Integrity Legal

17th November 2009

As more and more Thais marry foreign nationals the Thai diaspora grows. Many Thai-American couples immigrate to the United States of America using either a fiance visa such as a K1 visa or a marriage visa like a K3 visa or CR1 visa. When these couples have children a few questions arise. First, what is the child’s nationality? Second, is the child entitled to dual nationality. Third, if entitled to a Thai passport how do we go about obtaining one? This is where the Thai Consular Report of Birth Abroad comes into play.

It should be noted that a child born to a Thai mother overseas is born with Thai nationality. A child born to a Thai father abroad is probably Thai although there are some restrictions in the Thai Nationality act. For our purposes we will assume the child is born with Thai nationality.

In order for a Thai national who was born abroad to obtain a Thai passport a Consular Report of Birth Abroad must be obtained by the foreign born Thai. This report of birth abroad is similar to the US Consular Report of Birth Abroad in that it provides proof that the child was born to a Citizen of the Kingdom of Thailand. Pursuant to relevant sections of Thai nationality law, the child of a Thai Citizen is Thai. Therefore, once a report of birth abroad is issued a Thai passport can be acquired.

Some are under the mistaken impression that Thais and Americans cannot have dual nationality. This is not true. There is no provision under Thai law prohibiting dual nationality. Further, United States nationality law does not prohibit dual nationality. The major issue for dual nationals concerns their two home countries. A Thai-American with dual nationality is considered exclusively an American citizen when in the United States of America (or one of its protectorates, possessions, or territories) and exclusively a Thai citizen when in the Kingdom of Thailand.

There can be a great many problems that can arise if one fails to obtain a Thai Consular Report of Birth Abroad on behalf of one’s child. This is particularly true if the child later wishes to reside in Thailand with the same benefits as other Thai citizens. Proving Thai citizenship from birth can be difficult if there has been a long period of time between the child’s birth and subsequent application for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad. There can be particularly daunting problems if the Thai national is a boy because there are military draft requirements for male Thais. If one does not fulfill their draft obligations and subsequently wishes to obtain a Thai passport the bureaucratic difficulties could be legion. Therefore, it may be wise to retain the advice of a Thai attorney or law firm if a man wishes to sort out his Thai nationality after missing his draft year.

A Consular Report of Birth Abroad can be issued at a Thai Embassy or Consulate in the country where the Thai was born. The Thai posts have a section similar to the  American Citizen Services section at a US Embassy which handles Reports of Birth Abroad.


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