It is a common perception amongst expats in Thailand that getting Thai Citizenship is next to impossible. Although it comes with some paperwork, getting Thai citizenship is very doable. For people who want to make Thailand their home, obtaining Thai citizenship for work, family or any other reason is definitely worth the process.
In this article, you will learn about the overall process and eligibility for applying for Thai citizenship.
Benefits of Thai citizenship
There are numerous benefits of acquiring Thai citizenship. It comes with various perks in addition to avoiding the huge administrative baggage of maintaining your stay. Some of the benefits of obtaining Thai Citizenship are;
- You can purchase property in your own name
- You don’t require a separate Work Permit to work
- You don’t have to go through the hassle of renewing your visa
- You can own more than Forty-Nine per cent of shares in a Thai Company
- You can enjoy banking products such as business loans and mortgages
- You don’t need to renounce your prior nationality (Unless your original country doesn’t permit dual citizenship).
In addition to this, living in Thailand is a great idea. A country with beautiful nature, international culture and very welcoming people in addition to amazing food and great housing options are pros of residing in this country.
Eligibility to become a Thai citizen
Any person desiring to acquire Thai citizenship should adhere to the following eligibility requirements;
- You need to reach a minimum age of 18 years old.
- You should have resided in Thailand as a Permanent Resident for at least 5 years before applying. Your residence over these years should be on the same type of visa that you have at the time of application.
- You should be employed in Thailand
- You should not have any criminal backgrounds involving crimes and actions of moral turpitude.
- You should be able to sing the Thai National Anthem Sanserm Phra Baramee.
- You should acquire at least 50 out of a total of 100 points on the Points Based System.
- The points above are calculated on the basis of age, education, security of profession, Thai language ability, general knowledge about Thailand, personality, appearance and the length of civil registration.
- You should be able to read, write and speak the Thai language.
You however need not fulfil the last point in the following cases;
- You are the spouse of someone who received their own Thai citizenship through naturalization
- You are the husband of a Thai wife.
- You once held a Thai citizenship
- You have been involved in activities for benefit of Thailand.
In the above cases, you are eligible to apply for Thai citizenship after 3 years of living on visa extensions without having obtained a Permanent Residency.
Documents required to become a Thai citizen
While the documentation required varies according to the circumstances, you can get a general idea of documents you don’t want to miss while applying for Thai citizenship;
- Copies of your passport
- Copies of your Alien Book
- Copies of your Residence Certificate
- Copies of the House Registration
- Copies of your Work Permit/s
- Pictures of yourself
- Documentation showing proof of having Personal Income Tax
- Document showing proof of employment along with company documents
- Marriage and/or birth certificates if you are married/have children
- Copies of the identity documents of two Thai citizens who can guarantee for you
- Any additional documents you are required to bring
It is to be noted that the specific Police Headquarters in which you apply for your citizenship is in charge of providing the complete checklist of documents. The officer’s handling your application may ask for any additional documents as they see fit as per your circumstances.
How to apply for Thai citizenship?
The processing time of obtaining Thai citizenship can range from six months to a year from the day you submit your complete set of documents. Police Headquarters and officials there are responsible for handling such paperwork and may ask for any additional documentation as they see fit depending on your circumstances.
The process is quite simple and can be understood in the following steps.
- Thai citizenship needs to be applied at the Special Division of the Police Headquarters in Bangkok or where you are living.
- You should approach the Police Headquarters when you decide you would like to apply for Thai Citizenship. This will be an unofficial meeting where you just drop at the Special Branch. There, you will be provided with a complete checklist of all the documents you are required to submit.
- After that, you need to gather all the required documents and submit them. If everything is not in order, you may be asked to submit additional documents.
- After all your documents are submitted and everything is in order, your Thai Citizenship application will be lodged. You will then have to pay the processing fees and provide your fingerprints.
- During this period, you will also be questioned about the reasons for your application etc. It is best to provide practical reasons instead of vague ones.
- You then have to visit the Ministry of Interior and enter an interview. The interview will be in Thai language and you will also be asked to sing the National Anthem. At this point, your documents will be cross-checked and their adherence to the Nationality Act will be verified.
- After this, your application will start to be processed. During this period, Thai immigration officers will come to your home to verify that the details you have provided are true. It is also important during this waiting period to maintain your employment status, marriage etc. so that you don’t have to face changes in documentation requirements.
- If your Thai Citizenship application is approved, you need to take the Citizenship Oath at the Police Headquarters.