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dbrenn

Story Of My Thai Citizenship Application

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^ Very welcome, sir. I've forgotten to write that I was allowed to use one particular existing Thai name and that was my wife's family name. I haven't chosen for that. My wife and I went to a temple and asked the abbot to "design" a name for me. Another thing I want to share is that I was told by the amphur that the surname cannot consist of more than eight syllables.

Good luck in finding a good Thai surname.

Edited by aidenai

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I read through all the info on this site and on one point I am still not quite clear as reports seem to be contradicting:

Is it a requirement to have permament residency status to apply for Thai nationality?

I am already living in Thailand 5 years and I have had yearly VISA extensions 4 times already, plus a work permit. The VISA I had was always a Non immigramt B visa.

Now on some posts I read that this would be sufficient to apply but on other posts I read that only a permament residency will work and that even non immigrant B visas for 5 years straight is not enough.

What is correct now? Can I apply or not?

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Contact Police Headquarters and ask your question there. They can give they only definite answer, as they will have to accept the application.

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I read through all the info on this site and on one point I am still not quite clear as reports seem to be contradicting:

Is it a requirement to have permament residency status to apply for Thai nationality?

I am already living in Thailand 5 years and I have had yearly VISA extensions 4 times already, plus a work permit. The VISA I had was always a Non immigramt B visa.

Now on some posts I read that this would be sufficient to apply but on other posts I read that only a permament residency will work and that even non immigrant B visas for 5 years straight is not enough.

What is correct now? Can I apply or not?

Assuming you dont have a thai parent, and your a foreign male - i am pretty sure you need a PR first. My advice, go for your Tabien Baan now so your proof residency is clicking along while you do ur PR which will take yonks. ( married western ladies different rules - there were some TV'-ers going to launch a Class Action suit on discrimination or something of the sort...... fizzled quickly :) )

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Selection of Thai Name:

I am supposed to select thai name.......... i heard some where now you can keep your same name, just in thai lettering, and others tell me it has to be a Thai Thai name i.e. Somchai Nattakul or something to that effect.

Any one know the rules now?

Some say you can use your foreign name while others say you can't. It might depend on province and Amphur.

I've applied in August 2009 and was requested to select a Thai name. It wasn't an easy task as it had to be a non-existing Thai surname. The first time, each of the four chosen surnames were rejected by the Amphur. The second time, a new surname was accepted and registred at the Amphur. With the letter of registration I went back to the Police HQ for further proceedings.

Same happened to me - I had to select a Thai name when applied. When my citizenship was granted, however, my original name was retained with no further reference to the Thai name that I had previously selected. When I asked about it, I was told that the rules had changed - if I wanted to change my name I cold do it, but only as an additional step at the Ampher (in the same way that the Thais do)

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I read through all the info on this site and on one point I am still not quite clear as reports seem to be contradicting:

Is it a requirement to have permament residency status to apply for Thai nationality?

I am already living in Thailand 5 years and I have had yearly VISA extensions 4 times already, plus a work permit. The VISA I had was always a Non immigramt B visa.

Now on some posts I read that this would be sufficient to apply but on other posts I read that only a permament residency will work and that even non immigrant B visas for 5 years straight is not enough.

What is correct now? Can I apply or not?

The latest Interior Ministry guidelines have just been posted on Special Branch's website http://61.90.151.131/upload/pb/naturaliziation.pdf. Check them out. I have only had time to glance at them but noticed two things immediately: they have posted the application form for the first time, although they in fact fill this in for you with the information you provide; very importantly the allocation of the qualifying points seems to have changed significantly, e.g. the points for knowledge of Thai have been increased from 10 to 15 and the points for residence have been increased from 10 to 20, making 35 for these two categories (I haven't identified what has been reduced yet).

Under the latest system you will unfortunately get nil out of 20 for your residence. I think it starts starts with 5 points for those with a tabien baan but no cert of residence or alien book for more than 5 years and the max of 20 goes to those with full PR documentation for 10 years. There is no way to earn points just by being in Thailand on a non-imm visa.

For more specific questions about your case, if you are interested to apply at any time in the future, please go and ask at bdg 24 National Police HQ. They are pleased to answer all enquiries and the answers are often not what you would imagine. If you learn anything new, please share it here.

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OK. Here is the outline of the new points system.

March 2010

1 Age & Education 25

1.1 Age 10

1.2 Educational Level 15

2 Security of Profession 25

3 Residence in Thailand 20

4 Knowledge of Thai Language 15

5 General Knowledge about Thailand 10

6 Personality 5

Total 100

Before March 2010

1 Age & Education 25

1.1 Age 15

1.2 Educational Level 10

2 Security of Profession 35

2.1 Income 10

2.2 Tax Payments 25

3 Residence in Thailand 10

4 Relationships with Thailand & Thai People 10

5 Knowledge of Thai Language 10

6 Personality 10

Total 100

What has changed?

1. Points for residency have increased from 10 to 20. A perfect 20 requires 10 years with all PR documents. 5 years with a tabien baan but without PR gets you the minimum of 5 points. 10 points for 5 years with PR and 15 points for 7 years with PR. (Nil for time with only non-imm visa and work permit.) I am not sure yet whether a yellow tabien baan counts here. I have a feeling that the previous guidelines specified a Thor Ror 14 (blue tabien baan) in another part of the text but I haven’t checked through the whole 34 pages yet.

2. Points for Thai language have been increased from 10 to 15 and now include points for ability to read and write. You get 8 points for being able to speak and understand Thai, 2 points for being able to sing the National and Royal Anthems, 2 points for being able to read Thai and 3 points for being able to write it. Previously there were 5 points for speaking and understanding Thai and another 5 for being able to sing the two anthems.

4. Points for age and education are unchanged at 25 but the emphasis has been reversed so that 15 points are awarded for education and 10 for age, while it was previously the other way round. You now get the maximum of 10 points for being aged 41 to 50, 8 for being 51 to 60, 5 for being over 60 or 31 to 40 and 2 for being 20 to 30. Education points are now: up to Mor 6 or Por Wor Chor 3 points; equivalent to Higher National Diploma or Junior College 5 points; Bachelors Degree 8 points; Masters Degree 10 points; Doctoral Degree 15 points.

5. Security of profession has been reduced from 35 to 25 points and it is now based on either monthly salary or tax paid, whereas there were previously 10 points for salary and 25 for tax paid. Max 25 points are awarded for salaries over B100k for those with no relationship with Thailand and B60k for those with Thai wives or children and graduates of Thai universities. Minimum 15 points are awarded for a salary of 80k for those with no relationship with Thailand and B40k for those who have one.

6. The 10 points for relationship with Thai people have been eliminated. 5 points used to be awarded for working in Thailand which was superfluous, since all applicants must have a job. There used to be another 3 points for having a Thai wife and 2 more for one or more Thai children. On the other hand salary requirements are still lower for those with Thai family and I think the numbers on this are unchanged.

7. The personality points have been reduced from 10 to 5. I think these are awarded after the interview with the head of the Special Branch Naturalization Office.

In conclusion it looks as if the ministry is trying to eliminate a lot of the points that most applicants could get by falling off a log and have put more emphasis on knowledge of the Thai language and Thailand and the all important permanent residency. Needless to say the test on general knowledge of Thailand is conducted in Thai and would need a pretty good knowledge of Thai. Most countries require a fairly lengthy period of residence and knowledge of the language and culture for citizenship and it is hard to fault them for these changes, although some might argue that it has become harder to accumulate the points for years of PR, since the logjam appeared in the processing of PR applications. However, I think that has to be considered as a separate and hopefully temporary issue. Probably the final pieces are falling or have fallen into place to implement the exemptions given to applicants with Thai wives in the 2008 Nationality Act. Certainly those with Thai wives are already able to opt not to sing the anthems which are now only worth 2 points anyway but it looks as if it would be a struggle for someone without PR, poor Thai and no PhD to get the minimum 50 points required. If you include the general knowledge test and the personality interview, there are now 30 points that depend on Thai language skills. Thus some one with a Thai wife but no PR, no Thai and no PhD could not score more than 45 points. However, good Thai language skills could theoretically carry some one without PR through and it is my guess that is the way they have decided to play it and who could blame them, even though knowledge of Thai is no longer required by the Nationality Act for those with Thai wives. The new requirement for the embassy certified declaration of intention to renounce existing nationality, if approved for Thai nationality, has already been discussed in this thread although it still remains unclear to me how the ministry intends to implement this. More may be revealed in the body of the text when I get round to reading it.

Edited by Arkady

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A big thank you for your efforts so far in helping others with the right information. Well done!

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Oh, and another change I have spotted is that the application fee for nationality has just gone up from B5,000 to B10,000 and the fee for a naturalization certificate from B1,000 to B500, as permitted by the 2008 Nationality Act but not hitherto implemented.

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The information from Arkady is very useful indeed, but also suggests that PR is not a requirement for citizenship if one can amass enough points in the other categories. I did a quick tally of my own score and still got a result in the high sixties whilst working on the assumption that my 8 years in Thailand counts for nothing because I do not (yet) have PR. (I scored highly for my education, age, security of profession, Thai language skills etc)

I wonder how 'set in concrete' the PR requirement really is (for a male). Is there any male on Thai Visa who has acquired Thai citizenship without first having PR?

Simon

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I have now finished reading all 34 pages that are on the Special Branch website. Here are my addional comments.

One mistake: the reference to the fee increase I spotted on first glance through is actually from the Nationality Act with 2008 amendments which is quoted in full but the guidelines still tell applicants to bring along a fee of B5,000. Thus I assume the increase to B10,000 allowed by law has still not been implemented.

An extra clause has been added expanding on the concept of the embassy certified declaration of intention to renounce existing nationality, if approved for Thai nationality, that appeared for the first time in the 14 Oct 2009 guidelines. The new clause says that the Interior Ministry will officially inform embassies of successful applicants that they have been granted Thai nationality. In the case of applicants from countries with no diplomatic representation in Thailand, the Foreign Ministry will inform the successful applicants' governments directly. This requirement will definitely kill off applications from people from countries that don't allow dual nationality who are unwilling to renounce their existing nationality and may reduce the already moderate workloads of the Special Branch and Interior Ministry officials considerably.

Interestingly a new clause has appeared at the end of the list of required documents warning applicants not to believe any one who claims they can help them acquire Thai nationality or speed up the process in exchange for payment in addition the application fee prescribed by the Interior Ministry. Anyone approached in this way is required to report such incidents to Special Branch for investigation and criminal prosecution.

There is now a specific set of guidelines for those applying under Section 11 of the Nationality Act which, as amended in 2008, includes males with Thai wives who are exempted from knowledge of the Thai language and 5 years' residence in the Kingdom. They must have been married for at least 3 years or 1 year, if they have a child from the marriage (this is the same as the requirement for foreign women married to Thai men). The wording on the required immigration status is unfortunately a little ambiguous. They are required to have been granted permission to reside in the Kingdom according to immigration laws and the wording for "permission to reside" is "anoyaat thin thi yuu" which is the same wording used for "permanent residence". However, unlike the requirements for applications under Section 10 (including those without a Thai wife) the clause does not go on to say that the "permission to reside" must be evidenced by a certificate of residence (bai samkan thin thi yuu), alien book or blue tabien baan (TR14). It simply says that applicants must be registered in a yellow (TR13) or blue tabien baan (TR14). I consider this somewhat ambiguous because a woman with a Thai husband applying under Section 9 is only required to be registered in a yellow or blue tabien baan with no specific requirement to have "permission to reside" (anoyaat thin thi yuu). I think "thin thi yuu" here could perhaps be interpreted as non-imm status but this very important point needs clarification from Special Branch by interested applicants.

Assuming the above to be the case, it is perhaps possible that applicants would get 5 points for being on a yellow or blue tabien baan for 5 years without having PR. The points guidelines don't specify that the tabien baan must be a TR14 blue tabien baan and, in any case, some people living in properties owned by their Thai wives have been able to get in blue tabien baans from enlightened district officers. Bear in mind here, that it is a new requirement of the 2008 amendments to the registration law that district offices are required to register every one living in the Kingdom, whether permanently or temporarily, in tabien baans, even tho many district officers have either not read the new law (or the old ones for that matter) and just do whatever they feel like. The law states that all PRs must in blue tabien baans but, as far as I know, it doesn't state that non-PRs cannot be in blue tabien baans, although non-PRs will certainly only be issued yellow books, if they are registered as the "householder" (jao baan). Being on a tabien baan is unequivocably a requirement for all applicants, including women married to Thais, as is making regular charitable donations to registered Thai charities over a period of years for all male applicants.

Simon43, I am assuming you are married to a Thai, in which case I think you may be on the right track.

Edited by Arkady

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First of all, a big thanks to Arkady for what seems to me a lot of work!

Secondly, a request for a couple of clarifications?

My interest in citizenship ended when I read about the need to supply a letter renouncing your original citizenship when/if Thai citizenship is granted. In the post above it now seems that the Thai government may simply inform your government that you have been granted Thai citizenship. Does that mean you no longer need to renounce your original one if your country allows dual nationality (I'm British)?

Also, having been married to a Thai for coming up to 6 years, with a child, but still waiting for my PR (applied in 2006), does that mean I now may not even need to wait for my PR to be granted to meet the residence qualification?

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