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Thai Law Insights

Thai Permanent Residency (“PR”)

Legal Roadmap to Settle in the Land of Smiles

Chatchawarl (Charles) Sornsurarsdr

Twitter: ThaiResidency

A. Permanent Residency Acquisition by Law

Any alien (a legal term defined in Thai law) may be granted approval under the formalities set out in the Thai Immigration Act of 1979, to stay permanently in Thailand.

As in other countries, Thailand will assess and select the appropriate alien applicant. If permanent resident status is granted, Thailand would benefit as a whole from the alien's income generated subject to tax payment to the Thai Revenue Department, amount of property held, the alien's knowledge (such as technology transfer), professional development for Thais, the alien's sound financial status, national security and other considerations.

B. PR Certain Privileges

B1. An alien with PR status can stay permanently in Thailand subject to residency fulfillment by applying for re-entry endorsement before leaving Thailand each time and/or by appearance before the competent officials when required.

B2. PR status holder will be entitled to acquire a condominium unit under the Thai Condominium Act of 1979.

B3. PR status will be considered as having domicile in Thailand and should PR holder stay in Thailand for no less than 5 consecutive years, PR holder will be entitled to apply for Thai naturalization pursuant to the Nationality Act of 1965 of Thailand.

C. Prerequisite Qualification

C1. Valid Passport

An alien must have a valid passport from his/her country unless the alien has no nationality or is known as a "stateless person" who may have a traveling document or similar legal document with stateless status; and

C2. Three (3) Consecutive Year-Stay as Non Immigrant in Thailand

An alien must stay in Thailand for 3 consecutive years based on the non-immigrant visa obtained from any Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate abroad, extended after his/her entry into Thailand for a long term stay permitted by the Thai Immigration Bureau.

If the alien departed from Thailand during that 3 consecutive years, the alien must have obtained a re-entry permit to preserve the validity of the long term stay granted. Otherwise, the alien will be disqualified.

D. Annual Quota

The Minister of Interior Ministry with the approval of the Cabinet by virtue of the Thai Immigration Act (in the form of "cabinet resolution") will announce in the form of subordinate law knows as "the Notification of the Ministry of Interior" prescribing no more than 100 PR applicants annual quota per one country or no more than 50 PR applicants annual quota for stateless nationals to be entitled to apply for PR each year to the Thai Immigration Bureau.

The PR applications will subsequently be open for submission under the criteria set out for granting PR in the form of "the Immigration Bureau Notification governing PR Application Openings" for that year.

In this respect, for those who are interested to apply for PR should follow up on any cabinet resolution or relevant notifications to be announced for that year.

For 2010 PR quota announcement, you may follow our firm on twitter: ThaiResidency. Our immigration lawyer will update you periodically any PR news.

E. PR Application Categories

E1. For Investment

PR applicant must bring in foreign funds of no less than THB 10 million to be invested in companies in Thailand or in Thai government bonds or in the Thai stock market.

E2. For Employment in Thailand

(i) PR applicant must be at executive position level such as President, CEO or executive director of legal entity having its share capital of no less than THB 10 million registered in Thailand with having a monthly income of no less than THB 50,000 per month; or

(ii) PR applicant must hold a valid Thai work permit for no less than 3 years and work for no less than 1 year for the legal entity sponsor at the time of filing of application with having monthly income of no less than THB 80,000 per month for no less than 2 years; or instead of monthly income as mentioned above. PR applicant must pay personal income tax at more than THB 100,000 for no less than 2 years at the time of filing of application.

E3. For Family Member Maintenance

PR applicant must be lawful husband or wife or lawful parents or sibling in need to maintain their family members in Thailand, provided that the applicant must have monthly income of no less than THB 30,000 per month.

E4. Academic Expert or Specialist

PR applicant must have at least Bachelor degree and possess recognized qualifications in need by Thailand to benefit the country as a whole, provided that government agency concerned of Thailand must confirm and certify the applicant in that respect.

E5. Special Case

Like immigration laws of other countries, PR applicant under this case must devote his/her time or ability to Thailand or government or be nominated by a nationally famous institution in the light of his/her most outstanding merits to benefit Thailand, provided that a reliable referral letter issued by Director-General or City Governor, Chief of a Government Agency at level 10 or more , career military or police officers at General position level, Minister, House Speaker, Commission Member of the Independent Organization established by the Thai Constitution will be required.

For any news updates on PR, please follow our firm @twitter: ThaiResidency.

For related legal commentary on Thai immigration law, you may read "New Work Permit Law: Deportation Fund-Duty Conferred upon Employer and Foreign Employee on Contribution to the Fund", CSBC E-Bulletin, April 2008, a request for copy thereof can be submitted to charles@csbc-law.com.