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57 replies to this topic
Posted 2011-11-20 16:08:23
I was shocked to hear from one of the Western embassies (not US as they do not allow dual citizenship) that my child will lose his Thai nationality as per Thai law. I also contacted a number of Thai lawyers and it was confirmed.
Section 14 of the Thai nationality Act BE 2508, ammended BE 2535 and 2551 - with further changes in the pipeline, will result in all children of Thai and foreign parents having to renounce either their Western nationality or Thai nationality.
By secretly not doing this, the Thai govt has a clause that states, all who do not notify the Thai govt (within 1 year) will have their Thai citizenship automatically removed.
Houses and businesses in dual nationality children's names at risk. Children born in Thailand and Thai, just because one parent is a foreigner lose there status and now have to go on visas and 90 immigration reporting. They cannot work in the land of their legal birth.
What can all these children do? What can these parents do?
Is there any help?
Have others been in this position.
Posted 2011-11-20 16:25:00
The US has no issue with dual nationality which is the same position Thailand has - it is not allowed or disallowed by law. The only change in the wind that I know of is for those who have obtained naturalization from another citizenship - not for those born Thai (which is the case if one parent is Thai).
Could you please provide a source and text of what you obtained from this "western" Embassy. Thanks.
Posted 2011-11-20 16:29:47
I believe you are listening to someone who has mistranslated a Thai sentence.
'must' has been used where the original Thai word meant 'may'
Do you really believe Mr. Shinawatra (six passports) would allow any one of his nationalities to be forcibly renounced?
Edited by ludditeman, 2011-11-20 16:36:22.
Posted 2011-11-20 16:39:01
I have tried to post the source of the law I was advised to look at... but thaivisa does not allow links as I am a new member. Please type in "unhcr thai nationality act 2551" in google. it is the first that comes up and look at section 14 (main).
The link is the latest law of Thailand as translated by the UN. By calling the embassy I was told they are lowering the age to 16. I am sure you realize that for family security I am trying to be a bit vague regarding the exact emabassy - part of EU.
Here is a copy of the relevant text:
“Section 14. A person of Thai nationality, who was born of an alien father or
mother and has acquired the nationality of his father or mother according to the law
on nationality of his father or mother, or a person who acquires Thai nationality under
Section 12 paragraph two or Section 12/1 (2) and (3) is required, if he desires to retain
his other nationality, to make a declaration of his intention to renounce his Thai
nationality within one year after his attaining the age of twenty years, according to
such form and in the manner as prescribed in the Ministerial Regulations.
If, after consideration of the said intention, the Minister is of opinion that there
is reasonable ground to believe that such person may acquire the nationality of his
father, mother, or a foreign nationality, he shall grant permission, except in cases
where Thailand is being engaged in armed conflict, or is in state of war, he may order
the dispensation of any renunciation of Thai nationality.”
Edited by AngryParent, 2011-11-20 16:42:37.
Posted 2011-11-20 16:42:14
They are talking about changing the age that a Thai citizen may optionally renounce other citizenships, I believe the current age is 21.
Posted 2011-11-20 16:44:19
I don't really know why a EU embassy is commenting on Thai nationality law. Fact of the matter is, I'm even wondering why you are bothering to listen to them.
Since 1992 Thai nationality law has been increasingly liberal on the issue dual nationality. Previous versions of the law which banned it were quickly overturned.
Amendments in 2008 broadened, not narrowed, access to Thai nationality.
Thai law as it has stood for nearly 20 years simply gives the option to a child born to foreign parents to renounce Thai citizenship in the year following they turn 20. If they don't, there is no penalty.
You have been given false information my friend.
Posted 2011-11-20 16:46:32
Well , I guess double passport offspring will have to make a desicion at some point as to what passport they prefer to hold as they enter the job market and choose a place of residence . Lucky blighters .
Posted 2011-11-20 16:49:39
Thailand certainly won't force any dual national children to choose.
Posted 2011-11-20 16:55:43
I really hope you are correct, but as a terrified father, who has lived terrified under the visa system:
I was also drwan to: "“Section 17. With respect to a person who has Thai nationality, by reason of
his having been born within the Thai Kingdom of an alien father or mother, his Thai
nationality may be revoked if it appears that:
(1) He has resided in a foreign country, of which his father or mother
has or used to have nationality, for a consecutive period of more
than five years as from the day of his becoming sui juris;
(2) There is evidence to show that he makes use of the nationality of
his father, mother, or of a foreign nationality, or that he has an
active interest in the nationality of his father, mother, or in a foreign
And the killer was: "If no notification is made within the said period or time. that person is
deemed to renounce Thai nationality. unless the Minister shall gi\"e an order otherwise
for each particular case" The 2535 Act.
So, is this a question of keep quiet and hope for the best and if somebody does not like you, the law is already against you and my son is doomed?
Please, I need concrete information! Years of a family is at risk here!
Posted 2011-11-20 16:55:44
Well, irregardless of any revocation of Thai citizenship, minor children are not required to report, only the parents, so that's not an issue and no change, they only need to show a passport when traveling..
Posted 2011-11-20 16:58:56
Unreasonable fear of the unknown is a mental illness.
You asked, you have been answered.
Go see a shrink.
Posted 2011-11-20 17:00:52
NO the boss wins.
I am just a poor father who cannot fight or defend a poor son. And from my reading, it looks like I am doomed. And the embassy, Thai staff, have made me very worried.
Posted 2011-11-20 17:04:06
Well for starters, I have Thai and Australian nationality and am well over 20 years of age. I'm on about my 5th Thai passport at the moment.
With regards to the clause you pointed out, a bit of background to understanding it is required.
Thai nationalty can only generally be passed down by blood. So, if you read the start of the nationality act, you'll see:
So, in this case, a child aquires Thai nationality by birth to a Thai national. This the case of me, and presumably, your children who were also born to a Thai national.
With respect to section 17 that you highlight the following:
This refers to people who have gained Thai nationality from their Alien parents.
The only alien parents who can pass on Thai nationality to their children are permanent residents of Thailand. For this clause to apply, the child will need to have been born to two foreign parents in Thailand who both have permanent residence, but not Thai citizenship.
So this clause does not apply to any child born to at least one Thai parent.
Sit back, relax.
Edited by samran, 2011-11-20 17:06:13.
Posted 2011-11-20 17:20:21
Thank you Samran!
OK, section 17 is resolved.
What about the section that states one must notify Thailand of intention to renounce the western citizenship within 1 year of age of maturity or will result in automatic termination? I do not dispute your have dual nationality etc... many do and so does my son.
But is this, something that as long as both parties keep quiet all is OK. Or is there the chance - taking your example - if you walked into the Thai govt. office and said, I have dual nationality and did not notify intention of renouncing one, they will immediatly conduct an investigation (for whatever reason inc. an angry official) and the end result will 100% be loss of Thai citizenship?
Posted 2011-11-20 17:24:17
Where in the 1992 (third version) or the 2008 (fourth version) of the Nationality Act does it state there will be automatic termination if no declaration is made???
Fact is, it doesn't.
If no declaration is made...nothing happens.
True, the second version of the Nationality Act did (also in 1992) and that version lasted about 3 weeks before law makers quickly scrapped that clause, presumably as the children of many powerful Thai's also have dual nationality.
People assume it is in the law - but anyone who can read can see that it isn't.
Personally, I don't hide the fact that I have two passports, but I don't advertise the fact lest I have to spend time explaining the Thai nationality act to them.
Again, it is sunday night, I'm sure there is a good movie on TV. Chill out. Nothing to worry about here.
Edited by samran, 2011-11-20 17:27:56.
Posted 2011-11-20 18:56:16
Thank you for your advice.
As a concerned parent, can I kindly ask you 2 more questions?
1. With all respect, are you a registered lawyer in Thailand?
2. According to Thai law, does each new Nationality Act replace the previous Act in its entirety or as in the West, it makes only certian changes. I ask this beacause if the latter is correct, then the more draconian Nationality Acts still remain in law.
Posted 2011-11-20 18:56:20
My Thai wife is now an American citizen. She has an American passport and a Thai passport. She has a Thai ID card that she uses each year when she renews her one-year visa (she lives here on her American passport).
In the 15 years we've lived here, there's never been a reason for her to disclose to anyone that she is a dual-citizen. When it's handy to use her Thai citizenship, she does so. When it's handy to use her American citizenship, she does so. Never a question and never a reason to tell anyone that she has both.
Living in a foreign country, there's always a chance the laws can change.......Thailand could revert to it's pre-2000 laws that forbade Thai women-married to foreigners from buying land. Thailand could refuse to allow any Thai to hold dual citizenship. It could reverse its laws that allow a wife to continue using her maiden name. Lots of things could change....but for now, none of that is a problem.
Posted 2011-11-20 19:12:36
I agree with what you say. I have noticed Thai embassies abroad writing that a wife will not lose Thai citizenship.
There is a fine difference. Your wife has 2 Thai parents. My son's case is 1 is a foreigner and Thai law appears to make this as the child is innocent till maturity, but then loss of citizenship is possible. It appears as though this is a loyalty issue and failure to renounce one citizenship results in loss of the other - if a case is made against the son. Till then, it is live in a grey area that is dangerous and goes against human rights.
Silence of dual citizens, rather than the law, appears to be the reason why dual citizenship is permitted - or a blind eye is turned.
Posted 2011-11-20 19:14:56
I stand by my guess .
Posted 2011-11-20 19:21:27
well, as said, I am well past 20 and I've never had to make that 'choice'. I use whatever passport is convinient.
Posted 2011-11-20 19:24:22
Under what Human Rights Law does one have to say bye to the land of their father or mother (without being a criminal or doing anything against the country)?
What if the child has lived in both countries and loves both countries and would like to work wherever the child is qualified to work in?
What about purchasing a family property in the son's name and only to find out it will be "confiscated" soon?
What about you? I am assuming you have to apply for visas and work permits etc because you choose to live here. What if you were born here and are not allowed to do what you are doing?
You speak very casually about a matter of grave importance.
Posted 2011-11-20 19:28:15
No, I am not a registered lawyer, I an economist and used to be an an advisor to the Thai government - though most of my work dealt with regulatory legal issues. I've had the opportunity though to speak to offical from the Council of State on this matter, so my explainations are not uninformed.
Yes, each new act will revise preceeding acts, so only certain changes will be made - or old text struck out. A clear example of this is the change from the 3rd version to the 4th version of the act where language which discriminated on the basis of sex was removed and allowed the law to be applied more fairly across the board, without substantively changing the intent.
Be very clear though, the laws which 'require' a choice to be made have been struck out. The 3rd and 4th version of the act can only be read in context of what came before - that is, the second version of the act (which lasted 3 weeks) and did require a choice to be made by threat of penalty. This clause was scrapped. As such, there is not requirement to 'choose', unless one voluntarily wants to. And their is no penalty for those who don't.
Edited by samran, 2011-11-20 19:44:41.
Posted 2011-11-20 19:33:03
There is no 'fine difference'. The child of one Thai parent has equal claim and status as a Thai citizen as a child who is born to two Thai parents.
Supreme court judgements support this already. Proposed parliamentary requirements back in the 1990's which said that Thai MP's with one foreign parent required a higher set of educational qualifications to be an MP were readily struck down by the court with the reasoning that you can't descriminate between Thai citizens.
Similarly, the ban on Thai wives married to foreigners owing land was struck down using similar logic.
Edited by samran, 2011-11-20 19:43:07.
Posted 2011-11-20 20:25:35
I'm assuming that you also travel using two passports between both countries, to avoid the need for a visa? My son has done this one time; no problems at all. But from what you say, when he comes of age, there is no need to renounce one citizenship, unless one wants too. As my saon is dual Thai/Aussie, what is the view of the Australian government regarding dual citizenship when one comes of age? It seems to be acceptable, based on your experiences.