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Naturalization to Thai Citizenship

Transcript of the above video:

In this video as the title suggests we're going to be talking about naturalization to Thai citizenship.

In the past few weeks we have been doing more of these videos and it's been interesting because I've said "American Attorney" and I have sort of kind of snickered  to myself because here recently I recently naturalized and received my Thai citizenship. But I don't think it's incorrect to assert myself as an American attorney as I remain licensed to practice law in the United States and I am not in fact licensed to practice law here in Thailand as I have explained in other videos but I am an American attorney and I do act as the Managing Director of the firm.  I work with many Thai lawyers and other legal professionals and I do practice American law quite frequently especially with respect to US Immigration.

But back to the main topic at hand. I in fact did go through the naturalization process recently and I figured I would do a quick video to kind of share some insights if you will about how that process works. Essentially there are various aspects, there are a couple of different, I won't say paths but how do we say, methods of going through the process of eventually obtaining Thai citizenship and this is something that if someone is very serious about doing it, they have to understand it is a time-consuming undertaking, one needs to be very cognizant of certain aspects of the citizenship process and the permanent residence process as well , as in many cases it is a prerequisite to naturalizing to citizenship. But the thing to take away from this video is, at the end of the process one is going to go ahead and receive one of these, I've blocked out some things from here but this is my Thai ID card, which basically signifies or denotes one’s Thai citizenship and basically acts in lieu  of other documents  and then of course we have also got something we have talked about on this channel previously, the Tabien Baan, the house registration book which is a necessity for all Thais, they have to be registered on a house book  and then finally what everyone's looking for, their Thai passport, if one is seeking naturalization. For purposes of operating within the country, the Thai ID card is sort of the pinnacle type of documentation with respect to one's identity but that being said obviously for international travel a passport is going to be such a document.

The house registration book in and of itself, it's kind of a document that folks that come from sort of common law tradition would probably not particularly understand; we have done a video specifically on Tabien Baans or house registration books. In a sense, in very much in the way that the Constitution requires a census to be taken in the United States every ten years, the Tabien Baan system is kind of almost a continuous census if you will. It constantly keeps track if you will, it can be updated showing where people are registered as far as their abode and it shows the system updates itself or is updated by the personnel in the various civil registrar departments whenever someone moves around with respect to a home. The thing to take away from this video is, in most cases, although there are some that don't necessarily need to go through this, in most cases involving an individual wishing to become a citizen, in a lot of cases, permanent residence is going to be a prerequisite. There were some changes to the Thai Nationality Act that made certain individuals not necessarily have to deal with PR, we are not going to go into the grand details of all of that with respect to this video, but that being said basically one goes through the process, one has to have had a work permit for a statutorily  prescribed period of time, salary requirements are inherent to the process, various tax obligations need to be met before one can apply and then once one applies for naturalization to Thai citizenship, you need to go through Special Branch Police and depending on where one lives, is going to dictate which offices one is going to have to go through. Then one has to proceed up through that and eventually in some cases, and in most cases, you have to eventually end up in the National Police Headquarters for various aspects of the process and then there are aspects that deal with the National Intelligence Agency, there are aspects of this that deal with the Interior Ministry. It needs to receive Royal Endorsement and then finally publication in the Royal Thai Gazette and upon publication one is considered legally a Thai. The Royal Thai Gazette is somewhat akin to what is called the Federal Register in the United States which designates certain legalities with respect to, much like The Royal Gazette, citizenship is of those things that the Federal Register may make note of. But once through The Royal Gazette then one is eligible to go ahead and be registered. Well one needs first to receive their nationality certificate and then one can be registered in a Tabien Baan as a Thai National and  thereafter  go ahead and get their ID card and passport if they wish. But basically the thing to take away from this is that it can, it is possible, I have heard various misnomers out there and misinformation with respect to the process in general. Everyone's case is going to be very different and the circumstances dictate heavily how this thing is going to process because, you know, certain people are going to meet certain obligations or they are going to meet certain criteria and certain people aren't; language criteria are also part of this. There is a point system with respect to each individual that is going to dictate how that person is viewed within the context of the adjudication process so I'm not going to get into all those specifics in this video. The thing to take away from this is that it is possible if one has been living in Thailand for a significant period of time, has strong ties here, no pun intended, but has strong ties here to Thailand and you know, may think that they need assistance or may think that they are eligible, it is not a terrible idea to contact a professional to assess whether or not they are in fact eligible and if they are in fact eligible what kind of time frames they are looking at with respect to applying or if there are certain prerequisites that need to first be met and what the time frames are for those etc.  These kinds of things are things that one should try to figure, if one is really serious about getting Thai nationality, one should seriously look at these things for lack of a better term,  early and often, figure this out as quickly as possible, as making many of these arrangements, it needs to be done in a way, having a long degree of foresight, can behoove someone because they can take care of things in sort of the near term  that will be very beneficial down the line with respect to the overall process of naturalizing to Thai citizenship.