Obtaining status as a Permanent Resident (PR) in Thailand has many advantages. It allows a foreigner to live permanently in Thailand, with no requirement to apply for an extension of stay. PR’s can also have their name on a house registration document, and will be able to buy a condominium without making a bank transfer from abroad. Getting a work permit is also made easier once a foreigner has PR status.
In addition to this, the PR can be eligible to become a director of a Thai public company, as well as eventually apply to become a naturalized Thai citizen. The PR will also be able to apply for an extension of stay and Permanent Resident status for non-Thai family members.
All applications for Thai Permanent Residency are processed by the Royal Thai Immigration Commission. The annual quota for granting permanent residency in Thailand is a maximum of 100 persons per country. The application period for Thai PR usually spans from October to the end of December of every year.
In order to apply to become a Thai Permanent Resident, the applicant must meet the following requirements:
1. The applicant must have had a Thai non-immigrant visa for at least three years prior to the submission of the application. Holders of multiple non-immigrant visas can not apply. The applicant must have three consecutive yearly extensions in order to qualify.
2. The applicant must be a holder of a non-immigrant visa at the time of submitting the application.
3. The applicant must be able to meet one of these categories to apply for PR status in Thailand:
✓ Investment category (minimum THB 3-10 Million investment in Thailand)
✓ Working/Business category
✓ Support a family or Humanity Reasons category: In this category, the applicant must have a relationship with a Thai citizen or an alien who already possesses a residence permit as a husband or wife; father or mother; or a guardian of a Thai child under 20 years of age.
✓ Expert/academic category
✓ Other categories as determined by Thai Immigration
The applicant should note that the list of required documents for the application depends on the category under which the application is made.
Once the application for Thai Permanent Residency is approved, a residence Blue Book is issued to the PR. PR’s must then register their place of residence in Thailand at the local Amphur (district) and obtain a House Card. A week after the receipt of the residence certificate, the PR can then apply for an alien book (Red Book) at the local police station, which is the equivalent of the Thai national ID card. The PR must re-register there every year.
The Residency Permit itself never expires, unless revoked. To be able to leave the country and return to Thailand, however, requires the PR to apply for a re-entry permit (endorsement).
The PR can file an application to become a Thai naturalized citizen after holding Permanent Resident status in Thailand for five consecutive years.