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Story Of My Thai Citizenship Application

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1. Will they follow up and require proof of renunciation within a certain period after they issue the certificate of naturalization, or even before it can be issued?

2. Will they require affidavits and/or proof of renunciation from applicants awaiting approval who applied under the previous regulations?

3. Will Immigration be instructed to try to catch naturalized Thais using another passport

This is indeed very bad news for anyone considering to apply, and we will have to see how these new rules are actually implemented. Certainly this will be a big disappointment to many people, who will no doubt be deterred from applying at the thought of having to renounce their original nationality.

More interesting, as you point out, will be the mechanism by which embassies handle this new requirement, and what effect (if any) it will have on pending applications.

On your question of whether immigration will be instructed to catch dual nationals, there are so many Thais in high places that would be affected ....

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1. Will they follow up and require proof of renunciation within a certain period after they issue the certificate of naturalization, or even before it can be issued?

2. Will they require affidavits and/or proof of renunciation from applicants awaiting approval who applied under the previous regulations?

3. Will Immigration be instructed to try to catch naturalized Thais using another passport

This is indeed very bad news for anyone considering to apply, and we will have to see how these new rules are actually implemented. Certainly this will be a big disappointment to many people, who will no doubt be deterred from applying at the thought of having to renounce their original nationality.

More interesting, as you point out, will be the mechanism by which embassies handle this new requirement, and what effect (if any) it will have on pending applications.

On your question of whether immigration will be instructed to catch dual nationals, there are so many Thais in high places that would be affected ....

Thanks for your interesting reply about middle names. I also have two which guarantees confusion. One of them was spelled by Immigration with a mai ek that probably shouldn't be there in my residence book and I often have to ask for documents to be corrected to be in line with the official Thai spelling of my name.

I also doubt that this will be implemented strictly by Immigration, unless there are more specific legal changes, but it would be a sword of Damocles hanging over anyone who has been made to pledge to renounce his former nationality as part of the naturalization process. Without a change in the Nationality Act, the Thais in high places should not be materially affected because there is no way their nationality can be revoked, if they are Thai by descent from Thai parents, although they and thousands of look krung might get harrassed by Immigration. Since COEs are no longer available, I wonder if Brits can get multiple year tourist visas in their Thai passports with minimum hassle.

I expect many people will lose interest in applying, as soon as they see the new requirement and the intention may well be to appear more liberal and less discriminatory towards women through the letter of the statutory law, while in practice using the small print of ministerial regulations as a means to raise the bar very significantly and discourage applications. As you say, we will have to see how embassies respond. It might end up being a catch 22 where Special Branch won't accept the application without a binding renunciation document that embassies refuse to provide without a letter confirming that Thai citizenship has been approved subject only to this last document. Then the application process would have been successfully shut down. More likely though some kind of non-binding affidavit will be available at most embassies that will be acceptable to the Interior Ministry, since only evidence of the intention to renounce is required, and. Then, if any one still has a mind to proceed, we will have to see if another regulation comes out requiring an official renunciation certicate before the Thai naturalization certificate can be issued, or soon afterwards.

Edited by Arkady

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Then the application process would have been successfully shut down. More likely some kind of non-binding affidavit will be available at most embassies that will be acceptable to the Interior Ministry and, if any one still has a mind to proceed, we will have to see if another regulation comes out requiring an official renunciation certicate before the Thai naturalization certificate can be issued.

To put this into context one only has to consider recent events. Since 2006, before the military coup, no PR applications have been approved - people are applying and being held in limbo, but are not getting PR. In addition, the age-old practice of visa running has become all but impossible, back-to-back tourist visas are being phased out and a varety of new regulations governing foreign ownership of businesses has been introduced.

I think it's a shame. As you say, the requirement to renounce original nationality will effectively shut down the application process. Most people I know like yourself who were procrastinating applying for Thai citizenship were expecting it to get easier, when in fact the opposite has happened.

Just an aside, and just my opinion, I always find it rather ironic to see so many farangs in favour of the new government, when that very same government makes it so historically difficult for them to remain in Thailand.

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The right to vote illustrates another example of patchy implementation of the Thai Nationalty Act, which states that a naturalised Thai is not entitled to vote until he or she has held Thai citizenship for five years.

I was rather surprised to find that my name was placed in the electoral roll by my Ampher, effectively giving me the vote. The Ampher, it seems, either does not know the rules, or there is no mechanism to query the Ampher database in a way that prevents the names those Thais who have been Thai for less than five years from being transferred to the electoral roll.

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Why the distinction between naturalised Thais and Thais by birth? If you have dual citizenship the law should apply equally. The new regulation is clearly discriminatory and I would suggest in conflict with the Constitution.

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Why the distinction between naturalised Thais and Thais by birth? If you have dual citizenship the law should apply equally. The new regulation is clearly discriminatory and I would suggest in conflict with the Constitution.

Thais by birth (in Thailand to two alien parents - most were born before the change in the law in 1971) and naturalized Thais are actually in the same boat in that their Thai nationalilty can be revoked under the Nationality Act. The law makes no provision for revocation of nationality of Thais by descent (born to a Thai parent or parents anywhere in the world). Many people have pointed out that this inconsistent with the constitution which provides for equal treatment of all Thai citizens. But the constitution itself is flawed in this respect as it doesn't allow naturalized Thais to vote for their first five years or hold public office ever. NGOs, in particular, have complained that the Thai citizenship grudgingly handed out to hill tribe people born in Thailand is a second class citizenship at variance with the constitution because it can be revoked at the discretion of the minister without judicial process for vague things like behaviour endangering public morality or national security. Hill tribe people are particularly vulnerable as they are often forced by poverty to do things like prostitution that would clearly fit the bill. The Nationality Act has I think since the first one had the provisions for revocation of nationality, including the clause about use of a former nationality. So it will be argued that they have not changed the law but have just fine tuned the ministerial regulations to better enforce the law and protect national security. I happen to agree with you that countries should only have one class of citizenship but unfortunately discrimination against naturlized citizens is rather common throughout the world. The Philippines has recently enacted to permit dual citizenship to Filipinos born to Filipino parents but not for naturalized Filipinos and even the US does not permit a naturalized American to be president.

Edited by Arkady

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Then the application process would have been successfully shut down. More likely some kind of non-binding affidavit will be available at most embassies that will be acceptable to the Interior Ministry and, if any one still has a mind to proceed, we will have to see if another regulation comes out requiring an official renunciation certicate before the Thai naturalization certificate can be issued.

To put this into context one only has to consider recent events. Since 2006, before the military coup, no PR applications have been approved - people are applying and being held in limbo, but are not getting PR. In addition, the age-old practice of visa running has become all but impossible, back-to-back tourist visas are being phased out and a varety of new regulations governing foreign ownership of businesses has been introduced.

I think it's a shame. As you say, the requirement to renounce original nationality will effectively shut down the application process. Most people I know like yourself who were procrastinating applying for Thai citizenship were expecting it to get easier, when in fact the opposite has happened.

Just an aside, and just my opinion, I always find it rather ironic to see so many farangs in favour of the new government, when that very same government makes it so historically difficult for them to remain in Thailand.

It really seems to be one step forward and 15 steps back. The only real improvements over the last decade or two are: the end of tax clearance to leave the country; multiple re-entry visas; the one-stop service (but now only for directors or heads of dept of large companies only); right of Thai women to pass nationality on to their children; right of Thai women married to foreigners to buy land. The last two are huge improvements and do indirectly benefit foreign men married to Thais but that was unintentional and there are now even signs of backtracking on the land issue. Against that we have: revival of an anachronistic revolutionary decree requiring 90 day reporting; reduction of transit visas to 14 days for surface arrivals; systematic plugging of all loopholes for visa runners; regular changes of the regulations for retirement and marriage visas that seem cynically designed for the sole purpose of catching people wrong-footed;400,000 baht required in bank account for renewal of non-imm visa (just reported by some one in TV, altho it might just be the work of a rogue official); syphilis tests for new work permit applications; various crack downs on part foreign owned companies that might be in contravention of the archaic Foreign Business Act and Land Code; and finally the pantomime of accepting PR applications for four years, subjecting them to ever more onerous requirements, including piles of notarized documents, a real language test, DNA tests for their Thai children etc, and just leaving them in limbo without any indication of when or if they might ever be approved. In addition, I haven't heard of any nationality applications have been approved since the Sarayudh government cleared the backlog in 2007. I am wondering if there is a connection between the new requirement for citizenship and the PR freeze. Both come from the top levels of the Interior Ministry which may well be happiest with a situation where both the PR and naturalization processes are effectively shut down but they can continue to pretend they still exist and smilingly hand out and receive back piles of meaningless bumpf from hopeful foreigners. An ideal solution for national security and public morality perhaps in their eyes.

Edited by Arkady

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Posts have been deleted. This thread is a discussion about obtaining citizenship and the requirements to do so. Please do not clutter it up with off topic discussions regarding why anyone would want it, voting etc. Please feel free to PM someone or start another thread but lets keep this one on topic, cheers.

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Maestro, it is a new ministerial regulation from the Interior Ministry dated 14 October 2009, a two page document updating the guidelines on applications for naturalization and the list of documents required...

Thank you for this information. So it’s for real, from the Ministry.

Have you got a digital camera? With your scanner on the blink, photos of the pages of the Ministerial Regulation could serve as an interim measure.

--

Maestro

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This new development is very disturbing, indeed. I applied for Thai citizenship two years ago and am still waiting. I wonder whether this new requirement will apply to those who have already applied and who are still waiting, like me. Will they now require me to renounce my Australian citizenship. If so, this whole process has been a complete and utter waste of time!

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I also applied for Thai citizenship about two years ago and am still waiting. I just had my secretary ring up Special Branch to find out what this new requirement is all about. The answer she got was that it's nothing to worry about and it is not intended to change the status quo: you can hold Thai citizenship concurrently with the citizenship of any other country that allows dual citizenship. I didn't get a very clear answer about what the exact point of the new requirement is, but it seems to be aimed at citizens of countries that do not permit dual citizenship: if you get Thai citizenship, then Special Branch will so inform the embassy of the country of your existing citizenship.

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I haven't heard of any nationality applications have been approved since the Sarayudh government cleared the backlog in 2007. I am wondering if there is a connection between the new requirement for citizenship and the PR freeze. Both come from the top levels of the Interior Ministry which may well be happiest with a situation where both the PR and naturalization processes are effectively shut down but they can continue to pretend they still exist and smilingly hand out and receive back piles of meaningless bumpf from hopeful foreigners. An ideal solution for national security and public morality perhaps in their eyes.

My citizenship was one of the backlogged ones that was cleared by the post-coup Surayudh government in 2007. However, it had already been approved by the pre-coup Interior Minister (Kongsak Wanthana) and also sanctioned by HM the King before the coup took place. In considering what action the Surayudh government actually took, we have to bear in mind the major steps in the citizenship approval process. which are:

1) Approval by the Interior Minister <---- you get a letter telling you this

2) Sanctioning by HM the King <---- you are invited to take the oath once this step is complete

3) Enacting into law by the Interior Minister <---- This was the part only that Surayudh's post coup government did in clearing the backlog

Given the unheard of four-year wait for PR applications, and the fact that no citizenship applications that I am aware of have even passed the first step since 2007, I concur with you that it very much looks like the Interior Ministry does want to stall the PR and citizenship processes.

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So basically it is only a notification that you are applying for the citizenship of Thailand.

Would be nice if someone can post a scan of, or link to, the new regulation.

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So basically it is only a notification that you are applying for the citizenship of Thailand.

Would be nice if someone can post a scan of, or link to, the new regulation.

I was in Siam Square today, and went to the Special Branch to see for myself the new set of (scanned and attached) requirements.

There is indeed an item 17 calling for a document from the embassy of original nationality, but when I asked the official what this actually meant, I got the following response:

1) The new checklist requirement came from the Interior Ministry, but does not reference any new regulations that they are aware of. As such, the Special Branch are still accepting applications without this embassy document, until such time as there is a change in the law itself that clarifies this matter. In a similar vein, there is a move to increase the application fee by the Interior Ministry to 10,000 (from 5,000) Baht, but since this has not appeared in the regulations yet the Special Branch are still charging the old rate (and it still appears on the checklist!)

2) Thai law does not forbid dual nationality, so the Special Branch have little idea why this new item appeared in the checklist. The Special Branch are of the opinion that the new item 17 may be there just to cover off the possibility of complaints from foreign countries in cases where Thailand grants nationality to a citizen of a country that does not permit it

3) As usual, the workings of the Interior Ministry are inscrutable to the Special Branch - as they always have been. While the Special Branch can accept applications without this embassy document, they can not guarantee that the Interior Ministry will process such applications. They see no reasion why not, because the regulations as they see them are unchanged, but they have no way of knowing for sure

4) The people at the Special Branch are of the opinion that applications that have already been submitted will not be affected.

All in all, a bit of a mess, and the Special Branch does not seen to know how applications that lack this embassy document will be viewed by the Interior Ministry.

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Edited by clockworkorange

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