Immigration & Global Mobility

Thai Citizenship

Obstacles to foreigners in Thailand may be mitigated with permanent residency, and then completely eliminated with naturalization to Thai citizenship. Among the benefits of obtaining Thai nationality is the ability to own more than 49% of a Thai company’s shares; the right to own land and property; relief from the documentary burdens of Thai immigration procedures; the ability to work in Thailand without a work permit; and easier access to bank products.

For applicants domiciled in Bangkok, applications for naturalization to Thai citizenship start with the Special Branch of the Royal Thai Police, and then proceed to the Ministry of Interior for consideration and approval.

Requirements for eligibility will depend on the applicant’s circumstances. In most cases, unless the applicant demonstrates a strong relationship with Thailand (i.e. marriage to a Thai national, having children with Thai citizenship), they will need to have permanent residency and reside continuously in Thailand for at least five years.

If the applicant is applying for naturalization via the permanent residency route, they must meet the following criteria:

1.   A legal adult under both Thai law and the law of the applicant’s country.

2.   Has demonstrated good conduct in respect to criminal records, political actions, and behavior involving drugs.

3.   Has a stable career. The applicant must have a work permit from the Office of Work Permit or the Provincial Office of Employment and a minimum income that meets the following criteria:

3.1.   If the applicant does not have a strong relationship with the Kingdom of Thailand, he or she must have an income of at least 80,000 Baht per month.

   To meet this criteria, the foreigner must submit an income certificate together with documents showing that he or she has paid personal income tax for more than 3 years, or documents which show that he or she has paid personal income tax for an income of at least 100,000 Baht in the year prior to filing the request for naturalization to Thai citizenship.

3.2.   If the applicant has a strong relationship with the Kingdom of Thailand (e.g. marrying a Thai national, having a child with Thai citizenship, or graduating from higher education in Thailand), he or she must have an income of at least 40,000 Baht per month.

   To meet this criteria, the foreigner must submit an income certificate together with documents showing that he or she has paid personal income tax for more than 3 years, or documents showing that he or she has paid personal income tax for an income of at least 50,000 Baht in the year prior to filing the request for naturalization to Thai citizenship.

4.   Have permission to reside in the Kingdom of Thailand under Immigration Act B.E. 2522. To prove such, the applicant must submit a Certificate of Residence, a Certificate of Foreign Identity, or Civil Registration (tabien baan) (Tor.Ror.14).

5.   On the date of filing the request for naturalization to Thai citizenship, the applicant must have been continuously domiciled in Thailand for at least 5 years (i.e. permanent residency).

   This is certified by a Certificate of Residence, a Certificate of Foreigner Identity, or Civil Registration (Tor.Ror.14).

6.   The applicant must demonstrate Thai language proficiency. He or she must be able to speak, listen, and understand the Thai language, and also be able to sing the Thai National Anthem and Thai Royal Anthem.

Some requirements are reduced in special cases, such as marriage to a Thai spouse. For instance, in the case of an applicant who is the husband of a Thai national, the marriage must be legally registered for at least three years, and the applicant must have resided continuously in Thailand (certified by either Tor.Ror.13 or Tor.Ror.14).

For more information on the requirements for Thai citizenship, please contact one of our consultants at info@mahanakornpartners.com.