How to apply for foreign citizenship for children born in Thailand

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One thing that is truly different about having a baby abroad is all the paperwork involved in registering a child’s birth and gaining citizenship from your ‘home’ country. This dilemma can be compounded if you and your partner happen to hold different nationalities.

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To be honest, none of this had even occurred to my husband and I until a few weeks before my due date. It was only when someone asked us what nationality our child would be, Canadian or British, that we realized that we had some things to think about.

Fortunately, the process turned out to be much easier and straightforward than we anticipated. The staff at Samitivej Sukhumvit were more than helpful and obviously very accustomed to dealing with this somewhat unique situation.

What to do before you leave the hospital

It’s important to know that children born to non-Thai citizens in Thailand have no recourse to Thai citizenship. In fact, it will be clearly stated on the child’s birth certificate that they are a person who “…illegally or temporarily resides in Thailand”.  This means that your child is effectively a stateless person until the time that you have that passport in your hands.

The hospital will provide you with the necessary documents to begin the paper trail. I would recommend that you bring with you, to the hospital, originals (and copies) of both parents’ passport and a copy of the marriage certificate (if you have one, just to be safe). The hospital will take a picture of your child when they are about 1 day old. My advice would be to buy as many copies of that picture as are offered. You simply don’t know how many you may need to submit to various agencies.

The hospital also offered us notarised English translations of the Thai birth certificate for an additional fee.[1] Again, I urge you to buy multiple copies as some embassies will not accept photocopies. Keep in mind that, unless you plan on residing permanently in Thailand for the rest of your child’s life, whenever a birth certificate is required in future you will need to provide a notarized translation.[2] At Samitivej, they are currently able to translate documents into French and English only. Due to an agreement with the Japanese government, the hospital is able to assist Japanese nationals in gaining a birth certificate directly from the embassy.

Once all the proper documentation has been submitted, the processing time is roughly 7 to 10 working days. We were given the option of having the birth certificate mailed to us or picking it up in person at the hospital.

Applying for a passport and citizenship

I found this process to be surprisingly straightforward. In our case, we opted to apply for a Canadian passport and citizenship over dual citizenship for two simple reasons. One, a child’s Canadian passport costs roughly 600 baht and a British passport costs roughly 9,000 baht.[3] Two, for obvious reasons, children’s passports must be updated more frequently than adult passports. We did not see the value in having to incur the additional expense and hassle while our boys are still young. And, unless the laws are likely to change anytime soon, they have many years ahead of them to apply for a British passport. If you wish, you may register a child’s birth in the UK via the British embassy without going through the formality of acquiring a passport. These certificates can be used as proof of citizenship and take about a 12 months to process.

For Canadians, a passport application and a citizenship application can be made at the same time. I would recommend doing both simultaneously and as soon as possible. While each of my children’s passport applications took roughly 2 weeks to come back, citizenship took much much longer. In the case of my eldest, it took 10 months and in the case of my youngest, it took closer to a year.

Visas for children born in Thailand to foreign parents

From all that I’ve been able to cobble together, and my own personal experience, it would seem that children born to foreign parents in Thailand do not require a ‘visa’ until the age of seven. That is assuming that they do not leave the country during that entire time. Otherwise, you are free to leave the country with your infant/child, provided you have a valid passport[4]. If you are a foreign Thai resident, you must obtain a ‘Non-immigrant B’ visa for your child[5] before returning to Thailand. A ‘tourist’ visa cannot be converted into a residency permit with multiple re-entry privileges. If your child (re)enters Thailand on a tourist visa, they will be subject to all the laws that pertain to that. In layman’s terms, that means that at least one parent will end up doing an easily unavoidable visa run with the child before 90 days are up. Obviously,this law also applies to foreign Thai residents who opt to return ‘home’ for the birth of their child. Our employer was very clear about giving us this information beforehand yet I know of many other parents whose employers have not been as clear about this.

As with anything, forewarned is forearmed when it comes to having a baby. Overseas or not.


[1] Do check with your embassy ahead of time as I’ve heard that some have very particular rules when it comes to acceptable translation agencies.

[2] Things such as school or university applications, driver’s license, social insurance number, marriage certificates spring to mind: just to name a few.

[3] Or at least those were the prices when we were applying.

[4] We encountered a bit of a hassle at immigration when we left Thailand for the first time with our son. They were unhappy that we didn’t have a ‘departure’ card in his passport. A quick glance at his Thai birth certificate cleared everything up.

[5] You can apply for this at any Thai embassy or consulate outside of Thailand. It does not need to be issued from your home country

Photo Credit: PHOTO ♥ BOOTH via Compfight cc

My name is Jodie. I'm a 38 year old Canadian working and living in Bangkok, Thailand. My husband and I are both international teachers - though I'm taking this year off to be a full-time mom.

When we're not busy with other people's kids, we try our hand at raising our own very curious nearly four year old son and his 9 and half month old brother. When it comes to parenting, like most of us, I’m making a lot of it up as I go along .

42 Comments

  1. Karen  /  April 9, 2013, 10:21 am Reply

    Oh my gosh! I just went through all this! Exactly!! We’re still waiting to hear what to do about a visa because we keep getting mixed messages.

  2. Jodie  /  April 10, 2013, 10:56 am Reply

    Can you tell me what your current visa situation is? Maybe I can help.

  3. Karen  /  April 11, 2013, 5:42 pm Reply

    We just got her passport and haven’t done anything with the visa yet since Songkran is here. My school will take me to get a visa in July, so I was thinking to take her then. But, the visa person in our school’s office will call when we all get back to work next week and see what needs to be done and when.

    Some people said not to worry about a visa. Some said not to worry about one now and to just get one when I leave the country (no thanks; not the way I want to spend a holiday). Some said to get one.

    On a side note…
    When we got the birth certificate, we had some problems with registering the baby at a Thai address. Our district and an adjacent one had no idea if we, as foreigners, had to register her (a lot of paperwork for other people). We finally called Bangrak district because they deal with many foreigners, and they said we didn’t have to register her at a Thai address because we’re foreign. (Just in case anyone wants to know this information!)

  4. Nway  /  July 10, 2013, 4:27 pm Reply

    Hi
    I from Myanmar and my husband too.We both have work permit and passport from Thailand make for Myanmar staff. I born the baby in Thailand .I have birth certificate from Hospital .Now I want to back home by flight .My baby need Passport or not ?How can I get passport for only travel .

    • ExpectingExpats.com
      ExpectingExpats.com  /  July 10, 2013, 8:23 pm Reply

      Hello and thank you for your question. We have passed your question to Samitivej Hospital to see if they have a department that can answer your question. We will post a reply here when we hear back. It is possible that they cannot answer, and that your question will have to be answered by a lawyer.

      Sincerely,

      The ExpectingExpats Team

    • ExpectingExpats.com
      ExpectingExpats.com  /  July 16, 2013, 4:00 pm Reply

      Hello again. We have heard back from Samitivej Hospital with advice on what you need to do. Please refer to their reply below:
      —–
      Regarding your question, your baby needs to apply for a passport in order to enter your country. Please contact your embassy. Your embassy will advise what steps you have to take for both passport and citizenship for your baby. We recommend you bring along your child’s birth certificate when visiting your embassy.

      Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
      Address : 132 Sathorn Nua Road, Bangkok 10500
      Tel : (662) 233-2237, 234-4698, 233-7250, 234 4789,237 7744

  5. tais  /  August 1, 2013, 5:32 pm Reply

    Hi,
    Im brazilian and my husband canadian. I am in Bangkok as a tourist and will have my baby here in october. What documents do we need to show when registering the baby at the Bangrak district?
    Did you go there by yourself? Do they have people who speak english or did you have somebody who speaks Thai helping you?
    After having the baby here, can the baby stays until it is 7 years old without having to leave the country every 1 or 3 months (like us, the parents!)?
    Do you have any immigration company that helped you? Would you reccomend any one?
    Thank you!!
    Tais

  6. Jodie  /  August 1, 2013, 7:21 pm Reply

    Hi Tais,

    In regards to act of registering the birth in Thailand, I’m afraid I can’t be of too much help as the hospital did it all for us. They arranged for notarized English translations of the birth certificate as well. We were even able to order extra passport photos from the hospital to use in our subsequent passport application. All of this for a very reasonable fee.

    As for this question; “After having the baby here, can the baby stays until it is 7 years old without having to leave the country every 1 or 3 months (like us, the parents!)?” It’s my understanding that children born in Thailand to foreign parents are visa exempt until the age of 7. But that means that they cannot leave the country during that time. If they do, you must get a “non-immigrant” visa abroad before reentering the Kingdom in order to avoid ending up going on visa runs every 90 days. When you are ready to leave the country (and only if you plan on returning) make sure that you consult with your employer to get all the necessary documents/letters from them for the visa application. Laws do change though so you should double check. Hope this helps.

    Jodie

  7. Davit  /  November 5, 2013, 10:10 am Reply

    Hello my name is Chantea!

    I’m from Cambodia my wife and I are work in Thailand now she she is pregnant. When the baby is came out so he become a citizenship right the way ? Do they have Cambodian translator in the hospital?

    Please help me thank !

    • Jodie  /  November 5, 2013, 10:50 am Reply

      HI Chanteal,

      Children of non-Thai citizens do not have recourse to Thai citizenship at birth. That means that if you and your wife are Cambodian then your child, though born in Thailand, DOES NOT become a Thai citizen at birth nor can he or she apply for Thai citizenship. You will need to apply for Cambodian nationality through your local embassy.

      As to your question regarding translators, I know that at Samitivej there are English, Korean, Japanese and even Burmese information counters but I’m not sure about a Khmer translator. I would encourage you to contact the hospital directly and to inquire about this.

      Best wishes,
      Jodie

      • Davit  /  November 5, 2013, 9:44 pm Reply

        Thank you jodie

  8. Expecting Expats  /  November 5, 2013, 10:51 am Reply

    Hello Davit,

    Thank you for your question. We are checking with Samitivej Hospital about the Cambodian translator and we will get back to you.

    As far as we know, children born to non-Thai citizens in Thailand will not receive Thai citizenship. But please check with your embassy to be verify the situation with Cambodian parents.

    Please feel free to ask additional questions through this correspondence or by contacting us directly at info@expectingexpats.com.

    We wish you and your wife the best of luck with your pregnancy!

    • Davit  /  November 5, 2013, 11:27 pm Reply

      Hi ! Some one told that when my kid born the government there will give use a 20000 bat is it true?And can I bring my kid to cambodia to visit please help thank!

  9. admin  /  November 6, 2013, 2:00 pm Reply

    Hello Davit,

    We are uncertain about government fees and we suggest to check with your embassy.

    To answer your other questions: Samitivej has a Cambodian translator (but please note that you should reserve the translator in advance).

    We hope that we were able to help you!

    • Davit  /  November 7, 2013, 7:39 am Reply

      Thank

  10. Dixon  /  November 7, 2013, 12:53 am Reply

    Hi im Dixon , me n my wife are malaysian and we move to bangkok for start our business there end of year . But i stil, worry my wife to newborn baby for 2014 feb , so does my baby become thai citizhen ? And usually naturally newborn baby at samitivej need how much ?

  11. admin  /  November 8, 2013, 10:49 am Reply

    Hello Dixon,

    Children born to non-Thai citizens in Thailand will not receive Thai citizenship.

    Please contact us at info@expectingexpats.com if you have any further questions.

    The Expecting Expats Team.

  12. Dixon  /  November 13, 2013, 9:00 pm Reply

    Actually in thailand , the thai citizen are doing confinement for the first month after borned ?
    And where to find thus serve if have ?

  13. Remo and Anne  /  February 2, 2014, 12:14 am Reply

    Hello Everybody,
    Anne and me are going to have a baby in few months and we are thinking about deliver him/her in Thailand. What’ is about our Visa? Are we going to receive some residencial Visa thanks to the new born baby?
    Thanks a lot

  14. admin  /  February 2, 2014, 2:34 pm Reply

    Dear Remo and Anne,

    Thank you for your question! We have sent a note to our partners at Samitivej Hospital to see whether they have more information about this one. If they do we will let you know.

    We know that you can get a Tourist visa for up to three months in Thailand (the length of the visa and application process various though depending on the country of origin). Perhaps it is worth checking with the Thai embassy in your country of residence — they should have more information about the type of visa, length, costs, etc. that suit your requirements.

    We hope this answers your question, and if we find out more we will let you know through this correspondence.

    Kind regards,
    The Expecting Expats Team

  15. admin  /  February 3, 2014, 6:24 pm Reply

    Hello again Remo and Anne,

    We contacted Samitivej Hospital and they recommend to apply for a travelling visa (not visa on arrival at the airport). They can provide an appointment letter, which you will need when applying for the visa. If you would like to have assistance with this, please feel free to email the hospital directly at info@samitivej.co.th.

    We have also written more information on “Travelling for Birth” in one of our articles here:
    http://www.expectingexpats.com/2013/09/11/giving-birth-abroad-bangkok-thailand/

    Please let us know if you have any further questions.

    The Expecting Expats Team

  16. Hasnat Ahamd  /  June 16, 2014, 1:51 pm Reply

    Dear Writer/Admin,

    Would you please able to help me on the following query:

    How to apply for visa for baby? You mentioned you applied for visa outside Thailand. But is it also possible to apply for visa without leaving Thailand? Considering both me & my wife are working in Thailand having work permit. Please do let me know if you have any experience and suggestion on this regard. By the way I am from Bangladesh and my wife is from Philippines.

    Regards,
    Hasnat

    • ExpectingExpats.com
      ExpectingExpats.com  /  June 16, 2014, 2:06 pm Reply

      Hi and thanks for your question.

      We have passed along your question to the information team at Samitivej Hospital Women’s Health Center and will share their answer here as soon as we can.

      The Expecting Expats Team

    • ExpectingExpats.com
      ExpectingExpats.com  /  June 17, 2014, 11:44 am Reply

      We have received the following from Samitivej Hospital. Please let us know if you have any further questions. Thanks.

      Normally you can apply for a child’s visa at your own country’s embassy. Each embassy requires their own set of paperwork so please double check with your embassy for details. One of the documents that you need to submit when applying for a visa is your child’s birth certificate. Samitivej Hospital provides a translation service for birth certificates in English and French. If you need other languages, your embassy would be able to recommend a reliable translation service.

  17. Hasnat Ahamd  /  June 17, 2014, 12:21 pm Reply

    Hi Admin,

    My question is not answered here. Is it mandatory to go outside Thailand to apply for visa? Because my wife will give birth at Thailand. So I guess we can do apply visa at Thailand immigration inside Thailand.

    Thanks.

  18. Mali Kianfar  /  September 16, 2014, 4:45 pm Reply

    Hi admin..
    Im Vietnamese and my husband is American, we are moving to live in Chiangmai, Thailand soon. Im pregnant now and i have a question that how could i apply Citizenship Visa for my baby. I will born the baby in Vietnames in October. Could you tell me what doccument we should have for our baby to have a Residente Visa in Thainland?
    Many thanks
    Mali Kianfar

    • ExpectingExpats.com  /  September 17, 2014, 11:50 am Reply

      Hello Mali,

      Thank you for your message. There are different laws applicable to different countries. Your safest option is to contact your embassy or the Thai embassy in Vietnam, explain your situation and ask for their advice.

      Best of look with your pregnancy and with your move to Chiang Mai.

      Sincerely, The Expecting Expats Team

  19. Mélanie  /  November 24, 2014, 1:05 pm Reply

    Hello,

    My boyfriend and I living in Jomtien and we have an education visa. We are thinking about having a baby, but someone tells me that we can not add a baby on an education visa… Is it true ? What can I do if it’s true ?

    Thanks

  20. Mélanie  /  November 24, 2014, 1:06 pm Reply

    I forget to say that we want travel sometimes with the baby

    • admin  /  November 28, 2014, 3:52 pm Reply

      Hello and thank you for your question.

      We are uncertain about whether you can have a baby on an education visa and we suggest to contact your embassy for further information. They should be able to help you with this matter.

  21. james  /  April 18, 2015, 12:57 pm Reply

    Hi

    I am a canadian and my wife is Thai, and we both live in Thailand. we are expecting our baby in a month. we would like to have dual citizenship for our baby. how do we go about it? please suggest, since it seems in theory Thailand doesn’t permit dual citizenship but in practice, many individuals of thai/mixed parentage actually have it !

    thanks

    • admin  /  April 20, 2015, 12:03 pm Reply

      Thank you for your question. We have received the following reply from Samitivej Hospital. We hope this helps.
      —–

      You cannot apply for dual citizenship in Thailand. Soon-to-be parents need to prepare the following documents so that the hospital can prepare birth citizenship for your baby.

      For Thai mothers, please bring a copy of her identity card and a copy of her house registration certificate. For foreign fathers, please bring a copy of his passport/passport and a copy of the marriage certificate if any.

      According to the family law, children born between a Thai woman and a foreign man will be entitled to Thai citizenship. However, if the mother’s identity card has expired and not been renewed, we suggest the mother renew it first before the baby is born. Please note that the hospital cannot proceed without all required documents.

      At Samitivej Hospital, if the patient requests, we can help check with the district office. In this case we will need to ask for more patient information such as identity card number, first name, last name and province according to identity card. This is to ensure that the document is valid.

  22. ALBERT DXONI  /  December 11, 2015, 10:55 am Reply

    when i was in canada my girlfriend had a babv and not having my passport i wasnt put on birtcertificate how can i get my name added

    • admin  /  December 23, 2015, 10:15 am Reply

      Hello and thank you for your question. This goes beyond the scope of what we are able to answer here on this site. We recommend you contact your embassy for help with this issue. Best of luck.

  23. Lee mays  /  February 10, 2016, 5:23 am Reply

    I have a thai partner and she is expecting our baby early september buticannot be there at the birth what do i have to do to register the birth if im not present.

  24. Jodie  /  February 12, 2016, 12:29 am Reply

    Hi Lee,

    It has been over three years since I wrote this post but I will try to answer as honestly as I can. Please be aware, I am no longer in Thailand and therefore am not aware of any changes in the law which might have happened since 2013. For these reasons, I would encourage you to seek advice from your embassy.

    That being said, and based on the very little information which you provided, I would offer the following advice.

    My understanding is/was that when a woman with Thai nationality gives birth in Thailand, her child is automatically entitled to Thai nationality /citizenship. This is the opposite to when, in my case, two expats have a birth in the Kingdom. In this case, the child is deemed an “alien resident” until such time as foreign citizenship is established.

    You say that your “partner” is Thai. Your use of the word “partner” is ambiguous, in legal terms. Is this a wife or girlfriend? Is your major concern about registering the birth in your country of origin? Or are you asking how, if you can’t arranged to present for the birth of your child (which is happening 7 months from now) how to make sure that your name is on the birth certificate?

  25. Ekrajmon  /  May 9, 2016, 3:53 pm Reply

    HELLO!!! MY WIFE AND I WE ARE CITIZEN OF MYANMAR WE BOTH HAD WORK PERMIT WHEN WE WAS IN THAILAND, IN 2002 MY WIFE GAVE BIRTH OF MY SON, HE HAVE THAI BIRTH CERTIFICATE EVERYTHING, NOW HE IS 14 YEARS OLD, AND WE’RE MOVED TO US 12 YEARS AGO. AFTER HE IS BECAME US CITIZEN, IN HIS US PASSPORT STATED HIS PLACE OF BIRTH IN THAILAND. MY QUESTION IS HE WANTED TO BE THAI CITIZEN , IS IT POSSIBLE FOR HIM TO APPLY FOR THAI CITIZENSHIP? AND WHAT SHOULD WE DO AND WHERE SHOULD WE GET THE ADVISER FOR THIS MATTERS? WE ARE APPRECIATED.

    • admin  /  May 11, 2016, 8:26 am Reply

      Hello and thank you for your question. You need to contact your Thai Embassy in the USA for accurate legal information concerning Thai citizenship for your son.

      You can reach them through their website at: http://thaiembdc.org/

      Best of luck. The Expecting Expats Team

  26. Ramin Habibi  /  August 5, 2016, 6:52 pm Reply

    Hello,

    Can anybody help me with details on this,

    me and my family are nationality of Afghanistan and resident of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, we have tourist visa for Thailand and planning to travel to Thailand next month, as i am in the gems business here i want to start the same business in Thailand, i am concerned about my new baby, my wife is pregnant, and unfortunately we dont have the Afghanistan Embassy or Consulate in Thailand, if she give the delivery in Thailand? how we can proceed to get the new baby Afghanistan passport or can we go out of Thailand after delivery to get the passport in United Arab Emirates and return? i would appreciate if anybody can help in this.

    Thanks,

    Ramin

    • admin  /  September 5, 2016, 9:41 am Reply

      Hello, and thank you for your question. Unfortunately, we do not have access to this information. We suggest that you inquire with your embassy. Good luck.

  27. Gemma  /  September 24, 2016, 3:51 pm Reply

    I’m from and live in the uk, my boyfriend is Thai and lives in Thailand. So we travel back and forth to visit each other. I would like to have my baby in Thailand and get dual citizenship for the baby. Dose anyone know how straight forward this would be?

    • admin  /  September 26, 2016, 1:39 pm Reply

      Hello and thank you for your comment and question. Because this information varies depending on nationality, we suggest you consult with your embassy. Good luck.

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