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TinBKK

Thai Citizenship

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I am new here and was not sure where to start, so I am posting a new topic. I have read so much helpful information in this forum but I am just not sure how to conclude on them all. So I will start with my main question and follow with my story. Hope someone can give some advise. Any attention to this and help would be most appreciated.

Reading in this forum, i noted one person saying it is our resposibility to know the law, and that most low level officers at the police station, district office, immigration, do not know the law well. I feel like slapping myself in the face because i think i have made of big mistake and was majorly mislead. I also noted someone saying no government agency can denounce ones Thai nationality but can only be renouced by the person.

Question: What are the laws partaining to getting/losing Thai citizenship and where I may find these written laws thet are up-to-date and in effect?

My story is rather lonh, complicated, and unfortunate. Sorry for the very long story.

I was born on 16 JUL 1971 in Bangkok, and both my parents are Burmese nationals and were PRs at that and now.

I found out at a very late stage in my life that I was given Thai nationality at birth and had Thai passport when i was a little child. Some time after many years, my parents decided to not use the Thai passport but put me on my mother's passport as my father moved work to overseas, which later i was given my own separate passport - probable when i turned into teens. As I child I can't remember much but a quick recall of my life in terms of moving around - Europe, UK, USA, CANADA, Burma, Thailand, USA, and finally back to Thailand at the age of 24. My parents came back first - 2 years ahead, as I was still in Uni.

We were doing the regular visa stuff that immigration told my parents that I cannot apply for visa as a depedant of my father due to my age. Till this time, my father handled all these legal stuff, so i was clueless (spoilt) and had the faintest idea of handling the passport/visa processes. Anyhow, it is only at this time my mother feeling troubled for me and recalling my Thai nationality, told me about it. And perhaps I need not go through the trouble of doing the visa runs. I was having a hard time getting a job but I won't get into that. So I was doing anything to stay. I didn't want and couldn't live in Burma. It is just i don't know the culture, language, and most importantly, I dont have an ID - just passport.

The unfortunate part is my parents lost all the important documents regarding my birth and passport, etc. To cut the story short, i had managed to dig up

  1. a copy of my birth record at the district office, but no name on it (great).
  2. a letter from the hospital but again with no name as they did not keep a copy of the certificate. They can only state my parent's name and that they gave birth to a boy on so and so date.
  3. a lot of research and digging for the house registration, which was my big break. My name was recorded in the house registration. It has my birthdate, and noted as my nationality as Thai.
  4. I failed on the passport records because i was told that the ministry of foreign affairs does not keep records for longer than 20 years (lovely).

Now with these, i approached the district office where I found the house registration and ask for my Thai ID. I was quickly dismissed and was told I cannot do this. There were some discriminating remarks and words but I will not get into that. I tried another district office and again same scenario. We asked a family friend, a police office for advise and got as far as to getting me into the current house registration (yellow book) at Bangna district office. I gave up for awhile but i got back at it and this time the district officer told me I had to see this matter with immigration, where I was lead to the department of investigating nationality (pisoot sunchat). I went through a whole lot of stuff - including many interviews with my parents and I, DNA tests, lots of documentation, and a lot of waiting. I was also asked to be taken out of the house registration for reason of simply getting rid of that record. I have waited for 7 years - from start till end (the process was about 2 or 3 years), to be finally told that the interior ministry declared that i have lost my Thai nationality for staying out of the country under a passport of different nationality. But i have the right to ask for PR.

Following the immigration's instructions, I have gond to the police station and I now have the red book - Alien Certificate only but no blue book. I am now told by the police officer to get myself now into the house registration. I asked immigration about my PR and they said I am done, but if i want the blue book i would have to ask for it (kor). Not sure if it means apply for it. I am now confused.

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@TinBKK,

Take a look at the link below. Samran might be able to help out. It appears that he had successfully got his Thai citizenship.

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/thai-Apply-Citizenship-passp-t337391.html&gopid=3328230#entry3328230

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From the OP:

Question: What are the laws partaining to getting/losing Thai citizenship and where I may find these written laws thet are up-to-date and in effect?

The applicable law is the Immigration Act, plus Ministerial Regulations issued on the authority of this law. I have only the English translation updated with all amendments, not the original Thai text.

It seems that you have gone through all the right procedures and in the end received a decision from the Ministry of Interior. If that decision is in writing, it will probably cite the section of the Immigration Act on the basis of which you were denied the recovery of your Thai nationality. At a glance, section 17(2) or section 24 may have been used.

--

Maestro

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Maestro has spotted the section they have mentioned, but I suggest you could have also lost Thai nationality via section 21.

Section 21. A person of Thai nationality who was born to an alien father or mother and may acquire the nationality of his father or mother according to the law on nationality of the father or mother shall lose Thai nationality if the person obtains an alien identification card according to the law on registration of aliens.

You had Thai citizenship but then were registered as an 'alien' in Thailand, which is enough to forfeit Thai nationality.

Suggest you get in contact with a good NGO or lawyer familar with these issues to see if they can help.

Edited by samran

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So with Section 17 and 21, I am officially and legally not a Thai citizen. Perfect! This is exactly what I wanted.

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Thank all - Saman, Maestro, jjj for your comments and advise. With Maestros's attached english version. I guess it confirms i couldn't have done better. Immigration did lightly mentioned to me that I can ask to reclaim it again but after a certain period of time and not necessarily 3 or 5 years - I forget for the usual process after getting PR. So i guess I still got a chance and it not the end of the road for me.

So now I am having touble understanding the PR issue. If I got the red book (alien certificate), am I not suppose to get the blue book (certicate of residency)? Next week I will be doing the house registration - tabien bahn thing at district office.

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So with Section 17 and 21, I am officially and legally not a Thai citizen. Perfect! This is exactly what I wanted.

Not so fast, you are still Thai.

Section 17 says:

Section 17. With respect to a person who has Thai nationality, by reason of the person having been born within the Kingdom of Thailand to an alien father or mother, the person’s Thai nationality may be revoked if it appears that....:

This has to be read carefully. This clause only applies to a small % of people. Most people born in Thailand aquire Thai nationality because they were born to a Thai parent. In post cases a foreign parent can not pass on Thai citizenship to a child UNLESS they have PR. Section 17 specifically talks about children who were born in Thailand to parents with PR and aquired Thai citizenship as a result of their parents PR status in thailand.

As for section 21, this specifically talks about Thai citizens who obtain "an alien identification card according to the law on registration of aliens". This can only mean permanent residents, as it is only when you have PR does the Thai government issue you any form of Alien ID. So unless you have PR JJJ, I doubt this applies to you either.

As to the OP...having slept on it, I still think he has a claim to Thai citizenship, unless he has already been granted PR.

The reason is he was born on Thai soil pre-December 1971. Before that date, people who were born in Thailand aquired Thai citizenship by virtue of the fact that they were born on thai soil. Their parents status and nationality had nothing to do it. Do a search on member 'Arkady' who writes about the revolutionary decree by government in Dec 1971 which changed this.

So.... I think you should get a good laywer and fight to get, what in my estimation, is your unquestionable right. Due to your pre Dec 1971 status, section 17 doesn't apply, and section 21 wont apply unless you get PR issued.

Edited by samran

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Section 1717. With respect to a person who has Thai nationality, by reason of the person having been born within the Kingdom of Thailand to an alien father or mother, the person’s Thai nationality may be revoked if it appears that:

(1) The person has resided in a foreign country, of which the father or mother has or used to have nationality, for a consecutive period of more than five years from the day of the person became sui juris;

I resided in the USA (foreign country) since the age of 9 until 37.

(2) There is evidence to show that the person makes use of the nationality of the father, mother, or of a foreign nationality, or that the person has an active interest in the nationality of the father, mother, or in a foreign nationality;

It would be very hard for me to DISPROVE that I did not make use of the nationality of my father. And holding a US passport is an obvious indication that I have an active interest in a foreign country.

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Section 1717. With respect to a person who has Thai nationality, by reason of the person having been born within the Kingdom of Thailand to an alien father or mother, the person’s Thai nationality may be revoked if it appears that:

(1) The person has resided in a foreign country, of which the father or mother has or used to have nationality, for a consecutive period of more than five years from the day of the person became sui juris;

I resided in the USA (foreign country) since the age of 9 until 37.

(2) There is evidence to show that the person makes use of the nationality of the father, mother, or of a foreign nationality, or that the person has an active interest in the nationality of the father, mother, or in a foreign nationality;

It would be very hard for me to DISPROVE that I did not make use of the nationality of my father. And holding a US passport is an obvious indication that I have an active interest in a foreign country.

I don't think you understand me, the clause doesn't apply to you.

Sure you were born in Thailand with a foreign father and a Thai mother, but your father had nothing to do with giving you Thai nationality, which has to happen for section 17 to apply to you at all.

In your case, you are a Thai national BY REASON of being born on Thai soil (being born in Thailand pre-Dec 1971 if I remeber correctly). If you were born post 1971 you are Thai BY REASON of having a Thai mother.

Section 17 doesn't apply.

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So with Section 17 and 21, I am officially and legally not a Thai citizen. Perfect! This is exactly what I wanted.

Not so fast, you are still Thai.

Section 17 says:

Section 17. With respect to a person who has Thai nationality, by reason of the person having been born within the Kingdom of Thailand to an alien father or mother, the person’s Thai nationality may be revoked if it appears that....:

This has to be read carefully. This clause only applies to a small % of people. Most people born in Thailand aquire Thai nationality because they were born to a Thai parent. In post cases a foreign parent can not pass on Thai citizenship to a child UNLESS they have PR. Section 17 specifically talks about children who were born in Thailand to parents with PR and aquired Thai citizenship as a result of their parents PR status in thailand.

As for section 21, this specifically talks about Thai citizens who obtain "an alien identification card according to the law on registration of aliens". This can only mean permanent residents, as it is only when you have PR does the Thai government issue you any form of Alien ID. So unless you have PR JJJ, I doubt this applies to you either.

As to the OP...having slept on it, I still think he has a claim to Thai citizenship, unless he has already been granted PR.

The reason is he was born on Thai soil pre-December 1971. Before that date, people who were born in Thailand aquired Thai citizenship by virtue of the fact that they were born on thai soil. Their parents status and nationality had nothing to do it. Do a search on member 'Arkady' who writes about the revolutionary decree by government in Dec 1971 which changed this.

So.... I think you should get a good laywer and fight to get, what in my estimation, is your unquestionable right. Due to your pre Dec 1971 status, section 17 doesn't apply, and section 21 wont apply unless you get PR issued.

Thanks Saman for coming back on this again. So in my case, I better no push the PR issue as yet. I just checked the letter from immigration informing me of the denouncement of my Thai citizenship. My reading Thai is not great but I see they refer to section 20 which is then referred to section 19.5 which is a bit odd. Section 17 as JJJ mentioned seems to be more of the case, but who am I to argue on which section the interior minister quoted to immigration. I'll will see with a lawyer. Know any lawyer? Or if i do it myself, which government agency do i see?

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Thanks Saman for coming back on this again. So in my case, I better no push the PR issue as yet. I just checked the letter from immigration informing me of the denouncement of my Thai citizenship. My reading Thai is not great but I see they refer to section 20 which is then referred to section 19.5 which is a bit odd. Section 17 as JJJ mentioned seems to be more of the case, but who am I to argue on which section the interior minister quoted to immigration. I'll will see with a lawyer. Know any lawyer? Or if i do it myself, which government agency do i see?

Given you were never naturalised as a Thai, it is a bit strange.

No, I don't know any lawyers, but you can always look at 'magic circle' lawyers or their Thai afflitates such as Siam Premier. Others like LS Horizons...but I'm not sure if anyone is out there who specialises in immigration law, which is why I suggested you contact an NGO who deals with stateless citizens.

Edited by samran

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@ Samran,

In your case, you are a Thai national BY REASON of being born on Thai soil (being born in Thailand pre-Dec 1971 if I remeber correctly). If you were born post 1971 you are Thai BY REASON of having a Thai mother.

The law below was enacted and amended between the period from 1965 - 2008. What laws are you siting from that include pre/post 1971.

Nationality Act B.E. 2508 (1965) as amended by Acts No. 2 and 3 B.E. 2535 (1992) and Act No. 4 B.E. 2551 (2008)

Section 7. The following persons acquire Thai nationality by birth:

(1) A person born of a father or a mother of Thai nationality, whether within or outside the Thai Kingdom;

(2) A person born within the Thai Kingdom except the person under Section 7 bis paragraph one.

Edited by tripplejjj

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@Samran,
In your case, you are a Thai national BY REASON of being born on Thai soil (being born in Thailand pre-Dec 1971 if I remeber correctly). If you were born post 1971 you are Thai BY REASON of having a Thai mother.

The law below was enacted and amended between the period from 1965 - 2008. What laws are you siting from that include pre/post 1971.

Nationality Act B.E. 2508 (1965) as amended by Acts No. 2 and 3 B.E. 2535 (1992) and Act No. 4 B.E. 2551 (2008)

Section 7. The following persons acquire Thai nationality by birth:

(1) A person born of a father or a mother of Thai nationality, whether within or outside the Thai Kingdom;

(2) A person born within the Thai Kingdom except the person under Section 7 bis paragraph one.

You are covered by the version of the law that applied at the time of your birth, which would have been the first version of the Thai nationality act. Under that act, anyone born on Thai soil was entitled to Thai nationality. This is very similar to the concept of how US nationality law works. Anyone born on US soil, regardless of their parents immigration status is a US citizen.

Arkady explains it best, but in 1971 the government passed what was called 'revolutionary decree 337' on the 13th of December. This decree, amongst other things stated that you must now have a Thai parent to gain Thai nationality. If you were born before that date, then you are unaffected by this ruling, as evidenced by the multide of people born in Thailand with two european/non Thai parents but then entitled to Thai nationality.

The 2008 ammendment actually helps those born in Thailand between 1971 and 1992 get Thai nationailty. After the revolutionary decree, there were a range of people who were born in Thailand to foreign parents no longer had access to Thai nationality. If you read the entire 2008 law which Maestro provided a link to, you'll see that the 2008 returns Thai nationality to these people so long as they can prove an ongoing link to Thailand.

This link http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5...777081626060578 shows the news story of an American girl born in thailand who finally was given Thai nationality under the 2008 amendments.

So, (in your case at least), sorry to say, but you are still Thai unless you formally renounce it under the regulations proscribed in the 2008 Act.

Edited by samran

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@ TinBKK,

I don't think that the Thai Immigration recognized and affirmed that you were in fact born in Thailand (16 JUL 1971 in Bangkok) even if you have legal documents proving that you were born in Thailand. This is because you said that they sited Section 19 (5). This section only applies to you if you acquires Thai nationality by naturalization.

Section 19. The Minister is empowered to revoke Thai nationality of a person who acquires Thai nationality by naturalization if it appears that:

(5) He has resided abroad without having a domicile in Thailand for more than five years;

If this is correct, then I would ask the Immigration the following question:

How were you nationalized as a Thai citizen?

If via Section 12, then it means that you were born before your father or mother was nationalized as Thai citizen. (This is based on the assumption that the Immigration believed that you were not in fact legally born in Thailand in the first place.)

Section 12. Any person being desirous of applying for naturalisation as a Thai, shall file an application with the competent official according to the form and in the manner prescribed in the Ministerial Regulations. Should the applicant for naturalisation as a Thai, under paragraph one, have children who are not sui juris in accordance with Thai law, and who have a domicile in Thailand, he may concurrently apply for such naturalisation for his children. In this case, such children shall be exempt from possessing the qualifications under Section 10 (1), (3), (4) and (5).

To argue your case that you are a Thai nationality by birth, then you have to get the Immigration to accept it first. If the Immigration accepts this, then I believe the Immigration has erred in using Section 19 (5).

Edited by tripplejjj

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