Thailand is a sought-after destination, becoming a dreamscape for many foreigners. People from all over the world hope to get Thai citizenship as the country provides conveniently low costs and abundant opportunities. People are on the lookout for becoming a part of the Land of Smiles.
Foreigners can become Thai Citizens if they fulfill the requirements needed to pass the test. This includes documents, requirement of age, employment, proof of paid taxes, and a certain amount of time having spent in the country. This is a rather lengthy process but can be beneficial long-term.
Citizens of Thailand can be blessed with many opportunities to invest in Thai businesses and make a name for themselves in the country. Let’s look into how foreigners can become Thai citizens and how difficult yet exhilarating this process can be.
Can You Get Thai Citizenship and Is It Difficult?
It is relatively difficult to obtain Thai citizenship as it is a long and tiring process. You have to engage in piles of paperwork under a complex bureaucratic system. However, in the long run, those who choose to make Thailand their ultimate home can make their dream come true (1). Many perks come with owning businesses, buying property, and applying for jobs in the country (1). To summarize, citizenship may not be easy for foreigners, but it is worth all the hard work and pressure. The process of Thai Citizenship can take between 6-12 months (2).
Qualifications For Thailand Citizenship:
In order to apply for Thai citizenship, you must meet certain criteria such as: (1)
- You have to be at least 18 years old
- You must have a clean criminal record
- You must be employed in the country
- It is compulsory that you know how to speak and write in Thai
- You must know how to recite the Thai National Anthem
- It is required that you get 50 points in the Points Based System
You do not have to meet these qualifications if you are the husband of a Thai wife. Moreover, you can get easy citizenship if you are the child of someone who has previously received Thai citizenship through the system (1). Additionally, you are more likely to get citizenship again if you had it before or performed a duty that benefited the country of Thailand. If you meet all these requirements, you will likely get full Thai citizenship after living for three years in the country on a visa extension (1).
What is the Points-Based System?
The points-based system can prove if you are fit to receive citizenship, alongside the other requirements. The scoring sheet is based on the following credentials and is scored out of 100: (1). In order to pass the test, you must get a 50%.
- Education: You must be a P.H.D holder in order to receive the maximum amount of points in this category
- Age: Applicants must be between 40-50 years of age in order to get the maximum score in this category
- Duration of residence: If you have stayed for a long duration in the country and hold a house registration book, you can get maximum points in this category
- Monthly income
- Thai language fluency level
- Knowledge of Thailand
- Personality: You must have the ability to act, talk, and dress accordingly
How can Foreigners Apply for Thai Citizenship?
To apply for citizenship, you must visit the Special Division at the Police Headquarters in the city you live or reside in. They will provide you with a checklist of documents you are required to submit (2). Afterward, you have to pay the application fee and give your fingerprints. The cost depends on your age and what kind of citizenship you are applying for (2).
Application costs include: (2)
- 10,000 Thai Baht for applicants who are at the age of 18 or over
- 5,000 Thai Baht for applicants who are children and underage
- 1,000 Thai baht for applicants who acquire a Certificate of Naturalization
- 2,000 Thai Baht for applicants who acquire a Recovery of Thai Nationality
After submitting these fees, you will have to visit the Ministry of Interior, where you will be asked to take an interview in Thai and recite the Thai National Anthem (2). While you are waiting for your application to be processed, Thai immigration officers might show up at your house to keep a check and make sure the details you provided are accurate (2). After your citizenship is approved, you have to go to the Police Headquarters to take a Citizenship Oath (2).
What do Foreigners have to Bring to the Application Center?
Documents required to bring to the Registration Office (2):
- Copies of your passport
- Copies of your Alien book
- Copies of your Residence Certificate
- Copies of your House Registration
- Pictures of yourself
- Copies of your Work Permits
- Proof of Income Tax
- Marriage and birth certificates
- Proof of employment
- Copies of identity documents of two Thai citizens who can guarantee your citizenship
Moreover, you should be prepared with extra documents in case officers ask for more information. It is important to be polite and respectful of the waiting line and how lengthy the process can be.
Can Foreigners Keep a Thai Dual Citizenship?
Yes, the Thai government allows you to have dual nationalities. It is not required that you have a single race while obtaining Thai citizenship (2). At the same time, you can apply to another country while having a Thai passport. However, this also depends on your prior citizenship and if your home country allows dual citizenship (2).
Foreigners can get Thai citizenship if they have the required documents and knowledge of the criteria. This means being familiar with the local language, the National Anthem, and fluent in the country matters. However, having family members who are Thai citizens can also help.
In the long run, foreigners must go through a lengthy process to receive citizenship. This includes taking the Points-based test, interviewing, and paying registration fees. The process may seem complicated, but it will definitely be worth it once your citizenship is approved.
1. “Article – How to Become a Thai Citizen.” Thaiger, 25 June 2021, thethaiger.com/other-services/citizenship/guides/how-to-become-a-thai-citizen/.
2. Kelmendi, Melvina. “Melvina Kelmendi.” VisaGuide, 12 May 2020, visaguide.world/tips/becoming-a-citizen-of-thailand/.