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Permanent residency in Thailand

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It is possible to move to Thailand permanently so long as you meet certain criteria established by the immigration authorities. Becoming a permanent resident in Thailand has many advantages, as you won't need to keep applying to extend your stay in the country. It also gives you more freedom to buy a condominium, and it makes getting a work permit easier too.

The Residency Permit never expires, but can be revoked, and you can apply to become a naturalised Thai citizen after having PR status in Thailand for 10 consecutive years.

You'll be required to apply for a Certificate of Residence at the Thai Immigration Bureau, which grants permanent residency to a maximum of 100 people of each nationality per year, and the whole application process can take up to a year.

Criteria

To apply for PR status, you need to have had a Non-Immigrant Visa in Thailand for at least three years prior to submitting your application. This will involve showing evidence of three consecutive one-year visa extensions. Applicants will also need to prove that they have had a valid work permit for those three years and that they earn a monthly income of at least THB80,000 if they are single. You will also need to justify that you wish to live permanently in Thailand for one of these main purposes:

  • Investment (you will need to show proof of having THB3-10 million invested in Thailand)
  • Business/Employment
  • Family (this applies if you are married to a Thai citizen or a foreigner with a residency permit)
  • Academic/Expert
  • Retirement

Any other reasons are at the discretion of the Thai immigration authorities.

Required documents

The opening date for applications varies each year and is announced by the Minister of Interior. Once the announcement has been made, applications for permanent residency can be submitted up until the last working day of the year.

You will be required to apply in person at the Immigration Bureau, where the officials will take your fingerprints so as to check that you have a clear criminal record. An application should contain a detailed and precise explanation of the reasons why you are requesting a residency permit. The clearer you can make this information, the quicker the relevant officials can make their decision.

The immigration officers will grant applicants a 180-day extension of stay from the date they receive the submitted application, and applicants will be granted another 180 days after that until the results of the applications are released by the Immigration Commission.

You will need to submit a completed TM.13 application form to the Immigration Bureau, along with the following documents:

  • Your passport
  • Proof of entry into Thailand
  • Your work permit (if applicable)
  • A photo taken within the last six months (4x6cm)
  • THB7,600 as an application fee.
  • Once the application has been reviewed, applicants will be invited for an interview with the immigration officers, where they will be tested on their understanding of the Thai language, among other things. If applicants do not turn up for this interview without a good reason, their application will be cancelled.

If your application for permanent residency is approved, the fee for the residence permit is THB191,400. You will be issued with a residence blue book, and you will then be required to register your place of residence in Thailand and obtain a certificate of residence. A week after receiving this certificate, you can then apply for a certificate of alien identification at your local police station. This is basically a foreigner's ID card, and you must re-register at the station every year.

 Useful links

Immigration Bureau services
Permanent Residence Book
Residency Permit
Criteria and conditions for foreign nationals to be considered for a residential permit

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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