Thai military service for dual citizens

Chris Larkin

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

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200 Responses

  1. Regi says:

    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

    Greetings,
    Regi

    • Hi Regi,

      I haven’t heard of any sanctions on bank accounts for avoiding military service.

      Regards
      Chris

      • Piphop Kongthaworn says:

        Hi Chris, 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?

        • Hi there,

          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.

  2. Aynomous says:

    Hi Chris

    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?

    • Hi 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.

  3. Lasse says:

    Hi Chris,

    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.

    Best regards
    Lasse

    • 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.

      • Lasse says:

        Chris,

        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.

        Lasse

  4. Brendon says:

    Hi Chris, 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.

    • Hi Brendon

      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
      Cheers
      Chris

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