Thai dual citizenship – is it legal?

Chris Larkin

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

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98 Responses

  1. James D McKechnie says:

    Hi Chris,

    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.

  2. Tony Ash says:

    Hi Chris,
    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.

  3. 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.

  4. Charlie says:

    Hi Chris

    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.

  5. kerryanne says:

    Hi Chris,

    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!

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