Thai citizenship for foreigners married to Thai spouse

Chris Larkin

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

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92 Responses

  1. Dex Marlowe says:

    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, Chris!

    • Hi Dex,

      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.

      Cheers
      Chris

      • Dex Marlowe says:

        thanks for the swift reply, Chris! 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.

        • Hi Dex,

          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.

      • Dex Marlowe says:

        (sorry for the “color-blind” response i sent previously. by “blue”, i meant “yellow”. :D)

  2. Jay says:

    Hi Chris, 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?

    • Hi Jay,

      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!

      • Jay says:

        Thanks Chris, 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.

        • Hi Jay,

          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.

          Cheers
          Chris

          • Jay says:

            Thanks Chris. 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.

          • Hi Jay,

            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.

  3. Mike says:

    Hi Chris, 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.

  4. Nils Bastedo says:

    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?

  5. JJ says:

    Thank you Chris – 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.

    • Hi Jack,

      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.

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