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Thailand - Citizenship

Gaining Thai citizenship is not easy, and for this reason many people opt to apply for permanent residency instead. In recent years the rules have been relaxed a little but it is still not easy to achieve and can only be given to those who meet certain criteria.

In the first place the applicant must have been living and working in Thailand for a minimum of 3 years prior to the application. There is also a requirement to be able to speak basic Thai and understand a minimum amount of the language. You may also be asked to sing the national anthem. There should also be proof that you have been paying taxes in Thailand for at least 3 years. If you are married to a Thai citizen this can help to speed up the process and will be in your favour.

It is also essential that you show that you have no criminal convictions and that you have conducted yourself well while you have been in Thailand. There are a number of checks that are carried out including your political background, checks for convictions concerning drugs and your general criminal record. You must be at least 18 years of age and be considered an adult in your home country.

You must have a minimum income of 80,000 THB each month, although if you are married to a Thai citizen or have had a child born in Thailand then this is reduced to 30,000 each month. There is a requirement to attend an interview and there may also be a written test.

When you make the application you are given points for each category. The Age and Education section is worth up to 25 points, the Occupation section is worth up to 35 points, there is 10 points available based on your length of residency in the country, 10 points for your knowledge of the Thai language and you can even earn 10 points for your personality. In order to be considered for citizenship you must achieve a minimum of 50 points. In addition to this you should also be able to provide 2 references as to your good behaviour and your assets and you cannot be related to these people.

There are numerous organisations that can help you with your application to become a citizen but you are able to do this yourself. You need to supply a certain amount of documentation including five copies of each of the following: your passport, documentation which confirms your address in Thailand, your work permit, your house registration document (if applicable) and your marriage registration (if applicable). All documents need to be in Thai and any translation costs are the responsibility of the applicant.

In addition to these you need to supply ID and house registrations of those who are acting as your references. If you are married to a Thai person or have a baby born in Thailand then you need to supply birth certificates, ID cards or passports of family members. Tax documentation is also essential and if the applicant has been a director or partner in a business then documentation which shows that business taxes are paid is also essential. Two copies of all company documentation are required.

If you are employed then you need two different documents from the employer showing the occupation and salary details are needed, and these must be signed by a person in authority within the organisation. Educational information is also needed as well as similar information for the children in the family, if applicable.

In addition to the financial information already presented you will need to present information on your bank accounts, which should contain a minimum of 80,000 THB. You may also be asked to present evidence that you have made donations to charity. These should show that you have donated in the past and not just in time for the citizenship application. You will also need 12 photographs which measure 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches and which show the applicant smartly dressed.

When you make the application you need to go along to the naturalisation office of the local police department in person. There is also a fee to be paid at the time of the application. The fee is reviewed regularly. All documentation is passed on to various departments to be checked. There is no set timetable for checks, it will vary according to workload. Even if you meet all the criteria, there is no guarantee that you will be accepted for citizenship.

If you are successful with your application to become a Thai citizen then you will be entitled to all the benefits of a natural born Thai citizen. You will no longer be seen as a foreigner and benefits include the ability to purchase land, property and business and put it in your own name, no requirements for visas and you will be able to have a Thai passport.

There is no requirement to give up your current citizenship while in Thailand although your home country may expect you to give up your original citizenship if you take on Thai citizen status.

Useful Resources

Thailand Immigration Office

Read more about this country

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