How to Become a Foreign Resident in Thailand

There are plenty of reasons that a foreigner may want to apply for residency in Thailand. He or she may decide to stay over for their retirement, being enamored with the charms the country has for Westerners. There could also be business interests involved. The reasons are various, and what’s important is that there is, of course, a definite process to be followed in applying for residency in Thailand.

So, how do you apply for a permit for residency in Thailand? Here are the requirements, and an explanation of the process to be taken when applying for this permit.

Who Can Apply for Residency in Thailand?

The following are the foreigners who are eligible to apply for residency in Thailand:

  • A foreigner who has stayed in Thailand for at least three consecutive years. He or she must have been granted a Non-Immigrant Visa that has been used to extend their stays upon expiry for one year each.
  • A foreigner who has invested in a business in Thailand and has been granted a non-immigrant visa for that purpose.
  • A foreigner who holds a working visa and has been staying in Thailand for employment purposes for the past three years. The applicant must be working in an executive officer capacity in a company that has at least THB10 million authorized capital.
  • A foreign national who has been married to a Thai national, or has children with a Thai local.
  • A foreigner whose spouse has been previously granted a residential permit.

In addition, a foreign national who wants to apply for residency for a child must make sure that the child is single, if he or she is under 20 years of age at the time of the application. Foreigners who apply for residential permits should also demonstrate a working knowledge of the Thai language.

There are other cases beyond the scenarios above that can qualify a foreigner for residency. These applications are facilitated on a case to case basis.

Process of Applying for a Residential Permit

To begin the application, applications must prepare the necessary documents as according to the qualifications. These documents will indicate that the foreigner is applying for a residential permit for retirement, investment, employment expert, or humanitarian reasons, i.e. being a spouse of a Thai local or a foreign national who has already been granted a residential permit, as well as being a child of a local or a foreign resident.

Once the documents are ready, applicants are to proceed to an Immigration Office in the area that they are residing. In Bangkok, the Immigration Office is located at Soi Suan Plu, off South Sathorn road in the Sathorn District. Applications must be submitted in person, because the Office will require a set of fingerprints to supplement the documents prepared.

Applicants should also prepare a THB7,600 fee for applying. Regardless of the results of the application, this fee is non-refundable. Should the application be rejected, the applicant will have to pay another THB7,600 fee on his or her next application.

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