Thai citizenship for foreigners married to Thai spouse

Chris Larkin

Long time resident of Bangkok. Married, three daughters. Managing director of CLC Asia ( Lots of interesting knowledge and experience built up over time which I hope can be of use to people.

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109 Responses

  1. Martin says:

    Hi Chris. 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.

  2. Mama says:

    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.

    • Hi there,

      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.

  3. Derek McCormack says:

    Hi Chris, 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

    • Hi 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.


      • Derek McCormack says:

        Thanks for the prompt reply and information Chris, I guess I will just have to wait until retirement and opening of a business.
        Have a great day,
        Thanks& Regards

        • Hi Derek,

          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.

  4. Krit says:


    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?

    • Hi there

      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.

  5. Andy says:

    Hi Chris,
    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?
    Thanks, Andy

    • Hi Andy,

      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!

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