Looking to acquire Thai citizenship?

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.

79 Responses

  1. brian Fogarty says:

    Thai citezenship. I have been married to a thai lady for 9 years. We have spent 3 years living in thailand and six years living in Australia. Is there a path for me to get citezenship? If so what is required?

    cheers
    brian

  2. Thomas Garrett says:

    Hi Chris,

    I am tempted in applying for Thai Citizenship and for a Thai Passport. From my understanding, in order to be granted a Thai Passport, one needs to be a Thai Citizen first.

    I am half Thai. I was born in Chiang Mai. My mother is Thai and my father is British but I have emigrated Thailand back in 1991 when I was four years old. I even have a Thai Birth Certificate and my parent’s thai marriage certificate which would prove useful for me to apply for a Thai Citizenship and a Thai Passport. However, I do not a have a Thai ID Card

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but I think this still puts me in fairly good light to become a Thai Citizen and to eventually be granted a Thai Passport. If this is true, then that is great, but I cannot read nor write in Thai so is it possible to apply in English?

    More importantly, Once I become a Thai Citizen and a Thai Passport holder I certainly wish NOT to service any time in the Thai Military Service. If I become a Thai Citizen and a Thai Passport holder, would I have to service time in the Thai Military Service? Also, are there any other cons/disadvantages that I should be aware of in becoming a Thai Citizen and Thai Passport Holder?

    Regards,
    Thomas

    • Hi Thomas,

      Thanks for reaching out. You say you have a Thai birth certificate? In the normal course of events, that means you are already a Thai citizen. No need to apply for it in your case.

      If born to a Thai parent (ie your mother) then at the top of the birth certificate you’ll notice in the top right hand corner you’ll have been assigned an ID number, and below that, it will state your nationality as Thai (ไทย). If you have that, it is a matter of going to the district office, ideally where your mother is registered, and ask about the process of putting you on the blue house registry. You may find you are already on one somewhere, given you were born in Thailand and it is compulsory for you to be put on one from birth.

      Following that, you can get a Thai ID card and with the ID card you can go apply for a Thai passport. Unfortunately that won’t cancel out your current visa, so you’ll have to fly out of Thailand using your current passport and then re-enter using your Thai passport. Note, you can’t do this over land.

      In terms of military service, how old are you? If over 30, you will be fine. Take a look at this article.
      http://www.thaicitizenship.com/thai-military-service/

      All the best, and if you have any other questions, please let me know.
      Regards
      Chris

  3. Lisa says:

    Hi Chris,

    Is it still a possibility for me to obtain my Thai citizenship even though I don’t speak Thai? I was born in Udon Thani in 1969. I am a US citizen. My mother is Thai. I am going to be traveling to Thailand with my mom this year. She is going to put me on the blue house registry when we get to Thailand. I am just not sure if it’s a possibility because I don’t really speak Thai but of course my mom does.

    Regards,

    Lisa

    • Hi Lisa,

      Sorry about the delayed response. The long and the short of it is, you are already a Thai citizen by birth.

      You should have a Thai birth certificate and being born to a Thai parent on Thai soil automatically grants you this.

      Your mum will simply be registering you on the blue house book so as to get you an ID card, and following on from that, a Thai passport.
      Not speaking Thai won’t be an issue from a legal perspective.

      Good luck and safe travels.

      Chris Larkin

  4. Alex says:

    Hello,

    Ist the 40.000 baht per month requirement strict? I earn 35.000 baht and have a Thai wife and Kids.

    Thank you

    • Sorry about the delayed response. Yes, the income requirement is quite strict and must be evidenced with official tax receipts.

      • Alex says:

        Thank you for your kind answer Chris. What if my income is supplemented by investments that come from abroad? I earn about 35.000 baht from my job and another 55.000 from rental of a property in Europe. If I pay taxes on that income will it count together with my 35.000 baht?

        I tried to get in touch with a lawyer in Bangkok about this but he wanted a lot of money, told me that I have to renounce my citizenship (false) and need the PR (false).

        Thank you very much

  5. Aras says:

    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for making this informative site, it has been helpful, though I’m still confused.
    I’ve read previous comments from other children of Thai parents, born in Thailand, but I was born in and live in the U.S. so I’m hoping you can tell me the next steps/give me tips. I’ve obtained a Thai birth certificate and we’re trying to get me a Thai ID and passport. By having a Thai birth certificate does that already make me a citizen? Or is that only once I’m in the blue house registry.

    I don’t speak much Thai and the officials we spoke with today told my mom something about needing to go get my American passport translated….I’m afraid that they might be leading us in the wrong direction. Do you know?

    Is the next step to get on the blue house registry? My mom is from Roi Et, does it matter where we go?

    We’re here for two more weeks so if you see this in time I appreciate your help!

    Aras

    • Hi Aras,

      Yes, being born overseas to Thai parents also makes you a Thai citizen from birth. The birth certificate is merely one form of documentary evidence of this, but the important one.

      Getting registered on the blue house book allows you to get a Thai ID card, and from there, you can apply for a Thai passport.

      Getting an offical translation of your US passport is probably going to be required for the local officials just so they have some sort of offical proof of your ID. Don’t stress about it. Good luck with it all and sorry about the delayed response.

  6. Mike says:

    Hi Chris,

    I am interested in applied for naturalization. It seems that, recently, many legal firms are mentioning that the naturalization path is available. I am just wondering what the approval rate is. Is it still very unlikely that one will be approved from the ministry of interior eventhough they welcome everyone to apply?

    Thanks much,
    Mike

    • Hi there Mike.

      Basically, if you don’t qualify, Special Branch won’t take your application. If they do there is a very high chance of you eventually getting approved, it basically becomes a waiting game.

      Note, from time to time the MOI will send an application back to Special Branch in the event that they see a discrepency, but this is rare as Special Branch are careful to vet each application. Note, that you must remain eligible for the entire time your application is under consideration, so any changes in your status will, in theory, lead to a rejection should they check your paperwork. So staying employed, on consecutive visa’s with no interruptions are essential during that time.

      All the best with your application, and hopefully this website means you don’t have to use the lawyers!

  7. Sarah says:

    I have lived in Thailand for 20 years. I only had a work permit between 2004 – 2008. I was married to a Thai national for 10 years and we are now divorced. We have 2 children registered as Thai nationals also. Is there any way to get citizenship through my children. Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for your message. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, there isn’t any way to get citizenship or PR via your children’s Thai citizenship status. If you are based in Thailand, then you will have to go via the normal PR then citizenship route, which requires a minimum period of 3 years of work permits and a minimum level of income.

      From memory, you are able to get a non-immigrant O visa however for being the guardian of a Thai national child, but I don’t profess to be an expert on that area.

  8. Gladys says:

    Hi,
    I became permanent resident in 2012 and trying my luck on citizenship. One of the requirements is certificate of legal age. Is there a certain format to follow? Is it ok to just create it myself and have the embassy certify? I called our embassy and told me that they don’t have such form but they can certify. Thank you.

    • Hi Gladys,

      Thanks for reaching out. As you say, it varies from country to country. For this, it is best to head down to special branch as you prepare your documents and simply ask for a template that is acceptable to them, and then use that template for the embassy to certify.

      Apologies for the vague answer on this, but there were a couple of instances where SB asked for things from us, and when we didn’t know they were more than helpful in providing examples of what was acceptable to them.

      Regards
      Chris Larkin

  9. Einar Meling says:

    Hi, I am 72 years old and have lived in Thailand continously for 25 years, always on Non-Imm B visas. My present non-imm B visa has been extended 6 years though I no longer work so the extensions of my non-imm B is stamped as ‘retirement’. My state pension is lifelong at abt 100.000 baht per month. I have paid taxes in Thailand on my pensions during the last 10 years (average tax 90.000 baht per year). I do not have my name on a house registration but the revenue departments has issued Certificate of Residency each of the 10 last years.I have been married to my Thai wife for 11 years and I have a legally adopted Thai son, age 13. Do you think that I qualify for application for Thai Citizenship? Thanks very much, Einar

    • Hi Einar,

      Firstly, thanks for finding our site and your question, it is an excellent one.

      Unfortunately, I’m sorry to say, based on how Police Special Branch and the Thai Ministry of Interior accept and vet citizenship applications, one of the “non-negotiable” aspects of the paperwork is three uninterrupted years of work permits, tax returns, and extensions of stay leading up to the time of application. Without all of these, they simply won’t accept your application. This unfortunately is also the same for people considering Permanent Residence applications.

      If you were for whatever reason considering returning to work, for the purposes of attaining Thai citizenship, you should be aware that in addition to the work permits etc, the process relies on the applicant achieving a minimum score of 50 out of 100, so for this, you should refer to our post on this which outlines the areas where SB and the MOI allocate points. http://www.thaicitizenship.com/scoring-criteria-for-thai-naturalisation-applications/

      • Einar Meling says:

        Hi Chris, thank you very much for your prompt and detailed response. I had hoped that having had work permit for many years would have enabled me to apply for citizenship (as I meet all other requirements). From your reply I understand that even Permanent Residency requires work permit, which comes as a great disappointment. I guess it wouldn’t help that I can show considerable personal investments in my Thai companies some 20 years ago and that I for many years employed dozens of Thai citizens? Presently I am in perfect health and don’t have any problems with the yearly extensions of my non-imm B visa, though I don’t know how fit and alert I will be in 10 or even 20 years. As ‘everything’ and ‘everyone’ I have are here in Thailand, it would be nice to live here for the rest of my life without any uncertainty relating to my immigration-status. Perhaps one day Thai government might recognize the value of foreign investors who spend decades promoting and helping the kingdom and offer them some peace of mind when they reach old age and want to retire here. So I will stay optimistic for some good news in the future!
        Again, Chris; thank you very much!
        Einar

        • Hi Einar,

          I think part of the reason I put together this website was to help people understand their options. For many years people thought getting Thai PR or citizenship was ‘too hard’ and then were suprised to find out they might have been eligible at the time.

          Unfortunately – and I agree with you – a long dedication to Thailand counts for nothing because the work permit and uninterupped visa requirement very much focuses things on ‘now’. There isn’t enough scope in the points system to take into account contributions such as yours. The irony of it all is that if you applied for PR 20 years ago, it would have been fairly easy and straight forward (usually it took one year and the fees were low). Today it is the opposite, PR applications can take a long time, the fees are high and the benefits are so-so (can’t own land, still need a work permit). But citizenship is much more attainable that it was 20 years ago, particularly if you are married. Hopefully the rules become a bit more flexible in the near future, and if they do, I’ll be sure to post them here. All the best, Chris

          • Einar says:

            Thanks again, Chris! It’s a superb job you do helping us understand what is otherwise quite confusing. Let’s hope for a few changes!

  10. Einar says:

    Thanks again, Chris! It’s a superb job you do helping us understand what is otherwise quite confusing. Let’s hope for a few changes!

  11. Kevin HARRISON says:

    Hello Chris.

    I have 2 sons living with their mother and I. I am British, she is Thai. One son was born in the UK. How can he acquire Thai citizenship? My other son was born in Thailand but adopted in the UK where he became a British citizen. Again his mother is Thai. What do I need to do to get them Thai citizenship?
    Best Regards

    Kevin

    • Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for the question. For your sin born in the UK, check out this link, but essentially he just needs a Thai BC issued by the embassy in London and he is good to go (http://www.thaicitizenship.com/thai-citizenship-when-born-overseas/).

      For the other child born in Thailand, he is already Thai. He would have a Thai BC somewhere and that will be all he needs to get a Passport etc as it will contain his ID number etc. Given he was born in Thailand he is undoubtedly already registered on a house book. To get his passport, you just need to make sure you have full custodial rights, otherwise, a Thai passport application requires both birth parents to sign off on it.

      Hopefully this is useful.

      Regards, Chris

      • Kevin HARRISON says:

        Thank you so much for your considerate response on both matters. I greatly appreciate it.

        Many thanks

        Kevin

  12. Shaun Sheen says:

    Dear Chris,

    Thanks for all this; it’s really helpful.

    I am married to a Thai, been married for 4 years, however, just did the official paperwork a year ago.

    I have 5 years of BOI work permits, plus paying income taxes. I can speak, read and write Thai to a proficient level (although still always learning).

    However, due to the nature of my work, I am constantly traveling and often in Thailand for only a few months in total a year.

    Given my situation, am I likely to meet the criteria? Does the actual number of days in the country matter given that I’ve maintained work permits and married and can speak / read / write Thai?

    Many thanks in advance,

    Shaun

    • Hi Shaun,

      The time you spend in country doesn’t have bearing so far as I can tell when applying based on marriage. Some people I know (women married to Thai men) had spent time outside of Thailand for significant periods leading up to the application with no harm to the final result. As long as you have current Thai work permits and tax returns, then that is great. My only concern is the length of your official marriage. It comes down to one year if you have kids, but I think is longer (3 years maybe) if you don’t have kids. I don’t have the information on hand right at the moment so best you have a chat with Special Branch. Otherwise, you sound like a petty good candidate.

      All the best, Chris.

  13. Marc Proksch says:

    I am Dutch and work for an international organization (UN) and have been in Thailand for almost 30 years. I am married to a Vietnamese woman. We both have stay permits and annual re-entry visas. My two sons were born in Thailand and have lived here all their lives. Because of my nationality they are also Dutch citizens. This means they can’t work in Thailand. My oldest son is 22 and will graduate from a Thai university soon but then he will not be allowed to stay in the country. Is it possible for me, my wife or my sons to get Thai nationality without losing Dutch nationality (The Dutch wouldn’t care, but the Thais may). Thanks.

    • Hi Marc,
      Thailand doesn’t have an issue with dual citizenship, so as long as the dutch don’t either, you should be fine. http://www.thaicitizenship.com/thai-dual-citizenship/.

      In terms of how your wife and son’s would go about getting it, it would have to be via getting PR and then following that, citizenship. But all those routes require 3 years of work history at a minimum. I am researching to see if there is some dispensation for those who have been born here and have been subsequently educated here, but I am not sure there is, but will revert if I find something.

  14. Alberto says:

    I am an Italian citizen and my Laotian citizen partner, we have been living and working in Thailand for about 8 years, we have a 5-year-old son born here in Thailand with a Thai birth certificate, we are in good standing with the residence for about 3 years with yellow tabian ban, my son has been going to school for three years, in the birth certificate on the top right they wrote that he does not have citizenship, do I have any hope of making my son a Thai citizen?

    • You would have to all apply as a family for PR and then move to citizenship as family as well. That would require you to have a work history here to qualify for PR (ie 3 years work permit, minimum 80,000 month salary). Holding that for 5 years and then moving onto citizenship.

  15. Mary says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the details.
    My children born here in Thailand. Elder son did all schooling and college ( unti Masters ) here. He has a job now for 2.5 yrs now. He speaks professional Thai (His marks is 67/100 in point system ) So can he apply directly for citizenship or should only go through PR?

    • Hi there – unless he has a Thai spouse, he needs to get permanent residency first. As a basic rule, that will require three years of work permit, 80,000 per month salary but he sounds like he would have a very strong application if he did given his schooling here. He should really head down to Chaengwattana immigration to speak to the PR people there. They have a reputation of being very helpful, and it is good to be prepared given he is so close to 3 years. Applications for PR are only generally open for 2 to 3 weeks in December each year.

  16. Neil Edwards says:

    Hi Chris

    My wife was born of British parents in Thailand in 1963, birth registered in the British embassy and given a Thai passport at birth. She left Thailand at age 2 and never returned, though we still have her original Thai passport. Does she still qualify as a Thai citizen or is it possible that this becomes lost with age?

    • Hi Neil,

      In situations such as your wife’s, her Thai citizenship remains. Post 1971 changed the rules to state that one must be born to at least one Thai parent, or if both parents were foriegn nationals, they must have been permanent residents, but because your wife was born prior to that date, then she remains a Thai citizen automatically by birth to this day (unless she of course has formally renounced it, by application).

      Additionally, the new Thai constitution expressively prohibits the stripping of Thai citizenship of natural born Thai’s and legislation since the 1990’s has been very supportive of holding dual citizenship.

      Her renewing a Thai passport may take some logistical legwork however, unless she already has her original Thai birth certificate and house registration, given that applying for a Thai passport as an adult requires one to be registered on a ‘tabieen baan’ or a house registry, and have a Thai ID card.

      If she lacks these, the odds are she’ll need to attend the district office of her birth and have official replacements made. She’ll likely also need a Thai citizen to vouch for her, as well as having a Thai citizen willing to add her to their house registry (unless of course you are intending on owning your own condo/property in Thailand, which can be used as an official address for registration purposes).

      This can be done fairly easily as I know people like your wife who were born in Thailand but migrated to other countries but returned in their 50’s and 60’s to re-establish their Thai ID cards and Passports. It may take a day or two for officials to dig through old paper archives, but any old Thai documentation you have will be very useful to them to find the paperwork. Once a house registry is established, a Thai ID can immediately be issued, and a passport can be done after that.

      If for some reason she already has her old Thai house registration (in addition to passport), it may be worth speaking to the Thai embassy in the country you live to see if they may be able to issue her with a Thai passport.

      Good luck with it all and feel free to ask any further questions if you have them.

  17. Max Maxwell says:

    Hello Chris,

    I am a 72 year old British citizen and have lived and worked in Thailand since 1991. I have a Thai wife and we have 2 grown-up dual nationality children who are now living and working abroad. I have held Permanent Residence since 1996 and have the pink Thai ID card issued to foreign nationals. I work part-time for the Thailand branch of an MNC, and my current salary exceeds the upper level on the scoring system you have provided on this site. However, if I discount income, my estimated score would only be slightly over the indicated minimum of 50.

    I can’t read or write Thai, but can hold a basic conversation
    .
    I want to remain in Thailand for the rest of my life. But I am now faced with redundancy as my company is trying to cut down on its number of work permits.

    Despite holding PR and having Thai dependents, I’m told I cannot work freelance but would have to set up a company in order to obtain a work permit. I’m reluctant to do this at my stage in life, and would not want to work more than part-time anyway. Do you think I have a chance of obtaining Thai citizenship at my age and with poor prospects of future income apart from my UK state pension? I have some savings, but may need them if my currently robust health fails.

    Best regards,
    Max

    • Hi Max,

      Thanks for your question. From everything I’ve heard, it doesn’t matter if you have 51 or 81 points in the end, only that you score over the registered 50 points. So from that perspective, you should feel pretty confident. Special Branch won’t accept an application they feel has a poor chance of passing, so going to speak to them will give you a very good indication and of course if they accept your application, that is a very good sign. Based on what you’ve outlined, I can’t see whey they wouldn’t.

      The only issue I would perhaps raise is the ongoing need for a work permit, particularly through the initial stages of the application where you will be interviewed by special branch, the NIA and where your documents are verified in the initial 90 day period after application.

      I know the idea of setting up a company is not necessarily something that you want to do, but I’d encourage you to explore the possibility. Aside from providing you with a legitimate way of maintaining a ‘live’ work permit for the duration of your citizenship application (which is strongly encouraged and I believe can be asked for at any point of the process), it really is a useful way to funnel any consulting work you may get. From experience, the administrative hassles are not as bad as people make them out to be, and a good Thai accountant is all you really need on a very part time basis to keep it ticking over administratively.

      On the health issue, this is an article I am going to put together shortly, but if you are an employee of a company and you have been contributing to Thai social security, do know that you can continue your SS medical coverage following your departure from employment by voluntarily paying 432 baht per month in ongoing premiums (careful to not let these payments lapse however). If you’ve paid in enough, you could be entitled to a small pension too.

      As for UK pension issues, also note another article I’ve written where I outline how it is possible to make back payments on your UK state pension contributions to maximise the payments: http://www.thaicitizenship.com/retirement-finances-in-thailand/

      All the best and please let us know if you have any more questions.

      • Max Maxwell says:

        Thanks for your thoughtful and detailed reply Chris – I really appreciate it.
        I will certainly take your advice and explore setting up a company as well as applying for citizenship.

        All the best,
        Max

        • Not a problem at all, glad you found it useful. The one thing I forgot to mention, and this is quite important, is that there can not be any substantive gaps in the work permits in 3 years before you apply. Meaning, if you go from one job to the next, any break between the expiry of one, and the new one, may end up resetting the 3 year ‘clock’.

          As such, if you are intending to apply, it might be wise to do it while still employed with your current company, in the background setting up your new company vehicle. Once your application has been accepted, and your new company work permit issued, then it will be possible to end your current work permit which would create a seamless transition between the two. Hope this helps (and makes sense!). All the best with it.

          Regards
          Chris

  18. Shaun says:

    Dear Chris,

    Thanks again for all this.

    For the yellow house registration; I currently don’t have one even though I’ve been working in Thailand for more than 5 years. I have the work permits and marriage papers etc. I’ve discussed with my wife who asked would it be better if I get one at her home town in north of Thailand where the family are very well known with the local Government or in Bangkok? We have homes in both places. We know the police well at the Province; however, I’m bit unsure if that helps in this case. I understand that if I’m registered at my hw Province, I’ll need to be interviewed by police there – it would seem like a good idea from the outset but I have no idea how this could impact on the overall application process.

    Do you have any advice with respect to this?

    Kind regards,

    Shaun

    • Hi Shaun,

      Each district tends to be a bit hit or miss when it comes to issuing the yellow tabien baan. Best to go where there is the path of least resistance. At its easiest, it can be done very quickly in less than an hour (which is the way it should be done), in other places there is a big song and dance and multiple visits, and other places simply flat out to refuse to issue one.

      My advice is to try Bangkok first, particularly if you work there and the odds are a district in Bangkok will be fairly straight forward to apply though. Failing that, you can obviously pull some strings and use your connections up north to get it done, and once issued, simply transfer it down to Bangkok where I guess the document will be most useful for you (eg drivers license renewals etc.).

      If you choose the latter step, remember it is essential that the district office up country issues you a document stating they have removed you from the yellow tabieen baan in their district, and then you simply take that document and the old tabien baan to wherever you want to move to and they should be able to issue you a new one easily without all the steps.

      If you haven’t already, check out our article on it:
      http://www.thaicitizenship.com/yellow-tabien-baan/

  19. Mike says:

    Hi Chris,

    I have a question regards obtaining my Thai Passport.
    I was born in Luxembourg, my father is Luxembourgish an my mother is Thai.
    I am now 31 years old and I am waiting for my Thai birth certificate to be issued from the Thai Embassy in Bruxelles. My parents have done the paperwork. My mom went there but actually forgot to ask about the Thai Passport. 🙂
    I am currently staying in Thailand, but I will fly back to Luxembourg to get my Thai Passport.
    I read that in order to apply for a Thai passport I have to show them a Thai ID and a copy of the house registration in Thailand (Tabian Baan).
    But I am not have been registered yet in Thailand and I have no Thai ID.
    So, is the Thai birth certificate sufficient in order to get my 1st Thai Passport?
    Hope you can help me.

    Best Regards
    Mike

    • Hi Mike,

      Given you are in Thailand you’ll be able to get a Thai PP in Thailand. With your Thai BC, you’ll be able to go to the district office where you want to be registered and have your name added to a blue tabieen baan. This will require permission from the ‘house master’ as well as two thai citizens to essentially ‘vouch’ for you. You’ll also likely need your current passport and entry stamps.

      It may take a couple of visits, but once registered, you’ll be able to immediately get your Thai ID card issued on the spot.

      With the ID in hand, you can easily apply for a Thai passport in Thailand.

      Unfortunately, this won’t immediately clear your immigration stay, as you’ll need to depart, by air, on your current EU passport, and then return to Thailand using your Thai passport, at which point you will be free of immigration control.

      Hope this helps and let me know if you have any more questions.

  20. Chris says:

    Hi Chris,

    Our son is born in Hua hin have Thai birth certificate. Wife is Swiss and husband is Austrian, we all living and working in Thailand / Bangkok with work visa.
    Does our son have any rights to apply for Thai citizen or apply at least for a Thai ID card so he can be fit from it on a later stage ?

    • Hi there,
      Unfortunately it doesnt sound like he does have a path to Thai citizenship based on birth. Both foriegn parents need to be permanent residents of Thailand for a child born to them to automatically get Thai citizenship from birth.

      I’m currently researching if there are paths to citizenship for people like your son, but it is not yet complete.

      Regards
      Chris

  21. Chris says:

    Thanks for the speedy reply, yes please we also tried, some say there is a way, some say no can’t

  22. Tony Bullaert says:

    Hi,
    I have a retirement pension from Belgium and i am also married to a Thai woman (for some 2 years now). I live in Chiang Mai.
    How can i become a Thai Citizen? Do i first have to go for a Permanent Resident Visa first?
    Thanks for the answer.
    Tony

    • Hi Tony,

      Being married to a Thai citizen allows you to skip PR and apply directly for Thai citizenship.

      However being on a retiree visa or a visa where you aren’t working means you aren’t yet in the position to apply for either PR or Citizenship. Both paths require you to be working for three years consecutively in Thailand with 3 years worth of uniteruppted visa extensions.

  23. Rick says:

    Hello
    I have an Indian Passport with Permanent Thai Residency. I am holding this from last 12 years. I have a Thai Wife but not legally married (for last 10 years). We have one son 10 years old. He is Thai.
    I have a business in Hong Kong where I get my income from. I do not work from Thailand though.
    I used to have a work permit from year 2001 to 2008 though. I cancelled it after that. I have not paid taxes to Thai govt from 2008 to now.
    My question is, if I pay taxes on income I bring back to Thailand (From HK), will I be eligible to apply Thai citizenship. Also, if I register my marriage, will that help

    • Hello,

      You have the benefit of already having PR having had it more than 5 years. The one glitch however is that you haven’t held three years of consecutive work permits and income from a thai entity at the time of application, so you won’t be eligible to apply until that is the case. One suggestion would be to establish a Thai company and channel some of your income though that and also use it to give you your work permit. After three years, you will be eligible. Good luck.

  24. Muhammad Adeel says:

    I’ve NoN O marriage visa extension for last 7 years, work permit for 3 years, donation receipts for last 4 years,my yellow tabian ban for my current house it’s just 1 year old, Bought this house on company name on cash and old house sold, tabian ban on old house validity will still be in effect? Can I apply next year for Thai citizenship or I have to wait for thabian ban 5 years?

  25. Seth says:

    Hello Chris,

    I understand that this topic is irrelevant to this post, although I would appreciate your advice if possible.

    CASE: I’m Thai born dual citizenship AUS/THA, getting very close to hitting the age of 30.
    I was in the Thai military at the age of 21 to serve 2 years, although only served for 3 months, because during a short break to visit my Thai family I decided not to go back and flew back home to AUS.

    I would like to go back to Thailand to work, buy property, open up a bank account, etc.

    Is there any consequences if I flew back after turning 30?
    Is there a simple fine I can pay so the military can overlook this matter?

    Your help is greatly appreciated!

    Please DM me if you prefer.

    Regards,
    Seth

    • Hi Seth,

      To be honest you’d have to check if the military still has you down as an absconder, if there is an existing warrant out for you and if they do, what the statute of limitations is for it. I’m not sure being 30 would affect that. To be honest, you’d have to get a relative, or if not, a lawyer to check with your local conscription office and see what the process is. Sorry I can’t be of more assistance.

      Regards
      Chris Larkin

  26. seth says:

    Hi Chris,

    I had my cousin in Thailand enquire on my behalf. He notified me that there is no existing warrant from the Thai Police, but said that the military office in Sattahip told him that I can’t go back and change name, apply for a new passport, etc, until after 10 years from the age of 21? Technically I will have to be 31.

    Taking in consideration your article ‘Thai Military Service For Dual Citizens’ I assume the military conscription obligation is only from the age of 20 to 30? After turning 30 you’re automatically released from duty.

    Thanks for your help.

    Regards,
    Seth

    • Hi Seth,

      Good to know there isn’t a warrant out for you with the police! Not sure what the 10 year thing is about. You could always try and renew your Thai passport through the embassy in Australia and see what happens. In terms of the conscription, yes, it is 20 to 30 (well technically, in the year you turn 30), so maybe he is referring to that, and is a little bit off. However, I simply can’t comment as to the issue around absconding and what happens given I don’t know anywhere near enough about it.

  27. Chris says:

    Hi Chris, is there a friendly Amphur you know of that can register me for the yellow book in Bangkok without a thai wife and not having condo properties, just my friend’s blue book and ID card.

    • Hi there – as you’ll said you’ll need a Thai friend who is willing to register you, but all the main ones I’ve seen towards the centre of town shouldn’t have a problem. Wattana, Patumwan etc are all pretty good. Hope this helps.

  28. Kris Gilbert says:

    Hi there,

    I am an American Citizen born to a Thai mother (she has dual citizenship but lives in the states). I am currently living in Chiang Mai awaiting my Thai BC. My mother’s father lives down south in Pak Chong and is willing to add me to his Blue House Book. Do I need to be present at his local Amphoe in order to be added or can he take care of this matter on his own? Possibly I can send him the required documents/ translated documents/ copies…?

    I appreciate your time and help!

    • Hi Kris,

      You’ll need to be there in person as it might take a visit or two to get you registered properly. After getting onto the house registration you’ll then need to get an ID card, which requires your photo to be taken in person.

      Good luck with it all!

  29. Tanva says:

    Hi Chris,
    So thankful to have found your page. I am a US citizen but found that I have a Thai birth certificate. I am now 40yrs old. I was hoping to get back to Thailand to create a Thai ID for myself. You make it sound so easy. So is my birth certificate and my US passport the only documents I’ll need? Don’t they wonder why it has taken me 40yrs to ask for a Thai ID? Also my passport has my married name and my birth certificate obviously has my maiden name, will that be a problem? Ill only be in Thailand for 2 weeks, will that be enough time to get this done? And last, I saw that people keep asking about a blue book, what is that? Sorry for all the questions. Thank you in advance for your help.

    • Hi Tanva,

      The blue book is called ‘tabieen baan’, or house registration in Thai. All Thai citizens born in Thailand are registered on one from birth. Odds are you’ll be registered on a tabieen baan somewhere. You’ll have to find out where, but it will likely be near where you were born. You need to be registered on a tabien baan to get a Thai ID card, and then subsequently, a Thai Passport. Most Thai’s register themselves on a family members house registration, so you’ll need to see about this.

      With your BC in your maiden name, and given you haven’t changed your name in Thailand yet to reflect your married name, then it is likely that any Thai ID card will be in your maiden name until you can change your name.

      Two weeks should be enough, but you’ll probably need a visit or two to the district office where you are registered.

      Trust this is useful and good luck!

      • Tanva says:

        Thank you for replying to quickly. I read your reply and was really excited. So I went to check my BC and realized my mother filled out my BC with a United States address. (I have no idea why) Anyway, will this be a problem if I still try to get in my the blue book that my mom and her siblings are on?

        • Hi Tanva,

          So I am just a little confused. Were you born in Thailand or in the US?

          If born in Thailand, my response from yesterday is the one that stands, but if you were born in the US, you need to get registered on the tabieen baan first. This will follow the process of visiting the district office where you’d like to be registered, and having bring in your Thai birth certificate, most likely your US passport (as another form of ID), as well as the names of your parents in Thai, and ideally, certified copies (and if necessary, translated) of their ID. You’ll need two witnesses, so relatives are good for this, and the blue book that your mum and her siblings are on is a good place to start. It may take two or three visits, but then once registered you can get your ID card, and once you have that, you can go to the passport office and get a Thai passport issued.

          Probably best to ring ahead, and ask your relatives (or whoever is going to help you) to go to the district office in advance to find out the exact documents required (this can vary sometimes) and depending on how busy they are, they may require you to make an appointment to start the process. So having this sorted before you leave the US will save some wasted time.

          • Tanva says:

            I was born in the US but I have a Thai BC as well. So my concerns are:
            1. My US passport has my married name.
            2. My Thai BC has an American address on it because my mother received it from the US embassy in New York.
            3. My mother and aunt can go with me to try and get on the bluebook but my aunt is beginning to suffer from dementia. She is the main person on the tabieen baan.

            I know I’ve taken much of your time and I just want to thank you so much in advance. But your the 1st source I’ve been able to find with any useful help. This is only one of the many issues I have. We are dealing with my aunts Alzheimer’s which is what led me down this road.

          • Hi Tanva,

            Sorry to hear about your aunt.

            Thanks for the additional info. The American address has no bearing on anything. But given you are US born, your first step will be to be registered in the Tabieen Baan (house book) and yes, it will require the house master to ‘allow’ you to enter it. It will be useful for your mum to be there too and whatever Thai documentation she has of course, will be useful. A copy of your dad’s passport might be useful as well, just in case.

            Just taking a ‘belt and braces’ approach to cover every eventuality, I’d ask the embassy in DC if they are able to issue any documentation that can confirm your name change. They may not be able to, but it is worth a try.

            Otherwise, I’d bring with you your marriage certificate with you to Thailand and it might end up needing to be officially translated before being accepted. (nb. All translations need to be officially certified via the Department of Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs which is located in Bangkok). There are a range of translators who work nearby and can organize the translations, but check with the US embassy in Thailand to see what the process is for having official US documents translated into Thai and certified by the MFA.

            You may not need any of this of course, and hopefully they can simply use your birth certificate and nothing else.
            If you have time as well, getting a Thai passport via the Thai embassy in the US would be a good idea as it is another piece of Thai government ID which the registry office would appriciate. I realise it may not be possible if you aren’t located near the embassy or a consulate (eg NY, LA) which can issue passports, but I just wanted to flag it as an option.

            As always, if you have anymore questions, don’t hesitate to flick them this way.

  30. Phil says:

    Hi Chris, reading your articles you have said you pay 5000thb to submit your citizenship application. What other fees must be paid?

    • Hi Phil,

      Yes, 5000 baht is the official fee and that is payable upon official acceptance of your application (ie when Special Branch deem that you have all the paperwork necessary for a successful application). Apart from that, not much in the way of fees (or anything else). Registering on the house book and getting the ID card amounts to less than 100 baht all up when your citizenship is approved.

      The main ‘cost’ is the time gathering the necessary documents and maybe the two or three trips to special branch as they vet your documents in the lead up to the ‘official’ application.

      The process is very clean all up.

      Hope this helps.

  31. Dallas Vaughn says:

    Thank you for the helpful information, and interaction on this thread. I have a few questions.

    1.) If my wife and I are U.S. citizens, the only way towards dual citizenship for us is to hold a Thai Permanent Residency status for 10 consecutive years. Is that correct?

    2.) In order to apply for a Thai Permanent Residency, I have read you have to have a visa for 3 consecutive years. Unfortunately, we cancelled our visa after moving back to the U.S. for awhile, but we have been back for a year so in 2 we could ideally apply. However, if we were to change jobs and move cities within this three year time frame, would that break our three consecutive years?

    3.) We are having a baby soon. As long as she is a dependent with us she will be fine, but what should we do to prepare for when she gets older if she wants to come back and be a resident in Thailand herself? Is there any benefit she will get from being born here, or will she have to go through the same process as us (assuming the law doesn’t change)?

    4.) Do you know anything about adopted Thai children? My wife and I are considering adoption in a few years, and would like to know if our adopted children can easily have dual citizenship.

    Thanks!

    • Dallas Vaughn says:

      5.) Does working at an international school fall under the category of someone who can even apply for Thai Permanent Residency?

    • Hi Dallas,

      Thanks for your questions. Last question first – I don’t know anything about adoption, sorry.

      For the other questions, yes, you only route is via Thai PR. You need to hold Thai PR for 5 years before you can apply for citizenship. To apply for either PR or citizenship you need to have 3 years of unbroken extensions of stays and work permits.

      A small gap between one employer and another shouldn’t be an issue, but a larger gap of more than a few weeks likely becomes problematic from a PR application perspective. For this one, best to have a chat with the PR desk at Chaengwattana immigration as they will give you a good steer on the documents you need, but also when you will be eligible to apply.

      Working for an international school is no problem.

      As for your child being born here, she won’t derive any citizenship benefit unless BOTH parents are PR’s at the time of her birth.

      Hope this helps!
      Cheers
      Chris

  32. KANOKWALEE says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks so much for your helpful site. I’m a Thai naturalized US Citizen living in the US. My son is 30 year old US Citizen living in Thailand for the past 3.5 years. His father was Thai (he passed away 13 years ago). We changed our Thai last name to a shorter name in the US before my son was born. So on his birth certificate, his last name is different than our Thai last name(s). We were not able to change our last name in Thailand. We were divorced when he was 8.

    He does not have a Thai birth certificate. We’ve been having difficulty getting one for him since he was born. I’m going to apply for his birth certificate again soon. If I can’t get a birth certificate for him because of the different last names, are there other ways for me to get the birth certificate for him? Thank you so much for your help.

    • Hi there and thank you for finding this site!

      To be honest I’m not going to be of much help here, except to say that the example of my mother and my documentation may provide some hints. My mother is now a naturalized Australian citizen and has been since the 1970’s. Her Australian documentation is all in her married name.

      From Thailand’s perspective, my mother actually has never changed her surname from her Thai maiden name to her (western) married name, as such, my own BC as well as all her documentation to now is still in her maiden name (even though she has been married nearly 50 years). Even her Thai pension documents are still in her maiden name :). The only way she can change it is to formally change her surname within the Thai system.

      It leads me to think that all the Thai authorities really care about is that the names you use on your sons Thai BC are your original Thai surnames, and that may be one of the reasons why the embassy have been dragging their feet on the issue.

      I’m not sure if I’ve been helpful, but based on what I’ve seen, simply registering him using your original name may be a solution?

  33. Tanva says:

    Hi Chris, since the last time you answered me, I am now in Thailand and went to the amphoe. They looked at my BC, American passport and marriage certificate. They said I needed passport and marriage certificate translated before they would look at it. So I called the Thai embassy in Bangkok and they said I needed to get it stamped that it is an official document (?) before I could bring it BACK to Thailand to have it translated? Does that sound right to you? I only have another week left here and wanted to see if there was anything I could do before I went back empty handed. Thank you again for your time.

    • Hi Tanva,

      There isn’t a Thai embassy in Bangkok. Are you referring to the Department of Consular Affairs on Chaengwattana Rd?

      What you need to do, and probably do it yourself given the limited time, is take the passport and marriage certificate there. In the building there will be a number of accredited translation agencies. Once translated, they (or you can) take it upstairs to the Consular Affairs office where they will legalise the translation, at which point with the official Garuda stamp, it will be as good as an offically issued Thai document. You can then take these back to your district office and hopefully that will be all they need.

  34. Tanva says:

    Hi Chris. After reading your response I was so hopeful. But yet again….. I called dept of consular. They said they did not translate documents until they were stamped or insured as an official document from American embassy or consulate (not sure what the difference is) in America and then they would stamp it here. So I thought I would try a professional translating company. They then gave me the information that I don’t need to take it back to the US and that the American embassy in Bangkok would be able to stamp it as a real document and then I could bring it to the translating company. Again I’m still hopeful. Well then I called the embassy in Bangkok and they confirmed they don’t translate or stamp my type of documents (passport & marriage cert). So I went to the website and it does state they don’t offer that service. (Sigh!) I’m so tired and so confused. I thought I would ask your advice one last time before I give up but it’s not looking too good. I’m sure you must be bored of me by now. So thank you again. I genuinely appreciate all your help.

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