Thai citizenship when born overseas

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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36 Responses

  1. Karlee says:

    Hi, can you provide any further information if having a Thai Birth Certificate and Passport (with the 13 digit number) is enough to get my Thai ID card. This is my first passport and I do not have access to my Tabien Baan or know if Im registered in one.

    Any extra info would be great as I don’t speak Thai and need to organise someone to come with me to the district office.

    • Hi Karlee,

      Where are you based currently?

      If you were born overseas, it is unlikely you have been registered on a Tabieen baan unless it was done for you as a child. It is easy enough to check anyway.

      But if you aren’t you’ll need to get registered on the Tabieen baan first before you can get your ID card.

      You’ll need to bring your original Thai BC issued overseas by the embassy, and the passport you entered Thailand on. Do you also have a thai passport issued by the embassy?

      Other likely pieces of information are copies of you parents ID and their names transliterated into Thai. You’ll need two Thai citizens to vouch for you, plus the ‘house master’ of the tabieen baan where you want to be registered.

  2. k says:

    HI Chris,
    I’m currently based in Bangkok, I entered on my Thai passport. I was advised that I won’t be able to renew my passport unless i get a Thai Id card. IN my passport I already have an Thai ID number, so it seems i was registered as a child to a Tabieen baan. I also have my BC from both countries. One of my parents has passed away so would a death certificate suffice?

    • Hi Karlee,

      So you’ll need to figure out where you’ve been registered on the tabieen baan to start with (but any district office can do that) and get your Thai ID card organised. Whether that requires a copy of the actual tabieen baan with your name on it, I’m not sure, but once you have the ID card you can renew your Thai Passport very easily.

      The other option is to renew your Thai passport at the embassy in the country of your birth (if you were indeed born overseas). They have been know to waive the requirement for an ID card given its not always possible for Thai citizens living overseas to have an up to date ID card, or even have one at all.

      Hope this helps.

  3. Jen says:

    Hi,

    I’m born overseas and my parents got me a thai birth certificate and when I was little I also had a thai passport which is expired now. I called my local embassy to ask on how to get my passport renewed which I can only do with a registration in a ta bien baan and an ID number which I can both only obtain in Thailand.
    To my knowledge I was not registered in a Ta bien baan as a child. If I fly into Thailand with my foreign passport and then try to get registered in my moms or her family’s ta bien baan, are there any issues I will face? How long does the process take? Which documents should I take with me? And will if I want to get an Id afterwards will I have to choose between my two nationalities?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Jen,

      Thanks for your message. Given you were born outside of Thailand you aren’t automatically registered on a tabieen baan, so it will be up to you to register in person. There won’t be any (nor should there be) issues registering having your name put on your family members tabieen baan, but it may take a couple of visits to sort the paperwork and have Thai citizen witnesses (usually family members) come vouch for you. Following being registered on the tabieen baan you then need to get your ID card, usually in the same office but that is more a formality once you have your registration done.

      Once fully in the system, you’ll be able to easily get a new Thai Passport. If you are looking to stay in Thailand for any extended length of time you’ll need to depart Thailand on your foreign passport and the re-enter Thailand on your new Thai passport.

      Thailand has no issues with dual citizenship. You are already a Thai citizen from birth so already a dual citizen. You will however need to check if your current citizenship allows you to maintain another citizenship.

      Hope this helps.

  4. Peter says:

    Hi,

    I was born overseas and dont have the Thai BC and was thinking of fixing this now.
    However I no longer live in the country I was born in and im wondering if I can get the BC in the current country I recide in if I contact the thai embassy here?
    And if possible what documents would be needed?

    BR,
    Peter

    • Hi Peter,

      Where were you born?

      As far as I know you can only work via the Thai embassy in the country you were born in and via the Department of Consular affairs in Bangkok, which will just liaise with the embassy in the country of your birth.

      No harm in approaching the Thai embassy in the country you are in now and see if they will act as liaison, but I suspect it may be something they refuse to do. Having said that, applying for a birth certificate can usually be done via mail, so you are probably going to have more luck dealing with them directly, and asking the documents they will require. The documents you need will likely be the ones outlined in the article above.

      All the best.

  5. Naiyana says:

    Hi,
    I am a thai citizen,married in Malaysia.
    I never got my marriage registered in Thailand.
    I am due to deliver in March 2020 in Malaysia.
    I want to enquire if my baby will get thai citizenship here in Thailand, (i mean the i.d card) even if my marriage not registered here and never change my initials from Miss. to Mrs.???

    Thank you in advance!

  6. Jidee says:

    Hi there, My name is Jidee and I’m 47. I was born in America to a Thai mother. I’m a dual citizen and went through the process and just recently received my Thai birth certificate and first Thai passport. I was told at the embassy in Washington D.C. that I cant renew my passport till I get a national id card. I am coming to Thailand in April to get this, my question is; do I register in a house book first and then go to get my id and where does one do these things? I was also wondering if I have to worry about paying the fine for not being around for army conscription. I don’t plan on moving to there any time soon but I know I will retire there someday.
    Thanks, Jidee

    • Hi Jidee.

      First congratulations of the Thai passport on getting the paperwork done. Its good to hear they issued you your first passport at the embassy.

      They are correct, in that while they may be able to issue you a first passport being overseas born, the passport system essentially requires you to have an ID card. That requires you to register yourself in Thailand at a district office. For this you’ll require someone (a relative or a friend who is the ‘house master’) to allow you to be put on their house book, or ‘tabieen baan’. You’ll need your Thai BC, Thai passport and two witnesses to vouch that you are who you are. It may take couple of visits, but once on, you’ll be issued with an ID number, and following that, you can immediately get an ID card which is very straight forward.

      As for the military stuff, given you are over 45, you aren’t required to undertake any type of registration at all, so I think you should be fine. Even if they query it, there isn’t much they can do.

      Anyway, hopefully this has been helpful. All the best.

  7. Tom says:

    Hello,

    My son is 18, and has a Thai passport through his mum who is a Thai citizen. I am British and he has dual nationality. He is currently in Thailand and needs to get his Thai ID card, but the local office has said he needs his parents consent. His mum and I both live in the UK so this is not practical, although I could in theory travel to give consent. Is this actually correct?
    He has his Thai BC with him and is now on the family Tabien Baan. He has a current Thai passport and has his British passport with him too. His Thai grandad is with him and he has had the housemaster and one other vouch for him, but seems we are stuck at the moment!!
    Any advice gratefully received

    • Hi Tom,

      Yep, anyone under 20 in Thailand is considered a minor, so need both parents to sign off on most things. There are probably two things you can do, short of travelling out to Thailand (which obviously will work but also the most expensive).

      – Speak to the Thai embassy in London and see if they have any forms which you can sign there (and witnessed by them) which would be acceptable to the district office where you are at.
      – If the ID card isn’t urgent, given he is now registered on the tabieen baan he should be able to get the ID card from the embassy. They do issue them, but again check to see if they will issue his first one for him. I seem to recall that sometimes the can’t.

      Anyway, they are the two main options I can think of.

      Cheers
      Chris

      • Tom says:

        Thanks very much Chris. His mum has asked at the embassy and they say they can’t help! Our son is in Thailand so can’t easily come back to the UK. So basically the only way is for both his mother and I to be there at the office with him to give consent? That seems incredible, and expensive!

        • Seems to be the case! Is your son living permanently in Thailand? Have the district office given any alternative suggestions as to what to do in the case the father can’t attend? It wouldn’t be unusual for that to be the case where one parent (for whatever reason) can’t attend.

    • Tom says:

      Hello Chris,

      Thanks for your help so far. I’ve been doing some reading.
      The reason I was given that I can’t give consent is that his mother and we were not married and I am not a legitimate parent section 1546. I see that we can complete a form here in the UK at the Thai embassy that gives me the same authorising rights as if we were married.
      Section 1557 states this is possible and would be in effect from day of registration. As I said before I can travel more readily than our sons mother and if this is the case I would return and sign the papers at the tanbien next week. As neither myself nor his mum speak Thai ( she was born here in the UK) asking the tanbien office for help is not so easy!!!

      • Totally understood. Hopefully the embassy can help with the documents. I didn’t realise you weren’t married at the time of birth which also adds another layer of complexity. If I’m not mistaken, if you married in Thailand following your sons birth that would have given you parental rights automatically, but it sounds like there is a way to legitimise your status under Thai law via the embassy, which is good.

        Note though that he will still need both parents to sign off, so that will mean your wife will need to front the embassy as well to sign, or if possible allocate a power of attorney to say your wifes father.

  8. Jason says:

    Hi Chris,

    Very helpful and useful info! I was born in Australia, lived here my entire life and am now 28 years old. My parents did my Thai birth certificate when I was born so all I need to do now is get a Thai ID card. Question is if I do my Thai passport now, are there obligations for me to do military service? Should I wait until I’m outside the age bracket of eligibility? Any info would be greatly appreciated!

    Cheers,
    Jason

    • Hi Jason,

      The Thai embassy in Canberra may still be able to process a Thai passport for you. To get one normally you need to have an ID number allocated (which happens at birth in Thailand) but embassies normally waive that requirment for overseas born Thai’s, at least when they are young. Give them a call to check it out.

      The issue of needing to do military service is outlined here: https://www.thaicitizenship.com/thai-military-service/

      Having a passport is neither here nor there – you are already a Thai citizen as per your birth certificate. It really comes down to if you are normally resident in Thailand. You’ll be automatically exempted anyway on the 1st of Jan on the year you turn 30, so it doesn’t sound like you are too far off anyway.

      Cheers
      Chris

  9. Harry Chan says:

    Dear Chris,

    First of all I would like to thank you for your kindness to help all people.

    I am a Thai with Thai ID but I do not speak Thai. My family has recently moved to BKK from Hong Kong, members are my wife, aged-8 elder son, and aged-5 younger son.

    They entered Thailand with non-immigrant O visa on 4-Mar, permit to stay until 1-Jun.

    My sons have received their BCs from Thai embassy in HK, and as they have entered Thailand using HK VISA. I am confused on what we should do now.

    Due to covid-19 we cannot register at the district office. Can they apply for passport without registering at district office?

    Harry

    • Hi Harry,

      As you say, everything that is normally possible is not at the moment. So your wife and children will need to get an annual extensions of stays here based off being your dependents. That won’t be too hard as females married to Thai husbands don’t need to show money in the bank or income (which is what foreign men married to Thai women have to to do). Your kids have the option of getting extensions of stay based off being dependents of you, or having extensions of stay based on also being Thai citizens (see section 2.23 http://www.samutprakanimmigration.go.th/downloads/policy777-2551_en.pdf).

      In the longer term, if you are staying here permanently you should look to get your boys registered on the house registration. They will need this before they can get a Thai passport. Kids aged 7 and above can get ID cards issued as well. When they have the ID card they can then apply for a passport, and at some point they’ll need to depart Thailand on their HK passports and re-enter Thailand on their Thai passports so they don’t have to worry about immigration rules.

      Longer term, you need to remember that your boys will be liable for military service (see here on options on how to handle this https://www.thaicitizenship.com/thai-military-service/) but also that your wife is also eligible for applying for Thai citizenship as well, based off marriage to you (https://www.thaicitizenship.com/thai-citizenship-based-on-marriage-to-a-thai-husband/).

  10. James Rudd says:

    Dear Chris,
    I was born in Bangkok, Thailand and moved to America at the age of 6. My Thail mother married an American and I was naturalized in America and took on a different name than my Thai name. I want to move back to Thailand to live in 5 years. I was wondering if I could seek dual citizenship? I have a Thai birth certificate. Thank you in advance for any information you can provide or point me in the direction I need to go. James

    • James,

      If you have the Thai birth certificate and born to a Thai parent then in the top right hand corner it will state your nationality as ‘Thai’. Above that, your Thai ID number will be listed. As such, you’ll already be a dual national. With any luck, given you didn’t leave Thailand immediately after you were born, you name will also be registered on the ‘tabieen baan’, house registry (which you should look to get a copy of – ask your mother). Most people are usually registered on a house register of a relative.

      Depending on how old you are, you may be able to apply for a new Thai passport via the embassy or the local Thai consulate, but this may be an issue if you are older than 20 as typically the passport system is set up so that you need an ID card to apply for a passport as an adult. T

      Nevertheless, have a chat with the embassy to see if they can issue a one off travel document to enter Thailand on (as a Thai citizen). Once in, you should look to head to where you have your house registry and have a new Thai ID card issued.

      Hope this is useful.

  11. Carrie Goh says:

    Good day Chris,

    I would like to thank you for your informative advice to us readers.

    I am a Singapore Citizen born to to a Thai mother.

    I would like to inquire if I can apply for Thai PR using my Thai birth certificate instead of applying it through the non-immigrant visa under the Humanitarian category?

    I would appreciate If you could provide me with more information or the most feasible way in obtaining my Thai PR.

    • Hi Carrie,

      Effectively, despite being born to a Thai parent you will have to qualify for PR with the same basics as every other applicant – 3 years of tax returns and work permits with the correct income level. Unlike Singapore, Thai PR offers very few additional rights. There is no automatic work rights with Thai PR, nor any additional rights to purchase land. For most it is a step towards citizenship, or for people like yourself who can’t have dual citizenship, PR offers them the ability to stay in Thailand indefinitely without having to renew visas annually.

      Unless you are seeking to give up Singaporean citizenship to gain Thai citizenship (which you can do via simply applying for a Thai birth certificate at the embassy in Singapore), I’d suggest getting an annual extension of stay by virtue being born to a Thai citizen. This is an annual visa which needs to be renewed, but will allow you to stay in Thailand legally. Effectively, there will be very little difference between holding that visa and PR for someone like you, other than the need to renew your visa each year – but this will be fairly automatic.

      Hopefully Ive made sense!

  12. Kat Ross says:

    HI! Thanks for the great info. I was born in the US (1973), both of my parents are from Thailand. My parents got divorced when I was young and my mom remarried an American man that adopted me. Both of my birth father and step-father have passed away. What papers would I need to get a Thai birth Cert? I’m also married now – if that makes any difference. I think my mom has both birth certs – at birth name and one for adopted name.
    Thanks

    • Hi Kat,

      You’d certainly need evidence that your mother was a Thai citizen – so all her old thai docs etc. Any Thai documents relating to your father as well (mainly so his name is on your birth certificate with the correct details, spelling etc) but likely also his death certificate in the case the embassy requires a fathers signature in the normal course of processing.

      Best check with the Thai embassy in DC on this to see exactly what you need. But you will certainly need the cooperation from your mum just to make sure you have all the paperwork you need.

      All the best.

  13. Peter Vongphakdy says:

    My grandmother is a Thai citizen but my father was born in another country. So, does that means my father is a Thai citizen as well? As for me, am I eligible for Thai citizenship also or how does that work?

    • Hi Peter,

      Yes, you’ll be eligible for Thai citizenship. Technically, both you and your father already are. First your father will need to establish his citizenship via applying for a Thai birth certificate from the Thai embassy in the country he was born on. Once he has that, you’ll be able to get a Thai birth certificate from the Thai embassy in the country you were born in.

      Hopefully your grandmother still has all her Thai documentation etc, as that will be needed to kick the process off.

      • Peter Vongphakdy says:

        My grandmother is deceased. The only documents we can probably obtain is from the province and village she was born in. I just met my entire Thai family in Chaiyaphum and was curious if I was also eligible since I kind of already assumed my father is. My father was born in Laos, so would he have to apply for a Thai birth certificate at the Royal Thai Embassy in Vientiane? What documentation do we provide since my grandmother is deceased?

        • Hi Peter,

          If you can get your relatives to help, but I suspect you’ll need your grandmothers Thai house registration as a start, plus obviously your fathers birth certificate from Laos stating that his mothers name. Hopefully your family members can help with the process of obtaing that.

          If you are based in Thailand now then you can do that via the department of consular affairs in Bangkok (and they will help you with the nitty gritty of what paperwork is actually required) but if you are not then I suspect dealing with the embassy in Laos directly is going to required. Any help that you can get from your family obviously will be of great assistance.

  14. wayne says:

    hi Chris,

    I’m Malaysian and my mom is Thai and I just obtain my Thai birth certificate, with this certificate make me as a Thai citizen, and what is the next step to get Thai Identify card?

    • Hi Wayne – as per the article, you next need to travel to Thailand to have your name put on a house registry, and then following that an ID card will be issued to you.

      Please be aware though that Malaysia does not allow dual citizenship so you are at risk of having your Malaysian citizenship stripped from you if discovered.

  15. Jessica Steel says:

    Hello Chris, Thank for his informative post!
    I was born in the UK with a Thai mother however she passed away here back in 2006, so i don’t have access to her Thai ID card. How do you think this will impact the process of obtaining my Thai birth certificate ? Also what exactly is house registration and how do I obtain it?
    Many Thanks!

    • Jessica,

      You’ll certainly need evidence of your mum’s Thai citizenship. This can be via her Thai passport, her Thai ID card or birth certificate. If none of these are available then there is a DNA process which can be done which if you can be linked to a living relative then you can prove your citizenship that way – but to be honest I don’t know much about that, but it has been done.

      The house registration is simply a small book, a bit like a bank book, which lists people living at a particular address. Your mum will certainly be listed somewhere – likely at a relatives house back in Thailand, so you’ll likely need to touch base with your relatives back in Thailand to get hold of a copy. Beyond that, if you don’t, then you’ll have to somehow request a copy via a district office, but that will require exact spelling of her name and and ID number, and most likely, permission to access it.

      As to it impacting your obtaining a Thai BC? Each embassy will have its own guidance on it so if I was you I’d speak to the Thai embassy in London – ideally face to face – to ascertain what ID they’d want from your side to process the application.

      I know I haven’t been too much help here, but I suspect speaking to the Thai embassy and taking WHATEVER identification you have from your mother indicating she was born in Thailand will be a good start.

      Regards
      Chris

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