Thailand Permanent Residency: An Overview
Section 40 of the Immigration Act of 1979 allows foreigners who have been granted non-immigrant visas to apply for permanent residency in Thailand. Generally, the factors taken into account in granting permanent residency to a foreigner are his or her income, property, knowledge, professional skills, and family status in relationship to any Thai nationals. Furthermore, considerations related to national security, as well as the current state of the Thai economy and society and any other appropriate factors are also taken into consideration. In addition, any foreign applicants must have been granted three consecutive yearly extensions-of-stay up to the time that the application is submitted. The applicant must be subject to an extensive criminal background check and must be able to speak and understand the Thai language.
Applications for permanent residency are considered by the Board of Immigration, which is comprised by the heads of several Thai governmental organizations, such as the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Royal Thai Police and others. However, the Ministry of Interior is chiefly responsible for enforcement of the immigration laws in general.
Thai law allows for permanent residency under the following categories:
- Humanitarian grounds
- Expert knowledge
- Case-by-case basis
According to Section 41 of the Immigration Act, the Ministry of Interior is authorized, by publication in the Royal Thai Gazette, to set the quota of foreigners who are allowed to be granted permanent residency status each year. However, the quota must not exceed 100 persons of each nationality per year and must not exceed 50 stateless persons per year. According to an announcement of the Board of Immigration in 2003, in the event that the number of qualified applicants of a certain nationality exceed the quota for that year, then the granting of permanent residency will be divided proportionately according to the number of qualified applicants of that nationality in each category.
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