Thai military service for dual citizens

Chris Larkin

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

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156 Responses

  1. Neil says:

    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.

    • Hi 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.

        Thank you

        • Jonathan,

          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.

  2. Vittawat Bunton says:

    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.

    • Hi Vit,

      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.

    • Areekul Tucker says:

      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.

  3. Naphat says:

    Hi Chris, 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 Chris!

    • Hi Naphat,

      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.


      • Naphat says:

        Hi Chris,

        Thank you! I am very much relieved after waiting for years. And to your question, yes it was only my father that is PR’s, I was on a non-o dependent visa.

        Kind regards,

      • Naphat says:

        Hi Chris,

        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.

        Kind regards,

  4. Naphat says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you! I am very much relieved after waiting for years. And to your question, yes it was only my father that is PR’s, I was on a non-o dependent visa.

    Kind regards,

    Ps. the system doesn’t allowed me to reply to your comment

    • Hi Naphat,

      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.

  5. Jordan says:

    Hi Chris,
    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?


    • Hi Jordan,

      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.

  6. Kang Samanchit says:

    Hi Chris,

    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.


    • Hi Kang

      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.

  7. Ken says:

    Hi Chris,

    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.

    Best Regards,

  8. darren says:

    hello chris
    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 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? 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?

    • Hi Darren,

      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
      Chris Larkin

  9. Bill says:

    Hi Chris – 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!

    • Hi Bill

      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
      Chris Larkin

      • Bill says:

        Hi Chris – 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 Chris.

        • Hi Bill,

          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!

    • Jason says:

      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.

  10. Suradet Srisawang says:

    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?

    • Hi Suradet,

      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.

  11. Jeremy says:

    Hi Chris.
    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?

    • Hi Jeremy,

      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:

      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,

  12. Micke says:

    Hi Chris,
    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?

  13. Tomas says:

    Hi Chris,
    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.

    • Hi Tomas,

      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.

  14. adam foster says:

    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?

  15. Julien TERRENOIRE says:


    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 Mr. Larkin.

    NB: very good article !

    • Hi there,

      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.

  16. STEVEN ROBERTS says:

    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?

    • Hi Steven,

      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.

  17. Dani says:


    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?

    • Hi Dani,

      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.

  18. Luke says:

    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.

    • Hi Luke,

      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.

      • Luke says:

        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?

  19. Pete says:

    Hi Chris,

    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?

  20. Penny says:

    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

    • Hi Penny,

      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.

  21. Alex says:


    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?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Alexander,

      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!

  22. Pongsathon "Gob" Katanyoo says:

    Hi Chris
    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

    – Gob

    • Hi Gob,

      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.ผู้มีชื่ออยู่ในทะเบียนบ้านกลางต้องดำเนินการอย่า.html

      • Pongsathon "Gob" Katanyoo says:

        Hi Chris

        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…

        – Gob

        • Hi Gob,

          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.

  23. Jason says:

    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…?

    • Hi there
      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.

  24. Cheg says:

    Hi Chris,
    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:

      • Cheg says:

        Thank you very much for your answer Chris and your website, until I found it was very difficult to find an answer to my question.

        • Cheg says:

          Hi Chris, 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.

  25. Rune Christensen says:

    Hi Chris, Is it possible for a non-thai national to join the thai army?

  26. Sander says:

    I like your article and really appreciate all the personal replies.
    But reading all questions and replies I am still left with some questions.

    My situation;
    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.

    My questions:
    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?

    Regards, Sander

    • Hi Sander,

      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)ผู้มีชื่ออยู่ในทะเบียนบ้านกลางต้องดำเนินการอย่า.html

  27. Sander says:

    Thanks for your extensive reply Chris, 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.

  28. Stuart says:

    Chris, 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).

      • Stuart says:

        Thank you for your reply Chris, 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?

  29. Ken says:

    Hi Chris, 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

  30. Nathson says:

    Hi Chris,

    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.

  31. Ken says:

    Dear Chris, 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.

    • Hi Ken,

      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.

  32. Ken says:

    Thank you so much for your reply. It is appreciative.

  33. Keith says:

    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.

    Best Regard.

    • Hi Keith,

      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.

      • Keith says:

        Dear Chris,

        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:


          (8) บุคคลซึ่งได้สัญชาติไทยโดยการแปลงสัญชาต

  34. David says:

    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?

    • Hi David,

      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.

  35. Patrick says:

    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

    • Hi Patrick,

      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.

      • Patrick says:

        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

  36. Martin says:

    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!

  37. Timothy Noack says:

    Hi Christ,
    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

    • Hi 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.

      • Timothy N. says:

        Hi Chris,

        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.

        • Hi Tim,

          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.

  38. Ken says:

    Hey Chris,

    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.

    • Hi Ken,

      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).

  39. John says:

    Hey Chris,

    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?

    • Hi John,

      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.

  40. Robert says:

    Hey Chris,

    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.

    • Hi Robert,

      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.

      • Robert says:

        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!

        • Hi Robert,

          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.

  41. Ryan B says:


    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?

    • Hi Ryan,

      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.


  42. moein says:

    hello guys
    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

    • Hi there,

      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.


  43. Neil Kennedy says:

    Hi Chris

    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.

    • Hi Neil,

      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.



  44. R.J.Garner says:

    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.

    • Hi there,

      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 acually force them to admit there is no exemption just because he has a 5 as the first number of his ID card ( 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.

      Chris Larkin.

  45. Niwat says:

    Hey Chris,

    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

    • Ni 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.

  46. Gary says:


    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.

      • Gary says:

        Thank you for your reply, Chris

        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.

        • Hi Gary,

          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.

  47. Non Nania says:

    Hey Chris Larkin
    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.

  48. JC says:

    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?

  49. george olaoire says:

    hello chris 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?

  50. Kaew says:

    Hello Chris, 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.

    • Hi K.Kaew,

      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.

  51. Spencer Randall says:

    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.

    Thank you

    • Hi Spencer,

      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.


  52. Night Chaiyaban says:

    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.

    • Hi Night,

      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.

  53. Dennis says:

    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

    • Hi Dennis,

      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.

  54. Rob says:

    hi chris 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?

    thank you

    • Hi Rob,

      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.

      • Rob says:

        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 ?

        • Hi Rob,

          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.

          • Rob says:

            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

  55. Rob cole says:

    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.

      • Robert cole says:

        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.

          • Robert cole says:

            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

          • Hi Robert,

            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.

  56. Dennis says:

    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?

    • Hi Dennis,

      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!

  57. Johno says:

    Hi Chris,
    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?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Johno,

      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.

  58. Rob says:

    Hi Chris 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

    • Hi Rob,

      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.

  1. 14 August, 2020

    […] not yet registered on a house registration in Thailand and who do not wish to expose themselves to military conscription by entering Thailand on a Thai passport; […]

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