Thailand is often identified as a top tourist destination and rightly so because it plays host to among the world’s best beaches, has such unique history and culture and it is home to among the friendliest people.
These qualities of Thailand made the country very endearing to many tourists and extended staying non-immigrants so much so that some may even be considering to become permanent residents of the Kingdom.
Gaining permanent residency in Thailand provides numerous benefits for the grantee such as Thai nationality for the grantee’s children born in Thailand and purchasing a condominium unit without the need to bring in funds from another country.
So is it possible for a foreigner to become a permanent resident on Thailand?
And if you are among those who are looking forward on becoming a permanent resident, then the most straightforward answer would be yes, it is possible but it would not be as easy as you may expect it to be.
Certain prerequisites must be satisfied first before you will be granted with permanent residency.
What You Have To Know:
Make sure that you are qualified based on the following:
- You should have been granted three (3) years of continuous stay in Thailand on a non-immigrant visa which was renewed each year.
- By the time of your application for permanent residency, you must be a holder of a non-immigrant visa.
- Various documents relative to what is required according to the category where you belong.
- You are not an individual who is prohibited (Section 44 of the Immigration Act) to receive permanent residency due to imprisonment per court judgement either in Thailand or at another state or if you are mentally challenged or if you are suffering from a certain disease prescribed upon by the Ministerial Regulation.
- And other qualifications based on: level of income, assets, health status and relationship with a Thai national, communication skills (speaking and listening) and other qualifications in line with the government policy.
You should at least belong to a category and you should know that each category do have different sets of required documentation as well as application fee schedule:
- Investment – you must be able to produce at least 10 Million THB to invest to a limited or public company, stock market, state-issued security or state enterprise.
- Employment – you must be an executive of an enterprise registered in Thailand which have the capitalization of at least 10 Million THB. You should also earn at least 50,000 THB a month for two (2) years (must be consecutive) before the submission of your application.
Another option within the same category is that you must be an income earner of at least 80,000 THB per month for two (2) consecutive years, you have been granted work permit for at least three (3) consecutive years and has been an employee of the current company for at least a year.
- Humanity – you must either be a spouse, parent or a child of a permanent resident or a Thai citizen.
- Expert – you must be a holder of a Bachelors degree or a higher degree with your current post requiring you to be assigned and work in Thailand for three (3) consecutive years.
- Other circumstances – you belong to neither category stated above by which will be in case to case basis only.
If you are qualified basing on the mentioned qualifications then you will have to pay the following:
- Application Fee – 7,600 THB is to be paid when the application is submitted and is non-refundable.
- If approved, there will be additional payments that you have to pay (for the residence book):
- 95,700 THB if you are a child who is below 20 years old, a spouse of a Thai national or of a foreign permanent resident.
Section 41 of the Immigration Act authorizes the Ministry of Interior to set the quota for each nationality and this will be announced through a publication at the Royal Thai Gazette.
The quota will not exceed 100 per nationality per year or not more than 50 for stateless persons per year.
Extension of Stay
If you have filed an application for permanent residency in Thailand, the immigration officer will grant you an additional 180 days as extension of your stay in Thailand starting on the date when you submitted your application.
You can also be granted with another 90 days until such time when the Immigration Commission announces whether your application has been accepted or not.
If your application has been approved, you will be given with an appointment card for an interview with the immigration officials.
When you received such notice, you will have to attend the interview on the scheduled date otherwise your application will be cancelled if you do not have a valid reason for your absence on the said date.
Such interview will involve testing your ability on listening (understanding) and speaking the Thai language therefore your skills on the Thai language is highly valuable.
Granting permanent residency status to someone with a criminal past is not an option for Thailand therefore you will have to expect that you will be checked for criminal records both within Thailand and in the country where you are from. Also, a check with the Foreign Affairs Division will be done to ascertain whether there are or there are no standing warrants against you abroad.
What You Need To Do:
Gaining ample knowledge on how to become a permanent resident in Thailand is, ideally, not enough.
For proper gathering and preparation of the needed documents, for the review of the whole application, for proper communication and understanding of the applicable laws, rules and procedure in applying for permanent residency, it is highly advisable for you to consult with a law firm with vast experience on the Thai immigration law and immigration services.
This move will help you minimize the risk of submitting wrong documents or in misunderstanding a procedure that may even spell the cancellation of your application.
Remember, an annual quota is involved therefore you have to make sure that everything is in place by the time you have submitted your application for permanent residency.
See also Thai Permanent Residency page on the ThaiEmbassy.com.