If you ever wondered how to be a Thai citizen, I think this article will answer all your questions.
Apparently, there are multiple ways of doing this. There is the Thai way, if you are in fact a Thai person, but for whatever reason, you never receive your Thai citizenship.
Maybe you moved overseas when you were a child and then later decided to come back. If that’s the case, I’ll talk about this later, and then there is another way if you are a farang (foreigner).
If you’re a foreigner and want to know how to obtain a Thai citizenship, read here.
I don’t know any farang personally that became a Thai citizen. Apparently, it’s possible but it seems to be very time consuming and you will need a lot of qualifications. Qualifications like reading, writing and speaking Thai. I’ll talk more about that later in this article.
I don’t think you need a lawyer to do this, if you can read, can follow instructions and have all the requirements. You can simply do everything yourself without a lawyer. But if you have the money and want someone to hold your hand, then by all means, get a lawyer who knows what they’re doing.
But really, it is not easy to become a Thai citizen. If you are a farang, if you’re not born in Thailand, and none of your parents are not Thai. If that’s you and you go to the wrong lawyer and you tell them you want to be a Thai citizen. They might laugh at you.
After you read this article, you will find out why they might laugh.
This article is just my thoughts, my firsthand experience and opinion. I want to share my firsthand experience with everyone and then maybe you can have a better understanding about the process, especially if you’re thinking about and wanting to be a Thai Citizen.
When I say I have firsthand experience with this, I mean I know someone who grew up in North America then went back to Thailand to become a Thai citizen.
Benefits to be a Thai citizen
- No Visa: You don’t need a visa to enter Thailand. You can stay in Thailand as long as you want.
- No Visa Run: You don’t need to do a visa run going in and out the country. This will save you a lot of time and money.
- 100% Ownership: You can buy land, a home and start a business under your name. You do not need a Thai person to help you. 100% of the land, home and business will be under your name.
- Run For Office: You can even run for political office, if you want.
- Work: You can work as a tuk-tuk driver or any other type of work in the country without a work permit.
Those are some of the major benefits I can think of, but for me, the biggest benefit is not worrying about your visa and needing to do visa runs. Some people don’t mind this, some might even look forward to their visa runs as this give them an excuse to go out of the country and do something different.
If you’re not born in Thailand, just don’t think too much about it. Even people who are born in Thailand but whose parents are not Thai. It’s still very hard to become a Thai citizen because many illegal immigrants come to work in Thailand and have given birth in Thailand, but since their parents are not Thai, their child will not be Thai.
It’s not America where anyone born in America is an American because of the 14th Amendment with a few exceptions. In Thailand, it’s not like that.
If you were born in Thailand and at least one of your parents is Thai, then it is possible to get Thai citizenship this way.
I know this Thai person, let’s call this person John, who was born in Thailand. John’s parents are both Thai. But when John was little, he moved overseas and never got a chance to get a Thai Citizenship.
John came back to Thailand and wanted to stay in Thailand long-term and did not want to worry about his visa. So he asked one of his parents to help him get all the documents to get his Thai citizenship (the Thai ID Card).
How did John get his Thai citizenship?
First, John went to the immigration office or the city hall in the town or city where he was born because that’s where all his records can be found.
The documents John needed to apply for Thai Citizenship, and to get the Thai ID card are the following:
*the immigration office or the town hall in your birth place can give you more information on this.
- Birth certificate in Thailand.
- Land Registry or the home registry (Tabien baan) of John’s parents. When someone is born in Thailand, their name will be in the home or land registry. If someone does not own a land or home, then they won’t have this.
- Bring one of the Thai parents. It doesn’t need to be mom or dad, it could be one of the Thai siblings or a close blood relative.
- Need a senior level Thai person to come and say he’s Thai. This can be someone in the family who held a senior level position in the town, such as a teacher, doctor or businessperson or a regular person who is well-known in the area.
Speak and understand Thai. I’m not talking about knowing some basic Thai phrases and counting up to 100 in Thai. I’m talking about fully understanding and speaking Thai. For example, if you can watch the Thai news and understand over 80%, then you should be good. John didn’t have to know how to read or write Thai.
Some people got their Thai citizen without knowing how to speak or write Thai as long as they have other requirements.
Once John has all the documents and hands them over to the Thai official in the city hall, he will need to go to a hospital to do a DNA test to see if John’s DNA matches the Thai relative he brought with him.
This is not just any hospital to get a DNA test, this is a government hospital in Bangkok and he’ll have to pay for the DNA test. I’m not sure how much it cost but it was not cheap, maybe a few hundred US dollars and it will take a few months to get the result.
The result is mailed by the hospital directly to the place where John was applying for his Thai Citizenship.
This DNA test is not necessary if the entire documents match. The DNA test is required solely at the discretion of the Thai official in charge.
You can see you can’t fake this. The birth certificate can’t be fake since the Thai official will have a record of it when you were born, the same with the other documents.
The Thai official will look it up and match all the documents with their records. Since John was born many years ago without computer records, they still have the documents on file and can look them up manually.
You don’t need all the documents. Some people do not own a home or land and do not have a Land Registry (Tabien baan). Some may have lost their birth certificate, or lost it in a flood or fire. Some people may not have both and are able to get a Thai Citizen just by doing a DNA test and because they can speak Thai.
One last thing, once John got the DNA test result and everything matches, the Thai official will ask John if he has other citizenship with another country. The Thai law allows only one nationality; Thai citizen cannot have dual citizenship.
Although, I know many farangs have children here and their children have dual citizenship, I also know many adults with dual citizenship and they don’t have any problem.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the links and information provided and I cannot guarantee anyone that applies will become a Thai citizen. Use the information at your own risk.