A foreigner who has stayed in Thailand for at least 3 consecutive years, with a Non-Immigrant Visa (business, retirement, or marriage), may apply for Permanent Residence.
The Thai Permanent Residence status comes with its own conditions as set by Thai immigration. Not only is there an annual quota per nationality (published in the Government Gazette), one also has to comply with the following requirements:
• Hold a valid passport issued by the country of their current nationality, along with a Thai Non-Immigrant Visa permitting them to stay in the Kingdom for at least 3 consecutive years
• If the applicant is over 14 years of age, he must complete a criminal record check
• Must be able to pass the medical examination
• Must reveal information about income, assets, knowledge, vocational ability, and family status
• Must be able to understand and speak the Thai language
There are various categories of application for Permanent Residence, including:
1. Investment Category: the applicant must have brought at least 10 million Baht into the country
2. Employment Category: the applicant must be an executive officer and a signatory of a Thai company with a capital of at least 10 million Baht for at least one year. He must earn an annual income at least 80,000 Baht per month or have been filing tax return for the amount of annual income of 100,000 Baht for at least two years
3. Humanity Reason Category: the applicant is married, has a child who is under 20 years of age up to the application submission date and is single, or is a parent of a permanent resident or Thai citizen
4. Expert Category: the applicant must hold a bachelor or higher degree and possesses a special ability that is needed in order to benefit the country for a period of at least 3 years
5. Other circumstances on a case-by-case basis
Applications can be made to the Immigration Department. After accepting the application, the immigration officer will grant a 180 days extension of stay from the date the application was submitted. Additional 180 days extensions may be granted until the result of the application is announced.
An interview with an Immigration officer is required, which will include a test of the applicant’s spoken and written understanding of the Thai language. The applicant must come for the interview on the date of the appointment, otherwise, without an appropriate reason, it will be automatically considered that the applicant wishes to cancel the application.
Please note that the timing for the consideration process varies each year, depending on the policy of the Immigration Commission and the Ministry of Interior. The whole process takes approximatively a year to complete and the results are published in the Government newspaper.
Once a Permanent Residence permit is issued, the foreigner can enjoy the following advantages:
• Stay in Thailand without needing a visa throughout the year, as long as the foreigner does not leave the country. Before leaving the country, the foreigner needs to notify the Immigration Office and apply for an endorsement with re-entry and a Non-Quota Immigrant Visa. This visa is valid for one year and includes the right to re-enter the Kingdom during that period of time.
• Work permit is much easier to obtain than before
• Does not need to report his residence every 90 days to the Immigration Bureau
• Will be eligible to apply for naturalization as a Thai after having held a Permanent Residence permit for 5 consecutive years
• Is allowed to purchase condominiums with money earned in Thailand
• Can be appointed as a director of a Thai public company
• May act as a guarantor for another person
• May apply for extension of stay and permanent residence status for his non-Thai family members based on his Thai Permanent Residence
• His children born in Thailand can be granted Thai nationality
For keeping his Permanent Residence status, the foreigner needs to receive a stamp of endorsement from the Immigration Office every 12 months, otherwise the foreigner’s residence permit will be voided, as well as all the other rights gained.