Specifically, the difference between Thai Permanent Residency and Thai citizenship pertains to substantial benefit differences. Although Thai Permanent Residency provides certain benefits to the person involved, it does not come near to the benefits in which the Thai citizenship offers.
Thai Residency and Thai citizenship
To cite an example, a Thai Permanent Resident does not get any travel document specifically a passport. Although certain circumstances make travel documents available for the Thai Permanent Resident, it is not a commonly issued document, and those that obtain it oftentimes need to show justifiable circumstances as to why they need to obtain such document.
There are also certain benefits with a Thai Permanent Residency that are importantly granted in Thai citizenship. A permanent resident under Thai Labor Code Laws and Thai Immigration Laws, it is required to have 4 Thai employees on any given company here in Thailand in order to have a work permit for a standard non-immigrant foreigner.
For those foreigners married to Thai citizens, it is required for them to have two employees and two Thai employees present in their company in order to meet the government’s requirement in getting a work permit. For those with Thai citizenship, it is not necessary to have employees and that is one substantial benefit.
Thai Permanent Residents can obtain a Blue Book or Tabien Ban, but again, are still not citizens and are still subject to laws under the Foreign Business Act which states that a Thai Permanent Resident cannot own 51% or more of a certain company covered by the Thai Foreign Business Act provisions.
Thai Permanent Residents are required to maintain their work permit status for the given job they are doing, unlike Thai citizens who can work in an ad-hoc basis. There are certain activities that are restricted to Thai citizens only, and cannot be undertaken by a non-Thai. Recently it appears that only Thai nationals are granted licenses for possessing firearms.
There is a substantial number of benefits that differ from being a Thai Permanent Resident and a Thai citizen, and the most notable one is that a Permanent Resident is not a Thai citizen; by definition, Thai Permanent Residents are still foreign nationals who have been given permanent visa status in the Kingdom. It is an immigration status that is harder to remove compared to a non-immigrant immigration status. But it is still possible to have your Permanent Residency status to be revoked, making Thai citizenship much different from Thai Permanent Residency.
Process in obtaining the Permanent Residence status in Thailand
- The investor should obtain a non-immigrant category B visa in entering the country;
- After entering Thailand, the investor should invest 3 to 10 million Baht in the country to be able to obtain a one year residence permit, and the right to stay in Thailand; the 10 million Baht investment enables the investor to extend his or her stay in Thailand for one year more;
- Such investment should be kept for at least three years;
Types of investment for Thai Permanent Residency
- 10 million Baht investment in government bonds;
- 10 million Baht deposited in a Thai bank, with a mandatory rule stating that 50% holder of the Thai bank should be a Thai national;
- Investment in rental or purchase of a condominium for at least three years, with the purchase and rental price exceeding 10 million Baht;
The business of the applicant should fall under one of these categories:
- The company should have engaged in international commerce, earning an average of 20 million Baht in foreign currency during the past three years from export sales, with evidence presented in form of a letter from the commercial bank;
- The company should provide loans to domestic manufacturing companies, and has brought into the country at least 100 million Baht in foreign currency from the past three years;
- A tourism company which has brought in at least 5,000 tourists in the country on average, with evidence presented in form or a letter certified by a relevant Thai authority;
- Any other type of business wherein the applicant is a shareholder of at least 5 million Baht worth of fully paid shares, in which the applicant should be holding those shares for at least two years prior to submission of application;
As mentioned above, the requirements are particularly stiff. However, the standard requirements for foreigners who make at least 80,000 Baht per month would still be a much easier and realistic option.
- Applicant should be holding a Thai Work Permit for at least three consecutive years prior to submission of application;
- Applicant should have been employed at the current company for at least one year prior to submission of application;
- Applicant should have earned at least 80,000 Baht per month for at least two years prior to submission of application, or should have paid at least 100,000 Baht as his or her personal income tax within two years from submission of application;
Advantages of a Thai Permanent Residency status
- – Unrestricted right to reside, work and study in Thailand;
- – Can be renewed every 10 years and has no expiration;
- – In case the investor wishes to travel then he is only required to apply for a re-entry permit;
- – The investor can become a director of the public company registered in Thailand;
- – The investor is entitled to apply for Thai citizenship if he or she has lived in Thailand for 5 years;
The Thai Immigration process is regulated by:
- – Alien Working Act
- – Nationality Act
- – Immigration Act
Acquiring permanent residency in Thailand is not tangible, and there is the annual quota per nationality regulated. An applicant also has to comply with the following:
- The foreign national should have entered Thailand legally through an immigration checkpoint;
- Should be disease-free;
- Should be a holder of three consecutive one-year visa extensions;
- Should have a valid work permit for the last three years;
- Should have a monthly income of at least 30,000 Baht (if married), or 80,000 Baht (if single) which must be proved by presenting three years of income tax statements;
- Should not be prohibited from entering the Kingdom under the Thai Immigration Act;
- His or her permanently residing in Thailand should benefit the country and his or her business, and not compete with local businesses in a way that domestic businesses are diminished;
Timeframe for the application of Permanent Residency in Thailand
Applications for Permanent Residency in Thailand can only be submitted from October up to the last working day of December every year. After submission, the Immigrant Commission will approve or refuse the PR application within 60 days from submission. If your Permanent Residency application is approved, it will be sent to the Ministry of Interior for a second confirmation.
In totality, an application for Permanent Residency in Thailand takes around six months to one year. If you have any further question about Thai Residency and Thai citizenship then speak to us today.