Thai military service for dual citizens
“Do I have to undertake Thai military service?” is one of the most common questions that arises for male Thai citizens born and living overseas, as well as dual citizens born in Thailand.
As a basic rule, all healthy males with Thai citizenship who are resident in Thailand are required to report to a conscription officer at age 20. The only men who don’t have to go through the conscription process are naturalised Thai males or those who have completed the territorial defense program while at school.
Undertaking conscription is still a major rite of passage for most young Thai men. Having fulfilled your obligation is important from a general legal perspective, but also important given some employers – particularly in the public sector – still require evidence of completing your obligation.
Thai males who are registered in Thailand on the tabieen baan (house register) are normally sent initial administrative papers about their obligation at age 17. They are expected to respond to this letter in anticipation for being sent instructions for presenting themselves for the conscription lottery at 20.
The basic health requirements are as follows:
- Be free from diseases and disabilities that can interfere with military service; and
- Height at least 160 cm or more and a chest circumference of 76cm measured when exhaling.
Those with a suspected disease or disability contrary to military service are required to be examined at one of the 20 Army hospitals in the country between October and February in the year of being eligible for conscription.
On conscription day, eligible recruits will take part in a lottery, picking coloured ball out of a barrel. Those who choose a red ball will be drafted for 2 years. Choose a black one, and you are home free.
Registration is handled by the local recruitment officer – the Sasadee (สัสดี) located the local district office (สำนักงานเขต) where your father or mother are registered on the house book/tabieen baan (ทะเบียนบ้าน).
In 2017, a little over 100,000 twenty year-olds, joined the armed forces. Most (78%) went into the army, 14% into the Navy and 8% into the air force. Of these, 49% volunteered for Thai military service and the remainder were conscripted.
The local office will usually provide statistics on how many in that district need to be conscripted to meet the local quota. In some areas, the ranks are mainly filled with volunteers who see the military as a good employment option. As such, the actual number (and the chance of) needing to be conscripted may be low, depending on the district.
Some basic misconceptions and myths:
Before we examine the legitimate ways of de-risking your chances of being conscripted, let’s look at some misconceptions about what gets you exempted.
- Myth 1: Dual citizen children are not eligible for conscription;
- Myth 2: Not speaking Thai exempts you from selection;
- Myth 3: Children who aren’t ethnically Thai aren’t eligible to be conscripted; and
- Myth 4: Becoming a monk automatically exempts you.
Having read the rules from start to finish, there is nothing in the regulations that refer to these factors as exemptions. Don’t be caught out by rumours to the contrary!
The (lack of) Thai language one is often cited to me, however the fact is there are loads of kids from Khmer, Malay or Lao speaking regions of Thailand whose central Thai may not be terribly strong – let alone literate – but they are as eligible as a Thai male who only fluent in a European language.
Indeed, English language skills are useful to the military, particularly for intelligence related roles. Though it isn’t unknown to find those who have been exempted because of their lack of Thai speaking skills – do not rely on this as a general rule!
The ONLY impediment for Thai males with a foreign parent is that they are ineligible to become an officer in the Thai armed forces. While other areas of Thai law have mainly removed discrimination based on parent’s nationality (e.g. eligibility for being an MP), this rule remains firmly on the books of the Thai military for the time being.
Its also worth noting that becoming a monk doesn’t automatically exempt you. Only monks who have undertaken higher (divinity) level Buddhist education within the Mahajana sect (พระภิกษุที่มีสมณศักดิ์ชั้นเปรียญ นักบวชนิกายมหายาน) and monks and novices who have been certified by the Ministry of Education (สามเณร ภิกษุ นักบวชพุทธศาสนานิกายมหายาน ที่ได้รับการรับรองจากกระทรวงศึกษาธิการ) are automatically exempted.
As such, those serving as monks, who fall outside these categories will need to report for military conscription, and it isn’t an uncommon sight to see ordained men lining up on conscription day to see if they are chosen for Thai military service.
Legitimate exemptions from the military draft
While a good proportion of applicants see military service as a way out of poverty, or as a way to serve their nation, others have personal reasons for avoiding being conscripted for two full years right at the start of their 20’s.
Regulations thus contain some thoroughly above-board ways to avoid having to be conscripted, or at the very least, delay it. These include the following:
1) Territorial defense program
This program, known colloquially in Thai as Ror Dor (รด) is the equivalent of army ‘cadets’ in places like the UK or Australia, or the ‘ROTC’ in the US.
This is one of the main methods Thai kids use to avoid the lottery. If you are parents of young children, then selecting a high school with a ‘Ror Dor’ program might be something worth thinking about. International schools generally also offer ‘Ror Dor’ as well.
The concept is very simple. In the senior years of high school (and in some cases university), a child can sign up and participate in training during school hours a few days per month for three years. This provides an alternative form of basic training which culminates in a multi-day camp at the end of the program. After the full three-year course is completed, the students receive exemption papers for the draft at age 20.
For partial completion of Ror Dor, credit will also be given. Completing one year of Ror Dor means only having to serve full-time for one year if conscripted. Similarly, completing two years of reserve training means only doing six months of full-time training if conscripted.
For those who start, but don’t complete the Ror Dor course at high school, they are permitted to carry on with the course for 2 more years at university.
2) University/Post graduate studies
Whether in Thailand or overseas, further studies are an acceptable method of deferring your obligations to attend the lottery.
Thai embassies overseas will have Military Deferment Forms (แบบฟอร์มขอหนังสือรับรองการผ่อนผันการเกณฑ์ทหาร).
3) Volunteering after graduating from university
Following graduation, a university graduate is allowed to volunteer to join the armed forces prior to or on conscription day, and as a result only serve 6 months. This is common for many Thai families who do see some merit in undertaking a short stint of Thai military service.
What commonly happens is a university educated volunteer will do the required 10 weeks of basic training, with the remainder of their service being in office based administrative jobs.
A word of warning though, if you decide to try your luck with the lottery, and pick the red ball, do note that you’ll have to serve to full conscription period, university degree or not.
4) Overseas military service
The conscription rules do state that comparable foreign military service does count towards reducing military obligations in Thailand. How this is administered is unclear, and probably comes down to being assessed a case by case basis.
5) Not moving back to Thailand until you are 30 years of age
All Thai males who report for conscription at after age 30 are automatically released from duty. At this point, according to section 39 of the Military Service Act (see here) once you register for military duty you will be put into the second division of the army reserves, which is an inactive register (ทหารกองหนุนชั้นที่ ๒).
As such, particularly if you are an overseas born Thai, it may be worthwhile staying unregistered in Thailand – no ID card and staying off the house book or tabien baan (ทะเบียนบ้าน) – and only formally registering yourself for Thai military service with the district office when you are past thirty years of age.
After age thirty, so long as you voluntarily report, you will be released from your obligation with a small payment of a fine at the police station. The fine for reporting late ranges between 100 and 300 baht – and a fine at the lower end of that range is usually granted for voluntary reporting.
Strictly speaking, the above process (though undertaken by many) leaves you still open to be considered an absconder in the event of being caught before you voluntarily report. For overseas born Thai dual citizens who want to avoid this small risk (anecdotally, we’ve never heard of any dual citizens being arrested), there is a ‘belt and braces’ approach to stay totally on the right side of the law.
For those who are born overseas, and who have never been registered on a house register or have gotten an ID card by the age of 17, you are able to send someone on your behalf to report. The rules allow for an adult representative to bring your Thai embassy issued birth certificate to the recruitment office. According to the rules, this must be done in the district office where your Thai mother is registered, but if your mother is not a Thai citizen, then you can do so in your fathers registered district.
By way of process, the Sasadee office will begin the process register the enlistee via the Sor.Dor 44 form. Given the lack of house registration and ID card (which are on the list of required documents for conscription), the Sasadee will send your file to the district office head, who is empowered to delay the processing of the registration till such time as these documents are produced. Nevertheless a record will be kept of the attempted registration and a copy shall be given to the representative who reported on your behalf. Importantly, this record will be proof that an attempt to register has been made, and this is sufficient proof under law to prove that the enlistee did not attempt to abscond.
If I live overseas, can I travel back Thailand on a Thai passport if I haven’t reported?
Up until the late 1990’s, for those over the age of majority, having your military release papers was a requirement for being issued a Thai passport. Now, Thai passports are generally issued to anyone, except to those who have been charged by a court of absconding.
The real issue is whether you are normally resident in Thailand and thus, liable to report for conscription. This is a very grey area, but short trips are normally fine and many dual citizens travel to and from Thailand regularly. But if you intend to visit for longer periods then the risk increases that you will be considered liable for duty so you should be aware of your responsibilities on this front if you move back to Thailand before age 30 for an extended period of time.
Hi, i need my Service liability letter where can i get it ?.
Hi there – can you elaborate what a ‘service liability letter is’? You mean a letter from the military saying you aren’t eligible any more?
Yes please from military, it’s national service liability letter to prove i haven’t got to go back to do national service anymore ! many thanks.
So you can only get one going through one of the processes I outline above. On what basis are you exempt?
Sound like i need to go back Thailand to get it !
yes, more than likely.
HI, I am 22 years dual citizen (my father is Pakistani and my late mother was Thai). I was born in Thailand but moved to Pakistan when I was 6. Currently my bachelors is going to complete by next year. I want to move back to Thailand for better Job opportunity. I just have the Thai passport only not ID card. What things I need to consider in order to avoid the conscription. Is it serious? How I can avoid it?
As outlined above, as per law, you are supposed to register. The reality on the ground is that given you have missed the ‘normal’ window for reporting given you were never on the house registration then, anecdotally, based on stories people have told me, there is little that will happen. You’ll be able to apply for your ID card in the normal way, as outlined in the article here (https://www.thaicitizenship.com/thai-citizenship-when-born-overseas/) and there is unlikey to be any follow up given getting an ID card is not contingent on military service.
Some employers may ask for evidence you have done your military service, but that is less and less these days so I wouldn’t worry too much. The other alternative is to get this special visa for children of Thai nationals. It doesn’t give you any work rights, but it does effectively let you stay in Thailand indefinitely, so it might be a good option for you in the case where you just want to get the lay of the land and settle in first. https://www.thaicitizenship.com/thai-ancestry-visas/
Anyway, hopefully this has been helpful.
For the “belt and braces” approach, where the embassy issued Thai birth certificate is used by a parent to register with the recruitment office; should this be done when the son turns 20 (at expected age of registration) or wait until 30 and get house register / ID straight after?
My understanding officially it should all be done at 17 and what you see here is based off information from the Thai embassy in Austria (see this link HERE)
Now while that is ‘official’ advice, the fact that a child born abroad isn’t generally issued with an ID number, then anecdotally you may find the recuruitment officer simply not want to know about it, given your son ‘isn’t in the system’. While I print the offical advice in my article, its worth understanding that you’ll likely have an indifferent officer who doesn’t want the extra paperwork and suggest you come back when your son is properly registered.
I know this is contradictory, but I thought it might be useful outlining that too.
Hi, I am a 22 year dual citizen (my father is Canadian). I was born in Thailand but moved to Canada when in elementary school. I am going to visit for 10 days. If I travel with my Canadian passport do I have to worry about conscription?
Hi David, you won’t have to worry about it given you aren’t ‘in the system’. Have a great trip.
Hi, I’m a 23 year old dual citizen who’s lived in the UK my whole life. I’m registered on the tabien baan and have an ID card. Whilst at university I received call up letters for the army but I deferred my service during studies. My question is if I don’t go to Thailand for the draft will have absconder status? Would I be able to visit Thailand with my British passport? When I turn 30 will I be able to return as a lawful citizen?
So when the call up letters have been sent, its probably best to have someone either call up the sasadee at the district office you are registered at and ask what needs to be done in the even you are going to be living overseas full time and attempt to have your service either deferred further or cancelled. To be honest I don’t know exactly what happens in such a situation, as I’ve heard many anecdotal stories about nothing happening at all. It might be worthwhile in the meantime having whoever is in charge of your house registration move your name off it for the time being until you turn 30 just to be on the safe side. Note though once you are off the regular tabieen baan you won’t be able to renew your Thai ID and passport, so if that is the path you are going, its best to get an new ID card and a new 10 year Thai passport, and then take your name of the tabieen baan.
Hello, dual citizenship here. Moved to Sweden when I was 9. I’m planning to visit Thailand this December on vacation for 60days. Considering to get a visa with my Swedish passport or just go with my Thai passport. Is there any risk if I’m using the Thai passport?
No problems at all to use your Thai passport. Swedish passport will only allow you to stay max 30-45 days.
If I am going to Thailand only for a week for business related reason and will be 19 years old do I have to report to the office or anything ?
No, if you are only visiting and not living here permanently then you won’t have to. Have you received any call up papers in the mail?
I’m a 20 years dual citizen who’s lived in Thailand for my whole life. My question is would I be able to avoid this draft if I were to leave the country before the duty reporting period? And would I be able to visit Thailand with my foreign passport?
That’s a question which is really hard to answer unfortunately and I’m not sure the answer. The best way is simply to remove yourself from the house register if you are moving overseas.
My dual national son is joining the British Royal Navy.Does this make him exempt from the Thai military.If so can he get a letter confirming his exemption?
As per the article there is apparently a mechanism for this to happen (once they’ve served their foreign service) but it’s never been made clear.
Further more I understand that before a British dual national enters the UK armed services they must seek a letter from the Thai side saying they aren’t eligible for thai military service.
It’s a chicken and egg situation. I’ve contacted the UK embassy in Thailand in the past, specifically the UK military attaché on how the get around this situation, but after a couple of attempts they stopped even bothering to answer my very polite email requests. I suspect they don’t even know and haven’t bothered asking their Thai counterparts about it.
You may want to try contacting them yourself – you might have more luck.
Sorry I can’t be of help.
Thanks for the reply.
Me and my boyfriend are going travelling around Thailand in a few months.
My boyfriend is 25 and was born in Thailand, he moved over when he was 3 years old and has been back 3 times.
He visited Thailand when he was 19 years old, and had to register for an ID card and on the house register, as he needed to do so due to him changing his name.
He needed to legally change is name in Thailand as this was changed when he came over to England. This was a whole process for sorting out his passport.
When doing so he did not register for conscription as this was not mentioned by any officials and at the time he was enrolled in university and was not planning on staying in Thailand. No proof or evidence was given regarding this as at the time he didn’t even realise he needed to register for this.
We are now planning to go to Thailand for 3 weeks, he will be using his UK passport.
I just want to understand the risk we are taking by visiting, as we both find it all very confusing.
This information on here as really helped, however as we are in such a unique situation we want to understand this.
My boyfriends mum is Thai, however she also has limited understanding on this.
Please can you advise on if it will have mattered that he visited and was issued an ID card at 19?
And also if we travel around Thailand on an English passport the risk of this?
Thanks for all the help and information:)
Thanks for your question. So a couple of things to unpack/understand here. First is that your boyfriend will be fine travelling here on either a UK or a Thai passport.
There is a whole process of actually of actually putting yourself in the system at age 16/17 before you go for the conscription lottery at 20. Without doing that, he isn’t even on the radar and he has done nothing wrong to not be on that as he literally wasn’t in Thailand at the time and without an ID card (without which, you can’t even start the process). If he returns to LIVE in Thailand before the age of 30 then he has the obligation to report but that is about it really. Given he was without an ID at age 16 I doubt they even sent him preliminary call up papers and since then probably haven’t bothered to follow up.
So all in all he will be fine.
Hope this helps
Thank you so much for responding to my question.
You literally answered every point in your detailed response.
I really appreciate the help, and I am really thankful for your detailed article, this is the most useful website I have found. There is hardly anything online when I’ve researched and thankfully came across this site.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer all my questions, this has really eased my mind and I definitely understand the process a whole lot better now.
Thank youfor the help and time you put it in to do this, honestly more helpful than the Thai embassy, they have no clue and don’t even bother responding.
Thanks again and have a great day 🙂 !
Hi there – glad to hear!
Hi, I am an NZ-born Thai national and live in NZ full-time. I have both a Thai passport and a National ID card with a tabien baan from 16 years old. However, I have not been back to Thailand since I was 16 and am now turning 27. I did not report at 17 and have not gone for conscription. Is it safe to say that it would be best to return to Thailand at 30 to voluntarily report and pay a fine? or does having a national ID card and tabien baan complicate the situation? I hope to one day return to Thailand to buy a house and build a business, I am hoping my situation does not ruin my future plans
It’s unlikely to ruin anything given you’ve been out of the country and unable to report. The process requires you to send initial registration forms for military service a couple of years before you actually turn 20, so in your case it’s highly likely the military wouldn’t have followed up if you did not respond and if was obviously not in the country.
Like many in your situation when you do return at some stage in the future they find that the issue has been (from an administrative perspective) effectively put on hold and give you’ll be past 30 effectively forgotten about.
I’m 40 years old and I just received my Thai birth certificate this month. I was born, raised, and have lived in the US my whole life- and I’m a US Air Force veteran. I’m planning to move my family to Thailand for a few years sometime in the next couple of years. Will I have to pay the fine still when I report?
To be honest unless you need the exemption certificate for some administrative purpose (eg so you can apply for Thai citizenship for your wife) then there is really no need to report. If you do however you will need to pay the fine but it will be no more than the equivalent of $10/15.
My sons are aged 18 and 21 and are both born in the uk . They have lived in the uk all their lives and only visit Thailand once a Year for a couple of weeks for holidays and see family.Their mum is Thai but moved to the uk 21 years ago. She has Thai passport and id card and property still . The kids have Thai passport but no id card . Do they still have to register for army service ? Older son last year of degree and 18 year old just started university
No need to register unless they decide to move back to Thailand permanently back to Thailand. In fact it is only really possible to register (as per the article above) when one is on the tabieen Baan and has an ID card issued.
Hope this helps.
Hi. My step sons are both 100% Thai. Born in Thailand, registered, ID and passport are current. They are dual citizens with US citizenship as well. Both are attending universities in the US but want to at least do the 6-month program to serve their country of birth. I’m a US veteran so I encourage them to fulfill their responsibility. Can you give me more information on that program? Where can we go to learn more about it, including how to volunteer? Anything else you think they need to know as well. Thank you so much!
The best bet is to simply to speak to the recruitment office attached to the district office (ie town hall) where your sons are registered. They won’t be eligible to do the 6-month stint until they graduate from university. As outlined in the article, its most likely they get a simple desk job after they’ve been through their basic training. I can’t point you to anything per se, but there are a number of articles in Reddit where mixed english speaking Thai’s have outlined their experience so it might be worth looking there.
Sorry I can’t be of more help.
My son was born in England but has lived here in Thailand since 20/2012.He HS dual citizenship.My question is
if my son joins the British Navy is he still eligible for conscription to the Thai armed forces.
So the answer is ‘probably not’. I’ve read in the past that equivalent military training elsewhere can be used to grant an exemption but how that is processed – I don’t know.
Given he will be living overseas – he will be unable to report in any case and the process outlined above will just apply (ie sending someone on his behalf).
I should note however we’ve had questions before from thai UK dual citizens looking to join the UK armed forces. Apparently the UK now requires a letter stating the the applicant has no other military obligations. Getting this letter out of the Thai military has proved a bit of a conundrum. The UK embassy has been notified of this issue but they have been of little assistance on that front too. I recommend you touch base with their military attaché here in Bangkok to see if they have figured out a way through that issue, as it might prevent your son being able to join up in the UK.
The son of my Thai wife (now also Italian) arrived in Italy 16 year old: now he is 30 year old and we need the military certificate to obtain the clearance certificate from the police.
How about the rules: it is possible obtain the above certificate without military service?
Yes it will be. Now he is 30 he needs to go to the conscription office he and his mother are registered in and report. They will issue him a certificate saying he is exempted under the rules (see sample letter above) and maybe he will pay a very small fine.
Hope this helps.
Please understand that my English is not very good and I used the translate function, so my sentences may not be correct.
My question is: Have you ever seen or heard of a case where a dual citizen who completed all his/her studies abroad returned to Thailand before the age of 30 and actually received a summons for the lottery?
It depends. If born in Thailand and they go off to study, then yes in most cases. Remember the summons are sent in the teenage years and you need to act to defer them.
If born overseas and then come back to live, anecdotally, no. But that is just what I’ve observed and it doesn’t take away the obligation for that person to report themselves.
Thank you for your article.
Today i went with my mother to get my name on the house registration, and the office employee said I would be eligible for military conscription although I am already 34yo. He said that I would be eligible until 60yo. We told him that the limit age to being eligible was 30. Unfortunately, his chief wasn’t here to give us an answer.
So I have a few questions before we return there on Tuesday.
1. Can you confirm that being 34 will definitely keep me away from serving the military? If yes, if I show them art. 39 from the Military Act you linked above, would it be sufficient to prove them wrong?
2. If everything goes as planned and i get my name registered and my Thai ID + passport, in the case I decide to move back to Thailand permanently in the future, would I still have any obligations to fulfil regarding the military i didn’t do?
Not speaking Thai doesn’t make things easier at the office. I just hope everything can be settled on Tuesday.
Thank you so much for your time.
Sorry for the delayed reply. I actually had drafted one but didn’t press ‘send’.
So over 30 you are in the free and clear as per the law. If (and it is a big ‘if’) the conscription office bother even to send out call up letters, when you turn up as part of the background checking (physicals etc) they’ll just see your age and strike you off from being ineligible given your age. Anecdotally, if they didn’t send anything out when you were 17, then they won’t after that.
What is true is you’ll stay on the reserves list until 45, at which point you won’t be needed. But we are talking about Thailand going to war to be called up after 30.
In terms of getting an ID card, your military status has no bearing either way. They should just give you one.
Hope this helps!
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.
I’m a bit relieved now!
So what happened?
Good news, I got the Thai citizenship! I’m sooo happy about it!
I received my ID card immediately after I was added to the register.
The passport took a bit more time to be issued. I left Thailand before getting it, but it has arrived at our home in Thailand. I’ll pick it up on my next trip!
Thank you so much again to this website for helping me on this matter! 💗
My son who is half Thai/half English and 22 years old, needs to go to Thailand to sort out the ownership of his Thai mothers property ( a condo) which the family have been “holding”. They say he can now take possession. Would he need to go over on a Thai passport to legally take control as a Thai citizen and have a Thai id?
If so is there a danger of him being conscripted as he has not done his National Service. He has been in England since he was 10 years old when his mother passed away.
Many thanks for your help,
For him to be called up, a whole process needs to happen. Call up letters need to be sent out, he has to come and report in April (the normal reporting time). None of this has happened, so he’s not even on the radar. Given he was born in Thailand, he is already ‘in the system’ but because he moved away, and never got an ID card at age 15 (when its compulsory to do so) I would be surprised if they even bothered to send out call up letters to him at age 17 to his registered Thai address.
But given he is overseas, on the off chance they do/did send out call up letters to him, he can defer it in the manner outlined above – sending a rep to say he is overseas and unable to attend.
So there won’t be any issue for him getting the ID card to do the property stuff. No need to get a passport for that side of things, but the ID card will certainly be needed.
Hi there, my son is now 15 years old, was born in Thailand and is named on his Thai mother’s Tabian Baan. His Thai passport has expired and he has a British one. He’s lived in the UK for past 6 years and we only return to Thailand for 2 weeks holiday once a year. Assuming he gets served the papers when he’s 17, is he likely to be stopped at the airport coming through on a British passport ? Thanks for any advice.
Unless there is a warrant for his arrest – something which I very much doubt would ever happen in a situation like your sons – then he will be fine.
Even if he does get served with the papers at his register address, someone can go and let the conscription office know he’s not in Thailand and they will likely defer the process as outlined above.
Many thanks for the response, very useful & informative forum this.
I have double citizenship and I recently received my Thai passport. I am 32 years old and are you certain, that every Thai national above 30 years of ages, will not have to do the Thai military service? I am planning to marry my foreign fiancé in Thailand to try to obtain a marriage visa. The only thing that is holding me back is the fear of having to join the military. I am currently living outside of Thailand but I plan to move there in the next 5 years and to sort everything for my fiancé.
Thanks in advance for your advice.
Yes very certain. I reference the legislation in the first paragraph of point 5 in the article above.
After 30, you are in the free and clear.
Thanks very much for your reply!
Hi i have a question:
I was born in Thailand but moved to Australia and got my citizenship here and never registered for thai citizenship, ID card, house book or tabien baan and only use Australian passport( im 23 now) will i have any problems if i visit thailand for a few weeks?
Hi, it won’t be a problem visiting but I must correct your understanding of things.
If you were born in Thailand to a thai parent you are a Thai citizen. It will say as much on your Thai birth certificate.
And within 10 days of birth you would have been registered on a house registration (tabieen baan), of your thai parent. Your name is still likely there.
When you go back you can easily get an ID card issued based on this and apply for a new Thai passport too if you want. Probably best to do all this as a proof of your citizenship should you want to use your thai citizenship more fully down the track.
thank you for the confirmation, but i heard that i could be conscripted automatically if i returned to thailand, is this true ?
(used to have thai passport but now only use Australian passport)
And what if i dont want to join the military are there any leeway
Sorry if im asking alot im just a bit scared to go back and get sent to the military. Thanks for the quick response 🙂
They don’t simply arrest you and march you off. It doesn’t work that way. As outlined in the article above, if you aren’t living in Thailand, and can’t attend, then there is very little they can do. Also, because you are over 17 now (when the original call up letters normally go out) you are likely off the radar.
I’m a Thailand citizen. I was born in Thailand and came to the US at the age of 7. I am now 40 years old. I have a US permanent resident card, Thai passport, and have been living in the US ever since.
If I plan a short visit to Thailand in the future and never signed up for the Thailand military reserve, will there be an issue for me when I arrive in Thailand?
Also, I have applied for US citizenship. Would that be considered dual citizenship now?
So last question first – once you become a US citizen you’ll remain a thai citizen, so by definition you’ll be a dual citizen.
As for military service, given you are over 30 you are exempt from service, so you’ll be totally fine.
Hope this helps.
Thank you so much for the quick response. That’s the answer I wanted to hear for so long. Very helpful and thank you again.
My son is 21and is 50/50 Thai residing in a foreign country. will he be eligible to hold dual citizenship?
He will not be residing in Thailand but we need to register two blocks of land in his name.
Many thanks in advance.
Thailand has no issue with dual citizenship.
For him to own land in his own name however he’ll need to be fully registered in a tabieen Baan and have a valid ID card as all this information will be needed to register the property in his name.
Hope this helps
I have a question regarding my son (21 years old) who is 50% Thai and 50% Swedish. He will go to Thailand in February with his friends. He is registered in his mother’s home village (tambien baan) in northern Thailand but came to Sweden when he was 3 months old. My question is, will he have problems with the military service (army) when he arrives at immigration at the airport or will he be admitted as a regular tourist. He does not have thai identification card or Thai passport. He will travel on his Swedish passport. He neither speaks nor understands Thai. He has not received a summons to appear for selection for the army.
So based on what you said, he’ll be totally fine. Doesn’t even sound like he’s on the radar for them.
Thanks so much. we have to hope everything will go well
I am a Thai national born and raised in South Korea who plans to study and immigrate to the US. I have been sent to Thailand approximately 6 months after birth and lived there for 3-4 years. In this case, how can I avoid being conscripted while being at the right side of the law?
Hi there, it sounds like you aren’t living in Thailand permanently and will be unable to attend the call up dates so you will be fine.
My boyfriend, now 31years old and living in The Netherlands, was adopted from Thailand when he was 12 years old. He has never been back to Thailand, but now he needs a Thai ID card in order to renew his Thai passport. However, he did not report for duty. Could this cause any difficulties if we were to return to Thailand?
We recently heard that his biological mother is still alive and residing in Thailand. Somehow he is registered at her address..
Yes, any adult thai citizen needs a valid ID card to apply for a new passport. To do that he’ll need to get his first ID card back in Thailand. If his name is registered at his birth mothers address (and if he in contact with her) then he can go to the district office with her with the house registration and it should be enough for them to issue him with an ID card.
If he doesn’t know his birth mother then all is not lost. If he knows his ID number (it is written at the top of his thai birth certificate and will be on any old thai passport) then the district office which registered his thai birth certificate should be able to tell him where he is now registered at and tell him what he needs to do to get an ID card. It will largely involve any Thai identification documents he has plus two thai citizens who can vouch for his identity.
If he was with an orphanage before being adopted out then the orphanage should have all his details too and will know how to get him registered with an ID card too.
Hope this helps.
Unfortunately we are not in possession of his birth certificate. Also there is no registration of his adoption to The Netherlands, which is really confusing. So if I understand correctly, our only option is to contact his biological mother (we got a house registration of her) and ask her to help us? And then, the district office should tell us how he can apply for a Thai ID card?
So two questions – what form of Thai ID do you have? And secondly do you know the name of the orphanage he was in before he was adopted?
He doesn’t have a Thai ID card and his Thai passport was misplaced some time ago. He was not placed in a orphanage before he was adopted.. none of this went according to the rules. That is why we think he is still registered in Thailand, since we have a house registration.
So.. we have to contact his biological mother and go to the district office with her and the house registration in order to apply for a Thai ID card.. if I understand correctly.
Hi. My sons were born in Thailand and entered an orphanage after being abandoned by their birth parents in 1999 and 2001. They were both named by the orphanage using a generic surname. We have no evidence of them being registered or having an ID card. They are both Australian citizens and have never renewed their Thai passports. Would they be safe to visit Thailand for 2 weeks in December without the risk of conscription? Thank you.
It will be more than fine. Most likely they are still on the house registry of the orphanage or an associated entity and if any call up notices were ever sent (and that’s a big ‘if’) then likely they would have notified that the boys are no longer in Thailand and that would likely be the end of it.
Nevertheless, I do encourage you to help your sons to keep on top of their Thai IDs etc as I regularly get questions from adoptees on how to reclaim their Thai citizenships etc. The orphanage they were in are likely to have all their related thai records which will come handy down the track should they want to get ID cards and passports done.
How can Thai citizen attend boarding high schools abroad then? So many kids do that, so is there an exemption? Also, what if a student started ror dor but then didn’t finish because he leaves to study abroad for the last 2 years of high school?
So the time you need to do if conscripted decreases if you’ve done some Ror Dor.
My son is a Thai / American citizen. He will be completing his Thai University program at the end of the year. He is currently scheduled for compulsary military service in Thailand. If he would instead choose to enter US military service, would this cancel out the Thailand compulsary service requirement?
My understanding is that an equivalent levels of service does count, but I don’t have any clarity on how this is administered.
Please note the article however, as a university graduate, if he volunteers he only needs to do 6 months of thai military service which will mostly be training.
Hi my step son was born in Thailand but came to live in the UK and now holds a UK passport. He can’t speak Thai any more also but if he travels on a British passport can he be detained for this or is he safe to go for holidays
Travelling on either of the passports should be fine – coming for a holiday shouldn’t be an issue unless he’s got an outstanding warrant on him, and that is something you probably would have heard about if he had.
my name is Max and i am a 27 year old male from Germany.
I have been born to a german father and a thai mother in Germany and live here for all my life.
I know that my parents got a thai passport for me just after my birth. However i never renewed it and never got a thai ID card.
My mother said i am on no tabieen baan. I want to visit Thailand for 2 weeks holiday in september.
I will be using my german documents (passport e.g.) only as I don’t even have thai documents.
So two questions:
1. Is it safe for me to enter Thailand with my german documents or is there a possibility i will be detained or held captive in Thailand?
2. Do I have thai citizenship or can I apply for it after I turn 30?
Kind Regard from Germany
You’ll be fine visiting Thailand on your German documents. As you have never been registered on the household database in Thailand, you haven’t avoided anything, and you need to be on the database to be in the process for military conscription. You haven’t done anything wrong. Nothing will happen on your visit. It is only if you decide to live in Thailand permanantly, then there will be an expectation you follow through with your military reporting (if under 30).
Based on what you have told me however, you are a Thai citizen, so no need to ‘apply’ for anything.
However, I will say now is a good time for you to make sure you know about your Thai citizenship documents. When born overseas, the following article will apply to you (https://www.thaicitizenship.com/thai-citizenship-when-born-overseas).
You need to ask your parents for:
– Your Thai birth certificate
– Your old passport.
This will be ESSENTIAL for you to finalize your Thai documents in future so that after you turn 30, you can get a Thai citizen ID card issued to you which will enable you to apply for a Thai passport.
Hope this helps!
sie benötigen um Ihren Thailändischen Reisepass zu erneuern eine ID Karte. Dieses bekommen Sie nur wenn Sie in ein Hausregister in Thailand eingetragen sind. Um eine ID Karte zu erhalten müssen Sie persönlich in Thailand und nur in Thailand, da Sie es zum 1.mal beantragen, in den Bezirk anmelden wo Ihre Mutter wohnt.
Es ist ziemlich kompliziert, wenn sie es vermeiden können beantragen sie dieses nach ihrem 30. Lebensjahr.
I’m currently 29 years old. I’m registered in the ta bian ban, so I got called for the draft when I was 21 but didn’t go.
Am I gonna have any problems if I do my passeport when I turn 30?
Hi there – it shouldn’t be a problem. Thai passport issuance does not require any evidence of military service.
Hi thanks for the reply.
Some people told me that you have to wait 10 years after getting the letter for the draft to be out of trouble. So it would be 31 years old instead of 30. Do you have any information about that?
To be honest, not sure what the statue of limitations are on a call up letter, so maybe just get a relative to ask. But the law is very clear, once 30, you are automatically released into the non-active reserve pool if you report so there isn’t much to worry about after that date.
I was born in Thailand and came to the UK when I was 3. I am now 25 years old and have been working and living the UK ever since I moved. I only have a Thai passport and need to travel back to Thailand for a funeral, but don’t know what situation I would be in with the Thai government because I didn’t turn up to the military draft. Who can I contact or speak with to find out if I would be okay or would I be detained and stuck in Thailand if I tried to return to the UK.
The only people you can really speak to is the conscription officer in the district you are registered in. Obviously someone on your behalf can go in to ask as well.
Having said that normal travel to and from Thailand will be totally fine. Military service only really becomes an issue if you are living full time back in Thailand and are under the age of 30.
Hope this helps.
Hey, i’m 22 and half german with german citizenship. I was born in Thailand and I am also registered in the tambien baan, but I have moved when I was still a baby and since always lived in Germany. When I was 17 I got sent those papers that you have mentioned but we never responded to and basically ignored them. So when I turn 30 what will happen ? Because even though I never had a ID card I was always registered in the tabien baan. Will I still get in trouble for ignoring them all the time ?
You really need to check with the military recruitment office attached the the district office where you are registered to understand the status of your call up.
Hello. I keep turning to this very insightful article for guidance, and it has proven invaluable – thank you!
I’m 32 and currently attempting the ‘belt and braces’ approach to avoid absconder status: I have sent a family member to report on my behalf with my Thai embassy issued birth certificate. However, officials claim there is no risk since the date of issue listed on my Thai birth certificate is past my 30th birthday, thereby proving that I have not been a Thai citizen while eligible for conscription. Consequently, they have made no record of the attempted registration or given any copy of such a record to the person reporting on my behalf. I’m very reluctant to take their word for it and would prefer to avoid any risk since my Thai birth certificate was issued with a Thai national ID number for which reason I’m already in the civil registry, so it would be really great to have a copy of an attempted registration record. Would you happen to know what the document (record of attempted registration) is called in Thai so that we can ask specifically for a copy? And might it be possible to see a specimen of such document somewhere online so that it could be shown to the officials for reference?
Thank you so very much!
Glad you’ve gotten use out of the article!
So the thing to understand is, post 30, you aren’t going to need to prove your military exemption status of anything, with the exception of wanting to work for the Thai civil service or getting your non-Thai wife Thai citizenship.
I’m not sure what to make of the officers comment. One could quibble that you have technically been a Thai citizen since birth (the BC is simply proof of it), but for the most part he’s probably not wrong. You weren’t in the system for the first 30 years of your life. You weren’t called up so you didn’t avoid anything.
Part of it sounds like the officer is trying to get out of paperwork, which in this case is fine and won’t affect you. But if you are keen, you can still ask to report at which point you’ll automatically be exempted.
If you take a look at the article, I’ve updated it with a picture of my exemption letter, and importantly, the wording used referencing the clause of legislation which I was exempted under. It also comes with a exemption certificate, which I haven’t scanned, but will try to do shortly. If you really want one, I guess you can force the issue, but now you are over 30, you are pretty fine.
The main reason I did it was that I needed the certificate so I could process my wife’s Thai citizenship application based on marriage to me. Its been 16 years since then,and I haven’t needed it, nor have I been asked to show it.
Hope his helps.
Thank you so much, this is all very helpful, and I appreciate the tremendous effort going into providing pictures of the various documents. It would be of enormous help if it would be possible for you to scan the exemption certificate as well and share a similar picture of it as this should make things very easy for the officers and at the same time be of benefit in the event that my non-Thai partner would ever need to pursue Thai citizenship or I would be looking to take on a Thai civil service job.
Hi I’m Peter and I’m 16
So I was born and raise in Thailand for 3 years then I moved to Ireland and lived there for the rest of my life visiting my grandparents every year for a month or 2, do I need to do military service even though I don’t live in Thailand? And not planning on moving back?
nevermind I found the answer sorry
Good day to you.
I am an 18 year old male.
My father is Japanese and my mother is Thai.
I have lived in Japan since I was 8 months old. I graduated from elementary school, junior high school, and high school all in Japan and plan to go on to a Japanese university.
Since I do not have Japanese citizenship, I am living in Japan on a long-stay visa.
I recently went to the Thai Embassy in Japan to obtain a passport, but was told that I could not obtain a passport without an ID card, so I obtained a temporary passport and temporarily returned to Thailand to obtain a passport and ID card. At that time, I think I went to the military office and signed something, but I did not understand it because I did not understand Thai.
My mother said that she paid extra for it.
Finally, we took a picture of me, my mother, and an officer from the district military office.
The tabian baan was also in Thailand, and I obtained a copy of my birth certificate and tabian baan in case my status was questioned by the Japanese immigration authorities.
If I am called up in the future, will I have to accept military service?
I was thinking of taking Thai as a second foreign language while attending a Japanese university and then studying at a Thai university, but is that difficult?
Also, I was thinking of taking uscpa and working in Thailand after graduation, but should I assume that this will not be possible until I am 30 years old?
Can the embassy refuse to renew my Thai passport or ID card on the grounds that I have failed to perform my military service?
Also, will I be detained upon entry into Thailand?
I only understand Japanese and English.
Thank you in advance.
So you can defer any military service as long as you are in university. For other options please study the article.
In terms of being arrested, unless there is a warrant out for you then it’s pretty safe to say you won’t. No worries also about the passport, so long as you have an ID card you can get a new passport. Also, these days once you have your first ID card then you can renew it overseas at the thai embassy.
Hi, Thank you for your citizens advice. I have a few more questions hoping you could answer. I have dual citizenship Thai/British, born Thai but moved to the UK when I was 11 years old and am now a permanent resident in the UK. I travelled back when I was 17 for a family vacation and to get my I.D at the district office and haven’t travelled back since then and now both my I.D and Thai passport have expired but because my name is still on my grandparent tabien ban the military has sent an official call up for me to attend the conscription in the past in which case I couldn’t attend due to commitment in the UK. Now turning 30 in December and I’m hoping to go back on vacation for 3 weeks and use my British passport.
First:Would there be an issue entering the country?
Secondly:Do I need need to report to the local district.
So unlikely that there is an issue with you entering the country. You might want to get one of your relatives to speak with the conscription officer to see if any ‘case’ was processed against your name, but if you got a legitimate deferment at the time I doubt there is any issue.
As per the article given you turn 30 this year you are now exempt from having to do 2 years. It is entirely up to you if you wish to report however. Some prefer to, just to close off that chapter. Many do not as there is very little need for the certificate saying you’ve ‘reported’ unless you want to work for the Thai civil service.
Note, you can re-enter Thailand on an expired Thai passport. You’ll need to however get a new one while here, and that will involve having to get a new ID card first.
Hope this helps.
Hi again, thank you for your reply. My uncle has been to the local conscription office and paid some remuneration fees 4-5 years ago however they have not issue any form of paperwork to say that I am exempt instead just a word of reassurance!
Yeah, always the risk when you pay ‘special fees’. There should have at least been some sort of exemption certificate granted. In any case, I think my original advice still stands. Have a good trip!
Hi im a dual citizen,i live here in Philippines we moved here since im 6 yrs old,thus i can’t write thai but i can speak,if i had graduated college here and i want to work as a policeman in thailand it is possible? Even though i can’t write?
Yeah, I’m not sure if the qualifications need to enter the RTP but I assume speaking the language and writing it to a basic level would be a requirement.
This article gives some indication of the requirement and I believe one of the things you need to think about is having been released from military duty.
Hello – thank you for your article. I do want to get your thoughts on my situation. Currently a dual citizen (Thai and American). I am planning to enter the country with my Thai passport to work long-term. I have never signed up for a ID card or have been entered into the house registration system. Currently my passport will not expire until I am 30 which is in about 2 years. Would there be any issues for me to work the next 2 years with just my Thai passport without getting a Thai ID card or registering in the house registration system to avoid the conscription until I am 30? Thank you!
So if you plan to work for a thai company they are going to need your Thai ID number to process you for tax and social security. They *may* be able to use your thai passport number but that is no guarantee.
You may also have trouble opening a bank account without an ID card but may vary from branch to branch. You also won’t be able to get a thai credit card etc without an ID card, nor will you be able to get a thai drivers license, but if that isn’t something you’ll be needing then it isn’t an issue.
Obviously entering on your Thai PP you can stay as long as you want and work etc. If you are working for yourself and earning money overseas etc, then I can’t see any issues with your strategy.
Hope this is useful.
Hello! Great article! Thank you for all these information! I would like some guidance about this topic. I’ve lived in Brazil for 22 years, moved out from Thailand when I was 5 years old, and never traveled back since 2000. I live in Brazil, I’m married with a Brazilian woman and actually I’m a Brazilian Air Force Officer. Since I never reported to duty as a Thai citizen, I would like to know if there are any issues in travelling to Thailand for vacation purposes only. Thank you very much in advance.
Given you’ve been away for so long you are likely to be very much off the radar of authorities. Unless you have an up to date house registration and ID card I doubt you will have any issues. Have a great trip!
Hello, thank you for the informative article.
I am a 30-year old male, currently a US green card holder and have been residing in America since 15 (through student visa to now doctorate degree and green card). My name was never on the house registration, so I have been flying “under the radar” in America without conscription notice. The last time I traveled to Thailand was in 2014 without any issues.
I plan to come back to Thailand to visit this year, and while there I would like to voluntarily report and be placed under the second division army reserves since I meet the age criteria. I have ALSO had both my Thai passport and Thai ID, and have been renewing them for many years now (since 2010). Will this be an issue when I voluntarily report this year since I have my Thai ID in the system? Thank you.
Hi there – yep it won’t be an issue to do what you suggest.
Once clarification however, your name is actually on the house registration system given you’d would have been unable to renew your ID and passport if you weren’t.
Thank you once again. Since I never reported to a conscription officer when I was 20, would I technically not be under their system? For example, would I be able to safely travel through Thai airport back and forth from US/Thailand even without voluntarily reporting this time?
The only way for them to place you on “hold” at the airport would be registering with the conscription officer when I was younger and in Thailand, would that be correct? Thanks a million!
So as I outlined in the article, its hard to tell what computer systems talk to which these days, but unless there is a warrant out for your arrest (highly unlikely based on what you say given you’ve renewed your ID and passport) then it should be fine for travel. Hope this makes sense!
I am currently a student in my freshman year of highschool and I plan to take Ror Dor however I am too physically weak to pass the entrance exam, what are my options?
To be honest I’m not sure. You’d have to consult the Ror Dor officers what failing the entrance exam physical means impacts things. Sorry I can’t be of more help!
Hi – Great article!! Was wondering if I could get some of your guidance. I am currently in the US but a Thai citizen. Have plans of marrying soon with an American which will entail green card and eventually a passport etc. No intention of going back to Thailand and don’t have any family members there (other than the possibility for a vacation). I don’t even speak the language. I’ve been able to renew my Thai passport for 10 more years so will be 30-40 by the time it expires. Plan on becoming an American citizen and all that good stuff. Is there anything I should worry about in this process? Just want to make sure things will be fine… eg if I’m allowed to be American if I’m Thai and if I can just ditch my Thai citizen. really appreciate your guidance!
It’s fine for you to have dual citizenship. You’ll remain a Thai citizen for life unless you decide to formally renounce it.
I am a Dual Citizen (Thai/Italian), male age 24. I was born in Thailand (thai mother) and never lived there. I do not speak or read the language at all. Can I get my passport renovated? The embassy asks for a residence permit, which I do not have, and they say I would need to travel to Thailand to get it.
Am I also exempt from the military? Is there a mechanism? I just need a new passport, without having to step foot in Thailand.
Thank you all in advance!
Last question first: you can’t be conscripted into the military unless you are already on the house registration and have a Thai ID card.
Given you were born in Thailand you will have had your name put on a house registration within 15 days of birth – you need to find out where that is, but any district office should be able to help on that using your Thai ID number (which will be on your birth certificate).
Unfortunately the way the Thai passport system works, you need to be on a house registration and have a Thai ID card (if over 15). So the embassy is correct, you need to go back to Thailand, and find your house registration and get a Thai ID card issued. At that point you can apply for a Thai passport.
Can you be conscripted into the Military? If you are under 30 and living in Thailand then you are required to report for the selection process in April. However as you won’t be living there then, as per the article, you should be fine.
What happens if the person doesn’t show up on the required date? We have sent letters (written in Thai and English) explaining the reasons he could not show up on the date and were delivered personally to him from a family member. The military agent stated our reasons were not valid (i.e. we live in Canada, he would lose his job, there was COVID, he will be in school next year, etc. etc. etc.). The family member was told his file would be sent to the main city court where he lives and we would have to get a lawyer when he turns 30 years old and to show up at that time.
So my question is, if he travels to Thailand in a couple of years after his schooling is over, would he automatically get arrested or detained at the border?
I think they are really being unreasonable. Are there other options?
Also just to add. It is my step son and he does have a Thai ID & Passport and the family member was there on the required date taking to the same military agent.
Hi Dan, as I say its a grey area as I have no insight to how immigration databases ‘talk’ to other law enforecement databases these days. You need to check if there has been some sort of warrant/summons put out on your son.
You say he will be at school next year? In that case you can easily get the Thai embassy in Ottawa to issue a letter which will defer reporting requirement based on studying. The other thing you could do, as per the article, is let the ID card lapse or even work to take his name of the house registration and put his name on a central house registration which is nominally designed for Thai citizens who move overseas.
Hope this helps.
Can anyone inform me if an adopted Thai child with Thai and Swiss pass, can he be called to do his military service in Thailand if he does not live there? At what age would he be called up?
It would be very unlikely that he would. You’d have to check if any ‘call up’ documents were sent to his registered Thai address on his house registry (all Thai citizens are registered somewhere), but the likelyhood is if he lives outside the country, doesn’t have a valid ID card etc, then he won’t be called up as per the article above.
Hope this helps.
Hi, I am 20 now and haven’t attenden any of the appointments for the Thai military service, I am Half German Half Thai so I have both German and Thai Citizenship. Is it still possible to travel into Thailand just using my German Passport? Or is it a bit Risky? I want to visit my Family and Friends for a Month this year.
So have you even received any official documents calling you up? Do you have a Thai ID card etc?
I have a few questions, I am currently 27 years old. I relocated to the UK from Thailand when in 2007, I have since obtained my British Citizenship in 2018, I am registered on a housing register, I believe I actually moved from one of my relatives to my mother’s house sometime in 2011. I remember having to renew my national ID at the same time and paying a small fine as it was so far past the expiry date. As I left Thailand when I was 12 I never had the opportunity to complete Ror Dor. I remember re-visiting the sasadee office sometime in 2018( using my British passport as my Thai passport have expired and I’ve never renewed it ) to try and defer it and I vaguely was provided with 2 options,
a) If I have no intention of relocating back to Thailand anyway, then just wait until I was over 30 to report back.
b) Pay a small remuneration for an admin fee of around 20,000 bath to make it go away, however, I wasn’t going to be issued with anything apart from his assurance that I am exempt – which I kindly refused.
So for the obvious reason, I took option A, however, I don’t believe that I ever filled out the deferral form in the end (nor was I given one to fill out.)
Fast forward a few years later, I returned to Thailand for the third time since I left in 2007 to visit my extended family using my British Passport and not really thought anything of it.
After reading your article I have begun to think that perhaps I have taken somewhat of a wrong approach with this…
Anyway, my first question is have I been approaching this all wrong? and how should I fix it? Should I contact the embassy?
The second question is am I right in thinking that my punishment will be a bit more than the 100 to 300 bath fine?
And lastly, I would quite like to visit my grandmother this year, however, due to the travel restriction, I will have to apply for a Thailand Pass, therefore, should I register as a non-Thais (as I intend to use my British Passport) or is it a good idea to wait until the travel restriction is over?
Also thank you for the article,
Hi there – the advice you were given stacks up, so no need to stress. So long as you don’t move back till you are 30 (actually the year you turn 30) you’ll be okay, and the fine will be small in that 100-300 baht range.
The deferral process I mention in the article is a ‘belt and braces’ approach, but to be honest just staying out of Thailand works fine. Many people who then return after 30 never bother to get their release papers and only bother to do so if they are critically needed for something (ie cause a random employer might demand it).
As for the Thailand pass, everyone entering Thailand needs to get it regardless of nationality. The only real difference is non-Thai nationals need to have a minimum level of travel insurance whereas Thai citizens don’t. Effectively the Thailand pass is a glorified vaccine certificate these days. Once your vaccine status is validated, you’ll be free to enter.
Hope this helps!
My son has completed university at Ramkhamhaeng and believes he is exempt. I do not believe this but get no support in trying to find out what the situation is. Can you tell me where I can go to get some coherent information. The university so far has been useless!
Not sure how I can help you. Has he completed any of the things I’ve listed in my article? Other than that, you need to speak to the local recruiting office which is generally attached to the district office your son is registered at. What makes him think he is exempt?
Bribing an official is a criminal offense, can get you into jail for some years or being deported. (edited)
Deferrment of military service after completion of university study.
Normally when one becomes 21 of age e will be drafted into the military services. In case he is 21 and would be drafted, he has to do the registration lottery ( all Thais are gamblers) If he picks a red colored ball out of the drum he will be drafted, if its a black ball. hes scot free means no military service.
i AM A GERMAN CITICEN AGED 77, I AM MARRIED WITH THE MOTHER OF MY TWO THAI CHILDREN, BOTH HAVE THAI/GERMAN PASSPORTS AND ARE REGISTERED AT THE GERMAN EMBASSY AS BEING GERMAN.
TE QUESTION IS NOW, ERIC , MY SON WHO HAS STUDIED AT AN UNIVERSITY HERE N BANGKOK AND HAS FINISHED HIS STUDY.
NOW HAS RECEIVED AN APPOINTMENT TO APPEAR AT HIS HOME OFFICE TO REGISTER FOR THE COMPULARY DRAFT, MY SON IS BY NOW OF AGE 24, DOB 28091988.
HAS HE TO APPEAR AT THE OFFICE FOR REGISTRATION NOW, HE SAYS HE HAS AN INVITATION LETTER.
Hi there – so based on what you tell me, if he is living in thailand he has to attend.
Yes – please see the article, unless he has already done military training while at school/university. I have outlined this quite clearly.
Thank you too for this. Interesting development, but as always the details are fuzzy.
I was fortunate enough to be a lass and not a lad while I hold 2 citizenships & passports,
I was wondering if I was born a male while born and live in a different country outside of Thailand that has mandatory service, Do you know if I would still need to take a part in this lottery system? I’m just curious as I’m already in mandatory service as a female, if I was a male it would cost a lot…… 2 years of service there 2.8 years of service here…
Hi there – hopefully I understand your question correctly.
So in thailand females don’t have to do national service.
Males participate in the lottery. One of the exemptions that we have seen is ‘equivalent’ overseas service, but what that means we aren’t sure so you are going to have to discuss with the recruiting officer.
My wife’s son is a Thai citizen and lives with us here in Switzerland. He turned 17 this December. He is registered in his mother’s Thabienbaan.
I will probably adopt him. The question now is, does he have to register in Thailand because he is 17 years old and lives abroad?
If so, where should he report?
If he does military service in Switzerland, he must also do military service in Thailand; Swiss military service is taken into account. How much longer does he have to be in the military in Thailand?
Thank you for answers.
So in your sons case the issue really comes down to if he can report or not.
Have the authorities sent any documents to him at his registered address in Thailand (or the address of one of his Thai parents)?
Regardless if they have or not, as per the article above he needs to attend the conscription office himself or if not, appoint someone to attend for him.
And if someone else is unable to report for him, or if his current Thai ID is not valid or up to date, there is little they can do until he returns to thailand full time to live and update his details with them. And as per the article if he does so after 30, then he is automatically released from duty.
As for your question regarding Swiss military service – it’s a good question but one I can’t answer. While ‘on paper’ should count, how and the mechanisms behind it are unclear.
Thank you for your message. His passport and ID were renewed last August this year via the embassy in Bern / Switzerland, without any notifications. Even in his village in Thailand, nobody knows anything that he has to report. What happens if he doesn’t answer and then goes on vacation to Thailand sometime next year?
I think the issue here is that no notification seem to have been sent out and as such he doesn’t have anything to answer to. He is technically obligated to go rectify this but given he’s resident overseas it’s not always ‘possible’.
I’d just leave sleeping dogs lie.
A visit should more than likely be fine – just probably best to stay well away from the district office while he is there! Just continue to renew his official ID via the embassy etc.
My son has been put into a very annoying position, he has been doing the Ror Dor from the start and was due to do his 2nd completion for this year, but we’ve just been thrown a complete curveball. because he hasn’t been vaccinated, just been informed that vaccinated only can attend. Whereas beforehand, they were just requiring a test. So, now, he can’t attend and will have to be pushed back a year. This is totally unacceptable behavior as it means he’s either has to do 6months (if he chooses to go to a university outside Thailand), or have to mess about doing it during his university time if in Thailand. Do you know of any recourse I can complain about this very unfair treatment?
Unfortunately I don’t really know – probably the local RD office but no doubt they are just following regulations so you’ll be battling much hire ups. Rather suspect it’s a mandate going forward for the foreseeable future.
Sorry I can’t be more help.
I’m a 29 year old in the UK (just received the Thai birth certficate very recently) and will be turning 30 in Sept next year. I’m not currently on the tabien baan, nor have I ever had a Thai ID or passport. I’m due to go to Thailand next year in Jan – and had a couple of questions I thought you might be able to help with.
– If I were to be put on the tabien baan in Jan-Mar (noting that my 30th is in Sept), would that still mean I was an exempt from service due to the “1st Jan on the year you turn 30 clause” that you mentioned above?
– If so, is it possible to see the laws or regs that reference that?
An additional question that you might be able to help with as well – do you know what documents are required for someone to be put on the tabien baan in my situation (i.e. with no ID or passport). Thanks in advance, and for the super useful website in general!
Good questions. To be honest I don’t have a link for that. It was how it was explained to me when I went through the process and have always understood it. Given this, if you want to be uber cautious, its probably best to suggest to keep on the safe side of things and wait till you are properly 30.
In terms of being registered, it differs from district office to district office, but usually requires the following:
– your Thai BC
– your Thai passport (the uk embassy SHOULD be able to issue you your first one despite not being on the house register, but COVID may have changed things)
– Copies of your parents ID (some will require translation into Thai)
– The ‘house master’ of the place you are being registered
– Another Thai citizen witness to vouch for you. Usually a relative.
There is an article here on it, and at the bottom a Thai language link to DOPA on the documents that can be asked for.
All the best and good luck with it all.
Hi Mike, I thought I should follow up to your question on how they count years. Not exactly the answer to your question, but it does appear they do use the method of counting from the 1st of Jan in the year that you turn a particular age.
I’ve included a link below (all in Thai) which includes an answer to a mother from a recruitment officer. In it they say the count the age from working out the answer of subtracting the current year from the year of birth. In this case, the question relates to when he son has to report (aged 17) to which the recruitment officer responds :ก็ให้คำนวณการที่จะลงทะเบียนทหารได้ คือให้เอา พ.ศ.ปัจจุบัน ลบด้วยพ.ศ.ที่เกิด ได้ 17 ปี ก็ให้มาลงทะเบียนโดยไม่ต้องรอให้ถึงวันเกิด (translation: ‘Then let’s calculate how to register the military, that is, take the present year, subtract the year of birth, 17 years, then register without waiting for the birthday’).
In other words, in the context of this question, the person can report in the year he turns 17.
I know this isn’t exactly what you are looking for, but as explained in my first answer, this is how I’ve always understood the system to work.
That’s great many thanks for your assistance on this. If I understand correctly then I should be okay to register on the tabieen baan *in the year* I turn 30, i.e. before I actually turn 30.
I also found some additional things that mention the method of military counting (and making the assumption that the same method applies to age of conscription as it does to the age at which you are released from duty):
Pg. 5 on this: https://www.parliament.go.th/ewtadmin/ewt/elaw_parcy/ewt_dl_link.php?nid=1724
The first three pages on this: https://www.sesao30.go.th/module/view.php?document=0%E0%B8%9E%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%B0%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%8A%E0%B8%9A%E0%B8%B1%E0%B8%8D%E0%B8%8D%E0%B8%B1%E0%B8%95%E0%B8%B4%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%B1%E0%B8%9A%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%8A%E0%B8%81%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%97%E0%B8%AB%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%A3%20%E0%B8%9E.%E0%B8%A8.2497.pdf
And this page (although this looks like a copy and paste from another source): https://sites.google.com/site/sumontree9872/wicha-kdhmay-phun-than-ni-kar-darng-chiwit/reuxng-thi-3-kdhmay-kar-kenth-thhar
My Thai is rusty so I’m not sure exactly what some of the docs say (particularly the first two which look more official). But if yourself or anyone else reading this is in the messages is able to translate what the documents are, and what they say that would be great.
Hoping these support the ‘in the year you turn 30’ thing. I tried looking at them through Google Translate, but I may be just seeing what I want to see and a victim of confirmation bias!
Thanks for these links.
I think I’m in a position to confirm you confirmation bias. I just looked through my military release letters and documents.
I applied to the military office when I turned 31 having returned to live full time in Thailand that year.
Looking at the release form there is a letter saying according to regulation my release into the second division reserve level was backdated a year and a half to 1 January on the year I had my 30th birthday. It was very clear in that point.
Hope this gives you more confidence!
My son is doing ror dor through his school. He is in his final year. However, he completed GED in July and does not need to finish high school. He would like to unenrol from the school. Can he still finish Ror Dor if he has unenrolled from his school? There is only a few months to go. He probbly could, but I understand it would not be legal. Would military give permission to do this or not? Thanks..
To be honest I’m not sure of the answer to that question, probably something to discuss between the school and the authorities given the circumstances are a bit unique. As it stands however, if he hasn’t completed a final year and then gets conscripted, he’d be liable for only 6 months of service.
Thanks for the information. Now, my son has unenrolled from school. I’m led to understand that the military will contact the school at some time to check he is still enrolled. Which he isn’t. He is still participating in the online miltary classes. Many of his friends are in the same boat. Is it possible for him to repeat the final year in University (which I think he can, according the a university website that provides information about it. And would that just be repeating the final (3rd year). or possibly more that that?
Hi Paul, from what I understand, finishing off Ror Dor while at university is possible, but I’m not sure all universities do it however.
Hello. I am 18, currently applying for the British Army, however late into my application process at the end it has asked me for a Service Liability Letter, I have very little clue what it is, what it looks like, or what it is actually for. I have emailed both the embassy and the Thai army for it and they have been either completely silent or have no idea what I am talking about. I have no Thai ID and am adamant on joining the British army. Do you know what the service/reserve liability letter is and how to get hold of it?
Yours is a question we receive frequently, but unfortunately I don’t have a satisfactory answer for you. Like you, we emailed the Defence Attaché at the British embassy in Bangkok about a year ago, and despite them saying they are ‘looking into it’ they never reverted back. We also followed up but they never responded. Obviously it is poor form on their part given this is something they should be liasing with the Thai government on for people in your position. As of today, as far as I know, the current Defence Attaché is Colonel Anthony (Tony) Stern. His email should be: tony.stern (at) fcdo.gov.uk
Good luck and I hope you get an answer.
Hi, I’m 21 and was born in Thailand. My mom and I moved to the US when I was only 3 however and I’ve lived here ever since. I’m legally a US citizen and still a Thai Citizen but my thai passport expires next year.
Theoretically, what happens if I don’t report until after I turn 30? Is it the same as mentioned above in the article?
Most likely. It doesn’t sound like you’ve received any call up letters either which is another layer of you not even being on their radar.
Hi. I’m 21. I made a Thai ID when I went back 4 years ago that expires in 2025, and I have a registered residence in Thailand but am currently living in the U.S. (since I was 7). I haven’t heard from my cousins about the military calling me to serve at all. I haven’t reported myself for conscription either. I might be able to continue to stay in the U.S., but if I do have to go back and live in Thailand, do I simply report myself and show up for conscription? If I do stay in the U.S. but want to take a trip back there for like a month or two, will the military know I came back through my use of a Thai passport and find me? Thank you in advance.
As the article explains, the travel thing is a grey area but anecdotally you should be fine to travel unless there is a warrant out for your arrest. Given you haven’t heard anything from your cousins it sounds unlikely you are even on the radar. If you continue to live in the US until 30 you’ll effectively be exempt given your inablity to report (which generally happens in April).
Hi. My Thai stepson is 20.5 years old and has resided in Australia for the past 3.5 years He has PR and will apply for citizenship next year. If he returns to Thailand next year for military conscription how will that affect his PR or Citizenship.? Can he delay his military conscription via application?
So his returning to Thailand will only affect his PR and citizenship in so far as if he remains out of Australia given due to becoming conscripted and isn’t yet an Australian citizen, then it will probably take him longer to qualify for citizenship given you have to be in Australia basically fulltime in the leadup to naturalisation.
In terms of delaying the application – he can via the Thai embassy if he is full time study at university.
Hello, my son is age 20 and at university in the UK and has now lived with me in the UK for 12 years and holds a British passport and has only held a Thai passport once as a child and does not have a Thai ID but he is on his mother’s house book and today his mother has had a visit from an army officer stating he must come back to Thailand and serve or his mother will face a fine of 40,000 baht or ( proof ) that he is not a Thai citizen any help will be appreciated.
Thanks for the message and your question. To be honest it sounds a little suss that your sons mother would be held liable for this and why she’d face penalty instead of your son.
It doesn’t take away from the fact that given your son is on a Thai house registry it does put him on the radar of the military.
Please see the article above in detail (see section 5) as I outline the process on how to report on behalf of someone without a valid ID card (and how this essentially puts the process on hold). However that process I outlined was taken straight from the Thai embassy website in Austria which covers this topic quite well. It might be worthwhile sending this link through to your sons mother.
The other option is for your wife to go to the district office and tell them your son is no longer resident there and that he should be moved to the central house registry. This will mean that for the time being he won’t be able to access Thai ID cards or Thai passports but it also means that it takes him out of the district where the military conscription people have him on their radar.
An article about the central house registry is here on the Thai embassy website in the US
While this article talks about moving your name off the central house register onto the regular one which your son is already on, the preamble talks about what the central house register is used for and one of the reasons is for Thai citizens who have moved overseas.
Hopefully you find all of this helpful.
Thank you so much for the article and I have a few questions which will help to clear things up from our side.
My step son was born in Thailand, is presently 19 but resides in Canada. He has both a Canadian and Thai passport as well as a Thai ID Card. Both his parents are Thai. Mom lives in Canada with me, his dad still in Thailand. He has no plans on ever returning to Thailand on a permanent basis.
The Thai dad has started the application process for his military conscription – I guess there is form to fill out? What I understand by your article is that he does not have to report due to the distance involved from Canada to Thailand. So, is this fact noted on the application form (that his dad is filling out)?
Also, do have any supporting documentation, website, etc. which explains this distance exclusion you mention? Even if it’s in Thai, my wife can read it.
Thanks in advance and for providing some valuable information to your readers
So to answer your question about what the form exactly says, to be honest I don’t know.
What I have written is outlined through the legislation (see link in article) as well as other documents I’ve seen over time from the government. The best recent article which I found is actually information posted in Thai on the Thai embassy in Austria which talks about how dual national kids can go about the reporting process without being fully registered in Thailand (ie house registration, ID card). It also mentions the fact you can appoint a representative – something I’ve talked about in the article.
That article is here https://www.thaiembassy.at/th/filming-in-thailand/2015-12-24-08-51-14.html, and while it doesn’t answer your exact questions, is one of the more comprehensive ones I’ve found.
Before doing too much, my recommendation is that your son’s Thai dad should perhaps just go have a chat with the conscription office and outline that your boy is going to be overseas more or less permanently given his family situation. While I can’t guarantee what they will recommend, it could range from ‘don’t worry’ to the boots and braces approach outlined in the article. The anecdotal answer is that many people in your son’s situation – who take the ‘don’t worry/do nothing’ option who return to Thailand after 30 are just fine as the issue has long lapsed.
Your boy’s Thai dad might also want to ask the district office where your son is registered to have his name taken off the house registration and moved to what is know as the central house register which takes him out of the jurisdiction of any one single conscription office. It also means (unfortunately) that your son won’t be able to apply for a ID card or new Thai passport for as long as he is on that central house registry. The Thai embassy in Washington DC has a good article (in Thai) about it here. https://thaiembdc.org/th/removenameofregistrationcenter/
All the best.
I was born in Thailand till the age of 2 and I now live in the Netherlands for the rest of my life. I am worried about the Thai because in 2 years, I’ll be 20 years old. My mother doesn’t want me to go into the army. She suggested that I should renounce my Thai nationality and keep my Dutch nationality.
Is this a good idea?
While I can’t guide you on the merits of renunciation, what I can say is that it isn’t needed. Given you live in the Netherlands, likely don’t have a Thai ID card, and can’t report anyway, then you are not going to be on the radar or penalised.
As per the article, if you don’t move back to live in Thailand full time until you are 30, then you are fine.
All the best!
I’m currently 17, and was born in Canada. And I have been a dual citizen since I was born. I have lived in Canada for my entire life. I have a Thai ID. My mom is Thai, and my dad is canadian. I’m not sure whether or not I have to serve mandatory service.
As per the article, being unable to report (given you are overseas) means essentially you be fine. If you decide to return and live in Thailand full time before the age of 30 however then it will be required that you do report however.
My son Hayden was born in Thailand, I his father is an American citizen and his mom is a Thai national. We have been living in America since 2012 and he is now almost 13 and he has a dual citizenship (two passports). Will he have to register for conscript with the Thai government or serve in the Thai military automatically? I believe if he serves in the US armed forces he’s no longer required to serve in the Thai military unless he chooses so or unless he stays in the US until age 30 but what if his mother wants to move back to Thailand before he is 30?
As per the article given that he is living outside Thailand then there is no expectation that he will be able to register for military service, and this will remain the case so long as he remains normally resident outside of Thailand before age 30.
While we understand that foreign military service can be used to exempt you from thai military duties, the mechanism is unclear so I haven’t published here.
His mother moving back to Thailand has no bearing on your sons military eligibility unless he decides to return to live in Thailand as well.
My question is about the reporting, I am 30 now and been living outside Thailand this whole time except visiting a few times but with my foreign passport though.
Got expired Thai id, I have been on tabieen baan since 10+ and was called to report but I never did report.
Am I clear now or should I still go back to my mom’s hometown and report and pay the fine?
I am sorry if this question has been answered before, I have read your website and all the comments many times now but I’m still unsure about this.
To be honest I’m not sure what the statue of limitations is, but I suspect, like many cases such as yours, there was never any formal proceedings set against you (and you probably would have heard about them if there was). Like most people in your situation, I’d just come back and renew your ID card and pay the fine (even if is bought up). However for many who have moved, or lived overseas for most of their youth, the experience has been that given they are now over 30, the issue has lapsed and there hasn’t appeared to be any official sanction beyond the small fine and being offically shifted to the inactive reserves duty register.
So while I can’t be definitive on what your particular outcome would be, what I have shared above is mainly what others have shared with me – they have returned to live in Thailand with no issue.
Thank you 🙏
I take it as it’s worth going back to my mom’s town and take care of this once and for all.
For anyone reading and in same situation as me, I will renew my id and go to sasadee and report.
Will keep you updated and hope for the best with just a small fine and nothing more.
Hey Sinta – do you have a Thai passport? and if so, are you planning on entering Thailand with your Thai passport prior to reporting?
Just have a question for you regarding Thai military duty. My son avoided to serve because he will lose his green card. It is quite hard for him to come to America. Is that a criminal offense if you avoided Thai military service? He is 21 years old and suppose to go this August 2021 but came back to America. Please let us know if we have to send him back home to serve. He also plans to become a US citizen next year. Thank you and more power to yoou.
To be honest i’m not sure how to answer. Nominally a warrant can be put out for him, but that is a process in itself which I don’t understand. As the article states, if he is taken off the house registry in Thailand and not normally resident in Thailand (and can not report himself in person) then effectively the process allows him to defer. And if at 30 he voluntarily reports he will pay a small fine and the matter will be finalised – and he will also be exempted.
Hope this helps!
Is there somewhere I can ask about specific medical conditions?
My eldest son has a fused thyroid/parathyroid and is required to take multiple medicines every week.
Thanks for your message. You’ll need to speak to the local conscription office as to the location of the appropriate military hospital to assess your sons condition. Sorry I can’t be of more help.
Hello so my son was born this year in the usa i am a us citizen and my wife is a thai citizen. We will continue living in america. I saw at the beginning of the article it says that they conscript healthy male thai residents. My wife is concerned that they will still expect him for conscription wether he lives here in the usa or not, if we get a thai birth certificate. I also read that we can go to the thai embassy and delay his conscription when he is 17, if we have not registered him in a house and aquired an id, then attempt to register him for conscription. My wife thinks we cannot get a birth certificate without him being registered. Any advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated thanks for your time!
The key to understanding conscription is that they look at those who are registered on the house register in Thailand (tabieen baan). While children born in Thailand are expected to be registered at an address within 15 days of birth, there is no similar expectation for overseas born Thai.
In essence, not being on the tabieen baan effectively means you are off the radar for military service (it also means you can’t get an ID card, and passports etc in Thailand). If your son remains in the US until he is at least 30, he won’t be conscripted.
To be clear as well, your son CAN NOT get a birth certificate in Thailand. He can only get one from the Thai embassy in DC given he was born in the US. It is the way the system works. You have to then physically then go back to Thailand to register him on the house book – it isn’t done automatically. You can be registered at any time in life. I for instance wasn’t registered on a house book till age 30. I’ve been contacted by other overseas born Thai’s who weren’t registered till they were 45. As long as you are a Thai citizen (proven by the overseas BC) you can register back in Thailand at any time.
As said however, the birth certificate from the embassy is the first (and most important) step in ensuring your son has proof of an entitlement to Thai citizenship. It isn’t linked however to military conscription.
Hope this clears things up for you.
Your articles are incredibly detailed and informative. I have a question regarding my personal situation.
My mother is Thai, and I am born in the EU to an EU father. When I was 14, I applied for, and received, both Thai citizenship and my first Thai passport from our local Thai embassy. I am currently 28, due to be 29 later this year.
As it was my parents who applied for me roughly 15 years ago, I was unaware of the process and documents required at the time. My passport has long since expired.
I travel to Thailand on a relatively frequent basis, always entering on my EU passport. As far as I’m aware, I have never been registered on the tabien baan. I have never served any conscription service.
Am I still a Thai citizen?
May I, according to your article, place my name on the inactive register from the 1st of January 2022 (as I am due to turn 30 next year) ?
If so, what would be required for me to get a new Thai passport and a Thai national ID?
Presumably, a Thai birth certificate would have already been created for myself before, is it a matter of getting this? What is the process for getting a copy of my Thai birth certificate?
Apologies for hitting you with so much, you seem to be the only source with a comprehensive knowledge of the matter.
So first things first, you still are a Thai citizen, and unless you renounce it, you always will be. The process that your parents would have gone through for you to get your first Thai passport would have been along the lines of what you see in THIS article.
For you, the important piece of paper you need to find is your Thai birth certificate which would have been issued by the Thai embassy in the country you were born in. So either finding it with your parents or approaching the embassy and asking for a document to replace it (they won’t issue you a new BC per se). I’m not sure what form that will be, but that will be the first step for you.
The second step will be to enter Thailand. The embassy will probably tell you they can’t issue you a replacement passport which generally you need an ID for. They should be able to issue you a temp passport which you can enter Thailand on. Then you can get your name on a tabieen baan. This generally requires:
– your Thai BC from the embassy
– your Thai PP if you have one, if not your EU passport
– copies of your mum’s thai ID and house registration
– copies of your fathers EU passport
– two Thai witnesses to vouch for you
– head of the house book to allow you to entered on
Once you get the house registration then the ID is a formality. At that point you can then get a new Thai passport.
As for military conscription, you understanding of the timings are correct, so from the start of next year you will be fine.
My son is a dual citizen of Thailand and Denmark, 17yo and raised in both countries, and having a Thai ID-card and is registered in Tabien Baan. He will be moving to Denmark at 18yo to further his education. Not that it matters in Thailand, but he is a military conscientious objector by heart and as such he will be serving his military duty by enlisting in the Danish Emergency Management Agency. The enlistment is 9 month and can be extended. Is there any way to seek more information about whether or how the enlisted oversea service can or will reduce Thai conscription?
Thanks for your message. To be honest I haven’t seen much about the issues you talk about. Anecdotally I have been told bringing details of overseas military duty to the conscription office at the Thai district office has helped someone having their name taken off by being called up. However I can’t tell you about the legal or procedural mechanisms behind it, so take please take the information at face value and that it is one persons experience and I can’t tell you whether it will have any benefit in your son’s case. To that extent, the broader advice given in the article is about as much as I can genuinely commit too.
My son currently goes to an international school in Thailand, and has lived here for 5 years. He is a half-thai with a Thai and Indonesian passport, and he has a Tabien Baan registered to his name. If he chooses to not fully complete the ROTC program and goes overseas for University, will he still have to go through consription? Based on what I read from the article, if he lives overseas untiil the age of 30, will he be able to come back to Thailand and be released from getting drafted? Can his Tabien Baan and Thai ID which he currently has be unregistered?
So yes, being over 30 automatically releases you from the obiligation, while partial completion means that his obligation is reduced by certain amounts if he is indeed conscripted.
It is possible to move your name off the house hold registration to a central register. If you go through some of the answers I’ve given to others below you’ll see my suggestions on that. The issue will be however once he is off the normal house registration he won’t be able to renew his Passport or ID cards, so as such, I suggest getting those up to date before doing so.
I have am half Thai and half dutch and i have both passports, i have a Thai Bank account which i use pretty often, i was wondering as next year will be my duty year if there were any consequences for avoiding duty for my bank account
I haven’t heard of any sanctions on bank accounts for avoiding military service.
Hi, I was just wondering if you could help me with some questions here.
I am 21 of age, and I have been living in the UK for almost 11/12 years year and I have a thai passport, however since I’ve been living here I have mostly forgotten how to read and write thai and my mum is telling me that I should go to the thai army soon but by any chance do I need to go there and do it when I can barely understand thai but I can speak and understand little bit of thai and I’m about to make a British passport. Would I need to go to the army if I get a British passport here?
Getting a british passport doesn’t reduce your obligation as far as Thai military service goes, but as I say in the article, not being resident in thailand makes it quite difficult for them to process you. As such, you effectively only on the radar if you are back living in Thailand. But if you have no plans on living in thailand until you are 30 then you’ll be fine.
By all means get your UK citizenship. It’s an excellent citizenship to have.
I just want you to answer this one question for me please. Is a way of avoiding military service if I have already visited Thailand before the age of 30 and was born there?
You don’t say where you are living and haven’t given any context to your situation. The main ways to bypass conscription – whether inside or outside of thailand – are already outlined in the article.
I recently had a son with my gf, who immigrated to my country from Thailand when she was a child. She is a Thai citizen.
We are contemplating whether our son should get a Thai passport as well, but are concerned about him being drafted in the future if he were to visit Thailand after he turns 20.
Of course he could just wait until he is 30, but we love visiting the country, and his grandmother is probably gonna move back to Thailand within the next couple of years, and we would love to visit her with him, in the future.
Should this concern us, or is it unlikely that he would be identified and drafted during visits as a tourist in the future?
I would love for him to have dual citizenship, since it gives him more options for the future.
Hi there, thanks for your question.
So you and your son have plenty of options.
First thing to understand – being on the house registration is the thing which puts you on the radar for conscription. So staying off it till 30 is the key.
First and foremost, I’d recommend getting him a Thai birth certificate. It doesn’t put him on the radar of the military authorites given this doesn’t formally register him on a Thai house registration, but it does cement his entitlement to Thai citizenship. You’d be surprised how many emails I get from people in their 20s and 30s unable to take their rightful claim to Thai citizenship due to the death of a parent, lost documents of those parents, divorce and other things that just happen in life. So if I was in your shoes, at least I’d lock in his entitlement to that. See this article HERE on how you can do that.
As an overseas born Thai, he’ll also be eligible for his first Thai passport via the embassy but subsequent passports will need him registered on the house registration. Again, good to have for later down the track, if only for evidence purposes with respect to his Thai citizenship.
Similarly, for travel, he will have the opportunity to use his non-Thai passports for short visits. Longer visits, of course, a valid Thai passport will mean no entry restrictions. But if using that makes you nervous, then accessing the Thai Ancestry Visa (see HERE) will mean that he can stay longer term in Thailand on his foreign passport, with a minimum of fuss.
Having all these documents (ie Thai BC and first Thai PP) will mean that when he turns 30 he can easily register for a Thai ID card with a minimum of fuss.
Hope this has been of use.
Absolutely amazing, thank you so much. It all makes a lot of sense.
Sounds like a Thai BC and perhaps a first PP is the way to go.
Thank you so much.
I am a young student living in Canada with a duel citizenship. My mom is Thai and my dad is Canadian.
My family visits Thailand about once a year but for the rest of the time I live in Canada.
Because I don’t get much opportunity to speak it here, my Thai is not very good and I am unable to read it at all.
I was also born with a birth defect where one of my hands has very small fingers that I cannot use very well meaning I really only have one good hand.
Is there any way that I wouldn’t have to enlist. Until I turn 20 it isn’t much of a problem but once I do will I be unable to visit Thailand without being conscripted?
So you don’t mention where you are born, but if you were born in Canada (or anywhere outside of Thailand) then its unlikely that you are registered in the Tabieen Baan and have an ID card. Both needed to complete registration process for the lottery.
If you are registered on the tabieen baan and have an ID card, you’ll probably receive a call up notice at some stage – but unless you have this notice, then visits to Thailand will be fine, and as I said in the article, your inability to attend the conscription date due to being overseas works in your favour.
So all in all, short trips to Thailand (assuming you are using a Thai passport) will be fine. I can’t comment on how the military doctors will grade your hand issues, but as I also say in the article, your lack of Thai language ability doesn’t necessarily work in your favour either.
Hi, this has been an invaluable article but I’m wondering if you would have any advice for my stepsons situation? He has lived in New Zealand since the age of 9, He is still a Thai citizen and is on the house register in our village. Our family in the village was served with papers years ago and his grandmother told the officials at the time he would be coming back to participate in the draft.
Needless to say he chose not return and has not been back to Thailand for over a decade, he is turning 30 this year and would like to return and visit with his son next year. He doesn’t have a current Thai passport or ID card and is planning on applying for NZ citizenship but would like to live In Thailand at some stage so won’t be giving up his Thai citizenship.
My wife and I have been back to Thailand many times over the years and every time we go home receive a visit from the local police to ask about him and his whereabouts.
Do you have any advise for what he should do if he tries to come to Thailand back next year, I’m not so worried about him being able to get back in the country but with the way we have been visited every time we have been back to our village I do worry about what may happen then.
Appreciate any insight you may have, cheers.
Glad the article has been useful.
More questions than answers from my side unfortunately.
You say that police have visited. Did they give a reason why? Was there an official warrant out for your son or were they checking up for other reasons?
I think this should be established first. Also have one of the relatives have a chat with the recruiters if you are worried just to cross check his status. Anecdotally I’ve never heard of any repercussions especially when people have moved overseas but that is not to say there isn’t the possibility.
So that would be my first level suggestion. Beyond that, if you find out there is no outstanding issue then your son would have no issue in coming back and getting his passport and ID sorted and then, post 30, clearing his military paperwork.
Hopefully this helps
Hi, 19 years old male who was born in Thailand holding Dual nationalities ; British. I am going to university very soon, believing that I was able to avoid military conscription as I can’t waste a year delay to university (UK), but according to this article I could only delay the conscription.
I was advised by my friends to use ‘under the table method’ but was told I could not work for the government services or state owned enterprises in the future. I plan to work with private firms but I am worried if the private firm is working with/for the government, does this mean I am unable to work at all in Thailand? Additionally, I was planning to join the UK marines or airforce with the table method to count for my Thai military training but I do not know if this works.
Thanks for the email and appreciate the conflicting information you are getting.
With respect to employers, many (but not all) Thai based private sector employers don’t ask for evidence of military service/release from conscription. However it is still generally a requirement for working in government.
Moving out of thailand for study generally means you can ask for a deferment from the Thai embassy in the Uk upon showing evidence of your university enrollment.
You should also search through previous answers I’ve given here to others about moving your name to the central house registration while living overseas.
I take it you never did Ror Dor during high school either which means there are no credits for deferral there.
With respect to joining a foreign armed services and that service counting towards Thai service, as I say in the article there is nothing clearly written HOW this translates over.
Finally (also look at previous Q&A’s here) there is an issue of the UK armed services requiring evidence from Thai/UK dual citizens that they have either been granted an exemption or have fulfilled their Thai military obligations.
The process for this is not entirely clear either so I suggest you email the British defense attaché at the UK embassy here in Bangkok to ask for guidance. The current person in that position is Colonel Anthony Stern.
My 16-year-old daughter has applied to join the British army. They have told her that she has to get a public liability letter from the Thai Embassy, in London. If this is correct could you point me in the right direction ie who do I contact. I am the Father (British ) her mum is Thai My Daughter does have a Thai passport and UK passport She was born in England and registered as British. We all live in the UK London. I have contacted the Thai Embassy but always told to ring other numbers in the Embassy, and after 2 hours nothing sorted.
Thanks for your message. I’ve gotten this question a few times of late, and unfortunately, I don’t have any ‘good’ answer for you. The issue as I understand it is the British army requires anyone who is a dual citizen to show evidence that they are not liable for military service in Thailand. This is normally an issue for males, who are from the age of 20, unless they have been exempted. Given your child is female, there is no requirement she serve in the Thai forces.
Now, while this may be so, you are also dealing with two bureaucracies, in the UK and Thailand. I don’t have any clear idea what type of document the British army require to satisfy them that Thai females aren’t required to serve in the Thai armed forces. So you are going to have to ask the recruitment people on that point.
The second issue is once they tell you what they want, how do you get it out of the Thai military? This is something that I have not seen any offical guidance for from the Thai side, so you are going to have to ask the military attache at the Thai embassy what they can provide (and I do note your difficulty in getting in touch with them).
One idea which may or may not work is to ask the UK military if an English translation of Thailand’s conscription legislation (which I have linked in this article) will satisfy them? It makes clear that only males are required. It may not work, but I’m just trying to think out of the box here.
The other obvious thing, and unfortunately is in the realms of diplomacy and international relations, is to concurrently raise the issue with your MP and the UK Military Attache to the British embassy in Bangkok, essentially calling for them to formally liase with the Thai military, so that young Thai/UK dual citizens who wish to join the British army have clearer guidance and procedures so as to get these clearances required by the British army.
I’m really sorry I can’t be of more help on this, but hopefully in your daughters case, given she isn’t liable for service in Thailand, the route maybe somewhat easier than for males in the same boat.
All the best
Hello, I have a question I hope you can answer. I’m a 22 year old male who has been living in the U.S. ever since I was a kid and am a green card holder. My Thai passport has been expired for some time, and I have not had a chance to renew it yet after my 18th. My first question is, is it possible to renew my passport in the U.S without reporting for the Thai conscription? If so, and if I decided to visit my family in Thailand, will there be any consequences when I go through airport security in Thailand? Does visiting my family for under a month constitute living there, and thus I have to self-report? Thank you for taking your time to read this!
Thanks for your message. So you should be able to renew your passport in the US in normal circumstances, but given you are over 15 now there is an expectation that you should have a Thai ID card when you apply.
You say you’ve been in the US since you were a child, so I’m guessing that you probably don’t have a valid Thai ID. Given this, I’d check with the consulate/embassy whether they will be able to give you a full passport without a Thai ID card. It may be the case that they only give you a temporary passport, good for a one way trip to Thailand. At which point you will need to head to your district office and get a new ID card, and apply for a full passport in Thailand.
You also don’t mention if your family back in Thailand has received any call up notices, so its hard to tell where your name is in the process.
Going through immigration won’t trigger any thing conscription wise, unless (and this is VERY VERY unlikely) that a court has ordered a warrant be put out on you. Looking at it another way, you’d probably know if you had a warrant out for you for skipping the draft.
So all in all I’d say it would be okay to go back for a short time, but just realising that MAY have to get a Thai ID card in the process and deal with the district office, which may in turn put you on the list to be notified by call up (assuming you haven’t received any notification yet).
This may also just be a good catalyst for you just to naturalise as a US citizen at this point and use the US passport to travel to Thailand until you turn 30.
If you do not have a Thai ID and you did not renew your passport before its expiration, then you will only be issued a “certificate of identity” which is only valid for a one way trip. (Based on experience)
K.Hui – Thanks for sharing a recent first hand experience.
Hello, Hope you can help me with some advice. I am 19 years old and have a Belgian nationality. As my mother is Thai, I want to apply for dual nationality. I also plan to join the Belgian Armed Forces in September 2021. If later on, I want to become resident in Thailand, do I have to do military services in Thailand? If yes, what are my options. If no, is there any procedure to follow. Thanks in advance.
Thanks for your message. The thing to remember is that technically, given you are born to a Thai citizen parent, you are already a Thai citizen, so all you are doing is you are applying for the birth certificate which is one of the key documents you need for being put on the house registration, getting an ID card and a passport.
In terms of military obligations, if you are overseas – as per the article above – essentially the answer is ‘no’. You only come on the radar if you decide to register on the house book and get an ID card and be living in Thailand between ages 20 and 30.
So long as Belgian army doesn’t have an issue with you holding dual nationality, you could apply for a birth certificate at least from the Thai embassy in Brussels, and at the same time you should be able to apply for your first Thai passport which should be valid for 10 years. This will be fine for travel to/from Thailand, but for your second passport you’ll need to be registered on a house registration. Given your age, you won’t need to do this until you are 30 at least, by which point you’ll be exempt from military service. Please be aware though that if you do decide to live in Thailand before 30, then obviously you will need to report for the lottery.
Hello. Thank you so much for this insightful article. I am a 31 year old Danish citizen with a Thai parent and currently in the process of applying for Thai citizenship. About the automatic exemption from conscription/military service once past 30 years of age, would you be able to provide a link to the specific regulations/rules where this is stated? It would be great to be able to review the exact “chapter and verse” in original Thai form. Thank you so much!
The legislation is HERE. Section 39 is the relevant section which says that above age of 30 you will be assigned to be a type 2 reserve soldier which for all intents and purposes is an inactive list which all thai males find themselves on.
I hope this clears things up.
my son was born and lived in thailand for his first 2 years, he then moved to the uk where he has been for the past 18 years(20 now). He has been sent conscription papers to his grand parents house in thailand where he was registered at birth. he travels on british passport, so first of all is there any need to worry about him being conscripted if we travelled to thailand and if there is which is the best way of going about it, he is currently at university in the uk.
He’s got a couple of options – one is that someone can submit the paperwork for him, but once in, he can also request for a deferment based on his university studies in the UK. The embassy will be able to guide you on that but it would probably involve his grand parents submitting his paperwork to the conscription office first on his behalf. Deferments till age 25 or 26 from memory so long as he in further study. So for me this is the ‘belt and braces’ approach while studying at least for the next few years.
Another option, is simply to not report. Strictly speaking, reporting late is against the law, but the penalties are quite small if done voluntarily at a later date. As this link from the Thai Embassy in Washington DC shows – the procedure for reporting late depends on at what age they report. Up to the age of 20, they are essentially put into next years lot for receiving a call up and are expected to report for the lottery at age 21, with a maximum fine of 300 baht if done voluntarily, but there is a potential of three months imprisonment, fine, or both, if ordered by a court.
Doing so between ages after 21 mean that process is fast forwarded but essentially you are expected to report for conscription in the immediate year following – which involves being assessed as qualified as part of the process. As per my article, once 30, you are immediately disqualified upon reporting.
To your concern about being caught. To my knowledge immigration databases historically haven’t flagged Thai citizens when they haven’t reported (this certainly never happened to me and people that I knew). Traveling on a non-Thai passport will mean that there is little chance for a link to be even made and I suspect plenty of people do just that. Obviously all of this is to be viewed as non-legal advice but based on practical experiences of mine and quite a few others.
A quick background history of me is that I have lived in thailand for 4 years of my life since I was born there, but I had moved to England due to my moms marriage to my english step dad. I have lived here for 16 years now and I recently had my 20th birthday on 3rd of jan. My question stems on the fact, will I be required to report to the thai embassy about this conscription draft? As I am a thai born, but I have yet to receive one of those letters for the conscription. Will I be arrested if I were to go back to Thailand with my thai passport? I was also thinking of perhaps staying in thailand for a year when I reach age 27, I’m guessing that option is not available for me anymore? Due to the resident thing. Which is a shame as majority of my thai family are there.
Moreover I have heard some rumours about their soldiers criteria. I didnt exactly win the genetic lottery as I am 5f2, so will that exempt me from being conscripted or they simply just dont care about height and just take just about anyone? I have also heard about paying a fee to the recruitment officer, a short of 1k pounds to take you off the conscription lottery. Is that perhaps true? Because if I can do that, I wont have to join the thai army and I still get to keep my thai passport. As much as being a soldier intrigues me, I would much rather be a british soldier as i grew up here.
So thanks for your question. So I can’t given any comment regarding what the army look for from a health perspective, and I’m not (as a rule) talk about acts which may be considered illegal.
Given you haven’t received any call up letter could be for a number of reasons (e.g. your name may have come off the house registration or that previous attempts to contact you have been unanswered). In your case, there is no need to report to the Thai embassy (they don’t handle conscription anyway) and given you haven’t received any formal notification to be called up, technically you can’t defer due to studies (which is what the embassy can handle).
Short visits to Thailand will generally be fine, and even those lasting for a few months. It will always be a grey area on when you are in Thailand ‘full time’, but having a job, studying and getting your ID card back – as well as being there around the conscription date in April is probably the easiest measure. As per the article, in the year you turn 30 then you are not eligible to be called up.
I hope this is of help.
i have decided to join the British army, do you have any information regarding whether i still have to serve in the thai army as well after i leave the British one? As its abit weird to serve both nations afterall… i was also wondering, if i did get a letter from the conscription office of thailand. Am i force to go to thailand and attend there and do that lottery?
If you haven’t already, please check out point 5 of the article which I updated maybe a week ago adding in more detail about the scenarios you are talking about. Administratively, if an attempt is made to register you without all your ID, then your conscription will essentially be put on hold.
I’m a 17 years old german-thai citizen currently living in Thailand. I’m planning to move out from here when I graduate next year and probably won’t move back to Thailand anymore. But I might come back here for some holidays sometimes. My question right now is, will I get into trouble if I enter Thailand between the age of 21 and 30 with my German passport and what do I do after turning 30? And another question is, will I get into trouble abroad for not joining the thai military conscription?
I can’t give you any specific answers – but broadly if you aren’t resident in Thailand during those years and are unable to attend the lottery day for valid reasons, then you will be okay. Short visits are fine, but moving back permanently will obviously re-activate your obligation. You also don’t say whether you have received any paperwork from you local sasadee yet, in which case formal deferrment due to study overseas is probably something you need to look into.
I am planning on moving to Thailand and eventually becoming a Thai citizen. I was born in Thailand but as a refugee with no Thai birth Certificate and both my parents were born in Loas. I am wondering if I become a Thai citizen, will my sons be required to report for conscription when they reach appropriate ages? My husband is an American born with US citizenship. I also have US citizenship as of right now.
Thanks for your message. That you were born in Thailand doesn’t mean that you are eligible for Thai citizenship. One of your parents needed to be a Thai citizen at the time of your birth to pass on citizenship to you. As such, for you to naturalise as a Thai citizen, you will need to go through the normal process of living and working here, gaining PR and then eventually citizenship (see this article here).
Assuming you go down that path, and both your sons are made PR and then naturalised alongside you, then they won’t be required to do military service as naturalised Thai citizens.
Hi, I am an Australian male that is the son of a Thai father and Australian mother (i am illegitimate, still have good contact though and maintain visits).
One, would my illegitimacy hinder citizenship; and, two, if I did get citizenship, would it be worth it considering I might want to live in Thailand for a period of time and also the fact there is conscription.
Also, does wealth help you avoid conscription?
You don’t say where you were born but I’m assuming you were born in Australia. For you to be recognised as a Thai citizen legitimization needs to occur via either your parents marrying or your parents agreeing to formally legitimizing your birth via courts. Failing that I think you can advocate yourself via DNA testing etc but with all of the above I’d consult a lawyer.
And this legitimization will need to happen before the Thai embassy in the country you were born issues you with a Thai birth certificate (though check with them on what documentation will be needed in the case of parents not being married).
In terms of being exempted from military service, wealth per se doesn’t change things, and I’ve outlined the main legal channels in the article available to you. The best one in your case is simply not to be formally registered on a house registration until you are 30.
I was born in Thailand (currently 17yrs old) and have held Thai citizenship since birth. I also hold a Thai ID card and I’m also on a house register. I have resided in Thailand since birth but I am currently in the process of getting my UK citizenship. As soon as I get my UK passport I will be leaving Thailand to live in the UK. I will most likely be leaving the country right before I turn 18 (June 2021) and I only plan on coming back for holidays (at least until I’m over 30)
My questions are
1) Will it be possible for me to be exempt from conscription?
2) If so how exactly do I do it? Do I move myself to the central house register and not come back to live in Thailand until I’m 30?
3) And what happens if the military sends a letter to my house while I’m in the UK? (I have not received a letter from them yet)
4. What happens if I receive a letter before I leave Thailand?
Thank for your message – you don’t mention if you’ve done any Ror Dor, but I’m assuming you haven’t hence, the question.
I can’t answer your questions in detail as I don’t know the exact ins and outs of the call up process, but the central house registry is designed for people who are moving overseas for a long period of time, which sounds like will be you. You should chat to your district office on how to exactly do this, but here are a couple of links to regarding the central registry, one from the Thai embassy in Washington DC (here) which talks about it being appropriate for Thai citizens moving overseas for an extended period and another more general one (see here). You’ll see from both articles that certain things like getting a replacement Thai ID card or full passport are restricted once on the central house registry, so before you do so I’d also make sure you get an updated Thai ID as well as a new 10 year passport before you make the switch.
As our article describes, the eligibility side of things also partly a function of being able to attend the conscription process. Being on the central house registry is evidence of this. Obviously being overseas permanently makes this difficult, and essentially what you are doing is ‘kicking the can down the road’ until you are 30 when you are no longer required for conscription purposes which sounds like what will happen to you.
Thank you so much, this has been incredibly helpful to me.
Just a few more questions then.
1) When would you recommend me to switch to the central house register? Before I leave Thailand or after I get a 10 year passport (Which is only possible to do after I turn 20)
2) What exactly do I have to do once I’m 30?
3) Just to confirm, a 1 month visit will be fine right? (as long as I try to avoid April)
Short visits will be fine.
In terms of moving your registration, you should do this after you have gotten a new passport (and if necessary, update your ID card to push out the expiry date) as you won’t be able to get either done once you are on the central registry. Obviously at some point you are going to need to be back on a proper house register to get a new passport and ID card, but if you are living in the UK full time you might want to just consider using your UK passport for short trips to Thailand if you are unable to renew a full Thai passport while you are away in the UK.
So Who/Where do I go to when I turn 30 ? And what do I tell them?
Is the year I turn 30 or after my birthdate ?
And again, thank you very much for answering my questions!
You are in the free and clear from the 1st of January in the year you turn 30, but if you want to be doubly sure, just wait until you are 30.
In terms of where you go, it is to the Sasadee in the district you are registered in and tell them you are wanting to report so you can obtain the exemption certificate. They should be able to process it at any time, not just during the conscription period.
To be honest, I’ve never needed the conscription exemption certificate for anything, except for when I needed it for my wife’s Thai citizenship application. Others I’ve spoken to have never got it, and as far as I can tell, unless you are looking to take a government position, having one wont affect your day to day existence.
Hi do you have any contacts I could email for any information about travelling to Thailand short term (3months) and not getting forced to do Thai military service soon entry and exit
I don’t unfortunately. If you are worried about it being in Thailand while under 30, have you considered getting an extension of stay based on ancestry?
Note also that short term travel at the moment with COVID is precarious at best. A mandatory 14 day quarantine is compulsory for all citizens and non-citizens. Flights are scarce and there is an embassy mandated procedure to get on one of them, regardless of nationality. Going back to NZ will also be an issue.
I was born in Thailand and moved to UK when I was 2 years old – I have dual nationality but my Thai passport has expired. I’m now 18 and want to join the UK army but they are asking for a Service Liability letter which as I understand it essentially confirms that I am no longer eligible for Thai national service. I have tried the embassy in London but they are unable to assist. Similar to Spencer’s question (30th August 2020) I’m at a loss as to what to do next. I wondered whether you has any further advice for me?
I’m afraid that I don’t really have any particular advice on this given my non-exposure to the issue. Its a shame, but not unsurprising, that the Thai embassy in London is of little help as you’d think they’d have come across this issue. I’d perhaps try emailing the UK defense attache at the British Embassy here in Thailand – perhaps he may have some guidance on the matter.
The only other two options I can think of are rather extreme: Short of trying your luck with the conscription lottery in Thailand, then the only other option is renunciation of your Thai nationality.
Sorry I can’t be of more help on this.
I’m 26 trying to apply for a Thai passport in LA. I have Thai and American birth certificates. Will I be able to use it to stay in Thailand for like 2-3 months without any issue of military conscription? Would I have to do the house registration for my first passport?
So if you were born outside of Thailand they are generally able to issue you your first Thai passport without needing to be registered on the house registration and ID card. For a short trip like that, you’d generally be fine I would think – though ultimately it is a grey area. Not however though that if you lose your passport while in Thailand, you will need to register yourself on the tabieen baan and get an ID card to get a new Thai passport as you’ll need to be stamped out of Thailand on that passport (its the way the immigration system works). So look after your US issued Thai passport carefully!
And what do you class as a ‘short visit’
How many months would you say?
Hard to say, but the key think I would think is not to have your name on the house registration and maybe not be here during the April conscription period when you are supposed to attend if you can.
Is there anything that legally forces someone to have their name on house registration? E.g getting a thai national ID card?
All Thai citizens are supposed to have an ID card from the age 15 onwards, so that automatically puts you on the radar. The quirk in the system obviously is that you can’t apply for an ID card unless you are based in Thailand, so someone like you falls outside the processes. Another quirk, based on anecdotal evidence is once you register post 21 years of age, the military officials probably won’t bother you as the process for sending out call up letters automatically happens at 17, so you are in another gap in the system (please don’t take that as advice for being able to avoiding obligations that are necessary before the age of 30).
Once you are on the house registration system however, there is a way to move your name off a specific address to a ‘central’ DB (ทะเบียนบ้านกลาง) designed for Thai citizens who live overseas.
I’ve heard that also being a monk can make you exempt from the military draw? Is this true? And do you know how long you have to be a monk for? Because I would much rather prefer that
Please note I’ve updated the article and my reply regarding the monk issue. Please check out the updated version of the article where I outline which types of monks get exempted. Hopefully this clarifies things for you.
hi i have a few questions if you could please help me out
i am in the process of applying for a thai passport, and hope to enter the country for a 3 month or so holiday to visit friends, i am 25 years old half thai and born in new zealand and lived there my whole life
what is the time frame that separates me from being required to conscript to the military if i get there in December this year? could i stay for a couple months return home and do the same every year? or multiple times a year?
The military obligation really arises if you are registered on the tabieen baan/house registration. The government sends out the call up notices based on these records.
Assuming you are NZ born, you won’t be registered anywhere in Thailand, and thus, off the military’s radar. You’ll be able to come and go as you please on your Thai passport and be fine so long as you aren’t registered. Many do this.
Note however, that you’ll only be able to renew a Thai passport (or get a Thai ID card) by being on the house register. Given that Thai passports now last for 10 years, this means you won’t need to register on the tabieen baan until you are well over 30, which is the age you are exempted from military service.
Hope this helps.
If by any chance I am registered on one by my mother who has lived there half her life and recently built a house there I will not be able to come and go on short term holidays of 3 months or so?
And not being on the house registration will stop me from opening a thai bank account and working part time in say a friends bar right ?
Short visits are fine if you are.
Re: being registered, I would have thought it would require you attending the district office itself, and if you are over 15 years of age, you would have been issued a Thai ID card. So unless you have done those things, I think it is fair to say you won’t be registered.
As for bank accounts. I will be hit and miss. You should be able to, but also expect them to require and ID card from you to do so. As for working, as you are a Thai citizen you are free to work. Your friend might struggle however to register you on their books properly however for tax and social security without a proper ID number, but that is just me guessing.
is it possible to just get a thai passport and not a thai ID card ? Because the Thai embassy in my country is asking me to come and get a thai ID card with my passport , I don’t want one if that is just going to lead me to getting a letter from the military. Sorry for all the questions you are helping me so much
Do you have a source on the part about “Dual citizen children are not eligible for conscription“? I just want verify before I apply for a passport
As said in this article – that statement is a myth/common misunderstanding. All males who hold Thai citizenship are eligible for conscription – regardless of the fact that they may hold another citizenship.
The only time having a foreign parent becomes an issue with regards to the Thai military, is that Thai males with a foreign father are not eligible to become officers.
I hope clears things up.
I’m 21, living in UK and I haven’t don’t my lottery selection. I’m hoping to go back to Thailand to work. I have dual citizenship. I was due to my selection in this April but didn’t go back to Thailand due to Covid 19.
When you head back you’ll obviously have to report. Assuming you are at university or doing further study you can apply for a deferral via the embassy. When you go back however you’ll need to make the choice of volunteering for 6 months as a university grad or taking your chances with the lottery.
I’m a 16 year old male dual national born in Thailand, living in UK. I applied to join the British army, however to join as a dual national I need to provide a letter from the Thai military stating I have no obligation to join the Thai military. After contacting the Thai military, I’m informed this letter cannot be issued. Therefore my application to the British army is cancelled.
Because without this letter I cannot join the British army so i have considered to choose red or black in the Thai army draft as soon as possible, I want to choose early and want to know what is the earliest age I can pull the lottery.
But firstly I want to get the letter that says I have no obligation to join the Thai army so I can join the British army, but if I cannot do this my option would be to pull the lottery to confirm if I have to join the Thai army or not, this way if I pull black and don’t have to join I might be able to get the letter, this is why i want to know when i can pull the ticket.
I’m going to be honest here and say that I don’t really know how I can advise you properly. My *best* guess would be the following:
– The Thai military might not be able to give you a straight out exemption letter even if you have done the conscription lottery. All Thai men remain on what is essentially a reserves list and – in theory – can be drafted up to the age of 45 in times of dire national emergency. So even if you’ve done the lottery, a residual obligation still exists.
– 20 is the normal age of doing the lottery here. I’m not sure if it is done earlier.
A general question – when you said you contacted the ‘Thai military’ who did you contact?
Was it the local office back in Thailand or somewhere more higher up. The reason I ask this, is that I suspect you’ll need to deal with an agency within the military who has some sort of international experience. If you have, then please ignore my advice, but I’m thinking that dealing with the Thai military attache at the Thai embassy in London might be your best starting point on this issue and maybe they can issue you with some sort of acceptable letter at least saying you are not liable for thai military service at present.
Sorry I can’t be more helpful.
Hello, All this is very confusing. I was just looking at requesting Thai Birth Certificate for my son. However, on the Application Form, there is a section that asks for “Address of the house where name is to be added to” Does it mean he is going to be registered at that address for Tabian Baan? I thought I could just get this without having to register on Tabian Baan and worry about conscription yet. Thanks for your insight on this matter.
If you are overseas I think the request for an address in Thailand is a formality. You can double check with the embassy, but I don’t think that automatically puts your sons name on any tabieen baan in Thailand. To get on a tabieen baan, you formally have to be present in Thailand at the khet or the ampur with physcial witnesses and have the Nai Ampur sign off on the addition to the tabieen baan. Hope this clears things up for you.
hello im 17 living in ireland born in thailand i plan to got to college for 4 years.i will be 22 when i finish college with a bachelors if all goes well,i dont speak thai but that dosnt seem to matter i visit thailand once a year and have a thai passport and id.will i be conscripted?
So long as you aren’t living in Thailand permanently you will be fine.
Hello. Very interesting reading all this. Thank you for all the information. I have one question relating to my half Thai son who is already 21 and finishing university very shortly. When he was 17 we received a letter at our home in Thailand saying that we should report to the district office to collect a Sor Dor 9 in readiness for the lottery when he turned 18. Not being in Thailand and having not been back since we have not done this. Will this have any implications for our son with regard to visits back to Thailand or maybe living there in the future?
If he is physically not able to attend, then the simple answer is ‘no’ for short visits. If he he intends to move to Thailand before 30, it does change things and yes, he’ll have to visit the sasadee (recruitment office) in the district he is registered and sign up. If he comes after 30, there is little impact, but its probably wise that he eventually clears up the matter, and pays the nominal fine for doing so.
He might want to consider moving his name off the current registry, onto the registry database which is designed for people who have moved overseas ‘temporarily’. You can check it out at this link (Thai only sorry) http://www.consular.go.th/main/th/faq/7392/80338-6.ผู้มีชื่ออยู่ในทะเบียนบ้านกลางต้องดำเนินการอย่า.html
I have been living in Australia for 12 years and Australian resident but I was born in Thailand. So I kinda have a problem, so I’m turning 21 this year and I have pretty all the list checked for being conscripted, for example ID, house registration, Thai passport and the letter you get from the military (I have not seen the letter (apparently was sent to my home address in Thailand). My Auntie who is my representative but was not given a letter to represent only through phone. So the problem is that my mother and I is worried that my auntie will get in trouble or treated in someway if I don’t got to Thailand until I am 30, Also are you exempted from conscription if you revoke your Thai Citizenship.
So if you renounce your Thai citizenship you won’t be liable for military service, but also realise you can never get you citizenship back. To my mind, it is also unnecessary.
Firstly, your Aunt will not be responsible/liable for anything. Remaining outside of Thailand effectively exempts you from needing to attend the conscription lottery.
So it appears from your article that the only conscription triggering events that have to all apply would be
1) You are house registered
2) You were to come back to Thailand before the year you turn 30
What if I come back to Thailand when I’m already 29 but after the April conscription season? (say that I am 29 and 2 months when I come back in August or something). Would I be safe from being called for conscription if I come back and live until next January? (which would put me at 29 and 7 months), and then report next April (29 yr old and 10 months). Would the “hunting” for conscription be done only in April before I come back? Sorry for such a complicated scenario and thank you.
Hi Gary – there isn’t any obvious ‘hunting’ going on. If you came back after April when you are 29 and 2 months then 1st Jan the next year you will be officially exempt. There isn’t any real reason to report after that except if you want the offical certificate to say you exempt. To be clear, I’ve actually never been asked for it so I suspect you’ll be fine if you don’t bother with the reporting.
Thank you for your reply
So you are saying that if I never registered for deferral and the moment January comes (where I will be 29 and 7 months old), there is practically no benefit to voluntarily reporting myself and paying the 100 – 400 baht fine in April in terms of legal ramifications?
My only concern would be that somehow if they found out I never registered or reported later on years later, there would be legal issues/criminal charges with the army? Would voluntarily reporting myself that April (when I turn 29 and 10 months) be the safest option to get it over with? Thank you.
I guess my main point is that at this stage, there is no real rush for you to report. What you can do (and this is what I did) is simply wait till you turn 30 in June(?) of that year. Any time after that is fine as you don’t have to go in April to ask for an exemption.
Simply go to see the recruitment people (sasadee) in the district you are registered to ask for the exemption letter (their office will be much quieter). I did this after moving back to Thailand full time around my 30th birthday. Because I voluntarily reported at that point, I was sent to the nearby police station with a letter issued by the local conscription office, where I paid the fine (200 baht in my case, judged by the policeman on duty). With evidence of the fine paid I then went back to the conscription office and they issued me with an exemption letter due to being 30.
The only reason I got the letter was it was needed in the process for my wifes Thai citizenship application. Apart from that, I’ve never been required to show it to anyone in the 13 years or so I’ve had the letter.
A little background of myself so you can understand where I am coming from:
I am 19 years old (Born 5th December 2000) , I was born in Yala, Thailand. At the age of 6 I moved to Norway and have grown up there. I am currently living in Norway as I am doing my bachelor degree in Business Administration and I will be graduating most likely between 2021 or 2022. I read something online (not sure if its true or not) that when you have a bachelor degree or higher than high school diploma, you can serve 6 months if you decide to volunteer instead of 1 or 2 years. With my prior knowledge of the Thai military recruit (Which is not much). All Thai citizens will have to be conscripted. Either way I will have to serve regardless (unless I avoid traveling to Thailand between the age 20-30). I also would like to point out I have not received or heard anything about being conscripted, I read somewhere that at the age of 18, you are supposed to receive a letter from the military and you are to choose where you want to serve when you reach the age of 21. I don’t have my name registered in any household in Thailand so I assume they can’t send me a letter.
Now my question is:
1) Do I have to report myself to be conscripted if they cannot reach out to me?
2) Since I have grown up overseas, I do not speak Thai. I don’t have the ability to communicate and I cannot read either, however, I can understand a bit. If I were to be conscripted, will there be someone to help me communicate, I know that you won’t be dismissed even though you do not speak the language, so I was wondering what they will do with other people with the same situation as I am. Will there be a translator next to me when I do my basic training? Or will I have to study the Thai Language before, if I were to enter the military?
3) If I were to avoid being conscripted/reported, will I be arrested when I enter Thailand for holidays (3-4 weeks) with Thai Passport (I don’t have dual passports)?
4) My Thai Passport expires in 2024, If I were to renew it, could they track me down and arrest me if I have not reported myself for deferred conscription?
5) With the Covid-19 situation that is happening worldwide, do they still need to recruit people for military?
6) I have a very bad eyesight, I cannot see anything unless I wear glasses. I read somewhere that you need to pass both physical and health exam in order to be recruited. If I were to be recruited, can you still wear glasses? (its a weird question), but I am not sure if it will be fitting as I am afraid that my eyesight will hinder my performance.
Sorry if I had many questions for you to answer, I was just curious because my parents won’t tell me much about it and always tell me not to worry and focus on my studies.
I appreciate any feedback.
Stay safe and well
Best Regards, Niwat
I’ve already addressed some of your points in the article (1, 2, 3, 4). I can’t answer 5, but I suspect conscription will be continue. Can’t help you on 6.
To be clear though, not everyone is conscripted, but if in Thailand living under 30, you have to report. If you aren’t living there full time, then you don’t.
In terms of your statement not being registered in Thailand, if I was you I’d double check. If you have ID number you are registered ‘somewhere’ so best to try and figure that out.
My son has just tried to sign up for Ror Dor at school but was told as he was born in the UK and has a number 5 at the beginning of his number on his ID card he is not required to sign up.
Wow – an interesting one.
My approach to this would be – if they say he is not required to do Ror Dor, then request them to issue him with an official exemption letter from military service. This will do one of two things – put him in the clear right from the get go, or actually force them to admit there is no exemption just because he has a 5 as the first number of his ID card (nb..it doesn’t make him a different category of Thai citizen).
I suspect however that someone in the military has their wires crossed, and that when you go to ask for the official exemption they won’t be able to provide one (likely as it doesn’t exist just because he was born overseas).
The last thing you want is for the Ror Dor people say he isn’t required to do it, and then at aged 20 he’s forced to do the lottery.
Anyway, this is a first for me to hear this, so any feedback you could give on whatever happens next will be greatly appreciated and useful to many readers.
I have an adopted son, who is at the moment 18, with a UK and Thai passport, came with is mother to the UK in 2012. While we were on holiday last year, he received a letter asking him to report to the local army office. On arrival we explained the circumstances, that he was now resident in the UK. They offered to lose his name for 40,000 baht. On the records they have him his down as Malaysian, as he has a Malaysian father. Tried to barter them down to 25,000 baht, but he wouldnt have it. His uncle his in the army and is a regular, who told us that they were intending to stop the conscription in the next couple of years. However we will see. In the meantime, if they dont, are you saying that he his ok to visit on holiday, during the age of 21 to 30 but not to move back there, permanent.
There has always been ‘talk’ about getting rid of conscription, but I’m guessing that is all that it will amount to for the time being.
As you’ve pointed out, if he wants to visit, it will be fine. Check some of the comments earlier that I’ve made, and you’ll see links to move him of the local house hold register and to a ‘central’ tabieen baan which will move his records from the current location.
I’d also double check to see if he is really registered as a Malaysian. If he is, he wouldn’t be on the blue house registration book (which is reserved for Thai citizens and Permanent Residents), and as such, wouldn’t be getting a Thai ID card or Thai passport. In the normal course of things, your son’s birth fathers details would be recorded in the house book – as will his nationality. However odds are your son’s own nationality is recorded as ‘Thai’ on the blue book.
im 25 and dual thai,iranian nationality
i have done military service in iran army 2 years ago
so does it any effect on my thai millitary service?!?
i have thai passport but no id card
In the Thai regulations it does state that foreign military service can count towards your thai military obiligations, but to what extent I can’t say.
If you have a Thai passport already you’ll need to register your name on a tabieen baan to get your Thai ID card. It won’t be possible to renew your Thai passport in Thailand without this. It may be possible to renew your Thai passport via the embassy in Iran without an ID card, but this becomes less likely the older you get.
I have a Thai and Uk Passport, since birth, (Thai on mum’s side). I am on the tabieen baan book, and looking to apply for my overdue ID card. I’ll be turning 21 in a few years, and am aiming for deferment in uni via the embassy (and possibly some foregin military service). However, I’ve been told that people who hold govermental jobs (no talk of how significant the job needs to be) are exempt from the draft? I’d like to spend some time in my 20’s, living in Thailand if I can. If I had a govermental job, would that allow me to live in Thailand for a extended period of time with no military service?
Reading between the lines, it appears you are born and based in the UK? In that case, there is no rush to get the Thai ID card just yet until you move to Thailand at least. Have the military call up letters been sent to you?
In the case of holding (Thai?) government jobs, it is usually the case that they require you have done your military service (or have been exempted from it) before you can work for the government. I haven’t heard that working for the Thai government helps defer your military obligations.
Thank you for taking your time to answer. I have been living in the US for a very long time since 17. All this time I was able to renew my Thai passport and ID card before expiration and stay in the US legally to study (but I am solely a Thai citizen on a student visa). I am currently 28. My questions are:
1) Is there any documentation for me to give to the Thai officers to verify to them that I have been in the US all this time (basically from 17-28)? You mentioned that staying long term in Thailand before turning 30 would subject you to being conscripted.
2) I don’t believe that my parents ever put me on the tabieen baan list and I never reported or registered for deferral, so technically I’m flying off the radar right now.
If I am not able to obtain a job in the US at my current age of 28 right away and may have to go back to Thailand temporarily (maybe a year) before the US companies can sponsor me a work visa, would it be a wise idea to enroll in a state run program or another student visa in the US (guaranteed for me to be in the US) until I turn 30 instead of risking living in Thailand and wait until I turn 30? Thank you so much in advance.
1) No documentation was needed in my case, its more or less a system based on honesty as far as I can tell – but I’m sure they can check your claims if they wanted to.
2) If you are able to renew your ID card and Passport, you are certainly on the tabieen baan (as you can’t do these things without being registered). I’m not in the position to advise you what to do, but would stress that you are exempt from 1 January in the year that you turn 30, so from your perspective, it may be less than a year and a half till you are formally exempt.
Thank you for your response and for your perspective.
My apologies for another technical question. I will be turning 30 in March 2022, so I believe that January 2022 would be the safest and earliest timeline for me to arrive in Thailand and report (as a late 29-yr old). Does this mean that it’s still risky to travel to Thailand, say near the end of October 2021, and live in Thailand until January 2022 before reporting, or should it not matter where I live prior to the earliest reporting exemption date? Thank you!
Conscription is done in April each year, so if you aren’t in Thailand in April 2021 then you obviously can’t report till April next year. After that you should be fine and you’ll be technically free from obligation on 1 Jan 2020. Many people don’t report after that point anyway, but in certain cases employers (and not very often these days) might require you to provide a certificate of military exemption. But as I said, that is quite rare, but I guess there is the peace of mind knowing anyway that after 1 Jan 2022, you are free and clear of any obligation.
I’m thai citizen born and grow abroad and moved to Thailand when I was 19, I never reported anything to Thai military and never receive any letter from them either for the last 5 years.
I’m wondering what are the punishment of not reporting to the Thai military and what should I do now to avoid any future problems? Can I still postpone?
So it sounds like you’ve fallen through a crack administratively wise. Legally, you need to report – but for whatever reason, you’ve remained off the radar given you arrived after people tend to already have their names on the list. If this continues, odds are nothing will happen, and I do know of a couple of people in your situation who never ended up reporting, without conseqence. But I, for obvious reasons, can’t advocate this. Fine wise, I’m not sure, you’ll need to look that up but from memory it can include imprisonment.
Thank you for the informative article. I have been studying abroad since I was 15 (now 28, long PhD program). I have never reported/registered to a conscription officer. However, with the pandemic situation I plan to come back to Thailand after I turn 29 next year. Do you think that this is a risky approach, even if I come back to live in Thailand and never report until after I turn 30? Thank you.
Technically I think if you are back and still 29, you have to report. However if you come back in the year you turn 30 you will be exempt (even if you are still only 29).
I’m a German/Thai dual citizen. Right now I’m in the 11th grade of a normal high school in Thailand. My question is, can I avoid the national service by going back to Germany to study at an university and stay there until I’m 30? And would I get into trouble if I visit Thailand between 20 and 30 with my German Passport? And is it still possible for me to renew my Thai ID and Thai Passport between the age of 20 And 30?
Best regards, Timothy
That should be possible I think and it is possible to do all those things you ask. If you are in Thailand though at high school, doing the Ror Dor will get you exempted as well.
Yeah, I could join the Ror Dor but there is a German Law which could make me lose my german citizenship and I really want to avoid losing the citizenship (Germany also counts Ror Dor as joining the military voluntary). And since I’m leaving Thailand after finishing high school to move back to Germany, it’s a better option to avoid the conscription by staying abroad until I’m 30.
Thanks for the reply. Yes, it certainly sounds like an international conflict of legalities in your case. If you haven’t already, I’d check with the German Embassy just to triple check that if they consider doing Ror Dor falls outside scope, but as you say, it may be the only route is to move out of thailand till you are 30.
Do you have any information on whether ror Dor will still go ahead this July with the Covid situation still in place? Thanks for your help!
No I don’t unfortunately.
Hi. I have a Thai mother (passed away) and Irish father. I’m born in England and have English passport and so British, my mother passed when I was 7. Not been in contact with her family until miracle happened last year and through Instagram I am now reconnected with my thai family, my mother’s sister and brother. I’m 25 now, and I want to apply for Thai passport, to get this it seems I have to go on the house registration of the Thai family’s house. I have never reported to the military as I only held British passport and entered Thailand on that. Have been going to thailand regularly all my life on visas etc. So once I go on the house registry, I could certainly be selected for the draft. I’m wondering if I just simply left the country before conscription and returned after. Would that work? And keep doing this until I’m 30. And then report, what do you think? Cheers
To be able to get on the house registration you are going to need to have a Thai birth certificate issued? Have you got that yet? If not you’ll need to sort that before you can do much else. Please check out articles on our website on how to do this, but I suspect you’d have to get guidance from the embassy given your mum passed away and you’d need her Thai paperwork to start the process. It might also be that you’ll need a DNA test to some of the remaining family members to prove your eligibility for Thai citizenship.
In terms of what you propose vis a vis the draft, it is a grey area, but if you are normally resident in Thailand there would be an expectation you’d have to attend.
I do actually have a thai birth certificate, and all of her documents. I had a passport issued up until I was 6. But never renewed it and when I went to apply for passport they said I wasn’t on any house register so couldnt get the passport, this was before i was reconnected with the family. My aunt has now already got all the documents ready and waiting to go to with me to the house register place to get Thai ID card then from there the passport. I’m sure it will end up more complicated but hoping for the best. Thank you for the advice
Oh that is good to hear you have the documentation all sorted already. It should help the process significantly. Good luck with it all.
Hi. Would you know what the situation is with Thai children and stateless children who were adopted and now hold Australian citizenship whether they could be conscripted during a visit Thailand?
A child who was born in Thailand and was a Thai citizen at birth remains still a Thai citizen, even after the adoption.
Having said that, the will need to have their full house registration and have acknowledged the conscription notifications sent to them in their teens to really been on the radar. Even then, simply visiting Thailand wouldn’t mean they would be conscripted as being non resident in Thailand effectively exempts you.
As for a child born in Thailand, but who didn’t receive Thai citizenship at birth (stateless or otherwise) they are not eligible to be conscripted or serve in the Thai military.
Hi, Dear Sir or Madam,
I was born in China, and transfer the nationality to Thai when I was 10 years old, but I keep stay in China until finished high school. Around 20, I went to Bangkok for University until now. And I have a house registration also. During the university period, I attended the conscription every year for postponing the military. This April is my time to attend the conscription to pick up the ball. As I see in your article, the naturalized Thai male doesn’t need to go through conscription. I would like to know in my situation, is it belong to this rule? Because when I go to the conscription office, the officer didn’t tell me about that, just help me to do the registration and ask me to go on the process, pick the ball on April. Or use some underground way to avoid it.
I would like to know how to apply for exemption from military service as a naturalized Thai male.
Thank you for your patience and I hope to receive your reply.
You should speak to the sasadee about exemptions. Did you tell them you were naturalised? They probably didn’t know – but from what I have seen it is a grounds for exemption. You should take in your naturalisation papers in as well.
All the best.
I tell him already about my situation, he never mentioned this way at all, then should I go to find a layer to handle that or keep talking with this officer? I think he just want my bonus.
Hi Keith, I just did a quick search.
See page 6 of this link here at the Ministry of Defense website.
The Thai military attache in Sweden has put up a presentation. See page 30, where at point (8) he references the law:
29การยกเว้นไม่เรียกมาตรวจเลือกเข้ารับราชการทหารในยามปกติได้แก่ มาตรา 14 บุคคลดังต่อไปนี้เมื่อลงบัญชีทหารกองเกินแล้วไม่เรียกมาตรวจเลือกฯ ในยามปกติ:
Thank you so much for your reply. It is appreciative.
Please advise. If dual citizen uses foreign passport (if you are THAI, US dual, you just use only US passport) to get in Thailand only. In this case, this dual person is treated as US citizen in Thai. So that he is free and not worry about military issue at all, even before 30 years old, Is it correct? He is absolutely necessary to follow all rules as US citizen during his stay in Thailand.
You can enter Thailand using the US passport if you so wish. It really doesn’t matter however, as it the military service comes from having a house registration (and being resident in Thailand) as opposed to what passport you are travelling on. Having said that, if you enter Thailand on a US passport you are indeed subject to Thai immigration rules etc. The one advantage however, as a Thai citizen, you’ll be able to receive an yearly ‘extension of stay’ in your US passport based on the fact that you are a Thai citizen.
I’m a 28 y/o overseas born Thai and only have a Thai Birth Certificate at the moment. Will I get called up by the Thai military if I go on to become a full-fledged Thai citizen this year? Or should I play safe and wait until I turn 30? Have you ever heard of any Thai citizens going into the military at age 26 and above?
If you are overseas and the Thai embassy will issue with a passport, there will be nothing to stop you travelling to Thailand on that Thai passport and stay in Thailand on it. The issue becomes are you resident there or not, and if you are, then you’ll technically need to get the ID card and register for the military. While I haven’t heard of anyone being called up after 26, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
Remember, you are exempted from the 1st of January in the year you turn 30, so that doesn’t sound too far off so I can wait I would.
Hi, According to your mentioned misconception, dual citizen childred is not eligible. However you also pointed that only impediment that who has a foreign parent is not possible to be as officer of military. I think that dual citizen childredn should have a foreign parent. Please advise me to be claryfied. Thank you
A dual citizen child is still eligible to serve in the Thai military, but they will only ever be able to attain a non-commissioned rank. As such, if they have a foreign parent they will never be able to become an officer level rank in the Thai military.
Thank you so much.
Hi, can you help me with my situation please. I am a british Citizen and I am engaged to my Thai boyfriend who is 19, he has registered for military service which is due in 2021, we want to get married and move him to the U.K. now and we will be applying for visas over the next 5 years.
What would be his situation in Thailand if we do this? Could he be arrested at the airport if we visit his family? Could it affect his visa applications? I don’t know if the U.K. government and Thai government will communicate with each other during the visa applications and I fear the Thai side would demand him to return to Thailand.
Any help will be appreciated.
Hi – congrats on your engagement!
There shouldn’t be any impact on his visa applications, but do note that if he is resident in Thailand on the dates that he is due to attend the conscription lottery then he is obliged to attend it. Beyond that, I can’t tell you much more, but he’d only be liable for arrest if he was clearly in breach of call up letters (though unlikely to happen at the airport).
Thank you for your reply, thats good news. We are applying for the visas now so hopefully he will be with me before August this year. Would it be beneficial to remove him from his Thai house after he comes to the UK and register him to the central house registration system that you referred to in one of your previous comments?
if you are moving to the UK, then moving to the central house registry would be a good idea.
Thanks for your extensive reply, really appreciate it.
I am still reluctant and bit skeptical about the principle of receiving a draft and not responding to it.
Therefore I might indeed opt for Temporary Household Registration. If I understand correctly it is required to register in the normal Househouse Registration first and then transfer to the Central system.
Or alternatively, as you say they will never loose their Thai nationality, only register them in the Household once they reach 30. Will there be any consequence or difficulties going this route?
No consequences at all except they won’t be able to get ID cards and passports issued if not on the house registration. It isn’t uncommon for overseas born Thai’s not to register on the house registration until after 30 – and it isn’t hard to do. The normal process applies.
I like your article and really appreciate all the personal replies.
But reading all questions and replies I am still left with some questions.
We have 2 boys, Thai mother and Dutch father. Both boys are born outside Thailand and have always lived abroad. Both have Thai birth certificate and Thai passport, and when visiting Thailand they always enter on their Thai passport. However we have never registered them in Thai house and also do not have Thai ID card.
Their Thai passport is up for renewal but yesterday the Thai Embassy informed my wife they require to have an ID card in order to get the passport renewed. And it is my understanding that they can only apply for ID card in the Kingdom itself.
1/ it is correct that an ID card is required in order to renew the passport?
2/ If they cant renew their passport overseas they will enter on their Dutch passport new time they enter Thailand – will this cause any issues?
3/ I understand from the post and subsequent questions that as long as the boys reside out of Thailand until 30 they can legally avoid military service. Is this granted automatically, or do we need to send (annual?) letters to request this?
4/ For obvious reasons I do not want my boys to loose their Thai nationality, but what happens if they let their current passport expire, visit Thailand on their Dutch passport until they are 30 and once they reach 30 apply for their ID card and renew their passport. Is this an option, or do they loose their nationality if they haven’t applied for an ID before a certain age?
Lets start with your last question first.
4) Even with an expired Thai passport or without a valid ID card, your kids will still be Thai citizens. The only way to lose it is for them to voluntarily renounce it and the earliest they can do that is when they are 20 years of age.
For the other stuff:
1) A Thai child doesn’t need an ID card until they are 15 years of age, although they may opt to get one from age 7. This requires being on the house registration which gives you an ID number – which is essential to get a new passport. For children born overseas, embassies appear to be able to issue the first passport without being on the house registration (and only up to the age of 21) but after that point, one must be on the house register and have an ID number. You be put on the register in Thailand unfortunately. After this however, you will be free to get new passports overseas.
2) A thai citizen entering Thailand on a foreign passport won’t be an issue. The only thing to remember is that they will be subject to immigration rules and have limits on their stay.
3) If living outside of Thailand – there is really nothing to do. Call up letters are sent to registered names, but being overseas appears to be a valid reason of not reporting. It may be wise to shift your children to the ‘central house registration’ which has been designed for people who don’t have a permanent abode in Thailand. See Temporary household registration for people traveling abroad (Thai only)
Is it possible for a non-thai national to join the thai army?
No it is not. Any type of civil servant in Thailand is required to be a Thai national – including those in the armed forces.
Thank you very much for your article, one of the most useful I’ve seen on that topic.
I’m a French citizen living in Thailand but currently unemployed.
My father is Thai so I’m thinking about getting Thai nationality this month to make my life easier here (regarding visas for example).
I’m turning 30 in April and would like to know if I’d be eligible to the Thai military service.
Thanks in advance.
Luc – you are already exempted as far as the rules go, if you turn 30 then you are exempt from 1 Jan of that year.
As for getting the citizenship sorted, if you were born in france you’ll need to liase with the Thai embassy in Paris to get your papers.
Check out this article for further info:
I got my Thai ID card and passport! Thanks again for your help.
Do I need to get out of Thailand before my visa on my French passport expires or can I just go to the immigration and show my Thai passport? I’d rather stay here but don’t want them to think I’m overstaying. Thanks
Hi Cheg – yes you will need to leave on your French passport and come back on your Thai. You should do it by air as passport swaps at land crossings aren’t possible.
hi there, i am a dual Thai-Brunei citizen (age 24) living in Brunei. I’m aware that i am registered on the Tambien Baan from my dad few years ago. he said he received a letter from the conscription stuff but my dad told them that i am living in Brunei and not staying with him. I was just wondering if when I’m 30 years old, if i come back to thailand like living there permanently, is it gonna be okay for me because I don’t want to get caught or anything by them since I don’t want to go to the military.
Because the last time i entered Thailand for the first time as an 21 years old which is actually my first time coming back to Thailand after moving abroad at the age of 6 with my foreign passport, they (passport control) asked me if i have my Thai passport with me and then i told them I don’t have it with me.
And is it possible for example if i move back to Thailand and became a thai citizen, is it possible for me to apply for further my studies or jobs? Do i need to pay for it or applying for a visa or something…?
Well you are already a Thai citizen, there is no need to ‘become’ a Thai citizen when you move back. Just get an updated passport from the Thai embassy in Brunei and re-enter Thailand on that passport. IF you come back and live in Thailand permanently after 30, you will be totally fine with the military and will be automatically excepted due to age.
I have a question about a thing i’ve been worried about.
I am origanally from Thailand but i’ve lived in Denmark since I was 6. Today im 21 and have a address in Thailand, were my family in Thailand receive a letter to the millitary draft with my name on it. What do I have to do to get out of the millitary service? I have a permanet residence permit
I think you receive the letter alot earlier than 21, so you may have dodged a bullet. If you do receive one however, best to liase with the embassy to organise a deferral, particularly if you are still in study. The other thing to perhaps do, is move your name to the central registry for the time being.
Thansk for the answer.
Yes my mom told me I receive the letter before turning 21.
But I was in Thailand last year with my mom to deferral it, because at the time I was studying. They told everything was fine and that was it basically.
But the situation right now, is that i’m done studying and my mom told me that we will have to get back to Thailand to figured out how I can avoid it. I really want to try a way to avoid the lottery because I can’t speak the language anymore or even read.
What should I do?
– I have a permanet residence permit in Denmark will it help me? But I do not have a citizenship or Danish passport.
What do you recommend me to do? – My mom told me it is best for me to get a Danish citizenship and danish passport…
As per the article, if you are unable to attend then there is allowances for this, so the best thing to do is simply remain outside of Thailand (from a residential perspective) till you are 29. Fortunately you no longer need evidence of military deferral papers to keep getting Thai passports, so you can still travel on it.
Getting Danish citizenship won’t take away the obligation unless it also involves you renouncing your Thai citizenship, but it sounds like something you don’t want to do.
First of all, this post is amazing and offers some very thorough info.
I’m 19 and I have always wanted to become a Thai citizen. Well just a Thai passport really. I live in Australia and go to Thailand for holidays of up to 6 weeks and my mum is Thai.
I know that you stated that I should be fine from military service and I’m in no means questioning you, but where did you get this information? Just want to cover myself.
Also if I go to Thailand and enter with my Thai passport, will I be pulled over by immigration officials?
What is outlined above is a plain reading of the rules, speaking to others, plus the fact that I’ve been through the process myself. Like you I’m an Australian born, and have Thai-Australian dual nationality.
You’ll be fine coming in and out of Thailand using the Thai passport.
All the best for your travels!
I am married but seperated to a Thai. My son is 12. I had him in the Uk but flew back to Thailand when he was 8 weeks old. He had a Thai passport and his birth was registered in Thailand. When he was 6 months old I seperated from his dad and returned to the UK. I do not know if he was put on a house book and dont know how to find out. I dont want to stop him being able to travel to Thailand when he is older for fear of being arrested. How can I check? Am I right in thinking that if he is not registered then he will still be able to visit Thailand between the ages of 20 and 30 if he wants to? Thank you so much for your advice and knowledge regarding this
You’ll really need to check with his dad/other relatives to see if he has a house registry in Thailand. One hint may be to look in his Thai passport – does he have an personal ID number in it? If so – given all Thai’s are allocated an ID number when they go on a tabieen baan – then he is likely registered ‘somewhere’.
The larger issue will be getting him a Thai passport. Unless you have full custody then he will need the signatures of both parents until he is 20 to get one.
As for travelling to Thailand between ages 20 and 30, he will be fine. He won’t be arrested or anything on landing. The obligation comes up when he is back and normally resident in Thailand during those ages and doesn’t attend the conscription day as per his call up letters. If he is normally resident in the UK or elsewhere, it effectively won’t be an issue.
Hope this helps.
I’m a Thai-US Dual citizen (age 21) living in the US but am registered on the Tambien Baan. Does the “wait until age 30 to report” strategy still apply to me, even though I’m registered on the Tambien Baan already? Or will there be a harsher penalty upon reporting since I was already registered and they likely would be looking for me?
Also, I’ve read that there is a weight exemption—the figure I saw floating around was a BMI greater than 35—can you speak to the validity of this? Also was wondering if it was purely based on BMI, or if body fat percentage would be taken into account? I’m a pretty heavy dude but a lot of muscle, if I tried to bulk up to 35 BMI while still maintaining good fitness, would I still receive an exemption the same way a 35 BMI mostly fat obese person would?
I can’t speak to the actual criteria the conscription people will use – sorry. If you’ve seen any links on this, please feel free to send them through.
In terms of reporting late when you are 30, the penalty range shouldn’t be to far out from the article. That strategy should still apply to you so long as you maintain your residence overseas.
Thank you for your reply. For maintaining my residence overseas, does that just mean to stay outside of the country, or do I need to fill out any legal paperwork? Do I need to fill anything out at an embassy? I’ve already turned 21 and haven’t done this.
There isn’t really much you can do. If you’ve been sent a formal call up notice, then you would need to respond to it formally via the embassy and elect to defer it (university study tends to be the main option) but it doesn’t sound like you’ve received any call up notices.
From the FAQs page from the MFA Consular department website, it says it is possible to move your house registration to a central registration if you are moving overseas. While I don’t think it is strictly necessary, you may want to consider it, particularly if you don’t really have any real links to where you are currently registered.
Temporary household registration for people traveling abroad
Hello I am Thai German (22 years old) and received my Thai passport this year. Unfortunately, I only speak a little Thai and can barely read it. How does the compulsory military service for Thais hardly speak the language? I can imagine to go to the military service.
It really depends. I’ve heard people tell me that they’ve been exempted due to their Thai language skills. I’ve also been told by others their lack of language ability didn’t matter and we taken in anyway. Given that many conscripts aren’t always fully literate in Thai themselves, the ‘lack of language skills’ won’t always cut it. It will come down to the discretion of the sasadee I suspect.
Many thanks for the answer. As I said, I could imagine going for half a year. I have to volunteer to go only for half a year. If I go to Lotto there is the chance to add 2 years. That would be too long. So if I volunteer, I’ll inevitably have to join the army. Can you tell me how foreigner children felt about this time?
I was born in Thailand in 1998 and moved with my father to back to Belgium ever since 2000. I’m 21 years old right now and would like to visit Thailand in the near future for just about a month. My dad isn’t sure whether I have dual nationality or just Belgian nationality. He is afraid I might have to go to the military once I set foot on land in Thailand.
Would it be safe for me to visit?
If you were born to a Thai parent you are automatically a Thai citizen according to Thailand’s nationality law. However to be conscripted you need to be registered in Thailand as a Thai citizen. This means a Thai birth certificate (stating you are Thai) and being on a house registration, ID card etc.
In your case, it also means being ordinarily resident in Thailand, which you are not. As per the article – you will be fine for a visit. Where it only becomes an issue is if you are living in Thailand permanently, before your 30th birthday.
Hi, my son was born and lived in Thailand until the age of 12. He has now returned at the age of 24 and has renewed his i.d. card and was added to the Som Nao Tabian Baan (House book). We had previously been told that since he had dual citizenship he wouldn’t be inscripted into the army but are now not so sure. You say that if he voluntarily reports he would be fined between 100-400 baht as penalty which is not so much. What happens and what fines will be if he does not voluntarily report?
Now he is back living in Thailand, before the age of 30, he would be expected to report for the conscription lottery. That he has dual citizenship technically is neither here nor there.
I’m not sure what the penalties are for outright avoidance, but I’m pretty sure it can involve jail time.
Is he looking to stay in Thailand permanently? Drop me a line at [email protected] if you have any follow up questions.
I’m a duel citizen French/Thai. I have been studying corporate and business law in France for 5 years now since i turned 18 (I’m now 22 years old).
In the past, I have done the territorial defense program (RODOR) 2 out of 3 years (started at 15 stopped at 17). However, I couldn’t start the last year of RODOR because of health and heavy family issue that required me to go back to France due to court ruling.
I would like to know if I could be exempt of the 6 month conscription for those reasons. Furthermore, my health has degraded since then and I have serious back problems. Maybe if I show a doctor’s note to the army, could they free me of the 6 months conscription.
I hope you understand, I’m studying hard to become a lawyer and doing the army is the last thing I want after passing the bar;
Thank you very much
NB: very good article !
Sorry to hear about your medical issues! To be very honest, I’m not sure how your lack of final year Ror Dor will be treated, but I suspect you will need some sort of formal assessment in Thailand which will be acceptable for the authorities. The Sasadee will have the exact requirements, but unfortunately I’m not in a position to comment on what these are. I suspect if you have relatives back in thailand who can ask for you then you will get some better clarity than can offer you.
As mentioned in the article however, if you are non-resident in Thailand until 30, ultimately this won’t be an issue.
All the best with the remainder of your studies and with your health.
Hi there, I’m a dual citizen Thai/British I’m currently doing a degree in the UK and part of the UOTC. I was wondering as you stated above regarding Military Officers that dual citizens cannot become commissioned officers?
You can dig the rules up, but essentially anyone with a foreign born father is not eligible to become an officer.
I’ve recently acquired Thai Citizenship through naturalization at the age of 32. One of the first articles of order was to check in at the สัสดี and having done some reading on the subject (including reading up on your website) I was informed that even though I was over the age of 30 that the Military could always still use people who were able bodied. Now I’m not 100% sure whether that just means that I’d need to have a file with the office, or if I could be conscripted.
I grew up in Thailand over 20 years. My mother is Thai and my father is German, I still retain my German citizenship and have lived in Australia for the last 10 years. I was born in Germany and my birth certificate was never certified in Thailand until recently. I’d like to ask you if there had been any cases you know of where an over 30 year old was conscripted or pulled into the military service. Thanks in advance.
Thanks for your question. The quick answer is ‘no’, I haven’t heard of any people over 30 who were conscripted or pulled into military service. What happens if you report over 30 is you get an exemption letter and certificate stating you have passed your conscription, and were exempted due to age limits. Your name is officially put on the military list as (for the lack of a better term) a ‘reserve’. But you’ll get put in a category way down in order or precedence that there is next to no likelihood of being needed. You remain on this list until 45 years of age from memory. This is the same for all men.
So it is merely a formality for all intents and purposes.
Hope this is useful.
We have heard so many different stories etc so it is not easy to know what to believe.
Our older son (swe/thai) turn 17 next year and of course we are worried about him doing the military in Thailand.
He’s born in Thailand and is still registered in his auntie’s house paper in Thailand. We dont have anything left in Thailand though, no property or anything. We moved out from Thailand just over 5 yars ago.
If I understand correctly the best way is to remove him from the house paper and simply dont let him go to Thailand and register for the military next year, and just stay out of the country? (is it important to remove him from house paper?)
You say it is no problem for him visiting Thailand as a tourist not using the Thai passport, but what happens IF he get sick ending up in hospital or having an accident and police gets involved?
After he turn 30yrs old IF he decide to move to Thailand he will not have any problem?
So if you want to remove him from the house papers, you can move him to a ‘central’ house registration system which will allow him to continue to apply for ID cards, Thai passports etc (http://www.consular.go.th/main/th/faq/7392/80338-6.ผู้มีชื่ออยู่ในทะเบียนบ้านกลางต้องดำเนินการอย่า.html Thai only).
As said in the article (and from personal experience), if he wants to return for visits between ages 20 and 30, that will be fine, but obviously if he moves back permanently before 30 he is obligated to report in the April of the first year he is back. As also stated in the article, if he moves back after 30, then he will have no issues getting an automatic release from service, with only a small fine (100-400 baht).
thank you . If he go for short visits between age 20-30 and for some reason end up in hospital or get involved with police, will get into trouble then?
I was born in Australia to a Thai mother, and because my mother intends me to take over her business, would I need thai citizenship to actually work there, not a permanent resident, but more like on a 3-month visa or for holiday. Would I get called up for a military draft if I went to Thailand between 20 to 30 or could I avoid conscription entirely? Would I receive jail time or fines for not participating in the army?
If you weren’t living in Thailand permanently, then your obligation to report is diminished, as outlined in the article. Obviously if you are there living permanently between ages 20 and 30, then you’ll be eligible to report.
Visits are fine, and as you outline, if you are only going for short stints, this won’t be a problem.
In terms of your citizenship, under Thai law, you are actually a Thai citizen already having been born to a Thai parent, and as such, you acquired Thai citizenship at birth. What you need to do organise for a Thai Birth Certificate to be issued in your name and subsequent to that, a Thai passport from the embassy in Canberra to document this citizenship, and which let you travel to Thailand with no limit on your stay.
Check out this article on that aspect: https://www.thaicitizenship.com/thai-citizenship-when-born-overseas/
I can’t comment on the penalty for not participating in the draft, if caught, but as the article shows, if you report after 30 years of age, the fine is minimal, no more that AUD$20 at todays exchange rates.
Hope this is useful,
Hi I was born in Thailand in 2001 and moved to England in 2007, I now have dual nationality. I’m wondering if i will have to national service?
As outlined in the article, unless you are living in Thailand full time, you can effectively avoid the process. However, if you move back before you ae 30, you will be liable to report. Short visits however during this time, will be fine.
Hi – I really appreciate this article. I was born in Thailand and lived there for about 10 or so years. I have a national ID and a Thai passport. However, I no longer reside in Thailand and have been living overseas ever since, I’m 25 now. My family and I have NO intentions of going back to Thailand as my family are all living overseas. The key thing now is that I’m really worried about my passport renewal being denied (I also lost my national ID recently). My passport will expire end of next year. Will this have an issue relative to my conscription (I’m worried I will be denied renewal of passport / issuing a new national ID that I lost). Please help!
The renewal of an ID card should not activate anything regarding the conscription side of things, and you should be able to easily replace it. Given you live overseas now, the Thai embassy in the capital city of your country (as well as some of the major consulates) will have the capacity to renew/replace your Thai ID card before you get a new Thai passport.
One question – have you naturalised as a citizen in your new country? In that case, unless you need to travel to Thailand, there is no real urgency to get your Thai passport renewed so the ID issue need not be something to stress to much about.
All the best
Hi – Unfortunately I am still operating on my Thai Passport. The country I am currently in requires me to renew my passport in order to renew my visa (passport expires within 6 months). Therefore getting my new passport is my main concern.
To confirm if I interpreted your message correctly, “renewal of ID card should activate anything regarding the conscription side of things”, does that mean a renewal of my ID will cause denial due to my absence of conscription? Furthermore, I do have my house documents so can that be used as substitute as my ID to renew my passport? I am personally just worried about my conscription as I am over the age of 21 and I have no intentions of going back to Thailand as I no longer live there. Thanks again.
My mistake, I meant it ‘should NOT’ activate anything regarding your conscription. Apologies for the mist-type on my behalf and I have since fixed up my first answer to you.
To be clear, you can renew your ID card, and get a new passport no problem. Furthermore, you should be able to do it via the Thai embassy in the country you are in, rather than returning to Thailand.
Again, apologies for the confusion!
i was just wondering on how do you move overseas with a thai passport because i am also thinking of moving to overseas but I don’t know how to do that. Is there any guide for it.
I’m sorry, but can’t comment on how to migrate overseas. Every country is different in there rules and how you qualify to live there. Are you a Thai dual citizen?
could you answer my question/s
my son was born in Thailand to myself (british) and my wife thai. we were married in oct 2001 and he was born in nov 2001.his birth was registered in Thailand,with thai birth certificate, and on the house card.then in march 2002 my wife applied for indefinite leave in the uk and received it straight away.at the same time I applied for a british passport for my son.They both subsequently lived in uk ever since returning to Thailand for holiday on a british passport(my son).
question when my son is 20 years old and wants to vist Thailand on holiday could he have to do national service because he is registered on the house card and was born in Thailand?
question.how would he be able to inherit land/property from his mother in the future.would he have to register for thai nationality with his birth certificate/house card.before this is possible?
The national service requirement – effectively – is only applicable if he is living in Thailand, so visits so to speak, are fine, so I wouldn’t worry about that.
To inherit land etc, he’d need to be a Thai citizen obviously. There is no need to register him for thai nationality, he already is one (his Thai birth certificate will say as much) and his house registration will reflect this. In all likelihood, he will need to present a valid Thai ID care to the government agency which registers land ownership, but as a Thai citizen, this won’t be a problem to get for your son.
Hope this is useful
I’m a dual citizen of Thailand and Australia. I’ve reporting for the military service when I was younger during a trip to Thailand but I’ve never gone back to actually undertake the conscription process. Do I need to worry about setting off alarm bells to the Thai authority when I enter Thailand with my Australian passport?
I’ve been living in Australia since I was 9 and I’m currently 23.
I was born in Thailand but I’ve been living in Australia since I was 9 (currently 23). I have both the Thai citizenship and the Australian citizenship. I remember reporting for military service when I was younger but I’ve never gone back to actually undertake the military conscription when I turned 20.
Do I need to worry about setting off alarms to the Thai authority when I enter Thailand? I will be using the Australian passport to enter.
Thank you for your very informative article.
Glad you like the article.
I don’t think you’ll have anything to worry about, particularly using your Australian passport. Most reporting for military service is done when you are 20, so not sure what type of ‘reporting’ you did when you were younger, but so long as there isn’t any letters to your registered address from the military conscription office asking why you haven’t reported then you should be fine.
I am UK/Thai but reside in the UK since birth. When I was 16 my Thai passport expired and my mum decided to not renew it, knowingly in fear of being called up to the army. I am now 22 and would like to renew my passport. I am Thai house registered but do not carry a Thai ID therefore I can make a new passport with no issues. Although, I am wondering if I go ahead and renew it will I be required to attend the drafts and potentially serve the Thai Military?
If you are living full time in the UK and don’t intend to reside permanently in Thailand till you are 30 then you won’t have any issue.
You can renew your passport via the embassy, but check with them to see if you’ll need your ID card, as sometimes they can insist on it.
Are you planning to spend an extended amount of time in Thailand? If so, that changes the equation somewhat.
In the foreseeable future Thailand will only be a holiday destination and a place to visit family and friends for longer than the UK visa warrants. I hope to one day live there but it will most certainly be after I turn 30!
In that case, you’ll be absolutely fine!
No worries, thanks for letting me know, and congrats again.
In terms of the system, all the replies have to be moderated because for every one legit message I get about 10 spam posts. So I do see them, its just your responses don’t become visible instantly.
Hi, I have just been granted Thai citizenship last week as a dependent to my father’s application(main applicant via naturalisation). However, I am turning 21 this coming month, and I have been contacted to process my tahbien and other relevant documents. In addition, the district office mentioned that I have to register for conscription. I am wondering if I have to go through the conscription draft?
Thank you very much!
Firstly, congrats to you and your father on your naturalization! I’m sure you must be relieved. May I ask, were you both PR’s before this, or was it just your father.
With respect to your question, naturalized citizens are not required to do conscription, so I’d suggest to them they double check the rules on this.
Thank you! I certainly felt very much relieved. And yes, it was just y father that’s PR before this. I will double check with the district official in regards the conscription.
Can you help further explain the exemptions for the Thai Military Draft for doing an overseas military services. I am a Dual National Passport Holder (Thai/British), both of my parent are Thai and I have been living in the UK for over 10 years now. I am currently 21 years old and had moved here since I was quite young. However, when I was 15, I went back to Thailand for a family visit and my parent registered me up for a Thai ID card (I’ve heard that it would put my name up for them to call me in for the draft).
The thing is, if I were to apply for the UK arm force (I planned to when I turn 23), which will be 2 years of training and 3 years of commitment service. (So I will be 28 years old when I came out of the UK army). Will I still need to go back to Thailand do their military draft and will I lose any benefit/right of normal Thai Citizen would have if I didn’t do the draft.
This would be very much appreciated if you could help me out.
As you saw in the article, having done foreign military service does appear to count towards lessening your obligation for Thai military service, but the mechanisms for having this recognized officially are unknown.
Given you are overseas, effectively speaking, reporting is impossible so as long as you remain overseas then there is little that they can do, draft wise.
The easiest strategy for you will be simply to effectively live outside of Thailand until 1st of January in the year you turn 30, and then if you need to, report at that point as you’ll officially be too old, and let off with a small fine (max equivalent to about 10 pounds). Short visits back to Thailand before then won’t be an issue, but you should probably avoid trying to update your Thai ID card before your 30th birthday, just in case.
Overall, you won’t lose any rights and benefits of a Thai citizen, though renewing your Thai passport may be problematic without a valid (ie up to date) ID card. But given your plans, that shouldn’t really be a worry.
All the best with it.
How did you get on? I believe you need a Service Liability Letter if your a Thai National. It should confirm that you have no service or reserve liability to the Thai Armed Forces.
Hi how would you go about getting a service liability letter to confirm no service or reserve liability for Thai armed forces? My son lives in England and is a British citizen he is trying to join the royal navy but has been told he needs this letter.
We’ve had this question before and people’s attempts to speak to the Thai embassy, particularly the military attaché there haven’t been able to enlighten us if there is even one available.
My personal best guess (and that is just that) there are two main options both rather extreme – first is to go through the process here and hope that he is exempted, or to renounce his Thai citizenship.
Before doing that that I’d hassle the Thai embassy in London and the military attaché there (properly ask for meetings) to see if some sort of deferment letters can be issued giving your sons non residency in Thailand. I’m suspecting this is all a bit of unchartered territory unfortunately.
Sorry I can’t be of more help.
Hi, Please could you help answer a question. i am married to a Thai and we have a eight year old son who was born in England. My wife wants to apply for a Thai passport for him, does this mean at the age of twenty he could be called up for Thai national service? Many thanks Neil.
It will be fine for him to get the passport for visits etc.
He won’t be called up at 20 so long as he isn’t registered on a house registration which is how the military know to send the call up letters. Even if he was, so long as he remained resident outside of Thailand between ages 20 and 30 then he would have a legitimate excuse for not reporting for the draft day.
Hopefully this is useful.
Hi, I am 21 years old. I was born in Thailand but have lived here in Australia for most of my life on a permanent resident visa. I have been back to Thailand multiple times with my family for holidays and I have a Thai passport and id. I was wondering if it would be possible for me to go and live in Thailand for a short amount of time for example 1 year. Would this be possible and would I get into trouble with the police.
You will be fine with the police. Its the military you have to worry about. For you its grey area, if they have sent you call up letters, as you would be returning to live permanently and therefore liable for reporting for the conscription lottery. Its certainly best not to be resident in Thailand around the conscription time – April – so if you can map out your time in Thailand around that it might help.