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. Rachel says:

    Can you apply if you are a single father with full custody of your Thai children?

    • Hi there,

      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.

  2. Glen Lewis says:

    Hi Chris, 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

    • Hi Glen,

      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.

  3. Rick says:

    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!

    • Hi Rick,

      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.


  4. Jerry Sawyer says:

    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?

    • Hi Jerry,

      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.

  5. Sam Moehrke says:


    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?

    • Hi Sam,

      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!


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