announcement in the royal gazette first.
Best option is to follow up with the officer at special branch. They will be seeing the progress of those in the queue ahead of you and be able to give you an estimate. This particuarly the case since the oath is done back at Police HQ.
I am planning on marrying a Thai lady in June.
I’m from the USA and plan on going back after the marriage Returning in October for 6 months and then returning to Thailand the following October
I plan on keeping my USA citizenship. I am basically retired my income from social security is $2400 dollars a month. When I work during the summer in the us my income is about $15000 a year.
Can you please tell me my options for staying in Thailand each year for 6 months
Hi Tom, thanks for your email and congrats on your upcoming nuptials.
To be honest, I wouldn’t have a clue. This site is mainly devoted to getting Thai citizenship and what you have to do for that. Visas etc aren’t really my area of expertise. I’d consult one of the Thai expat facebook sites which would give you a better answer than I ever could.
Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.
Hi Thomas. As Author of this site mentioned already, this site is about citizenship. However, as your objective just to stay for 6 months each year, retirement extensionmaybe better option for you, but you will need to be precise in timings: Come to Th and make retirement visa extension for first year. Then, apply for re-entry permit and fly back to US, but you must return to TH just before your extension of stay expires.
This will be 6 months in TH + 6 months in US minus let’s say one week before your extension expires, so you will have time to sort out things and apply for another extension.
You can pre-book Immigration Visit
You also should keep 800k THB in Thai Bank
Main advantages is:
You will get each your yearly extension in ONE working day, opposite to marriage extension which is take two visits and one month between visits and also possible checking for your family situation (visit from immigration to your home in TH)
You will not be tied to family as retiree (over 50 years old) you can act independently and extend your stay w/o involving your wife at all.
I can recommend FB group Thai visa advice where you can get more information
I satisfy all your requirements but speak only very basic conversational Thai. How is that s11 waiver interpreted and tested? Obviously speaking Thai would help, but do you pass the points threshold without it
So it’s pretty simple. If married you are effectively exempted from needing to sing the National and Royal Anthems which is what is considered as sufficient proof/threshold for needing to speak Thai.
Though the points test remains, there is no minimum score you need to get on that particular portion of the test. As such, so long as you score strongly under the other categories, if your Thai is weak or non-existent it shouldn’t matter too much one way or another.
Hope this provides some reassurance!
I have been living here, married with a thai lady from 2014. I have been working as a doctor in Sweden and Finland every year some months/year and from my earnings (about 2,5 million thb/ year) I have paid taxes to Thailand. I don’t have thai working permit nor have I worked in Thailand.
Do I have the possibility to obtain thai citizenship?
Hi Jari – so unfortunately you don’t qualify. Part of the requirements are having three years of work permits and consecutive extensions of stays of your visas. This must be for a thai company. Please check on this link to see the thresholds you need to meet.
I’m really grateful for the invaluable information. Lack of knowledge really is a sin haha 😂
Well, I’ve been on 40k salary for the past 3 years and have been with the s me employer since 2016. However, my work permit discontinued for 2 months or so between May and July this year for some issues with paperwork. I got a new work permit in July after holding the old one for 6 years. Would this be an issue if I had to apply for citizenship or PR?
Thanks for finding this website. So the long and the short of it is ‘yes’ it is likely to cause and issue and effectively reset the three year clock. However it is always worth going down to chat with the people at citizenship section of Special Branch and see what they say.
Thanks a bunch
I know it’s possible to pay tax late for the past years.
Since my salary for the past 3 years was little less than 40k, is it possible for me to pay tax again stating salary as 40k?
You’ll need proof of this extra income and it will need to come from a thai corporate entity paying it to you. Part of the process is to trace your income stream.
Not sure what you do but also remember bonuses and other payment from your employer are all taxable so make sure they are added into the entire amount.
Thank you very much for your response.
As I am aware that Thai government always want Thai translation of any non-Thai document.
I need some clarity on these points. Hope you can answer or anyone who applied for his citizen in recent time could answer please
1. Passport- Do require a Thai translation that can be done by any translation agency the same I did when apply for yellow book?
2. Higher degree- Master is my higher degree to get 10 pints, so I need to certify and translate into Thai only Master or graduation and also lower level? Degree need to certify by Embassy. I believe my embassy will certify English copy then translate to Thai will enough?
3. Tax return – Personal tax return P91 and Withhold tax certificate ‘50 Bis’ of last 3 year. Each year is in Thai, so is it enough?
4. Marriage certificate + Kor ror 22 & wife’s Thai ID & Child’s birth certificate are in Thai already
5. Donation receipt- Sorry I was not aware about donation’s receipt so when we do any donation to Temple or Hospital never saved those old receipts. Is it necessary and when do we need to submit? I notice in some comment but didn’t see in your website regarding donation. Is it require so next time I will save all receipts.
6. Do we need any document or letter from employer?
7. Apart from these all important document do we need any more document?
Hi Mark –
1) Yes, formal translation by agency, certified by MOFA and your embassy
2) Depends which country you are from, ask the embassy what the process is to get a degree translated officially. They will know.
3) yes, the copies the tax office provide will suffice
4) Sounds good
5) If you can get backgated receipts for those already made, then do so.
6) see J, K, L and M on the link below
7) have you seen our article on this? https://www.thaicitizenship.com/documents-required-to-apply-for-thai-citizenship/
Thanks for the link.
Hi, Thanks for these kind of full information.
I am living in Thailand since past 7 years with my Thai wife and kids. I always think that very difficult to become a Thai citizen and must know Thai language (read + write).
Now I noticed based on your provided information and I can see sure I will get 50 points (Age- 10, Education- 10, Profession- 25, Residence- 5)
More point will come with these (Language, Knowledge, Personality)
Hope you can help with my few queries.
I started work in Thailand on WP start from March 2020. I left job in Feb 2021 move to new job in March 2021. New company transferred WP from old company in February 2021 but I started new job after gap of 1 week in March 2021.
1. After complete 3 years on WP, Can I start process in March 2023 or in March 2024
2. Is any time set by government when i can only apply for citizen between those months only? (Oct to December)
3. I have all salary slip but never apply for personal tax credit. How and where I can apply for previous 1-2 years? 2020 and 2021
4. Now I also noticed that person can get few tax deduction when buy Life insurance and do donation. Will it effect on tax calculation when apply for citizen?
5. We are not in Bangkok, so can I apply in my current province or only need to apply in Bangkok?
Thanks in advance
Glad you’ve found the website useful.
– In terms of your ‘gap’ it seems small enough that it might be okay, but that is always down to the final decision of the officals.
– Citizenship can be applied for any time of year, not just the end of the year like PR.
– You will need to go to the tax office and ask for copies of your previous years tax returns – they supply these all the time and you will need them for the citizenship application anyway
– Gross income is considered, so don’t worry about deductions
– Bangkok is the best place to apply. Chonburi, Phuket, Surat Thani and Chiangmai are also places where people have had success.
Hope this helps!
Thanks again Chris for reply. Regards
I think that you need to be married to your Thai spouse for at least 3 years before applying to the citizenship through marriage. Can you confirm?
It’s three years without children but you only need to be married one year if you have kids.
Note, this doesn’t take away the need for three years of work permits, tax returns etc.
With respect to pursuing Thai citizenship, what possible reasons would a North American citizen decide to pass on this prospect? Never mind about additional costs and effort to obtain over a PR, but what happens afterwards that may involve obligations or conflicts with original country of birth? Thanks in advance.
To be honest, not sure there would be any. There are probably a couple of hundred thousand Thai-US dual citizen I’d not more. If there was any friction there we’d probably have heard it by now. For most, I suspect it’s the best of both worlds.
Very interesting read, thank you very much for the information. Do you know if it would be possible to obtain citizenship without possessing a work permit but still paying taxes on income in Thailand? I work remotely for a company based in Canada and am married to a Thai woman and we have a child together. If I pay taxes for 3 years would I be able to apply for citizenship without having a work permit?
Glad you’re finding the website useful.
In regards to your question, unfortunately three years of thai work permits are required and the income needs to be earned from a thai company entity – all with requisite taxes paid.
Would dividend income from Thai stocks work? It’s income taxed at 10%
Income from work and the accompanying salary payment details, tax payments and work permits will what is be considered.
Great article which really simplifies the process with information that has proven quite difficult to find and provided in English to boot! Would you happen to know whether an F Visa for work is valid rather than a B visa when applying for citizenship. I meet all the criterias such as Thai spouse, have lived here 30+ years with a salary over the required amount. The only obstacle has been the immigration office saying an F visa isn’t valid and only a B visa would suffice. Would you happen to know anything about this and whether there’s a possible solution. Thanks in advance.
You need to chat to police special branch as to if they will accept an F visa – immigration have no role to play in granting citizenship so I’d take whatever they say with a huge grain of salt.
After taking the oath, what is next?
how long does it take to get passport and ID?
Hi there, so after the oath your application needs to be published in the Royal gazette. This can vary time wise so ask Special Branch. Following the publication anywhere between 6-8 weeks depending on special branch and your district office issuing the necessary paperwork.
Re the work permits, does it have to be issued by the same employer or can they be issued by different employers as long as I have three consecutive WPs issued?
Thanks for the great service!
Hi there – So long as the work permits are consecutive there shouldn’t be an issue. If it is from a different employer, the Thai work permits should line up (ie the old one ends the same day the new one starts). This often take a bit of co-ordination between the old and new employers as if it isnt’ done correctly, the the three year clock essentially resets.
You’ll also need to check with special branch, as i’m uncertain on this point, but I seem to recall special branch needing you to be with the latest employer for a full year before you apply.
Thank you, that’s very helpful.
When they say three consecutive years living in Thailand is that more in reference to the work permit being consecutive years? Or are you not allowed to leave the country for three years in a row? If you are allowed, what are the rules for how much time you must be in Thailand to fulfill that requirement.
So its in reference to a couple of things. No unbroken extensions of stay, meaning if you leave the country you have a valid re-entry permit to return. Three years also refers to unbroken work permits (so if you change employer it means do not let there be a gap between each of the WP’s).
To summarise, you can travel – but you need to have a re-entry permit.
I am German and married to a Thai wife and live at Bangkok at the same marriage visa for more than 3 years now. My Thai language skills are okay but I do not have a work permit and therefore no income. But I have enough money in banks inside and outside of Thailand. Is there any possibility to get the Thai citizenship if I can proof that I have enough money, even if I don’t work?
Are there any agencies able to help with all of this application process?
Thank you very much
One of the non-negotiable requirements is of three years work permits working for a thai company and associated tax returns. As it currently stands, you won’t be eligible to apply for thai citizenship.
Sorry for the bad news.
Hello Chris, thanks for all your work on the information you provide here.
You mentioned: “Working for a Thai Company” in the reply above.
Is that strictly meant as: 51% Thai owned company? Or is that any type of shareholder structure company that is operating within Thailand? (Like 100% foreign owned company in an IEAT zone or a trading company with Commerce Ministry License or anything other than a 51% Thai shareholders company.)
Reason for asking is that I’m working (with work permit) with the same company for over 15 years, salary requirements no problem, married 17 years and 2 sons holding Thai passports. I’m looking to retire sometime next couple years and not looking forward to doing visa renewals.
My life is here, but no Thai language skills. So start to think of the passport option.
Your company set up is fine. Plenty of people apply who are working for BOI or firms like that. I dare say you’ll be exactly they type of candidate the authorities want.
As for Thai language skills, they are waived if you are married. Check out the points test guide in the article to get a rough idea of what you’ll score.
Main thing to get now in preparation is to get your name on a Bangkok registered yellow house book and to make a donation to charity.
Let’s say if I pass all the criteria (work permit more than 3 years, Non-immigrant almost 20 years, have a thai employer which is a government school having an English program) except my salary is low, is there any chance?
You need to earn the minimum salary unfortunately so 40k per month if married to a thai citizen or 80,000k per month if not.
Hi all. I am planning to move to Thailand with my Thai girlfriend who I plan to marry but I will still be working for my company based in UK as a remote worker. Will I still be able to apply for Citizenship even though I will be paying Thai taxes but working for a UK based company?
Congrats on your upcoming move. Unfortunately, work permits and three years of tax records from a thai employer are non-negotiable aspects of the process.
Hi! Is it possible to be qualified for Thai citizenship if I own a Thai company and I’m not working for a Thai employer? I have met all other conditions
You need to be working in Thailand, for a Thai company. If that company just happens to be yours, and is operating legitimately and isn’t a shell company, so long as you meet all the other criteria then you should be able to apply.
Hi, Married to thai have 4 children am a pensioner,and retired, wife is working age, she has residence in her name in thailand ,which her sister looks after and lives in, the wife and kids have dual citizenship(austrailian)
Hi Ray – nice to hear from you. Not sure if I’m answering your question here, but if you aren’t working in Thailand in the three years leading up to your application, you aren’t eligible for Thai citizenship. Unfortunately the work criteria is a non-negotiable for applicants for Thai citizenship.
There is no reference to 3 years of leaving in Thailand. Where is this requirement specified?
Similarly there is no reference to the required income. Where is the 40000 baht a month is coming from?
I meant to write no reference in the nationality act
Hi Nik – that’s cause it isn’t referenced in the nationality act. The broader qualifications are outlined under ministerial approved regulation which essentially outlines the qualifying criteria. The minister’s power to do so is outlined in Section 6 of the Nationality Act.
You can pick up these directives at special branch but we’ve got them here linked in the following article to this one.
Hi I have lived in thailand for 12 years after I got married to my Thai wife but I don’t work in thailand. How would I become a Thai citizen?
The long and short of it is that if you aren’t working in Thailand for a Thai employer, on a non-immigrant extension of stay and paying the requisite tax for three years – then there isn’t a path to citizenship for you.
Theoretically the employer could be your wife’s company?
Hi Nick, it can be any Thai registered company that provides you with a work permit and is properly registered etc. Just needs to be a doing proper business etc as opposed to a shell company set up simply for the purposes of getting citizenship etc.
If married/working from March of the first year does that mean the 3 years doesn’t begin until the next January 1st as one wouldn’t have a full year tax return? Thanks for the great info!
Hi Andy – the anniversary is counted according to your visa. So March to March in your case.
Is it realistic to get a citizenship by employing yourself at your own business? Also, will you need a business visa in this case?
I’m on a marriage visa now, and it’s more convenient for a long stay inside of Thailand since you don’t have to leave every 90 days as on a business visa. As I know, you can obtain a work permit on a marriage visa too, but is it gonna work the same way when applying for the citizenship?
So plan is:
-Stay on marriage visa
-Get work permit in your own company for 3 years
-Apply for citizenship
Is it gonna work?
So its entirely possible for people to get citizenship based of self employment. It really comes down to making sure that the company itself remains profitable, has real clients as opposed to phantom ones, and has all its books in order.
Hi, could we apply during the 3rd year living in Thailand with work permit from Thai company, married with Thai woman or do we have to wait & apply in fact during year 4 ?
In your 4th year.
You’ll need a full three years of work permits, extensions of stays and tax returns behind you before you can submit your application. I hope that makes sense!
Thanks! I understand & will keep waiting next year.
Hi, I’ve been here 10 years. I read, write and speak reasonable Thai. I’m married to a Thai, earn over 40k per month and about to apply to pay income tax here instead of UK…. But, I’m retired so not working here. Can I still apply?
Thanks for reaching out with your question. Unfortunately a work permit is one of the non-negotiable and it must be issued by a Thai employer. So at this stage it doesn’t look like you’d be eligible without having worked for a thai company for three years.
The majority of Thai schools up north do not pay 40,000 a month, but close to it. Will that be an issue?
Hi there, so the hard and fast rule is an average of 40,000 baht per month. No way around it but it doesn’t have to be from one employer.
If you can manage it, supplement your income during holidays via an official employer to get you over the 40k average threshold. The source of these salaries needs to be properly documented but in the three years leading up to application if you can figure out a way to ‘top up’ your average salary then you should be fine.
Also don’t forget to include any bonuses or allowances you may get in addition to your monthly salary. All these are considered income.
I live 11 years in Thailand. Married to Thai wife. High education. High income from abroad as author. Pay every year taxes in Thailand (In 2021 I have paid 3,500,000 baht). Have no work permit, because income comes from Belgium. So, I cannot apply for Thai Citizenship, because I have no work permit?
Yes unfortunately that is the case given that WP and working for a Thai company is one of the requirements. I’d have a chat to the people at special branch – I haven’t seen any exceptions in the rules however. Normally people set up their own business to channel their foreign income through and use that business to employ themselves. Bureaucratic yes, but its the only way that I’ve seen which works.
I arrived in Thailand at the age of 65 in 2011. I got married to a Thai citizen in 2012 and am still married and support her and her 4 children. Obviously my age prohibited me from working so does the fact that I have never worked in Thailand automatically disqualify me?
Hi Ray – so unfortunately you won’t be eligible for either PR or citizenship which require you to be working in the three years immediately leading up to application.
There is nothing under Thai law stopping you from working legally here even at your age, and some people do apply based upon the work they do in their own businesses etc.
Does one need to live three years uninterrupted in Thailand? or does the marriage visa just need to be extended during a period of three years while during that time it’s okay to travel abroad for extended periods of time?
Thank you in advance.
It needs to be three years of consecutive extensions of stay, work permits, and tax returns. All of these need to have no breaks – it is a non-negotiable.
If you travel abroad and have a valid re-entry permit, then this will not break the consecutive nature of your permissions to stay, nor reset the three year clock.
Hello, is it necessary to hold a WP with one employer for three years, or can you have held WPs over three years but with different employers?
I can’t give you the exact formula but you can change work permits SO LONG as there is absolutely no gap between them. Also, I seem to recall that SB prefer you to be on the same work permit for the same company in the year leading up to application.
Thanks for this. OK, that makes things a bit easier. Thanks for the great service.
One more question on this. Where could I get this confirmed. Would it be worthwhile checking with Special Branch?
Yep – SB are the place to confirm everything!
I have been a PR for 2.5 years and am married to a Thai citizen. However, I will retire next month. Will I still be able to apply for Thai citizenship after 5 years of PR. I do have a reasonable pension and significant savings.
Unfortunately not working any more means you don’t qualify for citizenship. Its probably a bit late for you now given your intention to retire, but given you are married to a Thai citizen, and working, you can apply for citizenship at any time so long as you’ve been married three years (one year with children). Similar to PR etc there is a lowish income hurdle 40K but overall people tell me the experience applying for citizenship is a lot less stressful than PR (I’ve only done the citizenship process). So if Citizenship is a serious goal then working is essential unfortunately.
Sorry I don’t have better news on that front.
I believe that Thailand now requires an applicant for citizenship to sign a document, endorsed by the applicants embassy, stating that they will renounce their original citizenship if granted Thai citizenship.
Is this correect?
Yes there is, but in most cases, it isn’t enforceable. Please take a look at this article we have on it.
People are routinely still given Thai citizenship even though they may not have gone through with the renunciation. There has been no instances in the Royal Gazette of naturalised Thai’s having their citizenship removed for not formally renouncing their other citizenship.
The instances where it may be removed (for naturalised citizens) is contained in this article.
Hei! I am a Norwegian citizen and married to a thai. We currently live in norway but are going to move to Thailand. I work offshore in norway so i will keep doing that. Is it any chance for me to get a thai citizenship. And if it is, is it possible to keep both passports?
Best regards – Odin
Thanks for your message. So there is an income element – you need to earn a minimum income for three years (40,000 baht per month if married) via a Thai company and have the requisite work permits etc to go with that. Without those elements (Thai WP and tax returns) you won’t be eligible.
So if you want to be strategic about it, your establishment in Thailand needs to include some Thai sourced income. I know you work offshore, but if your company can arrange for a portion of your salary to be paid to you in Thailand via a local subsidiary, then that will help you meet the requirements.
Thailand has no issue with dual nationality, so its only if Norway doesn’t allow it.
Hi, I’m just starting this, and I’ve yet to set foot on Thailand soil (current situation and all) but i digress, if i’m married to a Thai woman, do I have to have the 40k and go through the entire process of staying there for 3 years? Just to get Thai nationality? I’m also wanting to have her get dual citizenship to come to the USA, I realize it looks like a “mountain of paperwork ” and it’s probably not as bad as it looks here, is there anything that you can advise me on to expedite the process? anything you can help me with would be of great help.
So, yep, you have to be in Thailand living (on annual extensions of stay) and working, earning at least 40K per month (on average) and paying tax on it. So you’ll be required to have proper work permits etc as evidence as well.
Nothing you can do to expedite the process – in fact this route is the expedited procedure only given to those who are married to Thai citizens. Otherwise you have to hold PR for 5 years, which in itself takes 3 years to qualify.
HI, Im and Aussie and Filipino passport holder. been here for 3 years now on a non imm visa. I am a shareholder and director of a manufacturing and exporting company based in BKK. My Thai is not great. Wanted your opinion on my chances of PR, thanks mate.
So I’m basing my answer with the assumption that you’ve got the requisite work permits and income/tax history to go with that…
When it comes to PR – the scoring arrangements isn’t made particularly clear. What I do know is that for the Thai language skills part, the PR people AT THE MOMENT are placing a higher emphasis on Thai speaking skills than they have in the past. Up until a few years ago people who could barely string a sentence together, but were strong in other areas (salary, work history etc) were being granted PR. From what I heard last year in particular the PR people are more resistant to accepting applications from people who’s Thai language skills aren’t great.
So what is the standard? While there is no hard and fast rule – the ablilty to talk about yourself in Thai, and communicate with the PR people regarding your application seems to be the threshold. This is by no means fluent by any means but it does require some level of ability gained from daily use.
Whatever the case, if you should go down and have a chat to them to discuss an application. Now is an excellent time as formal applications aren’t being accepted yet. If you find them encouraging based on your interactions with them then you should apply.
Sorry I can’t be more specific but I hope that helps somewhat.
You been very helpful. Thanks mate! Last question, is this the place I should head to for questions or is the local immigration where i renew my 90 days permit sufficient?
Sub-division 1,Immigration Division 1, The Government Complex Commemorating His Majesty The King’s 80th Birthday Anniversary,5th December, B.E. 2550 (2007), Building B, 2nd Floor, Counter D, 120 Moo 3, Chaengwattana Road, Thungsonghong Sub-District, Bangkok, 10210.
Yep, the PR people are located at the immigration office at Chaeng Wattana. Best head down before they are inundated with applications during the normal end of year rush.
hi first thanks for the useful information. i have a 1 small question that my recent passport has void visa stamp on my Thai wife visa stamped so it will be effect if i going to apply for Thai nationality in the future.
wait for your kind reply
I don’t think it should have an effect, but please keep in mind that the requirements for applying include an uninterrupted three years of non-immigrant extensions of stay before you apply.
Good luck with it all!
Thxx u so much for info
How about someone who is married to a Thai woman AND who lives in Thailand for +1 year AND has a fully pension from abroad? Meaning, someone who has his regular income from abroad (+- 85000 THB) and is not able to work anymore (so, no Thai work permit)?
Thanks in advance
Hi there, so unfortunately having three years of work permits from a thai employer and accompanying tax returns on the income from that job is a non negotiable part of the process which means that the circumstances you outline don’t qualify.
Great info, thanks. I read some (unconfirmed) info that the 3 year requirements are shortened to 1 year for those married to a Thai. Is this true? I could not find any info on it so I guess not, but then again my Thai skills are not that good yet.
Thanks for your message.
So yes, that is partially true. You only have to be married on year if you have children, otherwise if no children it is three years. Note however, being married does not decrease the requirements for three years of work permits and tax returns.
Please note these topics are covered in greater detail on the website, so please explore those articles too.
Don’t hesitate to ask any more questions however.
This is a great information and everything seems to be clear on paper.
However, does it actually work in reality? According to the anecdotal stories, eligible applicants wouldn’t get approved for years without little to no explanation. Thank you
The easy answer is ‘yes’. The average turn around for qualified applicants is about three years from application to Thai ID card. There have been times in the past, in the early 2000’s when applications did take longer, but for the past decade or so most applications have been processed fairly routinely. The only people who tell you these anecdotal stories – in my experience – are ones who have never even applied.
Hope this helps.
Very kind of you offer help and advice , generosity like this always repaid.
I been married to Thai national for 20 years daughter born Thailand , son Mauritius , have lived in UK for 17 years, am I eligible for citizenship
Hi there Carl,
Thanks for your kind words.
If you are living in the UK then unfortunately no. One of the requirements to apply for citizenship based on marriage is that you have been living in Thailand for the past 3 years, working and paying tax - so based on what you have told me, at present you aren't eligible.
Hope this helps.
So what if an American woman wants to get Thai citizenship when married to a Thai man? I saw nothing on women in this article, only men. Just curious if it’s possible.
The 6th paragraph of this article – just before ‘What the Legislation Says’ – has a link to an entire article on the subject.
I haven’t been able to find anywhere that confirms if you can use a work permit for a company that has BOI status.
Do you have an idea ?
Thanks for your message.
There isn’t any specific confirmation given that all work permits are valid for applying for Thai citizenship – whether it’s issued via BOI processes or via Ministry of Labour channels.
Thank you, that’s everything I needed to know. I’ll have to wait about another 2 years then, unless a baby happens to appear!
Hi, first of all thank you for the useful information on this page. I have just one query that I hope you have the answer to:
I’ve been living in Thailand for nearly 3 years, with continuous employment with a Thai company on Non-B visa without any breaks, and got married to a Thai woman about a year ago. Do I need to wait until I’ve been married for 3 years before I can consider applying, or could I in theory apply any time after I’ve been employed here for 3 years?
You’ll need to be married for a full three years if applying based on marriage, however this is reduced to one year of you have a child. In either cases, you still need to be working/paying taxes legally for three years before you apply.
Hope this clears things up!
First, I appreciate your very informative webpage!
I have a Non B visa and been working for a Thai university as a lecturer for almost 2 years now but, my salary was not over 40k all the time! I got a little bit confused if after three years having this visa, I will be eligible to apply for Thai citizen or not!
Hi there Mohammad
Thanks for your kind message. You need a minimum average of 40,000 per month so if your total salary for the year is 480,000 baht (ie 40,000 x 12 months) given you also received bonus or other payments then that will be considered. So if you have this for the proceeding three years then you will be fine.
If you haven’t already, please check out the article on the points test HERE where you see how the points are calculated.
Compliments first on your very informative webpage. I/We have regularly been in and out of Thailand with my work (Not Thailand based), and married to a Thai for 7 plus years – we have our home there. We haven’t been able to get back into Thailand for nearly 18 months (yes, COVID), however, I’ve had the non-immigration O visa based on marriage for 6 years. Couldn’t renew last one as we couldn’t get back in and I wanted to still remain employed overseas – thus the visa is now interrupted. Your comment says three consecutive years. Do you consider that immigration/special branch would still consider an application, with such an interruption?
Thanks for your kind compliments and glad you have found the website useful and sorry to hear you have been stuck outside of Thailand.
To your question, your application won’t be considered because of a couple of main factors:
– as you say, you don’t have consecutive extensions of stay and to my knowledge the only people they are allowing back in the country to maintain their status are Thai permanent residents who have been stuck overseas and whose PR lapsed after 365 days away
– more importantly however, one of the non-negotiables is having three years of consecutive Work Permits from a Thai employer. That combined with three years of Thai tax returns means that you don’t qualify to apply at present based on what you’ve told me.
Essentially, at some point in the future, if you decide to return to Thailand and work, after earning an average of THB40,000 per month from a Thai employer for the required three years will make you eligible.
Sorry for being the barer of bad news in this instance.
Firstly just like to say thanks for providing all of this information.
I am planning to move to Thailand early next year with my Thai wife, and will be working for a Thai based employer. I was just wondering if the expedited citizenship also applies if working for 3 years on a smart visa rather than the non-immigrant visa? The smart visa does not require a work permit.
Thanks for your question.
To be honest the smart visa is a pretty recent initiative from the Thai governments. As such it is uncharted territory as to how it translates over to both PR and citizenship applications.
I think this year will see the first cohort of smart visa holders reach the three year threshold so I think in the next 12 months we will hear news on this front.
Sorry I can’t be more definitive but fingers crossed holders will be eligible.
I living in Thailand already 3 years and have a work permit. Income is 50k per month. If I will marry tomorrow as a fake marriage will I be able to apply for citizenship immediately?
No you won’t.
Great info, thanks. How permanent is the citizenship/passport. Does it depend upon one being employed continually? I’m not planning on quitting my job of 15 years just because I acquire a passport (nor can I afford to), but I’m curious about the permanence.
Once granted, citizenship is permanent. The only time the law allows citizenship to stripped is in a couple of very limited circumstances. Check out point four in this following article for details HERE.
Hi. Thanks for making this information more widely known. However, whilst I have been married to my Thai wife for 8 years I have also been retired for a couple of years now.. However, I did work for over 5 years at a Bangkok University with an annual update to my work permit and did easily meet, with including my monthly overtime, the requisite 40,000 baht figure. My query is whether the past overtime and work permits would qualify me for citizenship. Certainly, an average of all my yearly income including overtime would work out at 50,000 baht a year. This information could easily be verified by the university’s human relations and accounts departments. At present I still bring well over 40,000 baht from my private pension in the UK. Kind regards.
Hi Martin – thanks for your message.
Unfortunately in your circumstance, you don’t qualify.
One of the non negotiables with this process is that you need to be working at the time of application for the requisite three years leading up to that point.
Stopping work automatically resets the clock and unfortunately again, pension income does not count. Income needs to be from a Thai registered employer.
Hi, just wondering if anything is possible through having a Thai national child. I’m not married to the father, however the child was born and raised in Thailand. It’s my country of residence for the past 13 years with the exception of a 2 years contract in Indonesia a few years back. I’m on a family non-O (mother of a Thai child) for the first time, had WP and Thai employers before that. French passport if that matters in any way.
Unfortunately in your situation, there isn’t a direct path to citizenship given the legislation only provides an expedited path if married. Furthermore, Thailand doesn’t recognise civil partnership in a similar manner to the west so that option is out unfortunately.
For you the next best option would be Permanent residency. If you haven’t already please check out our article on it HERE.
Under the humanitarian category, you will need to be working here legally on three years of consecutive extensions of stay and have evidence of tax returns at the time of application. However the income threshold is lowered from 80,000 baht per month to 30,000 baht per month. Check out this link on the immigration website and note section 3.3.3 which would apply to you.
Let me know if you have any more questions.
Hi, I am married to my Thai wife for 9 years, we have a 7 year old son, I have a yellow Tambien book for about 6/8 years and an Alien card for 5 years.I currently still work in the oil and gas industry and work away doing 2 three month trips a year.My wife has her own business in Thailand.Is there some way I can apply for Thai Citizenship without having a Thai work visa for 3 years? I usually enter on a Non O multi entry based on Marsalis.Thank you kindly for your help, Thanks & Regards Derek
Thanks for your message.
Unfortunately no, it needs to be with a Thai employer and you need the three years of work permits and Thai tax returns and continuous extensions of stay. Simply not way around these requirements I’m afraid.
Thanks for the prompt reply and information, I guess I will just have to wait until retirement and opening of a business.
Have a great day,
Happy to help. Sorry I couldn’t be the bearer of better news. Just to be clear too, being on a retirement visa makes you ineligible as well…basically formally working in thailand is the only thing that makes you eligible.
Was wondering if you are married to a thai citizen but is unemployed, and living in thailand for 3 years will that be a problem applying for citizenship?
So just to be clear: foreign husband, Thai wife. The Thai wife is unemployed.
If that is the case, then not a problem so long as the foreign husband himself meets the work and income thresholds.
Appreciate all the great info. Do you need to be married to a Thai National for the full three years? Say I have over 3 years of required employment history however have only been married for 2 years, would I still qualify?
If you don’t have kids, then 3 years of marriage is needed. If with kids, then only one year of marriage.
The other stuff (3 years WP, tax returns etc) are all still the same and don’t get reduced.
Hope this helps!
Can you apply if you are a single father with full custody of your Thai children?
Unfortunately the legislation only offers the ability to skip PR if you are married to a Thai citizen. In your case, PR would be the first step and, similar to citizenship, will require you to be working legally in Thailand for three years with the minimum income before applying.
Hi , Ive lived in Bangkok for more than ten years. Worked at Bangkok UNi for two years. Married to a Thai girl at Amper Huay Kwang in 2006. Came back to Oz alone for medical treatment Feb 2020 and stuck here since. Wife (Meow) has gone back up country, past Nakhon Sawan. Dont have any tax records for BU job. Was on non-OA extensions, whch expired January 2021. Any way for me to apply for Thai citizenship? Thanks, Glen Lewis
Thanks for reaching out. Sorry to hear you had to head back for medical reasons. I know a few people in the same situation.
To be honest, at this point you don’t qualify. Sounds like you were on retirement extensions which are ineligible to start with, and you need to be working for an uninterrupted three years leading up to the application (with the three years of tax, WPs and employment records as evidence)as a minimum at the time of application.
So if you are interested in applying, basically the three year prerequisite clock starts ticking again when you begin work in Thailand again. Sounds like your old job was fine, there are plenty of university employees who get citizenship, but you need to make sure they were employing you formally and convert the non-OA to a proper business visa for the purposes of employment.
Sorry I don’t have more positive news for you.
Thanks. Guess I’ll have tp pursue the marriage visa path. best, Glen
I am an American man married to Thai lady.
I just checked, and Thailand does not allow “dual citizenship.”
So I would have to renounce my American passport, in the event I obtain Thai citizenship.
Do I understand this correctly?
Thanks for your clear and well written articles!
Thanks for your message and glad you like the articles.
Unfortunately there is a lot of misunderstanding about the topic of dual citizenship.
Please check out our general article on dual citizenship here: “Thai dual citizenship – is it legal?”
In terms of having to renounce citizenship to gain Thai citizenship – that is not actually what’s required. That issue is addressed in the article about the actual citizenship process, but you can access that here: “Renouncing your non-Thai citizenship”
Feel free to browse the website as I think you’ll find most of your questions answered here and misconceptions set straight.
3 years of a Thai Based business, is that a Thai owned business or can our business that we hope to start and run in Thailand ? Will that qualify?
Its three years of uninterrupted extensions of stay + 3 years back to back work permits (no gaps) + 3 years of tax returns. You can only get a work permit working for a Thai based entity, which can be your or another company. If it is your company, there will probably be a bit of extra scrutiny that it is an ongoing and profitable concern with sufficient paid up capital etc, so as to prevent applicants simply setting up a company for the purposes of qualifying for citizenship.
I am going on my second year extension and work permit. I had a WP from 2014-2015 but because it wasn’t continued and not consecutive, it won’t count. However, I did get myself registered on my wife’s tabien ban at that time. My question is, even without all those years in between of not having a valid visa or even living in Thailand, will I still get “credit” for all those years I continued to remain on the registration?
Being on the yellow TB for more than 5 years should give you an extra 5 points, so from that perspective it should count – so that is good news on that front. From the sound of it you have one more year/extension to go before you are eligible, so good luck with it all. Not too far off!
I tick all the boxes – Thai wife, multiple extensions (currently Non-F since 2018 and lots of Non-B from 2005 to 2015), income tax, and accompanying work permits. The main issue is my salary. Having worked for a university, my basic salary has been been sub-40k. If that is strictly enforced then PR is my only path. In my nearly 20 years of stay in Thailand, I have never been recored in a blue book or have owned any “colored” book(s). Apart from WP and immigration stamps, a driver’s license is the only “official” document I have issued to my name.
Thanks in advance and awesome information!
Glad you’ve found the site useful!
So you’ll definitely need to yet your name on a yellow tabieen baan, as that is one of the non-negotiables, but it shouldn’t be an issue to get your name on one (see this article here). The rest of the documentation you need is contained on this website as well.
As for your earnings, yes the 40K per month is also a hard and fast rule for citizenship applications. You mention that it is your ‘basic salary’ which is below 40K. Does this mean you have other sources of employment income in Thailand? As long as they can be documented, and the proper tax is paid on them, then there is no reason why it can’t count towards your 40K and hopefully take you over the limit. This could be consulting fees, honorariums etc that add to your overall tally.
thanks for the swift reply! aside from my basic salary, i do get housing allowance which brings my monthly gross to over 40k. i’ll have to double check if that is being taxed. if it does, then i should be good. i have another source of income but it comes from a NGO, which makes my salary from it tax-exempt.
one more thing on the registration. is there a minimum period that i should be on a blue book for my registration to be valid for the application? also, does it matter if i don’t live in the house where my name is on? let’s say, i’m on a blue book in a house in songkhla but i physically live in bangkok.
From my (admittedly vague) understanding of Thai taxes your housing allowance is taxed and even through your employer has it as a seperate accounting line item, from a revenue department perspective it is all ‘income’. So I’d just check your previous years tax returns and see what the gross amount of ‘income’ was put on those, but I’d expect to find it would put you over the 40K threshold.
As for your work for the NGO – it doesn’t hurt to include that income too, so I’d put that in your application and point out the combined salary.
With respect to your tabieen baan, basically the only place to apply for citizenship is Bangkok. So your tabieen baan needs to be an address in Bangkok. Special branch doesn’t care if you aren’t actually registered in the place you are really living, they just need to have your ‘formal’ address to be in Bangkok. That will involve moving your tabieen baan from Songhkla to Bangkok. There is no minimum amount of time you need to be registered on the house book. Most citizenship applicants only tend to get their names on a TB right before they apply. So no stress on timings there.
thank you so much! i will look into my previous tax returns.
(sorry for the “color-blind” response i sent previously. by “blue”, i meant “yellow”. :D)
Hi I downloaded all the documents and forms 3 years ago but want to be sure I use the latest version. When I press the link on the special branch website I get a log in screen but I don’t see a way to create a login. do you know where to download the application form?
Yes, I’ve noticed that the link on the SB web page does divert you to a log in page, very strange! We’ve reproduced a pretty comprehensive list here but you should head down to speak to SB as they will give you the latest info and potentially ask for some additional information depending on your personal circumstances.
Also note, there is no application form per se that you need to fill in. Your basic job will be to collect the required documents (liaising with SB as you do) and when SB are confident you have everything you need, they will set a meeting date where you come and formally apply and they will basically type up the application themselves.
Hope this helps and good luck with your application!
Thanks, I downloaded the forms 3 years ago and went down to SB yesterday. The officer in charge confirmed the printed documents from 3 years ago are still correct. I just went to ask them to have a look at my papers but they wanted to start the application process straight away until they saw my yellow book is from upcountry and they told me to transfer to BKK. Name needs to be on a tabien bahn to consider the application so just remove from a tabien bahn is not an option. No idea how to solve this hurdle but the rest of the document where accepted. The only woman in the room is from my wifes hometown so we had some laughs though.
That’s correct, to apply in Bangkok you need to have your Tabieen Baan in Bangkok. The upside is that you don’t have to be living at that address, just registered there. The SB officers know that applying up country is generally a non-starter so are happy if you are a Bangkokian in name only.
You’ll obviously need to find someone within the greater BKK area who is happy to have your and your wife’s name on their TB. So hopefully you have some friends or relatives, and this isn’t too much of a hassle.
The process for moving TB is pretty straight forward and nothing to stress about. Your wife can simply turn up to the new district office (and with the permission of the house master) have her name moved there and an new ID card issued.
For yourself, moving yellow TB addresses is simple but requires a simple extra step. You need to go to the current district office where you are registered (along with the house master) and tell them you want to be moved off from that address. The district office will print out a piece of paper which you keep and then take to the new district office (wherever that may be). You turn up to the new district office (along with the new house master) and they will simply print out a new yellow TB for you with your name in that.
Following that, you’ll be good to go to apply for citizenship at SB in Bangkok.
Hopefully that all makes sense and good luck with it all.
Thanks. I’ve been living and working in Bangkok for 10 years but registered last year on the TR13 upcountry, not knowing how useless that was. A friend is helping out and move my name to Bangkok. That should be solved.
It’s not useless. You’ve jumped the hurdle of having the yellow tabieen baan, so moving it to Bangkok is a relatively simple process and doesn’t require you to reapply. All you need to do (For the yellow tabieen baan) is have the district office take you off the register, and they will give you a piece of paper to take to your new district, where you can simply be registered on the house book there. In both cases (leaving the old, and put on the new house book), you’ll need the respective house masters and likely your good self to attend. Hopefully the latter isn’t the case (for getting off the register) but I just wanted to flag it just in case you needed to travel there.
Hi, Is the job, work permit and taxes paid required in all circumstances? I have been living in Thailand full time since 1988, registered marriage in 1997, permanent resident since 2006, presently 64 years of age. I previously had work permits and paid taxes for 15 years, but have been retired for the past 12 years. Do I have any hope for citizenship, or do I need to get a job? Thank you.
Thanks for your message.
Unfortunately the three years of tax returns, WPs and job are a non-negotiable in this instance.
Thank you very much, time to get the job
I went to the police station and they told me that I have to give up my Swedish citizenship to become a Thai citizen. I don’t really want to start arguing with the officer based on what I have read online, but this seems to be a gray area. How should I proceed?
When you say you went to speak to the ‘police station’ do you mean the National Police HQ on Rama 1 Rd in Bangkok, or somewhere else?
Technically there is a requirement for you to announce your intention to renounce your citizenship, which is somewhat different to actually going through with it. Please check out this article here which explains the ins and outs of this issue.
Thank you – this is very helpful. One more question – I did increase my salary in thailand now – will I get the points level based on the current salary or will it based on an average over the last few years? I am trying to ascertain if it’s worth my while increasing my salary in Thailand for the purpose of the application.
Many thanks for all this again. I am going to visit the police this week and start getting ready for the application.
You have two choices, doing it based on this years salary, or last years salary (see out scoring criteria article here. Being married, an average monthly salary which will get you max points (25 points) is THB60K if based on this years verified salary, or THB80K per month if using last years salary.
Thank you for all this.
I have 8 years of work permits and meet the salary requirement, I am married to a Thai and have a new born child and I speak and read / write thai. I hold postgraduate degrees from University.
I just got the yellow tai baan 6 months ago when reading your website and my marriage certificate was just registered 2 years ago even through we have been married for 6 years.
Can I apply now based on these facts or do I need to wait until the yellow book is at 3 years even though my work permits are 8 years?
Thanks for your message. No need for you to have the yellow book for the 3 years, you can literally have it issued the day before you apply. The only thing holding it for an extended period of time will do is add to your points tally, which may be useful for those who are borderline eligible.
Hopefully that helps and good luck with the application!
Hi, I love the way you explain and it really helps me a lot.
I met all the criteria except for marriage registration. I have a Thai wife but haven’t registered yet. If I start registering from now, how long of a married period do I need to submit a citizenship request, I mean, is 6 months period of married possible, or I have to wait until 1 year?
Hi there, you need to be formally married for 1 year if you have a child, or 3 years without a child. Being formally married for 6 months like you suggest won’t be accepted.
l have been visiting Thailand for 6 years, before retiring and moving to Thailand. I have resided here and married. I have no need or desire to work due to my age. With the current pandemic it would facilitate my departure and reentry to Thailand if I held Thai citizenship. Do you have any suggestions as to whom I should petition to get the law changed to facilitate retirees getting citizenship?
Hi – the Ministry of Interior is in charge of citizenship applications and they are probably your best bet. I’m very sympathetic to your plight, but petitioning for granting long term pensioners citizenship rights is a non-starter. Most countries don’t do it, and in Thailand’s case is akin to simply buying citizenship given that all you need to qualify for a retirement visa is 800,000 baht or $26,000 odd dollars in the bank.
I am much more sympathetic to spouses of Thai citizens being granted long term residency rights as a matter of course however. That is a basic human rights issue and I think an argument along those lines is something that will gain more traction. I will note that citizenship law as it stands is a movement in that direction, but as you say, the work requirement is a non-starter, particularly for those who no longer need to work for the sake of it so you are best off (in my opinion) targeting the removal of that particular clause.
I will also note that all the major western chambers of commerce regularly advocate for this very issue, but with little progress.
All the best with your efforts.
I’m presently being “maintained” by my Thai child. Have been so for 6 years now. Is there a way to citizenship for me?
Hi there – unless you are working and have three years of WP and tax returns, then unfortunately not.
Sorry I don’t have better news.
Hello – I’ve been married for 10 years to a Thai woman and have been living in Thailand for over 20 years. I worked for a Thai company & had a work permit/paid taxes, etc. for the first 13 years, but have not worked for the past 8 years, & don’t plan to, as I saved up enough for retirement. Is citizenship still a possibility, or do I have to be currently working? Thanks!
Thanks for your message! Bad news unfortunately in that your current non-working status doesn’t make you eligible based on the system that exists now.
Wish I could have had better news for you.
Hi – very interesting information re citizenship. Does the marriage have to have been registered in Thailand (for one year marriage with kids)? My Thai wife and I have an Australian marriage certificate from 2001, but have never registered in TH. Every aspect i can cover in terms of continuous WP and taxes for over 20 years, and I am listed as father of our two sons in the blue Tabien Baan book.
So you’ll definetly need a couple of different things for this, which essentially having your marriage registered here (note this doesn’t’ amount to getting re-married).
-A certified translation of your Australian marriage certificate. Once you have this, you can go to your district office and apply for a:
-Form Khor Ror 22 (คร .22) ทะเบียนฐานะแห่งครอบครัว which is essentially a document registering your marriage status here based on your wedding certificate from Australia.
Both these documents will be needed from our experience, along with you being on a yellow tabieen baan.
Hope this helps.
One more questions; When you apply for Thai Citizenship do they test your Thai at time of application or does this come at a later date?
Hi RJ, its generally done at the time of the formal application.
A fantastic site with valuable information you have set up here; Thank you.
Would you recommend using a Lawyer to assist with the Thai Citizenship process, or is it easy enough to do ourselves?
Totally recommend doing it yourself. Lawyers don’t really add too much value to this process and the main bulk of the work will be for you to gather the required documents, most which you will probably have already. The best thing to do is go down to the special branch and chat to the officers there. They will give you a complete list of documents needed. There aren’t any applications to fill in etc. Once you have gathered all the correct documents, the special branch people will actually fill out the required forms etc, so no legal expertise needed on that side from you either.
All the best with your application!
Fantastic, Thank you.
Really appreciate your reply.
Hi, I’d like to thank you for this great resource, it has been a tremendous help for me. I have a question regarding the Thai name (link in the text does not work btw) – when you choose this name, is this going to become your new legal name, ie. will be listed instead of your current one in all the legal documents once you get citizenship?
Hi there – glad you are finding the site useful! Also thank you for letting me about the broken link. It appears to have changed so I’ve updated it with the offical DOPA one which hopefully won’t change.
No, you don’t have use your new Thai name. Getting it is a formality for the purposes of getting citizenship – so no stress there unless you really want to change it on all your ID documents.
All the best with your application!
Hi there, so what is the purpose of this name? Just a formality or will be used somewhere on some ID or document? Because it needs to be specific and unique..
Hi there – it appears it is just a formality these days. You can choose to use it or not, and my understanding is most do not.
very useful information – thank you. I have been married to a Thai national for 27 years and can meet most all of the point requirements, I wonder about the employment in Thailand, though (although my job is very secure). I work for the UN, of which Thailand is a member, but my work is not based in Thailand. I have held a yellow household registration booklet for the past 11 years and have made Thailand my home since 1988. Are there provisions addressing those who work as International Civil Servants?
I’m assuming that you are a male and your wife is Thai. Not being based in Thailand for work and with no ongoing extensions of stay I think it might be a bridge too far.
Even if you have been consistently based in Thailand since 1988 (eg working ‘out of’ the UN regional HQ here)- I suspect they will want to see the proper extensions of stay from the UN role for 3 years leading up to application. However, I’m not sure how Special Branch would view the lack of work permit and tax payments which come as part of being a UN employee. But if you were, it wouldn’t hurt to go and ask them if there is a special dispensation for people in your situation given they aren’t required under Thailand’s own laws.
Hi, for the work permit/thai company section, if i own a cafe or company with my thai wife and with valid work permit for 3 years (with tax record), does this qualify? Instead of working for a thai company. Many thanks.
As long as it is a legitimate business and you have all the requisite documentation including an income paid by your company to yourself above the income threshold, then yes, you should be eligible. Given that you are applying this route, there will should expect to have your business documentation reviewed as part of the application.
Thank you for this information. I am currently in the process of applying for Thai Nationality. I am almost at the final stage with the Special Branch. About NIA interview, it might not be required in all cases, this is what I heard. Rather, there will an interview in Saphan Khwai area, in some building related to the intelligence department. What do you think?
another question; is there any idea about questions in interior ministry interview?
Yes, I think the NIA interview is now located at their building (I need to update this in the article). I haven’t heard of people not having to do it. In terms of questions, they vary but it you should be fully prepared to outline your history and the reasons you want to live in Thailand. It generally isn’t any more complex than that and it isn’t something to be terribly stressed about. You will have had similar questions already at special branch.
Good luck with getting the application in!
Hi there. I’m applying for citizenship this year and your website has been a great resource. Just one question – The whole process takes many years. So what happens if circumstances change along the way? For example: a child is born; you change jobs or retire; your passport expires; you move to another province.
If you are a male applying, technically you’ll need to remain working all through the process as they will want to see your work permit and tax documents through various stages. Having kids etc will be fine. But don’t retire or stop working until you have gotten the citizenship!
All the best.
Thanks for all the valuable information on the website.
Have you come across a reputable language school in Thailand that you might recommend? I would like to attempt to bump my Thai language proficiency from where it currently is (i.e. atrociously basic) to at least the level where it must be for a citizenship application ot be successful.
Hopefully more than that, actually, as I’d hope to rake-up more points by displaying fluency above and beyond what is required. I am good at learning languages generally (although I never attempted a tonal language before…), but I have found that my individual efforts at home with a book and CD did not get me very far, and my wife and entire native speaking entourage cannot help much, it appears.
I definitely would need a more structured approach, with proper tutors.
Thanks in advance for any insight you might be able to share.
Hi JP – none in particular unfortunately. I know the AUA have a very strucured approach which suits some and puts off others, so may be worth checking out. Other than that I hear Chulalongkorn run a very rigourous course which suits people who have the time to commit to it.
All the best with it all!
Thanks for the information!
I work for an offshore company, and therefore do not have a work permit with a Thai company. Immigration is aware of this.
My question is if the work permit would still be required in my case?
Yes, a work permit is one of the non-negoitable documents you’ll need in order for your application to be accepted. There is no way around this if you are a applying on the basis of being married to a Thai wife.
Hi. Great articles that you have been so kind to pass on. Do you or your company assist in any Thai Citizenship applications? I am sure all forms, applications, etc have to be in Thai. I should probably get all the points required as I have been a PR for 20 years, have a Thai wife, children, house, car, BS and MS, work permit, high salary, speak Thai reasonably well, etc. I am also curious on the need for Proof of Legal Age. I am over 60 so that is kind of stupid actually.
The proof of legal age thing is a strange one i must admit – but I think its overlooked if its clear you are past the age of majority. As for services, we don’t actually, but that is the purpose of the website, so people can do it themselves. I’m of the firm belief that there is no need to hire expensive lawyers etc who simply charge money for no real value add (on this matter at least). While the paperwork hunt can be onerous, a good secretary or EA is the most you need, but most people who can speak a bit of Thai can get the documentation themselves.
There is no application form per se that you have to fill in. Once all the documentation is gathered and Special Branch have determined you have what they need, they organise a formal appointment where they mainly fill out the official application.
If you decide to go ahead with it all, good luck but I suspect you’ll be a very qualified applicant who won’t have too much trouble.
Thanks. I was just wondering. I do have some staff to help but didn’t want to bother them.
I am on my first 1 year extended Non-O extended visa with WP, however I have been registered on a tabien Baan for about 6 years now. I was a work permit holder from 2014-2015, but this was with a Multiple Entry Non-O. My question is, when the time comes that I have indeed fulfilled the three year requirement, would my name being on the yellow book for more than those three years be beneficial or not in terms of adding points to my case?
Yep, being on the yellow book for longer than 5 years should get you an automatic 5 points towards your 50 points needed to pass. In the article above, you’ll see I’ve noted it is one of the ‘easy’ ways of bumping up your score with minimal effort.
Thanks for your informative articles.
1. Do the NIA or any other agencies visit home or office to verify information? Do you have any experience regarding this?
2. Do we need to submit ภงด50 if i am just a staff of the company not a shareholder but my wife owns the company?
Not personally, but I suspect they might if they are worried about your bonafides and want to check your living arrangements, but on the whole I think it is rare. No need to submit shareholdings if you personally aren’t a shareholder, but don’t discount they may want to understand the business you are working for – so additional information above and beyond the list can be asked for (it happens!).
Am I required to physically be in Thailand while working? What if I work for that company that sends me abroad to represent them?
You need to have a current non-immigrant visa and work permit continuous for at least three years before you apply (and then maintained while you wait for approval). This leads to your question – strictly speaking – probably yes, but being outside for extended periods of time shouldn’t be an issue so long as you have the paperwork.
Being overseas will create some issues. As you know, you’ll need three years of tax returns as part of your application, and if you are not resident in Thailand for tax purposes, then you won’t have the required evidence unless you pay all your income tax in thailand.
The other issue is logistics. You typically get very little warning about your interviews. Generally, you’ll only be given a few days notice to be available for interviews which happen through the process, so if you are stuck overseas, then this may create issues in you getting back in time.
Thanks for your reply.
Yeah, the tax issue is puzzling…
You mentioned there are interviews throughout the process – are there multiple of them? I thought I only get to go to the final one.
There will be at least three interviews – your first formal one at special branch, one with the NIA and the final one at the Ministry of Interior.
My understanding is that in order to become a tax resident of Thailand, I need to be there for at least 180 days a year? I read your previous posts, where you said that people who want to strategically aproach the issue could get registered in the yellow book and make three THB5000 donations. Since I am not going to be able to change my tax resedence untill next year as I need to pay taxes to the country of my current residence for citizenship purposes :), I guess I have some time to do what I at least can do today.
I used to work in Thailand, for about 5 years before, had work permit and paid taxes. I am married to a thai citizen. What would you do in the case like mine?
Thank you for your advise!
Yes, you will have to be back here permanently working and paying taxes before you can be eligible, but nothing stopping you getting the yellow tabieen baan now. The charity payments can be done when you move back – no rush on that!
Hi, thank you for providing this useful information. On this page, you state that this process applies to a foreign husband, and it seems the legislation states that too. Is there are different process for a foreign wife? I have been married to my Thai husband for 8 years and he owns property in Thailand. We also have a child together who is a dual citizen. We currently live outside of Thailand but just considering plans for the future and citizenship pathways. Many thanks!
Sorry, I just found the link for women married to Thai men in the article. Thanks!
No worries Sam. Glad you have found the link. It is a featured article at the top of the websites home page if people are looking for it.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Hi – thanks ever so much for this excellent resource. Quick question – how do I get a certificate of legal age? I phoned the UK embassy and they didn’t know what it was.
If you are close to applying, best speak to special branch who will process your application. They will be able to tell you what document will suffice in the case of a British national to prove that they at the age of majority.
All the best with your application Richard!
First of all, thank you so much for this very informative post regarding the Thai nationality. I’ve been trying to hand in my PR applications twice, but they wouldn’t take however it almost looks like applying for citizenship might be easier? I feel confident that I would score pretty highly on the first 3 categories with a Master’s degree and 42 years of age that should be roughly 18/25 pts? I’ve been working for the same company for 10 years so I guess that would also cover the security of the work and the salary is north of 200k, but not sure how they count the security of the job?
Regarding the yellow tabien bahn, I have had one for 3-4 years I think, but in your example, it shows 20 pts, but later in explanation 5 pts? Could you elaborate on this one, please?
The last 3 will be a bit of mystery, I think my Thai reading is better than conversational one, however, I can hardly write anything. So for sure some work to do there.
Should I contact some law firm to assist with the application process and if yes, is there any that you would recommend?
With regards to the tabieen baan, having it means a minimum 5 points. The longer you have it, the more points you get, up to a maximum of 20 points.
The language ‘test’ is a little subjective from all accounts, but even your level of stated Thai will win you a minimum level in that area (at least) and perhaps more depending on how good your reading and conversation is assessed.
If you are at the point of thinking you are near qualified, my best advice is to head down to special branch and have a chat, and they can give you some information on the documents you’ll need to produce and they will give a good feel for whether they are prepared to accept your application. You don’t mentioned how long you’ve been married for or if you have kids. But it is 3 years married of no kids and 1 year married if you do.
Do you need a lawyer? No!!!
This is something you will most likely need to handle yourself as most of the documents are yours anyway. A good assistant maybe, but no a lawyer.
All the best.
Thank You for the clarification on the Tabien Bahn. I guess that would be something between 5-10 pts there then it’s going to be tight. Regarding the donations, do you know what counts? I’ve been helping several NGOs over the years, however, I never asked for any receipt so I have no way to prove it. I guess in the future I need to ask for some kind of evidence? Also is any NGO good enough for this?
Oh yeah and married 3.5 years and no kids, so just about tick that box.
I’d donate to an officially registered Thai charity rather than an NGO. I’d do so now as they look down upon any donations made just before applying.
Many thanks for useful articles. I have some questions if you can answer.
1. How to present them my education certificates? Need translate in thai and verify from embassy and MOFA?
2. I live in Pattaya, do i need to apply in bkk by moving my tabien baan there? Or can i apply around Pattaya?
Thanks in advance.
Best to speak to special branch on what you need translated. I suspect it will be most things not already in Thai, and yes, verified by MOFA. Applying in Bangkok is always the best strategy, so moving your TB there will save alot of hassle dealing with less experienced offices.
All the best with your application.
Hi, Thank you for clear guide, I have just two questions:
1) This year I have PND-91 for 3 years, consecutive NON-O Family extensions for 6 years, but I confused about Work Permits: My first WP on current job was issued 15 NOV 2017, for 2 years, my renewed WP was issued in 29 AUG 2019 for another 2 years. Will be OK to apply this year (DEC 2020) as my “calendar” WP will be more than 3 years in DEC 2020?
2) What about charity donation, may you please recommend where in Bangkok I can get the certificate of Donation? Is the Thai Red Cross OK or any other charity? I plan to donate soon but get a headache to find such Charity.
Thank you again
Yes, the end of 2020 will be three calendar years, and technically you’ll be eligible then. If I were you, I’d start consulting with SB and preparing the paperwork in the leadup to December so that you can formally apply then. Otherwise, if you skip into January 2021 you’ll need the tax return for 2020 done before they’ll let you apply.
As for charity, as long as they can give you an official receipt, then anyone is fine. Thai redcross is a good one. Temples, schools etc, anyone who is a registered charity.
All the best.
No worries Elizabeth. Hopefully all the information is there in the blog that you need, but feel free to ask any additional questions.
Dear, many thanks for providing all this information on Thai citizenship! Greatly appreciated. One question about the document check list: does it also require a “Criminal background check” from the applicant’s home country (legalized and translated)? This document is required for a permanent residency application. If it is not needed for citizenship, that would really save a lot of time. Thank you, Robert
A full list of documents is available here. Good luck with the application!