How to Get Thai Citizenship for Those Born in Thailand's Borderlands

Have you ever wondered if being born in Thailand grants you Thai citizenship? Are you curious about the steps to obtain Thai citizenship when you've been residing here long-term? Perhaps you were born on Thailand's border and are exploring the process. Dive into our blog for answers and insights

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The Birth Certificate Barrier

One of the primary issues these individuals face is the lack of birth certificates. Without this essential document, they are denied access to education, healthcare, and employment. Moreover, the absence of legal identity leaves them vulnerable to exploitation and discrimination.

Ethnic Minority Communities

The majority of stateless individuals in Thailand are part of ethnic minority communities such as the Karen, Hmong, and Rohingya. These groups have often faced persecution in their home countries, which has forced them to seek refuge in Thailand. However, their stateless status leaves them in a legal limbo, unable to fully integrate into Thai society or return to their countries of origin.

Refugee Camp Living

Many stateless individuals end up living in refugee camps along the Thai border. These camps provide some semblance of shelter and security, but they are far from ideal living conditions. Access to basic necessities such as clean water, food, and healthcare is often limited, and the future remains uncertain for those living in these camps. Currently, there are "temporary shelter areas" for refugees displaced by conflicts in various provinces of Thailand, totaling 9 camps, housing nearly a hundred thousand refugees

  • Mae La Village, Tha Song Yang District, Tak Province
  • Um Peum Village, Phop Phra District, Tak Province
  • Nupo Village, Umphang District, Tak Province
  • Ban Mai Nai Soi Village, Mueang District, Mae Hong Son Province
  • Mae La Ma Luang Village, Sob Moei District, Mae Hong Son Province
  • Mae La Oon Village, Sob Moei District, Mae Hong Son Province
  • Mae Surin Village, Khun Yuam District, Mae Hong Son Province
  • Ton Yang Village, Sangkhla Buri District, Kanchanaburi Province
  • Tham Hin Village, Suan Phueng District, Ratchaburi Province

The process of obtaining Thai citizenship for foreign-born children in Thailand

  • Having Legal Documents

If a person is born in Thailand and possesses legal documents such as a birth certificate and an ID card, they may be eligible to apply for Thai citizenship. 

  • Minority Tribes

For individuals who belong to minority tribes or groups living in remote areas and may not have access to official documentation, it can be more complicated to prove their citizenship or legal status. In such cases, they may need to take steps to obtain the necessary documentation, including a birth certificate and an ID card specific to their minority group.

  • No Legal Documents

If a person was born in Thailand but does not possess a birth certificate or any other legal documents, they may face challenges in establishing their citizenship or legal status. In Thailand, birth registration is an important process to establish one's legal identity and citizenship.

If a person born in Thailand does not have a birth certificate or an ID card, they may be treated as undocumented individuals or foreigners.

In such cases, individuals may need to go through the same legal process as other foreigners to establish their legal status in Thailand. This could involve applying for the appropriate visa or residence permit based on their specific circumstances.

Birth Registration for Children Born in the Kingdom of Thailand

Children born in Thailand who have not yet been registered at birth may have parents who are foreign nationals, which can lead to misunderstandings regarding birth registration. For example, in cases where childbirth occurs at home, it is often not reported for various reasons. One common reason is when the parents are foreign workers residing in Thailand illegally, which makes them feel unsafe in approaching authorities to register the birth of their child. Another scenario is when there are no witnesses available to testify to the birth, which is required for birth registration according to the regulations of the Thai Civil Registration Act of 2534 B.E.

Currently, legal recognition of individuals under Thai law falls under the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand. All children born in Thailand can access the birth registration process without discrimination based on ethnicity, nationality, gender, language, etc.

Obtaining A Thai citizenship as a foreigner

As mentioned previously, individuals born in Thailand without legal documentation or a birth certificate must follow the same procedure as other foreign nationals if they wish to obtain Thai citizenship.

To apply for Thai citizenship, there are several requirements and legal provisions that must be met in accordance with Thai law.

The main criteria include:

  • Being a general foreigner (holding a foreigner registration number).
  • Having reached legal age 18 years old. 
  • Holding a certificate of residence.
  • Having resided continuously in Thailand for at least 5 years 
  • Having a legitimate occupation and meeting income requirements as specified by law, must earn at least 80,000THB or 30,000THB if you're married.
  • Paying taxes for at least 3 years.
  • Possessing a certified income letter.
  • Having knowledge of the Thai language and being able to speak and understand it.
  • Demonstrating good behavior and passing background checks related to criminal history, political activities, and national security from relevant authorities.

The qualifications categories:

  1. Investment category
  2. Working/Business category
  3. Humanity Reasons category: he/she must have relationship with a Thai citizen or an alien who already possessed residence permit as the followings:
  • A legal husband or wife. 
  • A legal father or mother. 
  • A child who is under 20 years of age up to the application submission date and must be single.

       4. Expert category

Application Process

Be granted for 180 days first and the next extension will be granted for 180 days if approved.

Fees

The non-refundable fee : 7,600 baht. (whether permission is granted or not. Application fee is not refundable.
If the application is approved, the fee for the residence permit is 191,400 baht. 
However, the residence permit fee for spouses and children (under 20 years of age) of aliens who already had the residence permit or Thai citizens is 95,700 baht.

Lawyer’s Contact

If you encounter difficulties obtaining Thai Citizenship, whether you were born in Thailand and have yet to acquire Thai Citizenship or have any related concerns, you can seek legal counsel as below details;

Khun Tipwimon Sirinupong  :
Commissioner on Nationality, International Labor Migration, and Stateless Persons' Rights, Lawyers Council Under the Royal Patronage
Phone : +6693-419-3624

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