Thai dual citizenship – is it legal?

Can Thai citizens hold dual citizenship? It is a question which is asked often, but usually with contradictory answers.

This in part stems from the fact that the law has changed a number of times over the years, and partly because people’s impressions of what the law says is rooted in rather outdated understandings of the law as it stands today. Furthermore, if people do go and read the Thai nationality act, they often read sections which don’t apply to them, further confusing their understanding of the dual citizenship issue.

Without going too deeply in to the legal minutiae, the basic fact is that it hasn’t been illegal for a Thai citizen to hold more than one citizenship since 1992. Below, we outline some common questions and answers on this topic.

Are Thai’s allowed to hold dual citizenship?

The simple answer is ‘yes’.

As such, a Thai who is born with another nationality, a person who naturalizes as a Thai, or a Thai who takes a foreign citizenship are generally allowed to maintain their Thai citizenship without issue. We examine a number of different categories below.

1 – Dual nationals with a Thai & foreign parent

If you are in this category, you probably are identified by most in Thailand as Luk Khreung (ลูกครึ่ง) – literally ‘half-child’ a colloquial term used for those with mixed heritage. 

a) Do children have to ‘choose’ a citizenship at age 20?

Simply put: ‘No’.

This is a misconception, based partly on old, now extinguished legislation, as well as a misreading of how the law now stands.

Prior to the 1st of March 1992, Thai law did indeed state that a decision to chose must be made between ages 20 and 21 and that if a decision was not made, then Thai citizenship would automatically be forfeited.

However this law has since been repealed as of the third version of the Nationality Act (1992) where the automatic loss of Thai citizenship for not making a choice was removed.

b) So what happens when I turn 20?

In essence, nothing.

The current Act gives a child, born to a Thai and foreign parent, the opportunity between ages 20 and 21 of renouncing Thai citizenship, if they so wish.

Section 14 of the current Act says:

“A person of Thai nationality, who was born of an alien father or mother and has acquired the nationality of the father or mother according to the law on nationality of the father or mother, or a person who acquired Thai nationality under Section 12 paragraph two or Section 12/1 (2) and (3) is required, if he desires to retain his other nationality, to make a declaration of his intention to renounce his Thai nationality within one year after his attaining the age of 20 years, according to such forms and in the manner as prescribed in the Ministerial Regulations”.

Many people read the above passage and take it to mean that a child born with dual citizenship MUST file renunciation papers within one year of their 20th birthday. However one should note there is no penalty for not making a declaration to renounce.

Context is critical here – the second version of the Nationality Act in 1992* DID have a penalty for people not choosing inserted after the above mentioned passage. The short lived 2nd edition of the act stated:

“If no notification is made within the said period of time, that person is deemed to renounce Thai nationality, unless the Minister shall given an order otherwise for each particular case”

However, this was done away with in Version 3 of the Act which came into force on 1 March 1992, and has remained the same the subsequent 4th and 5th versions of the Thai Nationality Act.

*As an interesting aside, it is worth noting the respective dates of the second and third revisions to the Thai Nationality Act. The 2nd version was gazetted on the 9th of February 1992 while the 3rd version was gazetted on the 1st of March 1992. One can only speculate why the law had to be changed so quickly, but one can assume that this being Thailand, some well connected families who held dual nationality objected to the wording of the 2nd version of the Act and forced Minister of the day to change the law – which he did quite quickly!

c) The 2017 constitution

The 2017 constitution implemented by the military government provides further certainty to those who have acquired Thai and foreign citizenship from their parents.

Section 39 of the Thai Constitution stipulates, “Revocation of Thai nationality from anyone who is Thai from birth shall be prohibited.”

Given most, if not all, Luk Khrueng (ลูกครึ่ง) derive their Thai citizenship by birth from a Thai parent, then the constitution provides a further safeguard from the state taking their Thai citizenship away on a non-voluntary basis. 

2 – Thai women taking on their spouses nationality

Prior to the 1965 version of the Thai nationality act, Thai women who took up the nationality of their foreign spouses automatically lost their Thai citizenship.

Nevertheless, some people still think this is the case. As such, there continues to be a lot of confusion particularly for men or women who move overseas to be with their spouses and eventually take up their spouses nationality. But similar to those Thai dual citizens who were born with another nationality, the choice is voluntary:

Section 13 – A man or woman of Thai nationality who marries an alien and may acquire the nationality of the spouse according to his nationality law shall, if he or she desires to renounce Thai nationality, make a declaration of his or her intention before an official according to the form and in the manner prescribed in the Ministerial Regulations.”

As such, Section 13 of the Thai Nationality Act exists mainly for those people who are looking to take up a new nationality where laws in that country prohibit holding dual nationality (for instance Austria, Malaysia or Singapore) and require that an application to renounce Thai citizenship is made before granting their new citizenship.

3 – Dual citizenship for naturalised Thai’s

For those who weren’t born with Thai nationality, then the main way to get it is to apply for it.

Generally, for those who have naturalized as Thai citizens are able to keep their original citizenship unless their original country of citizenship forbids it.

On applying for Thai nationality, Thai authorities require applicants for Thai citizenship to make a ‘statement of intent’ to relinquish their original nationality upon acquisition of Thai citizenship. This somewhat muddies the waters for some, however this statement of intent is merely that, a statement of intent at the time of application. Once the statement is made….well intentions can change.

It is questionable if such a statement holds any legal force with your home government, particularly where the home government has no issue with dual citizenship or if they require you to follow their own specific processes to renounce that citizenship. Please see our article HERE on this question.

Where it may be of consequence is if the Thai government notifies your home government of your acquisition of Thai nationality when that country forbids holding dual nationality (e.g. Singapore or Malaysia) which automatically strip that nationality upon evidence of the acquisition of a new one.

4 – So is it possible to lose Thai nationality as a dual citizen?

In very rare cases it is possible for dual citizen to lose their citizenship, but this is only in the following limited situations:

  • Those who were born Thai due to both their foreign national parents being permanent residents can potentially be stripped of Thai nationality under Section 17 of the Nationality Act if:
    • resided in a foreign country of their parents citizenship  for more than five years consecutively;
    • if there is evidence to show that he makes use of, or has an active interest in a foreign nationality*; or
    • does anything prejudicial to the Thai state, national security or public order
  • Under Section 19 of the Nationality Act, a naturalised citizen may be stripped of Thai citizenship:
    • if it appears their Thai citizenship was grant was effected by concealing facts or making false statements;
    • makes use of their former nationality*;
    • have lived outside of Thailand for more than five years; 
    • does anything prejudicial to the Thai state, national security or public order; or
    • retains the nationality of a state at war with Thailand. 

The Council of State files each of the revocations and an up to date list of revocations, mainly for reasons listed under Section 17 or 19, can be found HERE.

Sections 17 and 19 will not apply to those who were born Thai to at least one Thai parent, nor will it apply to foreign women who take on Thai nationality due to being married to a Thai husband under Section 9, given this is not considered naturalisation under the act.

*making use of their former citizenship appears to be based on evidence where a person has used their foreign passport to enter Thailand. All of these cases are rare, and stripping of Thai nationality must be announced in the Royal Gazette before it becomes official. There are few recordings of this are rare, though it has been enforced where one British man was stripped of Thai nationality under Section 17 for entering Thailand using his Thai nationality. That Royal Gazette announcement can be viewed here

Thai citizenship

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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149 Responses

  1. Anna says:

    When I turned 18, I got my Norwegian passport, but the Norwegian government didn’t allow dual citizenship then. So when I got my Norwegian passport, they took my Thai passport. But now Norway allows dual citizenship, and I still have my Thai ID. Is that possible for me to go back to Thailand and make a Thai passport?
    And I have also changed my name in Norway, so they differ from the name on my Thai ID; is it ok to have to different name om passport?

    • Hi Anna,

      Thanks for your message. So these days all that is required for a new Thai passport is a Thai ID card.
      If you still have a valid Thai ID card you can actually get a new passport issued in Norway at the Thai embassy. No need to return to Thailand first. If your Thai ID is expired, most major embassies can now renew Thai ID cards overseas and once done, you can apply for a passport.

      No stress if the names are different. Plenty of people travel on passports with different names.

      Hope this helps!

  2. Peter says:

    Hi sir, I would really appreciate if you could help me. I search for an answer for a year now. I’m half German, half Thai, born in Thailand but my parents divorced so we left Thailand when I was 10. I never got the thai passport but now with 29 I spend every time I can in Thailand. Is there a chance for me to get a thai passport somehow ? Thank you so much in advance

    • If you were born in Thailand to a thai parent then you are a thai citizen and your thai birth certificate will say so at the top of it. Your name is likely registered on a house registration somewhere as well.

      You simply need to come to Thailand go to the district office where you are registered and get your national ID card issued. You’ll likely need to bring any and all Thai paperwork you have as well as your existing German passport to confirm your identity. Perhaps one or two family members who can also vouch for your identity too.

      Hope this helps.

      • Peter says:

        thank you so much 🙏🏼 this is amazing. I will follow your instruction. You’re doing great things here.

  3. Puniko says:

    I’m thai citizenship and married to Canadian. Now thinking to migrate to Canada and earn Canadian PR and passport. Can I have dual citizenship or need to renounce thai before getting Canada? Canada is ok to allow any dual citizenship, just on thai side is quite confusing

    • Hi there. No need to renounce thai citizenship – and you’ll retain Thai citizenship if you acquire Canadian citizenship.

      The law is a little bit confusing as there are clauses which allow for renunciation when taking a foreign spouses citizenship. This is mainly designed for people going to places where dual nationality isn’t legal (Austria, Singapore etc)and provides a protections that should the marriage fail or that person wants to move back to Thailand that they can regain their Thai citizenship.

  4. Kae Samsen says:

    I was a Thai citizen but am now a US citizen. Can I apply for dual citizenship?

    • Hi Kae

      You are a dual citizen. Nothing you need to apply for. You keep your thai citizenship after gaining US citizenship.

    • May says:

      Hi, I was born in Thailand but both my parents are not Thai and all of us were never permanent residents there. I now live in Australia, am I able to get a dual citizenship?

      • Hi May,

        Unfortunately not, both you parents needed to be Thai PR’s at the time of your birth, or one of them a Thai citizen at the time of your birth.

        If you happened to be be born before Feb 1992 and had lived in Thailand continually since then there would have been an option for you to register as a Thai citizen, but that would require you to be living in Thailand since birth to get that. Sorry about the bad news!


  5. Nyah says:

    Hi. My husband, my 3 kids and I are Non Thai residents of Thailand ( non immigrant quota) with Taandav. My husband also holds work permit. The kids and husband are British Citizens and I am an Indian citizen. The eldest (21 years) and youngest (14 years) were born in Thailand, while the second (17) child was born in India and came to Thailand at 5months. At the time of their birth only the father had Taandav and work permit. I was on yearly non immigrant visa. Do you think I can apply for dual citizenship for my children?

  6. Lee M says:

    May i ask a little bit of a risky problem. I didn’t perform military service at the age of 18, due to i moved to other country since the age of 9. And right now i hold dual nationality and passport.(Thai & French) I’m currently 26 years old. What are the step and solution to this? Will i have a problem being hired in Thailand? I want to work inThailand.

    • Hi Lee,

      Most private sector employers don’t check your military service so you’ll be fine unless you plan to work for government, where they will.

      As a Thai citizen you don’t need a work permit to live and work in Thailand.

      In terms of military service, by the letter of the law you are supposed to report of you are back living in Thailand permanently, but anecdotally, most people in your position who left as a child and came back generally fall outside the radar of the authorities given you weren’t in the country of the standard call up period (19-20 years of age).

  7. Shawn M says:

    Hello, My father is a Thai citizen and my mother is American. I have a 12 and a 22 year old. I’m going to apply for my Thai citizenship through blood right. Can I do the same for my children?

  8. Shelly says:


    I currently have dual citizenship American & Thai (from being US citizen born abroad in Thailand to my Thai mother). I recently learned I’m qualified for Italian citizenship through my Italian/American father. Will I be allowed to get the Italian citizenship without giving up my Thai citizenship?

  9. Malikah Prayear says:

    Asking for my cousin. She was born Thai, two Thai parents , adopted by my Aunt and Uncle when she was 7 and taken to the US where she has lived all her life (53yrs) and she became a US citizen. She is seeking to obtain dual citizenship and be recognized as a Thai citizen. How is this done? Is it possible?

    • Hi there

      So the thing to understand that she remains a Thai citizen, she just needs to establish her Thai ID documents.

      Being away so long she’ll need to see what she can dig up in her personal archives from the US from when she was a child Thai ID wise.

      She’ll need to dig up her Thai birth certificate which will show where she was born and more importantly what district office her birth was registered at (and if she hasn’t she’ll need to find out that information). In either case she’ll likely need to travel back to Thailand to that district office to update her information as the formatting of ID numbers have changed in that time.

      If she hasn’t got her original birth certificate she’ll need to hire someone at the district office to dig through (the likely) physical records in the archives to find her original birth certificate copy from which they will be able to cross reference that with whatever current offical ID she has now. (Hopefully the names are the same, or she has proof of her names being changed.)

      Once that is established, she’ll need to find a place to have her name registered. All Thai citizens are registered on a ‘tabieen baan’ or house registry. She’ll need to find someone willing to have her name put on a tabieen baan. Hopefully she’s got existing relatives there, or if not, she’ll need to find a Thai friend etc who’s willing to help on that front. Once on the tabieen baan, the district office will then issue her with a Thai ID card. Once has this, she’ll find it easy to apply for a Thai passport.

      If on the off chance she has ALL her old documentation from when she was a child, before she attempts the above she should speak to the Thai embassy in the US who may be able to provide her with an emergency Thai passport which will allow her to travel to Thailand. At which point she will have to do what I outline above anyway.

      Anyway, here is a little background about what a tabieen baan is. Note- as a Thai citizen, she needs to be registered on the BLUE tabieen baan.

      • C Jung says:

        This was a new process put in place last June 2021. You need to have 2 siblings or relatives, who can vow for you, that you’re who you are. That you’re born in Thailand. What happened if you only have 1, than you can’t get the 13 digits Thai ID.

  10. MARK WOOD says:

    i have 2 children whom i am the father and 1 step-child,is it possible to denounce their Thai citizenship .
    they are 10 years ,13 years and 15 years old the whole family hold uk citizenship and i would like to change the name of my step child to our family name but at present she holds a Thai and british passport in her mothers maiden name.

    • Hi Mark,

      So there is no need to renounce Thai citizenship for a simple name change if that is your concern.

      Regardless of this, Thai legislation allows for dual citizen children born to a foreign and Thai parent to renounce their citizenship, if they so wish, for one year, between ages 20 and 21. Twenty is the age of majority under Thai law.

      I have no idea if it is possible for children below age 20, so that is something you’ll need to explore with the Thai embassy in London. It is also a relatively long process, and requires ministerial approval and publication in the royal gazette to be effective. It will probably require permission from both sets of birth parents too, depending on who has been granted parental custody under Thai law.

      Also note too that once lost, Thai citizenship is near impossible to recover in the circumstances you describe, so their future ability to own land, live and work in Thailand etc are taken away if you do this.

      Sorry I can’t be of more help on the matter.

  11. Natalie says:

    Hi, I have dual citizenship (Thai & Spanish) but in Spain in order to obtain my citizenship I had to renounce my previous Thai citizenship. However, I wasn’t asked to hand over my pssport nor has the Thai Embassy in Madrid been notified of this, as such, I have both passports at the moment.
    My only concern is if I enter with my Thai passport I wont have any entry/exit stamps on my Spanish passport which is what I will have to use to enter Spain. Any advise?

    • Hi Natalie – I can’t really comment on the Spanish side of things.

      What I can tell you from the thai side is that unless you formally renounced your thai citizenship and that renunciation was published in the Royal gazette, the you officially still are a thai citizen.

  12. Gary says:

    So what about the (foreign) children of a parent who has obtained Thai citizenship? My kids are over 20 and live here in Thailand permanently. Officially they can no longer “follow” my visa, so we are looking at other options. If I obtain PR or citizenship, can they then apply to remain in Thailand indefinitely / obtain citizenship based on my PR or citizenship status?

    • Hi Gary,

      Your adult children can’t follow you once they pass 20. They must apply under their own steam.

      There is a section of the nationality regulations that allows for children born in Thailand to gain Thai citizenship if they graduate from a Thai university, if they didn’t gain Thai citizenship automatically at birth, so you might want to look into that.

      Also, if they were born here before Feb 1992 and have lived here their entire life, then they have options to register as a Thai citizen, so long as they have proof they have spent most of their life here.


  13. Jonny says:

    Hi there, my Father was born Thai, and mother an American. I was born in the U.S.
    How can I obtain dual citizenship?
    I was told the best way is to hire a lawyer? Thanks so much for any help

  14. Brian says:


    I’m a 25 year old male, Canadian – Thai dual citizen. I haven’t done the รด. territorial defence program in high school (registered as a Canadian in that school), and never did the military lottery. I left Thailand at 18 for university, and have been going back for holiday every summer since, using my Thai passport to enter. I also have a Thai ID card issued when I was 16. Nobody ever came looking for me nor sent any letters etc. I even renewed my Thai passport 2.5 years ago today without the government bringing any attention to military obligations.

    I would like to work in Thailand at a foreign multinational company, but I’m concerned about military obligations. I hear the cut-off for voluntary service is 26? Or I can wait until I’m 30 to live and work there. I was thinking I could use my Canadian passport to work there, and never declare to the company that I’m Thai. However, I fear the Thai government may connect the dots and punish me for evading service or even taxes. Perhaps this could be done if they see me trying to open a bank account with my Canadian passport (which says I was born in Phistanulok), then see matching information with my Thai passport.

    Ultimately, I wish I could just work there as a Canadian, with no rights as a Thai, work for 5 years until I’m 30. By then, I would submit my absence from service and keep my Thai rights. All while continuing to work as a Canadian in Thailand. Is this possible? Does anyone know anybody who does something like this?

    • Yeah, this is a hard one to answer – obviously post 30 things are easier, but before that if you are back in Thailand full time you are expected to start the process for your military obligations. I’d be remiss for legal reasons to suggest doing something against what the rules state. Also, I’m not sure about the 26 being the cut off for territorial defense, but it make sense and my understanding was you could only do it via an educational institution.

      Having said that, people who do move overseas can take their name off the tabieen baan and move their name to the central tabieen baan. It does mean that you will not be able to renew your Thai ID and passport for the duration of that time you are off it. If you haven’t seen it already, please read our article on military service and the implication for not having the full set of ID when it comes to conscription:

      The strategy you propose I guess runs a fairly minimal risk for being ‘cross referenced’ on data bases etc due to crossing borders or paying taxes. From what I gather anecdotally its really up to the individual to go report themselves. As you have seen yourself, for short trips back nothing is triggered when you enter the country and you are generally free to come and go.

      • Ravi says:

        So if a 3y old kid or later, under 17y old man moves to live abroad and removes his name off tabieen baan and moves it to central tabieen baan, thus not holding valid(expired) Thai ID and Thai passport at 17y of age, would that mean he wouldn’t be sent invitation to army protocols at 17y and later to lottery?

        • Based on my understanding, if the child is not on any tabieen baan then it is unlikely that anything will be sent.

          Being on the central tabieen Baan means that he will not be eligible ID card. As per the article, according to stated thai government advice, no ID card means that even if a call up letter somehow finds its way to him, he will have incomplete documentation to participate in the conscription process.

  15. Peter says:

    As a basic rule, Mr Charkrawan said all healthy males with Thai citizenship who reside in Thailand are required to report to a conscription officer when they reach age 20.

    “Most Thais don’t realise that our regulations prohibit children who are born in the kingdom from holding multiple citizenships. The Nationality Act states that when they turn 20, they must decide whether to keep their Thai citizenship or not,” Artra Khunthongjan of OAG said, adding foreign spouses are more likely to take their adopted children or stepchildren back to their home country before reaching this age.

    Is that correct?

  16. Kathryn says:

    Hello, we adopted our children from Thailand in 2012 at the age of 7 & 5 years old (siblings). They left Thailand with Thai passports that have now expired. They are now Australian citizens with Australian passports but I would like to secure a Thai passport from my daughter if that is permitted? She is now 15 years of age. My son is 17 and is too nervous about have dual passports in case he is required to do National Service. Can you please advise whether my daughter would be eligible to renew her Thai passport? We have her Thai Birth Certificate and adoption papers plus the old Thai passport. Thank you.

    • Hi Kathryn

      Thanks for your message.

      So the long and the short of it is that they both remain Thai citizens, and they will remain so unless they formally apply to renounce their Thai citizenship and that renunciation is accepted and published in the Royal Gazette.

      There is a BUT however. Given some administrative issues they won’t be able to renew their Thai passports in Australia at the moment

      I’m not sure how familiar you are with the Thai registration system , so please accept my apologies in advance if I’m telling you something you already know.

      All Thai citizens will have their name registered on a ‘house book’ know as a ‘tabien Baan’ in Thai. It basically denotes the persons name, DOB, their citizenship as well as the name of their parents at birth. It also has their unique Thai ID number.

      This document is basis of the Thai registration system and your children most definitely be registered somewhere at a particular address.

      In addition to the tabieen Baan, at age 15 it is compulsory for all Thai citizens to get an ID card, which amongst other things is used as the basis of all interactions with the Thai bureaucracy.

      So without an ID card a Thai citizen unable to get a passport. And to get an ID card, you must be properly registered on the tabieen Baan.

      So the first thing you’ll need to do is to either track down where the kids are currently registered, or if they are not registered anywhere have them moved onto a tabieen Baan in thailand somewhere. Most Thais don’t live at the address they are officially registered at so as long as they are registered somewhere it is good enough.

      The second issue is the ID card.

      While Thai ID cards can be renewed in Australia a persons first ID card needs to be issued in Thailand.

      Once the ID card is issued then the new Thai passport can be issued. This can be done in either thailand or via the embassy in Australia, but it requires the physical presence of the applicant.

      Note also that if the child is under 20 (the age of majority in thailand) then a passport renewal will require the presence of both responsible parents.

      I’m not sure how often you visit thailand but if you do then it is probably something put aside a few days for on your next trip.

      Obviously the kids can do this all themselves themselves when they are over 20 given their Thai citizenship never lapses.

      As an aside for your son, he might want delay doing any of this until he turns 30, after which point he will be clear of any military obligation. Please see our article on this issue below.

      No doubt a lot of this sounds daunting. Trust me when I say it isn’t given that the Thai system is pretty centralized, meaning if you know their Thai ID numbers (which should be on their birth certificates as well as in their old passports) then you’ll be able to track down their records at most municipal offices in thailand. The biggest hassle may be finding a Thai citizen who can allow them to have your kids names put on a house book. Once you have a fixed address for them though, the new Thai ID card is straight forward as will be the passport. Subsequent ID and passports can then be done in Australia.

      I hope all of this has made sense!

  17. Jaz says:


    I am 21 and living in the uk since being adopted when I was 2. My passport is invalid by 8+ years and I want to join the ministry of defence however if I’m still considered holding dual nationality I can’t join. I want you to know if I’m still eligible to renew but if I am how do I stop being eligible To renew it and become just a British citizen on its own

    • Hi Jaz,

      Thanks for your message. It depends on what you want to do as many times we get this question in relation to dual UK/Thai nationals wanting to join the British Army. Unfortunately the info out of both the Thai and British governments on how to obtain a ‘service liability letter’ is lacking.

      In terms of ‘next steps’, keeping in mind that renouncing Thai citizenship is an extreme step (and once done you can’t get it back easily) then I’d write to the British Embassy in Thailand to ask how you may go about getting this letter to allow you to serve while maintaining your Thai citizenship. As of today, as far as I know, the current Defence Attaché in the UK embassy in Bangkok is Colonel Anthony (Tony) Stern. His email should be: tony.stern (at) Hopefully he can offer you guidance, but I do note that the UK government has been pretty ‘unresponsive’ in terms of being helpful on this issue or sorting out a ongoing solution it with their Thai counterparts.

      Similarly, at the same time, you should reach out to the Thai military attache at the Thai embassy in London. Again, they haven’t got the greatest reputation in getting back to people, but worth a try. Their details are on this drop down list.

      Obviously another step is to have yourself exempted from Thai military service. None of this will probably apply to you, but just in case, here is a reference to our article on this (

      Finally, the most extreme step, renouncing your Thai citizenship. You’ll need to contact the Thai embassy in London on how you can do this while in the UK. As I said, it is a extreme option given you lose the right to live and work in Thailand, own land etc (which is something no foreigners can do).

      Anyway please let us know how it all goes.


  18. Pfeiffern says:

    Hi , I have a questions too .
    Example : if my dad are malaysia citizen but my mom is thailand citizen . But my dad already pst away . But my mom are still alive . And I got both birth certificates . If I want to travel to my family in malaysia , do u need any passport holder or do I need to do both passport ?

    • This is tricky to answer as Malaysia bans dual citizenship. Normally changing passports is fine, but I have no idea how this can be handled for Malaysia. Sorry I can’t help.

  19. Greg M says:

    Good article. My son is 1/2 Thai; his mother is Thai, I’m American. My son has a 1-year old daughter. Can I assume if my son gets dual citizenship, U.S. & Thai, his daughter can also claim the same. Or, if my son doesn’t claims or denounces a Thai citizenship, can his daughter claim it when she’s of age & desires too. Even though my son never got a Thai passport or id.

    • Hi there

      So your son will need to get a Thai birth certificate to establish his claim to Thai citizenship. While by Thai law he’s a Thai citizen from birth, the BC proves it. He can also apply for his first Thai passport.

      Following that he can get a Thai birth certificate for his daughter.

      If he doesn’t get the BC for himself, there is no way for his daughter to prove she was born to a Thai citizen.

      Even if he renounced Thai citizenship now, his daughter would still be eligible given he was a Thai citizen at the time of her birth.

      Oddly, I suspect that if he did have the intention to formally renounce then he’d have to actually get a Thai BC first so that the authorities had a basis from which to process his renunciation (if that makes sense).

  20. Lena says:

    Hi – I have an expired Thai passport and I want of renew it later on when Im older and when I can speak Thai. But I have no family in Thailand, thats because my parents are divorced and I have been staying in Norway with my dad since I was eight (I lived in Thailand before). My dad isnt Thai but my mother is but we dont have a connection. I couldnt renew it because neither me, my dad or sister could speak Thai since we lost the language long ago. My dream is to own a house in Thailand, but I have no intention of working there. I know Norway allows dual citizenship so it isnt a problem here, but would I be able to do this? Since my dad told me Thailand didnt allow dual citizenship and that I had to choose when Im older. My english isnt the best, sorry about that.

    • Hi Lena

      Thanks for your message. So the thing to understand is Thailand allows dual citizenship as you’ve seen in this article. The other thing to understand is that you are STILL a Thai citizen unless you formally choose to renounce it.

      It sounds like you were born in Thailand which means you should have a Thai birth certificate and you will be registered on the house registration (tabieen Baan) somewhere in Thailand.

      Normally when people turn 15 in Thailand they get an ID card. Given you don’t live there you probably don’t have one I am guessing.

      You won’t be able to renew your thai passport until you get a new ID card which can only be done in Thailand. So at some point you will need to come to Thailand and go to the district office where you are registered with your birth certificate, old Thai passport and anything else ID wise to get a new ID card issued, and following that, you can get a passport issued. Your Thai birth certificate is EXTREMELY important. Don’t lose it as it is the foundation to your claim to Thai citizenship. It contains your Thai ID number which follows you through life. It should also be found on your old Thai passport.

      Also to be clear, the fact that you don’t speak Thai anymore means nothing. You don’t cease being a Thai citizen if you can’t speak the language. Of course you may need someone to help guide you through the bureaucracy…but rest assured your lack of Thai language skills will not affect your rights as a Thai citizen.

      • Lena says:

        Thank you for answering! I was very confused about what I had to do and if I had to learn the language or not. You have helped me a lot. 🙂

  21. Leon says:

    Thank you very much for your reply and info. Cheers .

  22. Leon says:

    Hi KerryAnna , my Son who is born in Thailand , half thai and half english as I am english , he’s just tured 7yrs old and is due to get he’s Thai ID soon. Am I right in saying we won’t having any problems getting he’s british passport after. I am on he’s birth certificate and currently living with him in Thailand.

    • Hi Leon,

      Neither Thailand or the UK have an issue with dual nationality. In terms of him being eligible for British citizenship, you need to check with the embassy that he is eligible to inherit your citizenship, but as far as that goes, him having Thai citizenship will not be an issue.

  23. James D McKechnie says:


    I was born in Thailand. I am half Thai and half American and a US citizen. My mother and I moved to the US when my father was delpoyed back to the US when I was four years old. Basically I’ve been here in the US for forty-two years and now I plan to move to Thailand with my mother to retire. I am curious if it’s wise to hire a lawyer in Bangkok now before I move there to help me since I never had a Thai ID or Passport? I do have my original birth certificate.

    • Hi James

      Thanks for your message. To answer your question, a lawyer isn’t needed for what you need to do, but in your case just a competent thai speaker or translator will suffice.

      Your thai birth certificate is the starting point. It will say at the top your nationality, and in your case it should state you are thai.

      Being born in Thailand as a thai citizen means you are already probably registered on the house registration system. It will be a matter of asking your mother where you are registered and going to the district office to get a replacement ID card, after which, you can apply for a thai passport.

      The district office is likely going to require your birth certificate, any thai ID you have, and probably a current ID document such as your US passport to cross reference your name – hopefully your name is the same across all of them. It will be a good idea to have copies of your parents ID as well, including and Thai ID from your mum. Normally there will be a need for a Thai citizen to vouch for you.

      I’d check with the Thai embassy if they are able to issue you with a temporary passport of the strength of your thai birth certificate, but if they can’t just realise you’ll have to enter Thailand on your US passport. Despite you being a Thai citizen you will be subject to thai immigration rules, so this means once you have your thai passport you’ll need to depart Thailand on the US passport and return on your thai passport. In normal times you can only do this by air, but given covid it means you’ll be subject to a compulsory 14 day quarantine each time you enter Thailand and at the moment neighbouring countries aren’t letting outsiders in as well.

  24. Tony Ash says:

    My step son was born to Thai parents, now has Dual citizenship with Australia, lives in OZ and doesn’t want to return to Thailand for the military service lottery. He also has no intention to return to life in Thailand. If he just doesn’t go back, what can they do? ps, his is on his grandparents house book and holds a Thai ID card.. is Thai passport is expired and only travels on his Australian passport.

    • Hi Tony,

      Thanks for your question. If he doesn’t go back there isn’t much they can do. Technically he’ll be in breach for not reporting if he stays out of Thailand until he is 30 then he can just sort out the paperwork then with a small fine.

      The grandparents can also advise the conscription office that your son is no longer in the country in the event he gets call up papers. As per the article I’ve written on military conscription (see HERE)this counts as a acknowledgment.

      He can also move his name off the house registration to a central one (please see previous answers I’ve given on the military conscription thread) which is designed for people who move overseas, but to be honest I’m not sure if this last one is possible being outside of Thailand.

  25. John Mac says:

    Can a Natural born Thai have more than 1 other nationallity, say if their Spouse has dual nationality (British & Irish) ? So can they hold Thai, British & Irish Passport?

    • Hi John, yes that’s entirely possible. Thailand has no issue with holding more than one passport. My kids actually have three themselves, and my niece has four. It really comes down to what the other countries say on the issue.

  26. Charlie says:


    I’m a Thai and have been living in the UK for 21-years and have a British Citizenship (since 2009). I no longer carry a valid Thai passport as the last one expired in 2013 (no intention to renew). Does this mean I no longer have a Thai Citizenship?

    • Hi Charlie,

      No, it just means you are a Thai citizen living in the UK with an expired Thai passport! So long as your Thai ID card is valid, you can basically renew your Thai PP anytime at the Thai embassy in London. You remain a Thai citizen for life unless you chose to voluntarily renounce it. That you don’t have a Thai passport is neither here nor there with respect to this status.

  27. kerryanne says:


    Really great information here, thank you so much.

    My partner is half thai half english. He was born in the UK, his mother is Thai and father English. He would like to know whether he has any options in applying for dual nationailty/passport etc and how he would go about doing this. We plan on living in Thailand for a couple of years from 2023.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Kerryanne,

      Thanks for your message. Please check out the site, we have LOTS of articles here. The one most relevant to your question is HERE which outlines how he can go about getting a Thai passport. There are also articles on military conscription (important if aged under 30) and if you are married, how you can apply for Thai citizenship yourself.

      Anyway, hope I’ve been able to answer your questions. Good luck with the (eventual!) move!

  28. A says:

    Hi there,

    Thanks for the article. I am half english/half thai, 26, and have both a thai and british passport. I want to join the british army but to do so will need to forfeit my thai citizenship. Can I do this and in some years to come get my citizenship back?


    • Hi Alex

      Thanks for your message. Unfortunately once renounced there is no automatic way to get back thai citizenship.

      At this stage, the only people who are allowed to get back thai citizenship in a fairly automatic manner are women who gave up their citizenship to take on the citizenship of their foreign husband, and who subsequently divorce and now want their Thai citizenship back.

      I need to check, but I ‘think’ you are able to skip the need for PR (but please don’t quote me on that) but you’ll need to be otherwise qualified (ie, have lived in Thailand for three years and have tax returns and have earned 80,000 baht per month).

      One special type of visa you will be able to access is a visa we’ve called the ‘ancestry visa’. It’s designed for people who have a Thai parent or who are former Thai nationals themselves. Though you have to renew it annually, it essentially lets you live in Thailand more or less indefinitely, but confers no work rights or any rights to own land. So depending on your future intentions that might be an option for you.

      Hope I’ve been of help.

  29. Peter Olin says:

    Can a child who is born in Australia, mother Thai father Australian. Can the child own/purchase or inherit land in Thailand?

  30. Daniel Forman says:

    Good info. I am looking for a bit more. I. Canadian by Birth now hold both Canadian and Australian citizenship before the birth of my son with Thai national. My son would have Thai citizenship from birth, Dan I get him both Australian and Canadian Citizenship also?

    • Hi Daniel,

      You don’t say where your son will be born, but I’m assuming in Thailand. Either way, in Thailand or not, your son will be a Thai national by birth.

      I can’t comment on Canadian citizenship, other than to say I’ve heard they’ve altered the way citizenship by descent has been handled in recent years, so best check with your embassy on that.

      You also don’t mention how you’ve acquired Australian citizenship (was it by naturalization or via descent yourself). I know people who are born in Australia as citizens, or who have naturalised, can pass Australian citizenship on to their overseas born children via registering for citizenship via descent at the closest embassy.

      If you are a citizen via descent yourself, you will have had to have clocked up a cumulative 2 years of time in Australia in your life (it does not have to be in one block) before you can pass on Australian citizenship to your overseas born child. If born in Australia of course, then your son will automatically be an Australian citizen by birth by virtue of having an Australian citizen parent.

      Hope this helps and isn’t too confusing.

  31. Joua says:

    I was born In Thailand but have lived in the US all my life and is an US Citizen now. Does this mean I have dual citizenship or do I still have to apply?

    • Hi Joua,

      If you were born in Thailand and at least one of your parents was a Thai national at the time of your birth (or if both your parents were non-Thai but had Thai permanent residence) then you are a Thai citizen by birth. You would certainly have a Thai birth certificate which would state your ID number and be registered on a house register somewhere. If you’ve got Thai relatives there still you’ll probably need to find out where that is, and get a copy of it for your files.

      Given you came to the US as a child, it is unlikely you have a Thai ID card, but on your next visit to Thailand you should go to the district office where your name is registered, and apply for one. After that, you can easily get a Thai passport.

      The Thai embassy in the US probably won’t be able to issue you a full passport without an ID card, but if you’ve got your birth certificate, old Thai passports and a copy of your house registration, they should be able to issue you with a emergency passport which is good for a one way trip to Thailand, where you can apply for a full passport after getting an ID card.

  32. Paul says:

    I was born in the USA to Thai parents who hold dual citizenship. I plan to eventually live and retire in Thailand. How may I go about obtaining a Thai citizenship? Thanks


  33. R J Gibson says:

    Hi there, my wife is Thai but we are married and living in NZ for last 5 years, but she still has very close family ties there and we visit there for 3 months every year, she would like to become an Nz citizen but is scared of losing her Thai citizenship, is she able to have both?

    • Hi there

      No, she won’t be in danger of losing her Thai citizenship if she takes up her NZ citizenship. She of course has the option to renounce it, but there is no automatic renunciation of Thai citizenship due to renouncing. Section 13 of the nationality act is very clear, that the an applicant taking up another citizenship via marriage (your wifes circumstances) will only lose citizenship if the apply to renounce it. So if you wife choses not to renounce, then she will retain Thai nationality.

  34. Tom L says:

    Hi, thank you for the great information. I am a USA citizen, my twin daughters were born on 13sep2020 to their Thai mother. I was concerned about reporting birth abroad to the US embassy because they will be living in Thailand with there mother until i can retire. I would like to know if reporting birth abroad to the US embassy will affect any of their Thai national benefits. If it does not i will like for them to get both Thai and USA passports so they can come visit me in Singapore for long term work.

    • Hi Tom,

      I’m not an expert on American nationality law but Thailand won’t have an issue with your children holding another nationality, so from that perspective, it won’t have an impact on their status as Thai citizens.

  35. John says:

    Hi just a few questions

    I’m 24 from UK and my mother is Thai. I want to move to Thailand to work over there, however right now it’s a bit difficult to get there to say the least. Would you recommend applying for a work permit or a Thai passport? Which method do you think would be easier to enter the country during the current restrictions?
    I have a Thai birth certificate but its in Thailand with my family over there. Do you need to have a physical copy of the birth certificate to send to the embassy or is a scan sufficient?

    Also do you need a national ID card to obtain a Thai passport?

    Many thanks for your time

    • Hi there,

      You don’t say where you were born, but reading between the lines it appears you were born in Thailand given your birth certificate is still in Thailand.

      First things first, its your birth certificate so you need to get your hands on it. You are going to need it.

      If born in Thailand, you will need a Thai ID card to get a Thai passport at your age. There is no way around it. Given you are in the UK and have an old Thai passport, then you can enter Thailand on an expired Thai passport (the more recently expired the better). However if you haven’t had a Thai passport since you were small the embassy may issue you with a temporary passport good for one journey back to Thailand. You need to consult with them to see what they recommend.

      If you were born in the UK, then your Thai BC will have been issued by the Thai embassy in London, and you will be able to apply for your FIRST Thai passport via the embassy without an ID card.

      At present, given COVID restrictions, only Thai citizens, their families and those with work permits are able to enter the country. You can’t just apply for a work permit. This requires a Thai employer to offically hire you and go do the necessary paperwork.

      The other thing you’ve got to worry about being male and under 30 is military service. You’ll be obligated to report for the draft lottery if living in Thailand, registered on the house register and with an ID card. If you are looking to stay off the house registration, then check out this option which is a special extension of stay they give you in your british passport being a child of a Thai citizen (

      • John says:

        Thanks a lot for your advice!

        Yeah sorry for missing out the information. I was born in the UK, I have a Thai birth certificate issued from the Thai embassy in London and I just found out I have a Thai passport that expired about 19 years ago. So I guess I can only renew my passport if I have a Thai ID card, which is only possible to acquire in Thailand. Hopefully the embassy can issue me a temporary passport.

        • Thanks for the update. Its worth asking the embassy if they can give you a new passport – plenty of people in your position but they officially state they limit issuing only one passport for those who don’t yet have a Thai ID number. But given the world is turned totally upside down at the moment, maybe they are granting exceptions.

          All the best with it.

  36. Sydney K. says:

    I was born in Bangkok, Thailand. Back in ’67 but came to the US at the age of 13. My passport listed Thailand as my country of origin. My Mum who is Thai (as far as I know has not renounced her Thai citizenship) and is also a US citizen. My question is, is it possible for me to obtain dual citizenship? I am thinking about retiring in Thailand with the intention of purchasing a home. Thank you.

    • Hi Sydney,

      So the good news, you are already a dual citizen. A person born in Thailand to a Thai parent is automatically a Thai citizen.

      You need to locate your original Thai birth certificate, and if you have it, any details regarding your house registration (tabieen baan) which is needed for a passport application for those born in Thailand. The Thai embassy in the US *should* be able to issue you with a Thai passport of the basis of that assuming that your registration details are up to date.

      If not, they may suggest you go to Thailand to update your info on the national citizen database. This will require you to get your details updated on a current house hold registration after which you have a Thai ID card issued. At that point, you can easily apply for a passport. Given you were born in Thailand, all of you details will be registered, and likely be registered at the district office of the municipality you were born in.

      • Sydney K. says:


        Thank you very much for guiding me in the right direction. I do have a copy of my BC (albeit raggy) so hopefully this will expedite the process. I wll contact the Thai Embassy and get the paperwork started.

        I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to answer my question and helping others who are interested in obtaining Thai citizenship.

        -Sydney K.

  37. Bobby says:

    Hi . So I was born in Thailand in the 80s, then my mum and step dad moved the family to Australia in the 90s, and the my mum ended up getting her Australian citizenship which I automatically obtained being her child. My question is, Did I lose my Thai citizenship as a result?

    • Hi Bobby,

      No you didn’t. Your Thai citizenship stays unless you formally renounced it (and this was signed of by the minister and published in the royal gazette).

      You’ll need to dig up your old Thai passport, and Thai birth certificate. Both should have your ID number on it. You should also ask you mum at which address your name is registered on the ‘tabieen baan’ and ideally get a copy of that. The Thai embassy in Australia *may* not be able to issue you with a passport if you haven’t got a current Thai ID card, but you should ask anyway. Failing them being able to provide you one, they might be able to issue you with a temp one, good for one trip to Thailand (or you can enter Thailand on your Australian passport). You’ll need to head to the district office where you are registered and get a new ID card, at which point you’ll be able to apply for a new Thai passport.

      All the best with everything.

  38. Mo bugs says:

    Good evening,

    Very informative website . Thanks

    Couple of questions I am british and wife is thai l, our son was born on 20/06/20 and has a thai birth certificate. I am applying for a British passport so we can go and visit family in the UK . Can we also apply for a Thai passport ? If so which one should we apply for first?




    • Hi Mo,

      Congrats on the birth of your son!

      Given your son is a Thai citizen, you can certainly apply for a Thai passport for him. He’ll need both UK and Thai passports to travel between the UK and Thailand, but it doesn’t matter in what order you apply for them. To apply for a Thai passport, you’ll need to go to the closest Thai passport office, talking your son, you and your wife. Its pretty quick and easy, but both parents have to be there. Make sure you take his birth certificate, house registration, your wifes ID as well as your ID (passport).

      As for travelling to the UK, check out this article on how do use two passports.

  39. Nina H. says:


    I was born in Bangkok Mayo Hospital in 1985 and I have my original Thai birth certificate. I currently hold a USA passport and citizenship. I would love to get a Thai passport and Thai ID. My mom still has her Thai passport and Thai ID. Is it as easy as filling out forms with my birth certificate and copies of her ID?

    • Hi Nina,

      Thanks for your message. Good news. You are already a Thai citizen! Your Thai birth certificate should say as much, and it should also have your ID number on it as well. You haven’t said where you are located right at the moment, but it sounds like you are in the US. To get your Thai passport you’ll likely need a copy of your Thai house registration. If born in Thailand, you will be registered on the blue ‘house book’ called a ‘tabieen baan’ in thai, so you’ll have to ask your mum at what address you are registered and if possible, get a copy of that house registration with your name in there.

      If you moved to the US before you turned 15, then it is unlikely you’ll have been issued a Thai ID card. While Thai embassies overseas do have the power these days to issue Thai ID cards, I’m not sure if they can issue a persons first ID card, so you might have to get that in Thailand if you can’t.

      I’d have a chat with the embassy. In all likelihood they’d be able to issue you with a Thai passport, but if they can’t it might just be that you have to get the ID card issued first (in Thailand) and then you can apply for a Thai passport while in Thailand.

      Hope this helps and let me know if you have any more questions.

  40. Kiki says:


    Recently my family got approved for Singapore citizenship, but we would need to renounce our Thai citizenship (we are naturalized citizens of Thailand). Are you aware of how to renounce Thai citizenship, especially in these COVID times, as we are not able to leave Singapore? It has been very difficult to find information on how to renounce Thai citizenship, I am guessing it is because Thailand allows folks to take on dual citizenship.

    Would really appreciate it if you have any insight! Thank you!!

    • Hi Kiki,

      Congrats on the Singaporean citizenship! Unfortunately as your story confirms, Singapore does not allow dual citizenship and your foreign citizenship must be renounce your Thai citizenship as a result. The best thing to do is to apply via the Thai embassy in Singapore. I’m sure, given Singapore’s stance on dual nationality, many people who have naturalised as Singaporean will have had to renounce their Thai citizenship, and the embassy there will be able to handle the process.

      Out of interest, I had read this blog from a young singaporean who had to do the same thing a few years ago. His story was slightly complicated, which necessitated him having to travel to Thailand (which I don’t think you have to do), but in any case, here is the link to that blog.

      • Kiki says:


        Thanks for responding so quickly, really appreciate it. Yes, we will be going to Thai embassy in Singapore the coming Monday. Hopefully there is not too much trouble as some of our official documents are in Thailand – hopefully they accept copies during these COVID times!

  41. Sapphire says:


    Thank you very much for all the information provided on this website 🙂

    I am luk khreung, born and living in the UK. I have a Thai birth certificate and used to have a Thai passport, however the passport has since expired. How do I go about renewing this (I am under 20)? Is it possible for me to get it renewed without my Thai parent present? – my parents are divorced and my Thai parent lives in Thailand.

    Also, I wish to work in Thailand over the next year. If I have a Thai passport, does this exempt me from having to acquire a visa and work permit? I do not yet have my degree, therefore would be unable to otherwise obtain a work permit.

    Many thanks,


    • Hi there.

      You have two options. Until you turn 20 you’ll need both parents to sign off on the passport application. Up to 15 years of age BOTH parents need to be physically present (unless one parents has sole custody granted by a court). Between 15 and 20, both parents don’t have to be present but they will have to sign permission forms. These forms should be available on the Thai embassy website in the UK.

      The second option is to use your expired Thai passport. In normal times, its perfectly fine for Thai citizens to enter Thailand on an expired passport. Given COVID I’d check with the embassy to see if this is being allowed at the moment (there are lots of documents needed to enter Thailand at the moment, including signing up for mandatory 14 day state quarantine). Additionally, as long as COVID is an issue, basically they are only letting Thai passport holders and valid work permit holders enter the country.

      Regardless of this, once you enter Thailand on the expired passport it won’t be valid for any further travel, however, you will need to get your name on the house registration (tabien baan) as well as getting an ID card. Similar to the passport, this will need permission from your parents from memory. As a Thai citizen however you will be able to live and work in Thailand without need for a work permit.

      Anyway, all the best and good luck with it all!

  42. Danielle says:

    I am so grateful to have found your website. I am an American/Thai with both passports. I have been living in Thailand for the past year and a half.

    I am trying to visit my partner in France. Thailand is approved on the list of third-national countries allowed in the EU, but the US is not. It says on many articles that they allow in ‘residents’ of the countries of the approved list. Question 1: Does my Thai passport prove my residency in Thailand?

    It is not possible for me to enter on my Thai passport, because it would require a visa which I could not get right now. I have a flight to France in two weeks and plan to enter on my US, but showing my Thai passport as proof I am a resident of Thailand. Do you have any advice or knowledge on how to make this work?


    • Hi Danielle,

      I can’t speak specifically to French regulations as to whether they are banning ALL US citizens vs only people who are resident in the US (regardless of citizenship) but logic would dictate it is probably the latter.

      Simply the fact that you are travelling from Thailand and not the US should count for much, in addition to your Thai ID. Nevertheless, I’d check with the French embassy to remove any doubt.

      All the best with your trip!

  43. Sirita says:

    My mom brought me to the US from Thailand since I was 9 yrs old. I becoming an officer here I had to become a US citizen. At 45 yrs old I want to get dual citizenship and be able to live in Thailand for a year or so with my soon to be US husband. I have a very old expired Thai Passport and my birth certificate. What is your recommendation on moving forward with this. Does it makes a difference if we get married in Thailand? We are retiring in we don’t need a job in Thailand.

    • Hi Sirita,

      I’d look to speak to the Thai embassy in DC or the closest Thai consulate to where you live and speak to them. Thai passports have to be applied for in person. Outside of Thailand the embassy generally organises visits to different states where they bring the passport equipment (it is very high tech!) to take your photos and details etc.

      While you are 1000% still a Thai citizen, I suspect there may be an issue with you applying for a new passport while in the US, in that you’ll need to have an up to date house registry and ID card ( Now, your birth certificate and old passport will have your Thai ID number (which never changes), but I would check with the embassy to see if they will able to process your Thai passport application in the US. If not, then you might want to ask for a temporary Thai passport which will let you enter Thailand as a Thai citizen.

      Once you enter Thailand you’ll definitely need to update your tabieen baan (house registration) and get a new ID card, at which point it will be super easy to get a new Thai passport at a Thai passport office.

      As for getting married in Thailand – I’m not sure if I understand your question. If you are already married to your husband in the US, your marriage is automatically recognised in Thailand. You’ll likely need to have the marriage certificate officially translated into Thai, but that is about all you need to have it validated for use in Thailand.

  44. Sally says:

    Thanks so much for your very helpful articles. I have a question about Section 22 of the Nationality Act linked to above, which states that a person of Thai nationality who has been naturalized as an alien shall lose Thai nationality. If, as you’ve shown above, Thais who naturalize abroad can generally retain their Thai nationality, who (or under what circumstances) does this apply to? Thanks

    • Hi Sally – thanks for your question. I want to stress this is a totally non-lawyer answer, but based on my own research and that of a few others, the simple answer is it doesn’t automatically apply to anyone. Though the clause is there, there are literally zero instances of section 22 being referenced in the royal gazette – which needs to happen before Thai citizenship is taken away from someone.

      In addition, there are many Thai’s who migrate overseas and aquire a second citizenship via naturalisation. Thai embassies literally have had decades to apply this clause – if it is indeed applicable – but never have. So while I can’t give you a legally watertight explanation, there certainly an interpretation of this section which doesn’t make it automatic, in the way Singapore or Malaysian law does when one of their nationals takes on another nationality.

      A good reference which summarises the position is this link:

  45. Boo says:


    I am Thai but lived in the US for many years and have become a US citizen. I married an American with 3 girls and divorce now. I didn’t know that I could get my kids a Thai birth certificate so that they could have dual citizenship until this year. My oldest kid is 16 and she wants to have Thai citizenship so that she can move over there to live with my sister for a couple years.

    So, I applied for a Thai birth certificate for my kids to the Thai embassy in NYC. They said I need to give them a copy of the children’s father’s ID and passport. Well, that’s the problem. My ex husband and I have a joint custody and I asked my ex about his ID and passport for this. I explained it to him very well with all the good reasons for the kids’ best interest but he has refused to give me his documents because he thinks it is stupid and useless at this point. He doesn’t want her to live far away from him. The other younger kids don’t want anything with Thai citizenship either, that’s what he said.

    Anyway, I still want my kids to have it so that they can inherit a parcel of land my late parents left behind if there’s something happened to my sister and I in the future.

    What would I do in this case? What is your suggestion? If I file a lawsuit against him about this, I’m not sure if I would win either. Plus, going to the court would cost me a lot that I can’t afford to hire an attorney. Thanks in advance for your time and suggestion!

    • Hi Boo,

      Unfortunately I’m not in a position to help on this.

      If the father is unknown then there are mechanisms to have that recorded on the birth certificate, but that is not the case. I suspect you are just going to have to hope that he can assist in providing the documents. And if he can’t, then maybe ask the embassy if there are any work arounds. I suspect there are, but you’ll need to get the embassy to outline what they are.

      Maybe when your oldest is 18 she can initiate to process herself, and your husband will be more willing at that point?

      Good luck with it all and sorry I can’t be of more assistance.

      • Boo K. says:

        Thank you for your suggestion. My ex-husband doesn’t want to give his documents to me or my eldest daughter at all. Sadly, he has nothing to do with Thailand at all especially his ex-wife is Thai. Plus, the Embassy also wants his consent for this because she is under 18 years old and we have a joint custody too. So, my kid probably has to wait until her dad is dead someday just to get a hold of his documents. What a sad situation that I can’t get my kids a Thai birth certificate because of my difficult ex-husband! Thank you again for your time and help, I appreciate it a lot.

        • Yes, sorry to hear. Unfortunately your story isn’t one which is unheard of. One mistake in my previous message, the age of majority in Thailand is 20 as you know, so I suspect your daughter will have more options at that point given she won’t need the parents consent. Fingers crossed things change in the meantime for you and your daughter.

  46. Natalie says:

    I wanted to ask if I were to fly from Bangkok to Hawaii with two passports – Thai and British, and is going to connect my flight in Japan, which passport should I show to the officer/airline in Japan? Also, would a Thai passport of 5 months before the expiration date from the departure date be of a no worry? Thank you in advance.

    • Hi Natalie,

      If you are headed to the US, then after you’ve cleared Thai immigration, just use the British one – assuming that is the passport you’ll be using to enter the US on.

      A Thai passport with less than 5 months on it will not be a problem. Given everything happening with COVID though, it may be prudent just to get a new passport before you leave, given how quick and painless it is.

  47. Colin Greenwood says:

    Hi My son was born in Australia in 2003. In 2005 my Thai wife and I attended the Thai Embassy in Canberra to obtain Thai passports for both our kids, both born in Aus. They were also both issued with Thai Birth Certificates, that both state place of birth as Australia. During the application process a Thai address was needed to be entered, so they entered my wifes parents address in Phrae in Thailand. This has meant that they both now appear on the house registration certificate in Phrae. The Army attended that address shortly after my son turned 17, to find out where he was as he was supposed to update them given he is now of age for compulsory military service in Thailand. We all wish now, to cancel or revoke his Thai birth certificate and have his name removed from the house registration certificate, so in the event he travels there for family visits etc, he is not arrested and has to go through hell to have it sorted out. The easiest thing would be for him to never set foot in Thailand again, but even a plane that he is on that may transit through Thailand may present a problem for him. The Thai Army office, upon being presented with all his Australian documents, waved my sister in law off and said he has to cancel, but it is not apparent how to do that. There are mentions of revoking Thai citizenship between the age of 20 and 21, but he I dont believe he ever became nationalized, unless that was done by default.
    I hope you have some advice for me.
    Thanks. Colin

  48. Karl Ove Hognestad says:

    Can a person who holds another country `s citizenship be the legal owner of land and own while having adress abroads?

  49. Leroy says:

    Thank you so much for your advice. Really do hope that I can reinstate my Thai Citizenship after renouncing.

    Anyway, I am glad to know that there is a special VISA for ex Thai Citizens to live in Thailand, at least it is still an option. Can this VISA allow me to work in Thailand?

    • Hi Leroy – unfortunately the visa won’t allow you to work in Thailand or own land etc. They way the system is set up, the only people who have automatic work rights are Thai citizens. Not even PR holders have automatic work rights!

  50. Leroy says:

    I mum is Thai, I am born in Thailand and a Thai Birth Certificate. I am holding Malaysia and Thai Citizen. I need to renounce my Thai citizenship when I reaches 21 to retain my Malaysia Citizenship. After renouncing my Thai Citizenship, can I eventually reinstate my Thai Citizenship in the future?

    • Hi Leroy,

      Unfortunately there isn’t a clear path to reinstating Thai citizenship once it has been renounced. The only way under current legislation is that if you have renounced it to take up the citizenship of your spouse. In that situation, it is possible for the citizenship to be reinstated, but it still takes a while.

      Former Thai citizens however do have access to a special visa which allows them to stay in Thailand however, and this visa can be extended annually based on showing evidence of formerly holding Thai citizenship. So if your aim is to live in Thailand in the future, then that may be a potential option for you.

  51. Stephanie says:


    Thank you so much for your reply. I had thought so too but just wanted to get a professional opinion. I will renew for now and try to nip this when travel is safe again. Wishing you and your family good health and safety during uncertain times.


  52. Stephanie says:

    I am a Thai – American national. I was born in the US, cam to Thailand with my US pp and been under a non-immigrant visa since i was 10 yrs old even though i know have Thai ID and passport. Could i somehow switch or cancel having to renew my 1 yr visa as non-immigrant and stay as a Thai national? HOw would i go about doing so?

    Your help and advise would be so much appreciated,


    • Hi Steph,

      At some point you are simply going to have to leave Thailand on your US passport and re-enter Thailand on your Thai one to round out your immigration status. Strange, but true, that you can’t simply cancel your immigration status with immigration.

      Given we are at a rather weird time with no flights in and out of the country (and this can’t be done at land borders) simply organise your extension of stay so that it is done on the basis of being a Thai national. In terms of extension of stay, you should be able to get a years extension of stay based on being a thai citizen in your US passport (see section 2.23

      When planes are flying again, simply hop a flight to a neighbouring country and when you return re-enter Thailand on your Thai passport.

  53. Kris says:

    Thank you so much for your helpful article.
    I have both Thai and USA citizenship and have both passport.
    Is it illegal to use one passport when I depart the country and use the other passport when I arrive?
    For example, I take the flight from Bangkok to LA, I use Thai passport when I depart Thailand and use USA passport when I arrive at LAX. Is it legal okay? If you know the answer, please help me.

  54. jack says:

    I do have my thai identification card but no passport yet, when i get one, how should i use it when i get in-out canada and in-out of thailand? should I show both? or 1 for canada with the canadian passport and the thai passport with the thai?

  55. Kai says:


    I was born in Thailand but have been living in the US for about 12 years now as a citizen. I’m turning 20 soon and I was wondering if I visit Thailand, do I need to do military service? I really want to do internships or maybe find a job there for a little while (half a year or so) and I was wondering if that was legally possible?


  56. Simon C says:

    How about three passports? My wife is Thai and I am dual Uk and Aussie passport holder. Can my kids hold all three passports?

    • Hi Simon,

      Yep no problems so long as the other countries have no issues with multiple citizenship. My kids actually have three citizenship. My sister has Thai, British and Australian, and her kids have 4 (all those plus Venezuelan!).

      Hope this helps.

  57. Duner says:


    I hope you can help me here=)
    I am 26 years old, was born and live in Switzerland. My mother is Thai. How can I get the Thai Citizenship? Is my age a problem?

    I hope it is still possible!

    Thank you so much for your help and your lovely post!



  58. Claudia says:

    I’m Claudia, Im 28.
    I always lived in Portugal, but I was born in Thailand and my mom is thai.
    How do I start the process of dual nationality? And do I have to make mandatory trips to Thailand to not lose my thai nationality once I get it? is there any test language?

    Thank you for giving up time to help others like myself.

    • Hi Claudia,

      If you were born in Thailand to a Thai parent you are already a Thai citizen by birth. You keep this status for life.

      Your Thai birth certificate will state your nationality as ‘Thai’, and most likely, you will already have a house registration as it is compulsory to register a new child within 15 days of birth. So there is no need for you to ‘apply’.

      You’ll need to get your hands on the Thai birth certificate and a copy of the house registration. If you don’t have them you should ask your parents for them.

      You should be able to take this to the Thai embassy in Portugal, who should be able to issue you with Thai travel documents which will you allow to enter Thailand as a Thai citizen. IF you travel to Thailand, you will required to get a Thai ID card which will enable you to apply for a passport (if the embassy won’t give you a full one, but only a temporary one).

  59. Mone says:

    My parents are both Thai and I was born in France. I hold dual citizenship (Thai and French). I have been living in Canada for 6 years and I am also eligible for Canadian Citizenship. Both Canada and France accept multi-citizenships. I would like to know if Thailand accepts multi-citizenships and not only dual?

    Thank you,

  60. Danny says:

    My mother is a thai citizen and my father is american. If i apply and get the dual citizenship and have a thai passport do i still need to apply for a tourist visa if i am planning to stay in thailand for longer than 60 days?


  61. Somchai says:

    Hey mate, do you have a personal e-mail I could write to? I think you may be able to assist me, but I’d prefer to address this issue privately. I’m also a Thai/Australian by the way… Cheers in advance mate.

    • Hi Somchai,

      To be honest, all of the comment here don’t identify you unless you choose to identify yourself. So if possible, please post here in general terms so the advice can be of use to everyone.

  62. Yowita Kananid says:

    Hello. I am a Thai born citizen and have been working and living in Australia for 5 years continuously. I am eligible for Aussie citizenship/passport but can I retain my Thai passport. Thank you.

    • Hi Khun Yowita,

      The simple answer is ‘yes’, plenty of people migrate to Australia (and other places) and end up naturalising in those countries, and retaining their Thai nationality. The majority of records we see in the Royal Gazette (ราชกิจจานุเบกษา) of Thai’s losing their nationality, is when they voluntarily renounce it due to naturalising to a citizenship that doesn’t allow them to keep their Thai citizenship (e.g Austria, Singapore).

      Hope this is useful and all the best on your Aussie citizenship application!

  63. Chantal Appleyard says:


    My mother is Thai and I was born in the UK and would like to apply for dual citizenship. I have no idea where to start as I’ve read so many conflicting things. Please could you advise me on what the steps are to achieve this? Is it right that I need to register myself at her house book first in Khon Kean and then start from there?

    Many thanks,

    • Hi Chantal,

      Thanks for your question. If you were born in the UK the very first thing to do is apply for a Thai birth certificate, and hopefully a Thai passport at the same time, via the Thai embassy in London. When you move to Thailand, you can then be put on her house registry and then get an ID card.

      It is important to remember that the Thai birth certificate is the initial document which you need, and the most important. Without that, nothing else can happen.

      Check out this article here which will take you through the process.

      All the best and don’t hesitate to ask any follow up questions.

  64. Teeraphat Akaravorasate says:

    I am 17 right now. I was born in the United States but both of my parents are Thai. My plan is to study abroad and live abroad. Is it possible to renounce Thai Citizenship and keep only the US passport?

    • Hi Teeraphat,

      It is possible to renounce, and will have to do it via the method proscribed by the Thai embassy in Washington DC. The question is, why are you renouncing?

      A common reason people look to renouncing is that they are worried about being eligible for military service. The fact is, if you are living outside of Thailand, or even visit for short periods, you are not eligible. After 30 (well from the 1 January in the year you turn 30) you are then exempt.

      Please have a read of this link on the military service for dual citizens. It describes the obligations, as well as the exceptions, which as an overseas born Thai, will apply to you.

      If you have any additional questions, please let me know.

      • Cris Hegner says:

        Hi ,
        My husband & I are both Caucasian Americans, who lived in Thailand for work. While there, we went to a fertility clinic & used Thai donor eggs to conceive. I was able to carry my baby but we consider her 1/2 Thai. She is 10 now, is she able to declare dual citizenship?

        • Hi Cris,

          Thanks for your message – to be honest, I’m not sure, and will come down to a couple of things. On your daughters Thai birth certificate, who are stated as the parents? At the top of her birth certificate, does the certificate state that she is a Thai citizen? If so, there is nothing to declare and your daughter is automatically a Thai citizen as a result (probably due to the bureaucracy recognizing the egg donor as the official mother). As legal guardians, so long as she is indeed identified as a Thai citizen on her Thai BC, then getting her registered on a house registration, obtaining an ID card and then passport shouldn’t be too difficult.

          If her Thai BC lists you and your husband as the parents (and your daughter not having Thai citizenship)- then I’m going to struggle to give advice. If the egg donor is willing, there is probably a method for claiming citizenship via establishment your child relationship to her Thai citizen egg donor via DNA, but you probably need to consult with the Minorities and Nationality Section of BORA on how you’d go about this.

          Not sure I’ve been entirely helpful, but hopefully this helps answer some questions.

  1. 12/06/2018

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