A Guide to Getting Permanent Residency in Thailand (Thai Permanent Residency)

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the process of obtaining permanent residency in Thailand, including what you’ll need to qualify, how it can benefit your life, and what to expect along the way!

Here’s everything you need to get started…

Permanent Residency in Thailand Vs. Certificate of Residence: What’s the Difference?

Before we go any further, first let’s establish the distinction between a residence permit and permanent residence (because both are frequently used interchangeably despite their significant differences).

A ‘residence permit’ is a temporary residence permit that is issued to a foreigner for a specified period (usually one to two years). This needs to be renewed regularly.

‘Permanent residence’ (P.R.)on the other hand, is quite literally a permanent residence permit (we’ll go into the details shortly).

Permanent Residence Thailand: What are the Benefits?

Securing Thai permanent residency can help pave the way to a more secure life in Thailand. It cuts uncertainty around visas and gives you more stability. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • Longer Stays: No more annual visa renewals! Permanent residency allows you to stay in Thailand indefinitely and you won’t need to apply for a new Thai Visa Extension every year.
  • Say Goodbye to 90-Day Reporting: You’ll no longer have to submit a 90-day report when you are a permanent resident.
  • Easy Work Permits: When you are a permanent resident, you still need to have a work permit if you are in employment. However, the good news is that obtaining a work permit with Thai permanent residency is easier than it is for a Non-Resident.
  • Certification: The fun part? You’ll get your own Alien Registration Certificate, which is essentially your Thai identity card.
  • Children: If you live with your children in Thailand, they will gain Thai citizenship.
  • Social Security: You may also be eligible for Thai social security, which can provide you with a level of health insurance.
  • Pave the Way to Citizenship: Under the right circumstances, you will be eligible to apply for Thai citizenship by naturalisation after five years of being a permanent resident.
  • Easier Regional Travel: Travelling throughout South-East Asia can be a nuisance! Particularly if you want to move freely in and out of Thailand. Fortunately, permanent residency simplifies travel throughout Southeast Asia with visa exemptions for certain countries.

While permanent residency offers significant benefits, there are a few things to consider:

  • Tax Implications: You may become subject to Thai income tax on your worldwide earnings. But this also applies to work permit holders and retirees too.
  • Leaving Thailand: One of the frustrating aspects of holding Thai permanent residency is the fact that – although your permission to stay in Thailand will never expire – this is only the case if you never leave the country. To travel overseas or to your home country, you must apply for a 1 year ‘non-quota Immigrant’ re-entry visa. This costs 1,900 Baht for a single entry visa and 3,800 Baht for a visa that entitles you to multiple entries within one year.
  • Renewal: While permanent residency does not need annual renewal like non-immigrant visas, you will be required to report to immigration every year to confirm your residence. Failure to do so can result in financial penalties and/or the potential loss of P.R. status.
  • Limitations: Permanent residency doesn’t grant full citizenship rights. You may still be subject to certain limitations on employment. In addition, you will be unable to vote and indeed hold public office – but it’s a great start.

Thailand Permanent Residency Requirements

Unfortunately, not everyone qualifies for Thai permanent residency. If you are unsure as to whether or not your nationality qualifies, we recommend contacting the appropriate consulate for further guidance.

Assuming you are eligible to apply for Thai permanent residency, there are several ways that you can approach it, which are as follows:

  1. Employment: You must have held a Thailand work visa and work permit for a minimum of three years.
    1. You must have an ‘Extension of Stay’ for employment at the time of your application.
    2. You have worked for your current employer for at least one year when applying for Thai permanent residency.
    3. If applying under the business category you should hold an executive position in a Thailand registered company with at least 10 million Baht in capital. You should be authorized as a signatory for at least 1 year until the submission date.Or, again for the business category, you should be earning at least 50,000 baht for a minimum of two consecutive years until the submission date and you must present evidence of income tax payment.

      If you are applying under the “work” category you must have earned at least ฿ 80,000 THB for three consecutive years until the submission date / have filed a tax return on personal annual income of at least ฿ 100,000 THB for two consecutive years until the application submission date.

  2. Investment: You have invested a minimum of ฿ 3,000,000 THB in a Thai limited or public company.
  3. Familial: Your parent, child, or spouse is a Thai citizen.
  4. Expertise: You have a university degree, such as a  Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) Degree and have been employed in a relevant position for a minimum of three consecutive years.
    • Visa Requirements: You must currently hold a valid non-immigrant visa in Thailand, such as a retirement visa, marriage visa, or business visa.
    • Minimum Stay Duration: You must have resided in Thailand for at least three consecutive years on a qualifying visa with annual extensions. Specific requirements may vary depending on the visa category…

Getting Permanent Residency in Thailand

The application process for Thai permanent residency is complex and takes time. But here is a high-level overview to help you get started:

  1. Gather Necessary Documents: This typically includes:
    1. Application form: This should be filled out and signed.
    2. Passport & Passport photos – You need copies of every page of your valid passport and passport photos.
    3. Personal Information Sheet: The TM9 personal information sheet form (an example of the TM9 form is available from this site)  should be filled out and signed.
    4. Proof of income/investment.
    5. Health certificate – This should be issued by a hospital in Thailand stating that you are free from prohibited diseases. The certificate needs to be recent and cannot be more than three months old.
    6. You may need documents that prove your financial standing.
      This should include:
      • Bank statements showing adequate income
      • A letter from your bank confirming your account and balance
      • Salary slips (if employed)
      • Tax statements (specifically a Por Ngor Dor 91 tax return and a receipt for the tax payment)
    7. Employment: You will need all employment related documents (e.g., a sponsorship letter from your employer). This should include:
      • Work permit with copies of every page/screenshots from the DWP app
      • A letter from your employer stating your position, salary, employment duration and the significance of your role to the company
      • Company documents (such as business registration)
    8. Investment: You will need to show documents proving your investment, if you are applying based on investment (e.g., property ownership documents like the Yellow House registration booklet). If you are investing in government or social projects, you need to show proof of that too.
    9. Familial: You will need documents to prove the familial connection (e.g., a marriage certificate).
  2. Submit Application and Fees: Applications are submitted to the Bureau of Immigration in Thailand. You should expect to pay application fees and associated processing costs.
    1. The initial processing fee for permanent residency is: ฿ 7,600 THB.
    2. At this point you will be issued a 180-day extension of stay while your application is being processed.
    3. If approved, the applicant will then have to pay a permanent residency approval fee of: ฿ 191,400 THB (this fee is ฿ 95,700 THB for spouses and children of Thai citizens).

    Remark : These prices are correct at the time of writing but may be subject to change.

  3. Interview and Processing: You will be required to attend an interview appointment where you must showcase your proficiency in the Thai language. Should you fail to attend your interview without a valid reason, your application will be cancelled.

Processing timelines can vary, so patience is indeed key.

Thai Permanent Residency Language Test

Aside from meeting all of the necessary criteria and gathering the appropriate documentation, you will also be required to prove that you have a certain level of proficiency in the Thai language.

 At ALA Language School, we offer comprehensive Thai language courses designed especially for foreigners and you can choose from a variety of options, depending on your current level of proficiency.

Additionally, you can choose between group classes or having your own, exclusive 1 to 1 sessions with a qualified Thai language tutor.

Are you ready to take the first step towards your dream of living as a permanent resident in Thailand?

To sum everything up, here is how you can get ready to apply for Thai Permanent residency:

  • Gather ALL your documents and give yourself adequate time to do this
  • Pay the necessary processing fees
  • Attend your interview, if you don’t attend your application will be cancelled
  • Be patient. It can be a long process

Enrol in a Thai language course at ALA Language School to strengthen your foundational Thai skills, significantly enhancing your chance for Thai permanent residency approval,  equipping you for better communication with locals, and enriching your experience in Thailand.

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