The ultimate guide to Thai Permanent Residence

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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61 Responses

  1. Akash says:

    Hi Chris,

    Akash here. I would just like to clarify about filing tax return for the amount of annual income of Baht 100,000.. apologies but what does this mean exactly? It seems to be a bit unclear on different sources. I don’t meet the Baht 80,000 per month yet but am looking forward to having PR one day 🙂

    “Earn an annual income at least Baht 80,000 per month for a period of at least 2 years, up to the date of application submission, or have been filing tax return for the amount of annual income of Baht 100,000 for at least 2 consecutive years, up to the date of application submission.”

    Best regards,
    Akash

    • Hi Akash,

      Basically it means you can have an average income of 80,000 baht for three years, or an average 100,000 baht income for the past two years in the lead up to application in the case the first of those three years was less than 80,000 baht. So hypothenitcallu, something like Yr 1: 50K/month then Yrs 2 and 3: 100,000K/month should be fine. The latter scenario should also allow you to incorporate bonuses etc as well.

      As always, best to have chat with the PR people earlier rather than later to make sure you are on track, but feel free to drop me a personal note if you have any follow up!

      Cheers
      Chris

  2. Satyapal Singh says:

    Great article. It cleared so many doubts. Only question I have is whether limit of 100 applicants per year per nationality is decided by first come first serve or on merit basis among candidates.

    Thanks,
    Sunil

    • As far as I know, yes, most nationalities don’t reach to quota however so its never an issue for them. If it does reach 100, I am not sure what the method of selection is. Any intel you may have would be welcome.

  3. Mike says:

    Hi Chris
    I am on my 2nd year work permit. I was on a year before but It lapsed due to my neglect thinking the WP was the same date as my Non-B Visa.
    Does that count as 3 years? Or are they going to want to see 3 years in 1 work permit?
    My guess is it’s probably not written in stone and up to the discretion of the Immigration Officers>?

    • Hi Mike,

      If it was a matter of a few days between WPs, it can be a bit of a grey area, but if the extensions of stay are consecutive some people have been shown leeway as it isn’t always possible to line everything up work permit wise. It will really be up to the officers to decide this when you submit your documents, but my understand a few days ‘should’ be okay, but don’t take that as gospel.

  4. Anil says:

    Hi Chris
    Very useful write up . I got my PR last year , with this PR , my daughter get a visa for 3 months ?

    • Hi Anil,

      Thanks for your message – to be honest I’m not sure the exact mechanics, but your daughter should be able to get an extension of stay of some sort based on your status.

  5. Ed says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for a detailed information.

    Are you also able to help me with my case? My mother is a Thai National but my father is Filipino. They aren’t legally married and ni longer together. I grew up in the Philippines and is permanently staying here but goes to Thailand once or twice a year. Is it possible for me to apply for a PR? And should I be in Thailand all throughout the process?

    Hope you can help.

    • Hi there Ed.

      No need for you to apply for PR. Technically you are already a Thai citizen having been born to a Thai parent. As such you should go about applying for a Thai passport. Please check out this link.
      https://www.thaicitizenship.com/thai-citizenship-when-born-overseas/

      All the best.

      • Ed says:

        That’s awesome news! I’ve read the process and it says that it will take couple of visits. Because I am based outside Thailand permanently, would you know approximately how many visits and the duration of each visits? For example, in getting a Thai BC and Thai ID, will it take a week or two on my first visit?

        • Hi Ed – before I can answer that, I need to ask where were you born? In Thailand or the Philippines? If the latter, you’ll first need to obtain a Thai birth certificate from the embassy there, and with luck, you’ll be able to also get a Thai passport issued. If you were born in Thailand – do you already have your Thai birth certificate?

  6. Ruchi says:

    Hi, Chris
    I have a Resident Visa of Thailand and currently I am staying in India.
    I don’t have any Re-entry permit.
    Could you please help me , how can I get back to Thailand?

    • Hi Ruchi

      If you don’t have a re-entry permit for your PR then it becomes invalid and you are ineligible to return to Thailand as a PR. You’ll need to re-qualify for PR again unfortunately.

      The only exception is during the current covid situation. If your re-entry permit for your PR expired while you were outside of Thailand when Thailand shut its borders, then you should be able to return as a PR. However, please check with the Thai embassy in Delhi for more details.

  7. Grant says:

    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for all the useful info!
    I’m considering applying for PR – based on being a work permit holder. Currently, my French wife is able to get a spouse visa based on my work visa. If I apply for and get PR, what happens with my wife? Do you know if she can also get PR based on my application?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Grant,

      To be honest I must admit my lack of expertise when if comes to family PR applications. I’m pretty sure you can and I am aware of one person who applied for his wife and children a few years back, but to be honest I’m not sure what the difference in the qualifications will be.

      In the case you don’t or can’t apply for PR for your wife, this may be worth considering: Once you have PR, your wife will be able to continue to get an extension of stay based on your PR status, and if citizenship is a consideration, once you are a citizen, your wife, by virtue of having a Thai citizen husband will be eligible to apply directly for citizenship (I cover this in another article). I know this is a few years down the track still, but it may be an alternative you wish to consider.

      • Grant says:

        Thanks Chris.
        Fingers crossed it’s poss. And if it’s not, as you suggest we might just have to take the very long route via citizenship. So we’ll probably be back checking your site again in a few years. That’s if we ever even get back into the Kingdom – currently stuck in Europe.
        Cheers G.

  8. Benno says:

    HI Chris
    I am borne and lived my whole life ( 20 years) inThailand.
    My Parents are German and Indonesian.
    My Father work since 1997 here with a WP up till now.
    I am under a dependent Visa but as i get 20 years old his company told they can not give anymore the dependent Visa an i have to change to an ED visa . I did study from grade 1 at an International School here in BKK and since 2 years at an
    International University in BKK.
    Actually no big issue to change to a ED Visa, but as soon as i graduate and not find any Work here in Thailand i assume I have to leave Thailand if i not wrong.
    Is there any changes to get an PR or Citizenship for me ?
    Thank you

    • Hi Benno,

      The best route for PR as a minor would be to have it granted under your parents, but it sounds like you are too late for this. So if you wish to stay in Thailand you will need to find another visa class.

      I haven’t researched it enough, but there appears to be some type of dispensation for foreign nationals born here who complete Thai university to get citizenship, but that mainly appears to be for stateless children and I’m not sure this applies in your case. But you might want to check with DOPA (Department of Provincial Administration) who administer citizenship applications if there is a route for you.

  9. Benno says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for your information, I’ll try and checkwith them and maybe CW Immigration too.

  10. Jason says:

    Hello Chris. This is a very useful article but I do have a question. If I had Thai permanent residence but wanted to leave Thailand to work in another country for a few years (I am an international school teacher) would I lose my permanent residence? I assume a re-entry permit would not cover an absence of several years?

    • Jason, that is indeed correct. The way the re-entry permit is structured, you’d effectively lose your PR staying out of Thailand for a year. The only way around doing what you propose is to make sure you come back to Thailand at least once each year – before your re-entry permit expires – and renew it. That would require at least a few days in Thailand in each 12 month period to have that happen.

      Its an old and outdated system and one that a few people have made submissions to try and change, but with no luck to date.

  11. Frank C. says:

    Hi Chris, Thanks for your excellent articles on Thailand. I’ve lived & worked here legally over 20 years (with work permit, paid taxes, correct yearly visas, etc.) married to my Thai wife & we have 2 Thai citizen children. I need to apply for either PR or citizenship. Can you estimate approx total time from applying up to approval for PR? for Citizenship? Thanks from Frank.

    • Hi Frank.

      Glad you’ve enjoyed the articles. At present, from feedback of recent recipients, PR is taking about 18 months to 2 years, and citizenship is taking around 3 years from application to getting the Thai ID card (peoples names are officially being printed in the Royal Gazette around the 2 year 9 month year mark). All this is approximate of course.

      Overall there are no guarantees of timing, but one of the quirks of having a military government is that they have traditionally been pretty methodical at processing applications within this time frame. So now is a good time to apply for either as the time frame is predictable. With more ‘normal’ governments the signing of the application tends to alot less predicable.

      If I was you, and I might sound biased, but I’d go for citizenship given you are married and can skip citizenship. There is very little difference in the paperwork overall, but the cost will be significantly different (98K for PR vs 5K for citizenship). The benefits of citizenship are obviously far greater and the waiting time is only about 12 months more than for PR.

      Either way, all the best in your application.

  12. if i get pr than can i buy land to build house or i am only eligible to by condominium?

    • Hi Muhammad,

      Only citizens are allowed to purchase land in their own name.

      All foreigners are eligible to purchase a Thai condo in their own name regardless of their immigration status, so long as foreigners don’t own a combined total in excess of 49% of the entire floor space of that particular property.

      What PR allows for is you getting a loan from a Thai bank to purchase a condo, something many PR holders have found useful.

      Hope this clarifies things.

  13. Jill says:

    Hello Chris,
    Thanks for the great article, best one existing on PR. I have a question, I wonder if you can help. I’m applying PR under work category this October. But my work contract may terminate in December. So I meet all requirements at the time of application but possibly not at the time of interview. Do you think it’s worth applying?

    • Hi Jill – to be honest, I’m not sure. If you were well down the process and just waiting for the approval, I’d say you’d be fine, but the gap between applying and the interviews probably means that your status needs to be consistent for at least that initial period of time. In one sense, it ‘can’t hurt’ to apply as you won’t have to pay the PR fee until it is approved, and in the meantime you’ll get the rolling six month extensions.

      I’d ask the immigration people what happens if you need to change jobs during the process…that may elicit some sort of response on the need for document consistency, but obviously I wouldn’t advertise that your job contract expires. Totally understand that times are tough, but I’d do my best to try and maintain some sort of work permit and job for the majority of the waiting period if you can.

  14. Damien says:

    Hi Chris, pretty much the same scenario as Jill. I went to immigration to discuss it without saying well ill definitely finish my work contract in December and the lady, not super helpful, said I would need to have a job. This contradicts all their own information about ‘at the time of submission’. What happens if you unexpectedly lose your job after applying? Also why would you need the 180 day stamp if you had a valid visa and work permit anyway? I am frustrated as I meet all the requirements as at today but like Jill I may not have the job come December.

    • Hi Damien,

      The having a job requirement is a non-negotiable of course when you apply, and I suspect through the interview process. Once you enter the phase where you wait for the application to be processed and approved, circumstances can change. I’m not going to say definitively that you need to keep your job through this phase however, as I’ve seen other reports on the internet when in the mid 2000’s absolutely no PRs were being processed, people who waited 5 to 7 years did lose their jobs still go their PR. However, out of an abundance of caution, I’d say to try and keep the job if possible.

      In terms of the 6 monthly visa, its an automatic extension while under PR consideration, so its far superior than having to jump through the paperwork hoops you need to get an annual extension of stay. This remains the case even if you lose your job, so in many respects is far superior than remaining on the standard work permit based extension of stay. Of course you’ll need to keep a work permit if you are indeed working, but the 6 month PR under consideration stamp is well known and I’ve never heard it to be an issue.

      If you qualify now, I can’t see the downside of applying and getting the paperwork in and just seeing what happens. The bulk of the fee is not due until approval and if you do indeed end your contract in december, having the 6 month under consideration stamp which is automatically renewed while you wait for a decision will be an excellent way to bide you time and perhaps find another job in the interim.

  15. Renu says:

    Hello Chris,

    no Thai PR for retirement?

    • Hi there,

      At this point in time, no. There is no way around the strict requirement for 3 years of tax returns and work permits and an income of 80K per month derived from a Thai employer.

  16. John says:

    Dear Chris
    Excellent articles. I have a question probable outside of the usual.
    I am 88 years old and have been P.R. since 2001. I require extensive heart surgery and believe Chulalongkorn hospital would be my best choice.

    • Hi John, thanks for your message and sorry to hear about your health issues. Unfortunately I’m no where near well qualified enough to answer this question, so I will have to pass on this occasion.

      All the best for your upcoming surgery and sorry I couldn’t have been more help.
      Regards
      Chris

  17. Steve says:

    Hi Chris,

    Great article. Sorry, if you already answered my questions and I missed them. With PR:
    1. Do i still need the foreigner work permit and pay for renew every year?
    2. If yes, do i still need 4 thai staff for my work permit?
    3. Are my legal jobs at work still restricted? Like can i touch money and be alone in the Office?

    Thanks

    • Hi Steve,

      Yes to all of the above unfortunately. It used to be that the issuance of work permits for PR needed less workers and could be issued for longer periods, but in recent years that has become less common. You’ll see in the article some of the benefits, but on balance, it is stepping stone to citizenship which of course comes with doing away with all those restrictions.

      One thing you can do on PR is become a director of a company without needing a work permit. This will give you some increased flexibility to operate things in Thailand should you own your own business.

  18. Nasif says:

    Hi Chris

    Thanks for you informative articles. I am married to a Thai. Police HQ told me i will be eligible to apply for Citizenship in 2022 as my salary was below the range. But immigration said i am eligible to apply for PR now.

    I need idea from your experience should i go for PR now? Or wait to apply citizenship. I know PR has a huge fee. I am just worried if law changes in the future or change of government makes it delay. What is your thought about it? Thanks

    • Hi Nasif,

      If you are married to a Thai then I’d go straight for citizenship. The requirements are similar but the fee is much cheaper (5000 baht). You can also apply for citizenship at any time of year.

      The required salary for citizenship is 40,000 baht per month if you are married. Please check out our other articles on this website for a detailed explanation.

      • Nasit says:

        Thanks for your reply. For citizenship i am still not eligible and will have to wait 2 years more. Where’s i am now eligible to apply PR this year. My question was should i wait for 2 more years to apply citizenship or apply for PR now.

        Just to let you know this year the letter came from BKK immigration it require 30,000 baht salary and 2 years of tax return for married to thai. So they reduced the range and years for PR now.

        • Thanks Nasif. I missed that it changed to 2 years, which is a good development.

          If you were to apply for citizenship, surely you’d only need to wait one more year (2+1?) given its only three years of records you need.

          In terms of risk – you can obviously apply now for the PR, pay the 7600 baht and you are in the system under consideration. That won’t stop you applying for citizenship at the appropriate time.

  19. Andrew Atkins says:

    Hi Chris. Does my PR give me access to free public health care/ public hospitals? I’ve been working ( self employed) in Thailand for over 30 years. Thanks

    • Hi Andrew,

      It used to be the case from memory that PR’s were eligible for the 30 baht health scheme but I think that stopped a few years ago.

      So the basic answer is ‘no’.

      Most people in your situation (PR or otherwise) will generally rely on staying in the social security system via their SS payments over their working lifetime, and continue to make voluntary payments into the SS system after they stop working to maintain access to the government provided healthcare under the SS umbrella. The only way you can continue to make voluntary payments (432 baht per month) to your SS to retain health coverage is if you enrol within 6 months of stopping work. Otherwise you are ineligible to retain the coverage.

  20. John Sands says:

    Dear Chris
    Excellent articles on Thai PR
    I have a question that may be a bit out of the usual run.
    I am 88 years old and have held P.R. since 2001. I am due to have heart surgery soon and I believe that Chulalongkorn hospital will be most suitable. I had a small company which I closed in 2002 when I retired.
    My question is whether or not I am entitled, having PR, to be treated at a government hospital under the Thai Healthcare system as distinct from as a private patient.

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for your comments on the articles.

      At one point, PRs were given access to the 30 baht health care system but I believe that is now no longer available to PR holders.

      The closest thing to government health coverage people in your situation (PR or otherwise) will generally get is via social security system. In your case, this will only be available if you continued to make voluntary contributions to SS system after you stop working to maintain access to the government provided healthcare under the SS umbrella.

      Otherwise, i think you’ll be reliant on being admitted as a private patient.

  21. Sushi says:

    Hi Chris
    Thank your for making very helpful article.

    If you could let me know about the educational certificate for PR, I appreciate you.

    I graduated at US university and have an official transcript in English from them.
    My question is that can I use that ENG transcript without translate into Thai?

    And if it is necessary to be translated, which government official can do as the officially certified document?

    By the way, JPN Embassy said it took about 2 months to get Non-criminal proof from country,
    so this year I might not be able to submit all necessary docs in time. (Cry)

    Best regards,

    • Hi there,

      You’ll need to have a chat with the PR desk to ask what will be acceptable in your case. From memory they educational certificates have to endorsed by the embassy from the country of the university (in your case the US embassy in BKK) and then be translated into Thai and certified by the MFA.

      In terms of certain things being delayed, I know from the past that the PR desk does allow some documents like the one you mentioned to be handed in after the official application given they understand these things take time. But again, please check with them on their level of flexibility.

  22. Peter Ho says:

    Hi

    Can I ask which counter is the PR Counter please? For instance, M, N or another counter? The last time we went to Counter M in Cheangwattana immigration to ask, they all seem confused.

    Or if anyone has used an agent to handle this successfully, can you recommend to me please?

    Thank you very much for your help,
    Peter

    • Hi Peter, normally there is a dedicated PR desk. I haven’t been there in a while so can’t answer you with certainty, but there will be one there. Maybe ask for the desk where you apply for ถิ่นที่อยู่ (Thin Thi You).

  23. Alex says:

    Hi Chris,

    Definitely the most in depth resource regarding the PR (even better than the immigration site). Thanks so much for this. The COVID situation is making me worry about my job situation and therefore I think that I should quickly apply for a PR in case I get laid off. I noticed that there’s about a 100k difference between getting the PR as a single and as a married person. I’m planning to get married next year. What happens if I apply as a single and then when it’s approved, I’m already married. Which amount do I pay? Any ideas? Also, I’m on a non-b visa renewed yearly currently. If I apply I understand that I’ll be getting a 180 day automatic visa. Is this concurrent with my non-b or will my non-b get cancelled?

    Cheers,
    Alex

    • Hi Alex,

      Yes, the current situation has certainly made a lot of people look closely at how they can lock in their stay here in Thailand. In terms of your situation, it doesn’t hurt to ask, but I suspect if you applied as a single person you’ll be charged as such, even if your status changes.

      In terms of your visa status, yes, you’ll switch over to the automatic 6 month PR in waiting extension.

      Overall getting married helps you get on the express route to citizenship – after 3 years if you don’t have kids, 1 year if you do. Having said that, getting yourself PR at the moment is very prudent as it at least allows you to stay here without restriction, and as you say, you qualify right now.

      Good luck with it all!

      • Alex says:

        Thanks Chris. I remember that previously you had a pdf checklist of the documents required. Don’t see it anymore. The immigration website lists the documents required in Thai but it’s not available in english. Could you upload that again? Thanks!

  24. Johan says:

    Hi Chris, very good article. I have PR status myself but get very confused about admission fees to musea, temples, national parks and other attractions. Sometimes they let me in at the Thai citizen rate, sometimes I need to pay the tourist price depending on the person at the ticket counter. Is there an official guideline as to which entrace fees apply to PR holders ?

    • Dear Johan,

      Thanks for reading! I don’t profess to be an expert on this, but I think the hard and fast rule is that discounts are only for Thai citizens and I’ve never seen anything in reference to PR holders (or indeed other long termers here). Obviously over the years exceptions have been made, but they have always been variable in their application and in recent years they have become stricter in making no exceptions at government run locations, such as national parks.

      If it is a private organization and business, again it is hit and miss when it comes to double pricing/two tier pricing. Some are enlightened and broaden their scope to those who can prove they are resident in Thailand, normally hotels and the like (usually via a Drivers License or non-immigrant visa), while others are the opposite and I think there is a website out there by Richard Barrow which outlines all of those places.

  25. Roman says:

    Hello, thanks a lot for this helpful information!

    Could I ask you one question, I heard what at Immigration Changwattana they have a special PR Desk where I can get the support in order to prepare all my documents, could someone give me the direction how can I find it there?

    Thank you.
    R.

    • Hi Roman,

      There is a desk there, and when you arrive at the immigration department, just tell them you are there to apply for PR and they will give you a queue number and direct you to the correct desk.

      Cheers
      Chris

  26. Ika says:

    Hi, I am wondering if my kid who was born in Thailand can have a Thai citizenship? Both parents farang

  27. Lawrende says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the informative article. I read another article from Bangkok Post which mentioned a foreigner granted a PR still require Working Visa for working. Do you have any idea about this.

    https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1880535/thailand-long-term-residence-options-comparing-elite-status-and-permanent-residence

    Thanks for advise.

    • Hi Lawrende.

      Yes, that is indeed the case. Because immigration and the labour department are separate, there has never been a proper way of granting automatic work rights for PR holders. My understanding is that the work permits are a little easier to be granted, and the obvious upside to PR is that if you are in between jobs, your stay in Thailand is not tied to working.

      It isn’t ideal, which is why most PR holders then jump to citizenship after they’ve held PR for 5 years, or skip PR all together if they are married to a Thai citizen as citizenship offers many more benefits and requires similar qualification to apply.

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