Permanent Residency in Thailand

February 16th, 2011

Thai law states that anyone who was born to a Thai father or a Thai mother inside or outside the country can obtain Thai nationality.

A Thai national married to a foreign national keeps their Thai nationality unless they decide to formally give it up. The spouse of a Thai national can apply for Thai residency and then full citizenship.

Applying for a Residential Permit in Thailand

Those wishing to apply for permanent residency in Thailand need to contact the Thai Immigration Bureau and make an application for a residential permit, also known as a residence permit.

Only 100 people from each country can apply for permanent residency in Thailand each year. It is not an easy process but it is possible for those who fulfil all the criteria. If the number of the applicants from a certain nationality is high a new ratio may be set.

Each year, normally between October and December, the Thai Interior Minister announces that applicants will be considered until the end of the year. Application must be made to the Immigration Bureau. For full details on the conditions that the applicant must meet either contact the Immigration Bureau or see their website and click on “Criteria and conditions for foreign nationals’ residential permit consideration”:

  • Bangkok Immigration Office (Immigration Bureau)
    : Chaengwattana Building B, No. 120, Moo 3, Chaengwattana Road, Tungsonghong Sub-District, Laksi District, Bangkok 10210
    Tel: 02 141 9889 / 1178
    Fax: 02 143 8228

  • Open: Monday to Friday 08:30-16:30
  • Map and how to get there
  • For information on the documents required for the various residential permit category applications: Click here

For citizens of Laos, Cambodia and Myamar:

  • Immigration Bureau
    At: Soi Suan Plu, off South Sathorn Road, Bangkok 10120
    Tel: 02 287 3101-10
  • Open: Monday to Friday 08:30-16:30 (closed on official holidays)

Permanent residency categories

The following is a list of categories under which a person may apply for permanent residency:

  • Investment purposes
  • Employment
  • Humanity – supporting wife and/or children who are Thai citizens
  • Expert or academic research
  • Other reasons, decided on a case to case basis

The Immigration Bureau provides detailed information: Click here

Some of the requirements that must be satisfied

Depending on the category of application there are different requirements to satisfy. To be eligible to apply for permanent residency a foreigner should be able to show the following:

  • That they have stayed in Thailand on a Non-Immigrant visa that has been extended over a period of at least three years. At time of application they must have a legitimate Non-Immigrant visa.
  • That they have no criminal record: fingerprint and identity information will be handed to the Thai police. A certified letter from the applicant’s Embassy that the applicant has no criminal record is also needed
  • The applicant must provide information regarding income, assets, knowledge, vocational ability, family status, criminal record, and anything else regarding their current situation in Thailand
  • The applicant is required to be able to understand and speak Thai

In addition, each applicant must have qualifications based on the criteria of the category under which they have filed their application.

Evaluation of Applications

Applications are evaluated based on some or all of the following criteria:

  • Income
  • Assets
  • Investment in Thailand
  • Knowledge
  • Vocational ability
  • Family status: marriage to a Thai national
  • Retirement status
  • Criminal Record
  • Others: based on the current economical and social situations

Having said all the above, applicants may possess all the qualifications and yet their application may be rejected. The final decision will be based on economic, social, and political factors and what is decided by the Ministry of Interior and Immigration Committee. If an application is rejected, according to Thai law, there is no obligation to disclose the reason.

People Who May Not Enter Thailand

According to the Thai Immigration Law, there are people who may not enter Thailand or be granted permanent residency:

  • criminals
  • those with certain diseases or health conditions
  • those who have intentionally broken Thai immigration law
  • those who have been deported
  • those with not enough money
  • those whose presence is a threat to Thailand

These people will not be allowed to gain permanent residency:

  • Anyone who has been sentenced to imprisonment, unless the offence was minor
  • Anyone who cannot earn money because of mental or physical disability
  • Anyone suffering from the following diseases (unless the applicant is the parent, spouse or child of a person living in the country and that person can support the applicant):
    • leprosy
    • tuberculosis
    • elephantiasis
    • narcotic addiction
    • alcoholism
    • tertiary syphilis

When a foreign citizen has been granted Thai permanent residency for a period of five years, they may apply for naturalisation.

Applicants must:

  • Have full legal status in Thailand and their home country
  • Show good behaviour with no convictions
  • Have excellent Thai language skills
  • Be employed and paying all legal taxes

The application must be filed with the Special Branch Police Division of the police department. A Naturalisation Committee will evaluate the application, and the Interior Ministry will announce the final approval. The process takes up to three years.

Reproduced courtesy of Angloinfo

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