Thailand is a sought-after destination, becoming a dreamscape for many foreigners. People from all over the world have aspirations of receiving Thai citizenship, but is it possible, and how?
Foreigners can get Thai Citizenship (as well as Thai Permanent Residency) by adhering to all appropriate procedures set out by the Thai Government. Acceptances are strengthened through factors such as extensive investments in Thai companies, having Thai marital status, or language fluency.
Most often, you will find that foreigners continually strive for permanent residency for a couple of years before applying for citizenship, as it is also a requirement for the application. Furthermore, those with dual nationalities can quickly obtain Thai citizenship by providing proof of identification.
This article can help you, as a foreigner, learn the essential requirements for applying for your permanent residency or citizenship. Let’s look into how foreigners can become Thai citizens and how difficult yet exhilarating this process can be.
Can a Foreigner Get Thai Citizenship?
If you are over eighteen years old, you can only consider following the other requirements of submitting a citizenship application. This includes having a clean criminal record, speaking fluently, understanding and writing Thai, and singing the national anthem Sansoen Phra Baramee.
Alongside these requirements, aim for high: it is essential to score more than half marks of 50 out of 100 on the Thai Citizenship Test.
Qualifications For Thailand Citizenship
In summary, here’s a simple checklist:
- 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
What is the Points-Based System?
As mentioned, foreigners can become Thai Citizens if they fulfill the requirements needed to pass the test. This includes documents, requirements of age, employment, proof of paid taxes, and a certain amount of time spent in the country.
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. As mentioned, 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 certificate/book (“Tabien Baan”), 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
Permanent Residence in Thailand for 5 Years
Be mindful when registering for citizenship; you must have been a permanent resident in Thailand for at least five years since you began the application process. You also must have been on the same visa and employed within the country for a specific time.
Moreover, other factors you could use are the nationality of a spouse or child, especially a husband of a Thai wife. You can also get easy citizenship if you are the child of someone who has previously received Thai Citizenship through the system. Even dual nationalities can obtain citizenship in both countries and earn equal benefits. (Source)
Additionally, you are more likely to get citizenship again if you had it before or performed a duty that benefited the country of Thailand.
How to Get Thai Citizenship?
To secure Thai citizenship, you must be able to fulfill all costs by providing accurate documents for investigation.
The cost of applications begins at 10,000 THB per applicant over 18 years of age, 5000 THB for children, 1000 THB for the certificate of naturalization, and 2000 THB per application for nationality recovery.
To receive all information, you must go to a nearby Police Headquarters office to submit all files. After reviewing the documents, the government will call you for an interview at the Ministry of Interior and Anthem.
From there on forward, you might get an at-home visit from Thai immigration officers who will assess your lifestyle and honesty. The process can take up to 6-12 months, and when you are finally accepted, you must take an oath at the headquarters.
To start preparing for the process, you should keep the following documents on hand:
- Allied Book
- Resident Certificate
- House registration
- Proof of income tax
- Proof of employment
- Marriage certificate
- Birth certificate
As well as 2 Thai citizens to guarantee your citizenship approval.
The Application Process 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.
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.
Application costs include:
- 10,000 THB for applicants who are aged 18 or over
- 5,000 THB for applicants who are children and underage
- 1,000 THB for applicants who acquire a Certificate of Naturalization
- 2,000 THB 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. 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.
After your citizenship is approved, you have to go to the Police Headquarters to take a Citizenship Oath. (Source)
What do Foreigners have to Bring to the Application Center?
Documents required to bring to the Registration Office:
- 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. (Source)
Dual Citizenships and How They Work
If you are a child of two nationalities, do not hold back from receiving your full rights from both countries involved.
For example, half-American/half-Thai holders can apply for Thai citizenship, especially for purchasing family properties and investments. By going to the Royal Thai consulate in Los Angeles, you can get details on the step-by-step procedure for obtaining both American and Thai dual citizenship.
The consulate will issue a birth certificate to a person who has a Thai parent residing in one of the thirteen states:
- New Mexico
As well as the islands of Guam and Saipan.
There is no cost for the application process. You must make sure that you complete it in Thai in order to show your language fluency and attach all required files.
- U.S. birth certificate
- Original copy of Thai ID/Passport
- Copy of house registration of the Thai parent
- Original/certified copy of the marriage certificate of the Thai parent
- Colour passport-size photos (2 by 2 inches) with signatures signed at the back
- Postage details for the return of files
Everything must be mailed to the Royal Thai Consulate:
611 N. Larchmont Blvd. 2nd Floor, Los Angeles, CA90004
Contact: [email protected], 333-962-9574 (Source)
Can Foreigners Keep a Thai Dual Citizenship?
It is not required that you have single citizenship while obtaining Thai citizenship, as the Thai government allows foreigners to have dual nationalities. 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.
Getting Thai Permanent Residency
If you have lived in Thailand for a long time or recently married a Thai, you can become a Thai permanent resident. This is almost always required before applying for full citizenship in the country.
Although this may sound like a very complicated and expensive process, it is not so distinct from obtaining citizenship in other countries.
There are many sections to this process that can all be discussed individually. Overall, the application process will cost you around 7600 THB (250 USD).
You must have a history of paying your taxes in Thailand with tax records of up to three years back showing your income at different intervals.
Qualifying for citizenship means that you have to earn at least 80,000 THB in a job or make 30,000 THB if you are married.
You must have been working in Thailand for at least three years before you fill out the application. Keep in mind that officials will be checking your company’s validity for fraud.
You can obtain citizenship by investing 10 million THB into a Thai company. However, you must have a work permit and work in the same company.
One of the most critical factors of citizenship and permanent residency is language. You must be able to speak and understand Thai as a panel of government officials will interview you. However, you do not need to learn how to read and write the language fluently. (Source)
Is It Easy to Get Citizenship or Residency in Thailand?
It is relatively difficult to obtain Thai citizenship as, 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.
However, compared to other countries, Thailand is more straightforward in terms of how long it can take to get citizenship. The process of Thai Citizenship can take between 6-12 months.
Germany, for example, requires five years of tax payments and makes it mandatory that you can also read and write the German language.
However, countries like the UK and USA can be more straightforward if you speak English. In that case, you must show records of tax payments, carry work permits for a specific amount of years, or be married for two years.
To summarize, Thai citizenship may not be the easiest for foreigners and is a rather lengthy process. However, in the long run, it is worth all the hard work and pressure. Citizens of Thailand can be blessed with many opportunities to invest in Thai businesses, buy property, and apply for jobs in the country.
Get Ready for Thai Citizenship
As a foreigner, you get Thai citizenship if you 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.
As long as you don’t hold a criminal record, do not relinquish your dream of becoming a Thai citizen.
Nonetheless, keep in mind the lengthy process and money involved within the 6-12 month process. Like many other countries, citizenship and permanent residency are lengthy games. The process may seem complicated, but it will definitely be worth it once your citizenship is approved.
If you are keen that, as a foreign resident of Thailand, you can commit to tax and income rules or wish to marry within the culture, then start your application process today and be optimistic that you could call Thailand your home soon!
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