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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawNationality LawThe Difference between Thai Permanent Residence and Citizenship

The Difference between Thai Permanent Residence and Citizenship

Transcript of the above video:

In this video today, as the title suggests, we are going to be comparing and contrasting permanent residence in the Kingdom with Citizenship here in the Kingdom of Thailand.

So what are the differences between Thai permanent residence and citizenship? Well specifically there are benefit differences; substantial benefit differences. While Thai permanent residence does provide certain benefits to the national involved it does not provide nearly the benefits the citizenship does. So for example, a Thai permanent resident does not necessarily get a travel document such as a passport although there are in certain circumstances, there are travel documents available to Thai Permanent Residents, it is not a commonly issued document and those that get it often have to show some extenuating circumstances as to why they are obtaining the document. Moreover, there are other benefits associated with Thai Permanent Residence that are substantially, sort of disproportionately, granted in citizenship. So for example, a permanent resident under Thai Labour Code Laws and the Thai Immigration Code Laws, there needs to be 4 Thai employees on any given company here in  the Kingdom of Thailand in order to have a work permit on a standard non-immigrant foreigner. For a foreigner married to a Thai National it's only required that two employees, two Thai employees be present in the company in order to satisfy the requirements to get a work permit. For a Thai permanent resident, no employees are necessary, so that's one substantial benefit. Moreover Thai permanent residents can be in a Blue Book, a blue house book, a tabien baan. That being said, again they are not citizens, and there are still subject to things like the Foreign Business Act so someone who is a Thai Permanent Resident can’t necessarily own 51% or more of companies that will be covered under the Thai Foreign Business Act provisions. Moreover a Thai Permanent Resident  still has to maintain their work permit status unlike Thai citizens who can sort of work in a more ad-hoc basis, a Thai Permanent Resident still has to maintain a work permit for the given job they're doing.  The other thing to keep in mind, again with respect to citizenship, some of these quota issues don’t come up. There are certain activities that are simply restricted to Thai Nationals and cannot be undertaken by non-Thai Nationals. It is a rather small list of things but it is out there. It would appear now that things like firearm possession is now restricted only to Thai nationals where licenses will be granted. So there is a substantial number of things that differentiate Thai Permanent residence from citizenship most notably and the biggest one is a Thai Permanent Resident is not a citizen; by definition they remain a foreign national, they just have a permanent visa status in the Kingdom, a permanent immigration status. It is an immigration status that is harder to take away than say a non-immigrant status situation, but it is still possible to have permanent residence revoked so some things like this make Thai citizenship far different from permanent residence but that being said, depending on the circumstances of the individual in question it may not be possible to become a citizen or it may not be particularly desirable or feasible for a given individual to become a citizen. So it is going to be very circumstantially dependent on whether or not permanent residence or citizenship is better for an individual in a given set of circumstances and that basically has to be analyzed and decided upon by the individual in question.