The Thai government has opened the 2019 round of applications for permanent residency in the Kingdom from 1st July 2019 until the last business day of the year in December. This means that qualified applicants can file their case at the Royal Thai Immigration Office, although it must be noted that the government sets a quota of 100 applicants per country at any given year.
Being a permanent resident gives holders several advantages, namely being able to permanently stay in Thailand, purchase property without the need to transfer funds from abroad, and apply for a work permit with a much simpler process. Permanent residents are also legally permitted to become a director of a publicly traded company in Thailand and eventually apply to become a naturalized Thai citizen once all requirements have been met.
What are the requirements?
Applying for a Thai permanent residence permit requires the applicant to have lived in Thailand for at least three years on a single Non-Immigrant Visa. Some of the documents required to file for an application include:
- The applicant’s original passport as well as copies of all relevant pages, namely the information page as well as the applicant’s Non-Immigrant Visa stamp;
- The original version and a copy of the House Registration or “Tabien Baan” book; and
- 12 passport-sized photos taken within six months of the application.
Applicants should also note that permanent residence permits fall under several categories, each having their set of requirements. They are as follows:
Investment category: Applicants must have a minimum of THB 10 million invested in the Thai stock exchange, a limited or public limited company, a state-issued security corporation, or a state enterprise corporation.
Business category: Applicants are required to hold a position and act as a signatory for a business registered in Thailand with at least THB 10 million in registered capital held for one year. The applicant’s company is required to earn at least THB 50,000 per month for two consecutive years, with the applicant having worked there for at least one year.
Humanitarian category: Those married to a Thai national as well as those who are parents or children of a Thai national fall under this category.
Expert category: Applicants must hold at least a Bachelor’s Degree or higher and work in a role that necessitates the need for them to stay in Thailand for at least three consecutive years.
The requirements listed are by no means exhaustive, and each application will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must also take note that all government fees must be paid in cash.
How does the application process work?
Applications for permanent residence must be lodged at a Royal Thai Immigration Office where all required documents are to be submitted and vetted by a preceding officer. Applicants will also be subject to an interview by the officer in Thai regarding the documents they submitted and their background which will be recorded using a video camera. Following this, they will be asked to answer a set of 10 multiple choice questions written in Thai, although officers can assist applicants understand the meaning of those questions if they are not proficient in the language.
Once the requirements have been sufficiently met, applicants will receive a blue residence book which will be used to register their place of residence in Thailand at their local district office. The district office will issue a house card which will then be used to apply for a red ‘alien book’ at a local police station. This ‘alien book’ will act as the permanent resident’s official identification document in the Kingdom.
Considerations to take note of
It must be made clear that acquiring permanent residence by no means entails being able enter and exit the country freely without obtaining a re-entry permit to maintain the holder’s status. This can be obtained at either a Thai Immigration Office or any major International Airport in the country. Permanent residents must also renew their status at the Immigration Office every year.
The information detailed in this article give a glimpse of the general procedures involved in processing a permanent residence application. However, it should be noted that applications are ultimately vetted and approved on a case-by-case basis. It is therefore recommended that applicants seek assistance from a law firm like Silk Legal to process these applications to ensure that the right documents and procedures are followed through.
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