Many people look forward to living in Thailand forever. Being a desirable destination in terms of food, climate, culture, nature, and people, many people desire to reside here permanently.
One of the easier solutions to stay longer in Thailand indefinitely without a Visa and the hassle of documentation is to get a Thai PR (Permanent Residency).
After living for a considerable number of years on an eligible visa, you can apply for a Permanent Residency which will enable you to live in Thailand permanently without having to worry about renewing a visa or getting a visa extension.
A Thai Permanent Residency is a viable long-term option for expats living in Thailand in the following cases;
- You are not married to a Thai Citizen or cannot procure a Thailand Citizenship through a relationship to a Thai Citizen. In which case, a Thai Permanent residency is a must before being eligible to apply for Thai citizenship.
- Your country doesn’t allow you to hold dual citizenship. If you do not want to give up on your current citizenship, a Thai Permanent Residency can be the optimum solution for you.
Benefits of having a Thai PR
Following are some of the benefits of having a Thai Permanent Residency –
- Be able to work without a Non-Immigrant B Visa, just need a work permit.
- Once you have obtained a Thai Permanent Residency, you can reside here permanently and don’t have to go through the cumbersome process of extending your visa every year.
- You are permitted to purchase property in Thailand without having the funds transferred from abroad.
- You can obtain an Alien Registration Certificate.
- If you have a Permanent Residency, your children will get Thai citizenship.
- You can hold the position of Director in a public company.
- After five years of obtaining a Thai Permanent Residency, you can apply for Thai Citizenship.
- By holding a PR, you can extend the visa of your non-Thai family members.
- Holding a PR allows you to register your house in the blue Thai House book, also known as Ta-Bian-Ban.
- However, it is essential to note that you will have to apply for a re-entry permit if you leave and wish to re-enter Thailand.
What are the different ways to get Thai PR?
There are various categories through which one can apply for a Thai PR.
Please note that the Permanent Residency quotas that the government of Thailand is limited to 100 per year per country. Hence it is important to update yourself about review dates and quotas before applying for a Permanent Residency.
Now, looking at the various categories of Permanent Residencies, these are various approaches you can adopt to apply for a Thai PR according to your circumstances;
Employment (Work/Business): This category applies to people who are working/holding jobs or running a business permanently in Thailand.
Investment: This category applies to people who are or are seeking to invest in a Thai business operation.
Humanity/family: This category applies to people married to a Thai citizen or whose parents are Thai citizens.
Expert: This applies to individuals who are experts in a certain field and have been contributing to Thai society for a considerable number of years.
Others: This category includes other categories determined by Thai immigration.
How to become eligible according to the different criteria to get Thai PR
While seeking to apply for a Thai Permanent Residency under various categories, you must meet eligibility under any criteria to be eligible for applying. Here are the various conditions you must meet under each category to apply for a Thai PR.
To be eligible under this category, you must meet the following criteria;
- You need to have held a Thai work visa for a minimum of three years.
- At the time of application, your stay must have been extended based on employment.
- Similarly, at the time of application, you must have worked in your current company for a minimum period of one year.
- Your monthly salary for two consecutive years should be a minimum of 80,000 Baht. Or, you need to have filed a tax return amounting to at least 100,000 Baht for two consecutive years.
Under this category, to be eligible to apply for a Permanent Residency, you should have invested a minimum amount of 3 Million Baht in a limited or public company in Thailand.
To be eligible under this category, you have to be a close family member of a Thai citizen. “Close family member” includes the relation of a parent, child, or spouse.
To be eligible under the expert category, you must have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree. In addition, you must be employed in a position where you have worked for a minimum period of 3 years.
The Immigration Department specifies this category and requirements.
Documents required to get a Thai PR
A set of documents is required when applying for a Thai PF. Of course, the documents depend on the type of visa held during the time of application and the category for which you apply.
Here is a rough list of documents you need to gather before applying for a Thai PR.
- You will need your passport along with the photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport. This includes; the personal information page, issue, expiry date, Previous Thai Visas, along with entry and exit stamps.
- Recent (taken within the last six months) passport size pictures. The pictures need to meet the following specifications;
- Dimensions of 4 x 6 cm
- Photos must have a white background
- You should be looking ahead with a neutral facial expression.
- Your entire face needs to be visible (e.g., you should tuck your hair behind your ears)
- An application for the Permanent Residence (TM9). The form needs to be filled out properly and signed.
- Your House Registration Book (Yellow Tabien Baan) along with copies of the same.
- A copy of your Work Permit.
- A Certificate of Work Background. This certificate is issued by the Alien Occupational Control Division of the Department of Employment.
- A Copy of your monthly income tax form/return.
- A copy of your financial statements, such as balance sheets, profit, and loss statements, etc., of the previous three years.
- You should also have the fee for application processing ready when you apply.
- Any documents that the Immigration Department requires you to submit. The Immigration Department, as per their discretion, can demand any additional/supplementary documents.
It is important to note that the documents required depend upon the category you apply to and the circumstances. The above list is a general idea, and additional documents may need to be complied with depending upon circumstances.
Also, many of the documents you have to submit must be legalized both by your embassy as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok before submission.
Process for applying to obtain a Thai PR
The Royal Thai Immigration Commission processes the applications for Thai Permanent Residency. The application and review period for Thai PR applications is usually from October to the end of December every year.
However, it is important to note that the annual quota for granting permanent residency in Thailand is only 100 per country per year. Hence it is best to stay updated about the dates and apply the soonest as the quota is filled up.
To apply for a Thai Permanent Residency under any category, make sure that you comply with the following criteria.
- You must have held the same non-immigrant visa for at least three years before submitting the application. It is crucial to note that holders of multiple non-immigrant visas are not allowed to apply.
- In order to meet the requirements for application, one must have three consecutive yearly visa extensions.
- You must hold a non-immigrant visa at the time of submitting your application.
- You must fulfill the criteria of any one category, whether it works/business, investment, humanity, or expert, as explained in detail in the above paragraphs.
You have to apply for a Thailand Residence Permit at a local Thai Immigration Office. The application process is explained in the following steps.
Step 1 – Get Under Quota
You must first get under the quota. The quota can be found in the government gazette publication.
Step 2 – Submit Application within Period
File the application during the review period. The application period usually starts from October until December. After the quota is posted, you are eligible to submit an application until the last working day of that year.
Step 3 – Hold Non-Immigrant Visa
Make sure you hold a non-immigrant visa prior to application. This non-immigrant visa should be held with three consecutive yearly extensions in order to be qualified to apply for a Thai PR. If you are a holder of multiple non-immigrant visas, then you will not qualify.
Step 4 – Contribute to Thailand
The Immigration Commission will assess a variety of factors when evaluating your application. Offering a tangible contribution to Thai society in the way of income, knowledge, expertise, personality, or other factors will count in your favor and increase the chances of your application being accepted.
Step 5 – Maintain Clear Criminal Record
Your criminal record should be clear. The criminal records of everyone of age 14 years and above will be checked before being considered for residency. Along with this, you will also need to supply a copy of your fingerprints to be checked by the Criminal Records Division. Your passport will be scanned to ensure that you don’t fall under the list of “prohibited persons” or that you are not someone under a foreign warrant.
Step 5 – File Under One of the Eligible Criteria
Meet an application status category. The various categories, details, and criteria are explained in detail in the above paragraphs.
Step 6 – Consult experienced Personnel
Although it is not required to go through the immigration process with a lawyer, consulting with a lawyer can ease your process greatly. Lawyers can particularly aid you if you need to have numerous documents translated into Thai.
Step 7 – Apply at the Ministry of Interior
To file your application with the Ministry of the interior, you need to go during business hours and bring all your application documents. You also need to submit a complete application, including a photocopy of your lease agreement and TM3 form. Also, carry multiple copies of your passport page.
Step 8 – Stay updated
It would also be a smart decision to check the immigration website and stay updated with the changing application requirements before heading to the office. Once you have submitted everything, you will be given a receipt. This receipt will be necessary when you go to pick up your residence certificate.
Step 9 – Interview with Immigration Officers
After this, you will most probably be asked to sit for an interview with the immigration officers. The officers will evaluate your understanding of the Thai language through this interview. The interview will also be a procedure to cross-verify the information provided in your documents. Make sure to avoid a negative impression and arrive for your interview on time. After the interview in the end, you can also request the officers for a printed transcript of your answers.
Step 10 – Take Residency Test
Now the next step for you is to take the multiple-choice residency test. You will also be required to complete a short test composed of questions written in Thai. Be informed that you can request a question translation as well from a Thai immigration officer. You will be asked to step into a separate area when the testing phase is done. You will then be placed in front of a camera and record a short introductory statement in Thai.
Have all the native language documents certified? All of your foreign language documents must be certified by your national embassy. They will also require to be translated into Thai as well. Be aware that these processes may take months, depending upon the workload in the embassy.
Step 11 – Submit additional Documents (if needed)
If additional documents are required, you will be requested. Provide supplemental supporting materials. To increase the chances of your application being accepted, you are permitted to submit additional documents supporting your character. For example, you could add reference letters from other Thai citizens. You can also attach membership papers for charitable or non-profit organizations. This is the opportunity to show the best side of your personality.
Step 12 – Pay Fees
Finally, pay the application fee. Along with your application, you will need to pay a non-refundable fee with your application. This fee may vary somewhere around 7,600 baht ($220). Once your permit is granted, you will need to pay another fee of around 191,400 baht ($5,500). The fees fluctuate yearly, so make sure to check before applying.