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Permanent Residence in the Kingdom of Thailand

Staying Permanently in Thailand is the hope of many expats living long term in Thailand. Unfortunately, being granted Thai permanent residence is a rather difficult process. Part of the difficulty stems from the fact that in order to be granted Lawful Permanent Residence one must have been present in Thailand for a minimum of 3 years in unbroken non-immigrant visa extension status and have maintained a work permit for an unbroken period of the same duration.

The upshot of the work permit requirement is that the applicant for Thai PR would be required to have been present in Thailand on either a business visa or an O visa (based upon marriage or parentage of a Thai child). Furthermore, there are certain minimum income requirements which must be met in order to be approved for PR status. These requirements will be different for each applicant as the income requirement depends upon whether the applicant is married to a Thai or has Thai children.

When you are successful in obtaining this status, you no longer have to apply for an extension of stay and you can apply to become a naturalized Thai citizen if you wish. Other benefits you can enjoy are having your name on a house registration book (also known as a Tabien Baan) and buying a condo without having to make a bank transfer from abroad. Obtaining and maintaining a work permit is also significantly easier for holders of Thai PR. In addition, you could legally become a director of a Thai public company and be able to apply for an extension of stay or permanent resident status for your other family members who are not Thai citizens.

How to Apply for Permanent Residency

The Royal Thai Immigration Police is the agency that processes the applications for permanent residency. The yearly quota in Thailand is a maximum of 100 persons of each nationality and the application period normally starts in October and ends in December of each year.

There are certain requirements that an applicant needs to meet before he or she can be granted permanent resident status. As previously mentioned, these requirements will depend upon the specific facts of each individual case.

Another issue associated with applying for Thai Permanent residence pertains to documentation. Many government documents are required to process a Thai PR application. In some cases, even documentation regarding one’s educational background may be required. Currently such documentation must be certified by the governmental authority issuing them before being translated and legalized in the Thai language. For this reason, many individuals seeking Thai PR opt to retain the services of professionals to assist in preparing an application and navigating the bureaucracy at the Royal Thai Immigration Headquarters.