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dbrenn

Story Of My Thai Citizenship Application

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Congrats! The fact that you were able to wait it out shows you have what it takes to be Thai.

Are you okay, mate? :)

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On the subject of the new requirement to renounce existing nationality, the Special Branch is giving new applicants the attached letter template as an example of what is expected. Basically, the applicant is now required to substitute his/her own details into the letter and and sign/notarise the declaration at the embassy. Whether or not there is a legal mechanism to enforce such a declaration and subsequent renunciation of original nationality is open to question.

Submission of this letter is required before the Special Branch forwards the completed application to the Interior Ministry.

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Edited by dbrenn

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It is not a renunciation, only a declaration that you intend to renounce your own nationality. Intentions can change and some nationalities you can't renounce as some countries simply don't allow it.

But is sure shows that they want you to renounce your old nationality when you want to become a Thai citizen, as many countries do when you want to opt for their nationality.

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On the subject of the new requirement to renounce existing nationality, the Special Branch is giving new applicants the attached letter template as an example of what is expected. Basically, the applicant is now required to substitute his/her own details into the letter and and sign/notarise the declaration at the embassy. Whether or not there is a legal mechanism to enforce such a declaration and subsequent renunciation of original nationality is open to question.

Submission of this letter is required before the Special Branch forwards the completed application to the Interior Ministry.

Thank you very much for posting this, dbrenn. :)

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It is not a renunciation, only a declaration that you intend to renounce your own nationality. Intentions can change and some nationalities you can't renounce as some countries simply don't allow it.

But is sure shows that they want you to renounce your old nationality when you want to become a Thai citizen, as many countries do when you want to opt for their nationality.

That's my take - the letter is simply a statement of intention at the time of writing, but you can always change your mind.

Actual renunciation (of British nationality) involves a lodgement of a form and subsequent process that is not referenced in the letter.

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So far this declaration is all that is required but the Interior Ministry will follow up by informing your embassy, if and when your Thai citizenship comes through. For nationals of certain countries this will likely lead to the automatic revocation of your original nationality, if you don't do it voluntarily first, e.g. China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Japan and this case probably covers well over half the applications for Thai nationality. For many, for example, Indians, Singaporeans and Malaysians, it may not even be viable to try to maintain their original nationality, as their laws are clear cut and their immigration officers are draconian about examining passports for evidence of a second nationality. For Indians, on the other hand, it is not a big deal as they are entitled to Overseas Indian Citizenship which not really citizenship but is a stamp in the passport that entitles them to permanent residence and full investment privileges in India as if they were still Indian (all rights except voting). Nationals of Taiwan, Bangladesh and Pakistan are allowed to obtain a second nationality but most Asian countries do not permit it. There are very few non-Asians applying for Thai nationality and some farang countries, e.g. most of Northern Europe excluding France and the UK, do not permit a second nationality by naturalization either. This being the case, the shadowy Interior Ministry mandarins may feel the latest move is sufficient to protect national security. If they wish to go further and require evidence of actual renunciation, it is possible that amendments to the Nationality Act would be required that would also affect Thais naturalized as something else and luk kreung. My guess is that it will always be easier to let sleeping dogs lie and leave things ambiguous and open to various contradictory interpretations which seems to be the position most favoured by Thai law makers. Unfortunately the case of Thaksin and his Montenegrin citizenship may have a bearing on this. No doubt government lawyers have been poring over the Nationality Act to see if they can revoke his Thai citizenship and make him ineligible for political office.

Edited by Arkady

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I wonder with some concern how this Declaration of Renunciation might affect those who have already applied for Thai citizenship. Take me, for example - I applied in May 2007 and my application was officially submitted to the Interior Ministry in July 2007. I had my formal interview with the Interior Ministry in July 2008. Since then, almost three years since my application, not a peep.

I wonder how, if at all, the Declaration of Renunciation will affect my application. Will I be required to submit such a declaration in the future even though it was not a requirement when I submitted my application? Any thoughts?

I am an Australian citizen. I was told by the Special Branch that I scored 92 points on my original citizenship application in 2007 - not that that has any bearing on this issue.

Edited by TheChiefJustice

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Sorry if this has been answered elsewhere, but I can't seem to find it. What does it mean to say that those married to a Thai are exempt from the Thai language requirement? Does that just mean you don't have to sing the songs and take the tests, but you lose those possible points? Or do you automatically get those points without doing anything?

Confused, thanks for any clarification.

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What does it mean to say that those married to a Thai are exempt from the Thai language requirement?

I haven't heard about that. All your interviews are in the Thai language.

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?

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.

Your link is in Thai language. Any english version? Many thx.

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This is from a post earlier in this thread by Arkady.

"Juat learned from Special Branch that the Ministry of Interior now requires applicants to sing the National and Royal Anthems from memory without looking at cheat sheets and they are also more serious about singing them right without mistakes in the words or the notes and knowing the meaning. The good news, however, is that, if you are married to a Thai national, you no longer have to sing them at all or do the Thai language tests at Police HQ or the Interior."

Just wondering what it means to not have to sing the songs or take the Thai tests. As I asked before, does that mean you get the points anyway?

-Ed

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This is from a post earlier in this thread by Arkady.

"Juat learned from Special Branch that the Ministry of Interior now requires applicants to sing the National and Royal Anthems from memory without looking at cheat sheets and they are also more serious about singing them right without mistakes in the words or the notes and knowing the meaning. The good news, however, is that, if you are married to a Thai national, you no longer have to sing them at all or do the Thai language tests at Police HQ or the Interior."

Just wondering what it means to not have to sing the songs or take the Thai tests. As I asked before, does that mean you get the points anyway?

-Ed

It later turned out that Special Branch will still let you sing from a sheet but the Interior Ministry now expects applicants to sing from memory when they go before the committee at the ministry. Applicants who have Thai wives may now opt not to sing, read or write but of course, they cannot expect to get any points for these tests, if they decline to take them. I am pasting a post of mine from another recent thread (http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/Thai-Nationality-Application-t371416.html&st=25&gopid=3671668#entry3671668)that relates to this question, in case any one is interested.

"I have done this recently at Police HQ under the new points system that came in in March this year. Now there are 15 points for knowledge of Thai language, compared to 10 before. 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. Under the 2008 Nationality Act you are exempted from the requirement to have knowledge of the Thai language, if you are a married to a Thai citizen. They will still assign you a score for your speaking and understanding but the reading, writing and singing tests are optional. In fact they may assume you don't want to do them. So make sure you let them know you want to do the optional tests. The singing is done in front of the boss who also interviews you with your Thai wife, if you have one. He lets you sing from whatever song sheet you want but warns you that you will have to sing without a crib sheet at the Interior Ministry, under the ministry's new (unwritten) rules. If you are fairly confident in your Thai and singing, you should certainly do the full Thai tests. I got the full 15 points which I am sure does no harm, even if it doesn't speed things up for you.

For the speaking and understanding I was not set any special tests. I had had several meetings with the officer handling my application by then and she assigned me points based on those conversations. The reading and writing is quite easy. There is also no set format. They will usually ask you to read aloud some documents they have at hand that will probably be to do with applications for Thai nationality. Likewise the writing will probably be some simple things to do with nationality, the police, special branch etc. Of course, it may be different in each case because it is up the officer. The new general knowledge of Thailand test (10 points) is compulsory for all applicants. It is a multiple choice set format but I believe the questions are changed regularly, so applicants can't pass on the information. Again there will probably be some questions about the process for applying for citizenship, as well as probably about the Royal Family, system of government and general questions about Thailand. If you can't read, you can have the questions read out to you but it is much easier if you can read them for yourself. The Thai is medium level and requires some knowledge of basic formal Thai and rajasap. Hint 1: bone up on the Nationality Act and the Interior Ministry guidelines on applying for Thai citizenship in the original before you go for this test; hint 2 take your time and read all the choices before answering because there is often a false friend that looks right at first glance but isn't. This test is probably the hardest part of the testing at Police HQ and requires the most advanced knowledge of Thai in my opinion, even though it is not specifically part of the Thai language requirement but that is not much different than what is required by Western countries these days. There is another 5 points for personality which I believe is assigned by the boss based on your interview. They will tell your points in the tests. I didn't ask what I got for personality but things seemed to go well. Most of the other points you can work out for yourself, if you read the guidelines as they are pretty clear based on length of PR, age, education level and salary. I got just under 90."

Edited by Arkady

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I noticed a letter in the Bkk Post today from a well known Thai businessman suggesting that the Interior Ministry should review the Nationality Act with a view to stripping Thaksin of his Thai citizenship now that it has been confirmed by Montenegro and Thaksin himself that he is a naturalized Montenegrin. The letter quoted a former dean of the Thammasat U law faculty saying the Nationality Act provides for the revocation of Thai citizenship of Thai who has acquired another nationality by naturalization. He was presumably referring to Section 22:

"A person of Thai nationality who has been naturalized as an alien, or who has renounced Thai nationality, or whose Thai nationality has been revoked, shall lose Thai nationality."

This is poorly written (perhaps deliberately) which leaves it ambiguous. While it appears to provide for revocation of Thai nationality, it stops short of saying that Thais who naturalize as aliens shall automatically have their Thai citizenship revoked. The Foreign Ministry interprets it to mean that reouncing Thai citizenship is voluntary and goes out of its way to renew passports for Thais living overseas who clearly have another nationality. Immigration interprets it to mean that it is illegal for those naturalized as aliens to retain Thai nationality and sometimes gives them a hard time entering the country. The Interior Ministry once asked the Foreign Ministry to provide it with lists of Thais known by Thai embassies abroad to have been naturalized as aliens with a view to announcing the revocation of their Thai citizenship in the Royal Gazette, although that was in the early 70s. I don't know of any more recent interpretation from the Interior Ministry but that doesn't mean there hasn't been one. (See this thread for more discussion on this topic: Immigration Directive Regarding Dual Nationality - Thailand Forum

I have been expecting the Thaksin case to produce sentiment of this type and wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Interior Ministry coming out with a new interpretation of the Act that would allow the revocation of Thaksin's Thai citizenship, or even amending the Act to remove all ambiguity over dual nationality. This would not really affect Thaksin too much. He would face three possible scenarios: 1) he stays abroad and doesn't need his Thai nationality anyway which is currently useless to him without a passport, while Montegrin passports provide more visa free travel anyway; 2) he stays abroad for a long time but eventually gets a pardon and comes back as an elderly man and is allowed a fast track naturalization as a Thai on the grounds that he is a former citzen, although naturalized Thais are not permitted to hold public office; and 3)Pheua Thai forms a government and annuls the revocation of Thaksin's citizenship by the Abhisit government and restores his citizenship and political rights. Losing his Thai citizenship would not hugely inconvenience Thaksin under any of these scenarios, although he would understandably not be happy about it. On the other hand, reviewing or amending the Nationality Act in such a way simply to spite Thaksin would cause a great deal of grief to thousands of other Thais who have been naturalized as aliens. Perhaps the fact that the government was too scared to strip Thaksin of his police rank can be taken as sign in this respect. In fact he retired from the police as only a lowly captain and spent most of his service studying abroad or moonlighting and running his own businesses. The promotion to Lieutenant Colonel occurred when he became prime minister many years after his retirement from the police and, as such, one would have thought it would be logical and simple step to strip him of his rank or just bust him back down to Captain. Worst of all would be, if the Interior Ministry amended the law and took action against just about everyone else but left Thaksin unscathed out of fear of reprisals.

Edited by Arkady

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