As more and more western expats plan on spending the rest of their lives in Thailand, the thought of getting Thai citizenship becomes important. Having Thai citizenship means no more work permit problems, no more visa runs, you’re allowed to buy property in Thailand, own any business and no job is closed to you. Getting Thai citizenship however is a complicated procedure that takes between 3-5 years to actually get. So, for many expats, it just becomes too difficult. However, if you’re interested in applying for and getting Thai citizenship, it actually doesn’t have to be that difficult. Just follow all the requirements the Thai authorities ask for.
Can You Get Thai Citizenship and Keep Your Own? – In most developed countries, you can have dual-citizenship so, for instance, if you have US, UK, Canadian, Australian, French citizenship etc. you can hold Thai citizenship too as the Thai government does not ask you to renounce your original citizenship either.
First Requirement of Getting Thai Citizenship – The most basic requirement for applying for Thai citizenship is you must already have Permanent Residency in Thailand. If you don’t, you will have to apply for that, and then live in Thailand paying taxes for at least five years, before you can apply for Thai citizenship.
Other Requirements for Applying For and Getting Thai Citizenship – You must be at least the age of majority at the time of application for Thai citizenship, be of good character, be employed in Thailand, be able to furnish at least three years of tax filings in Thailand, have lived in Thailand for at least five years, and be able to read, write, speak and understand the Thai language.
What Documents Are Required for Thai Citizenship? – As the documents that are required can change, it’s best to pick up a checklist of requirements from the Criminal Investigation Division Group. You will need to complete the application form, get all the photos required, plus submit all of the documents required on the list, most of them with applicable photocopies all certified and signed.
How Much Is The Application Fee for Thai Citizenship? – The current fee for application for Thai citizenship is 5,000 baht (approximately $163), although it can change so check before you apply. This fee must be submitted with your application form along with all required documents.
Other Requirements? – Once your application for Thai citizenship has been lodged, there will be a lot of waiting. Eventually, you will be asked to appear at the Interior Ministry for a Thai test. If you pass the Thai test, you will wait again for several months, before being asked to come back to the Interior Ministry where you will have to sing the Thai National Anthem and the King’s song (Phra Baramee). You will have an interview at this time. Thai officials will also visit your residency to ascertain if the details you submitted on your application form are correct.
Eventually, if you are going to be granted Thai citizenship, you will receive a letter saying so (or a letter declining you if not) and the King of Thailand will sign your application. Then you will be expected to appear at your local police station dressed well and with certain Buddhist paraphernalia (candle, flowers and incense) for the swearing in ceremony. At this time, you will swear allegiance to the King and to the country of Thailand. This, however, is not the end as you will have to wait after this (possibly for a few more months) to receive word from the Ministry of the Interior that your Thai citizenship has been awarded.
From start to finish, the Thai authorities approximate it will take between 1-5 years to be granted Thai citizenship. So, the total process from applying for Permanent Residency to full Thai citizenship is approximately 5-10 years. Thai citizenship is not a simple thing to gain but, for more and more expats, it’s becoming something they would like to have as they find their allegiances switching from their country of origin to Thailand.
For more information and the checklist of documents required for Thai citizenship, contact Criminal Investigation Division Group I, Subdivision 3, Police Department, Rama I Road, in Bangkok.