Thailand ID Card Formats
Format of Thai Id Cards
Thai ID cards were first introduced in 1943, then later adapted to their current format in 1985.
Each card consists of 13 digits, which are constructed in the following format.
|1||This identifies the type of individual plus when/how the ID card was issued, as detailed below.|
Not used for Thai nationals, occasionally on other cards
Born after 1st Jan 1984
Birth notified within 15 days
Born after 1st Jan 1984
Birth notified late
Born & registered before 1st Jan 1984
Born before 1st Jan 1984
Missed census or special cases.
Foreign Nationals living temporarily, or illegal migrants.
Children of #6 who were born in Thailand.
Foreign Nationals living permanently, or Thai nationals by naturalisation.
|2-3||The Province/Changwat where the holder first registered for their ID card|
|4-5||The District/Amphur where the holder first registered for their ID card|
|6-12||For Thai nationals this will be their birth certificate number, which consists of a book number and sheet number for the specific amphur. Foreigners/migrants will receive a sequential number per amphur.|
|13||A checksum calculated from digits 1-12|
Background of Thai ID cards
The Thai Identification Card is a small credit-card sized proof of an individuals' identity. They are legally held by all Thai citizens who are between the ages of 7 and 70. It was first introduced in 1943 when the minimum age was 16, this was changed to 15 in 1983 and then down to 7 year old in 2011.
The I.D. card has a variety of uses including being needed when purchasing land, buying or selling a vehicle, hospital visits, telecommunications, various banking activities, any kind of legal transaction and for marriages or divorces. Failure to produce your I.D. card upon request can result in a fine of around 200 Thai baht.
Prior to 1943 people who wanted to travel were expected to apply for an “Internal Passport”, however, the law was rarely upheld. In 1943 the introduction of the “Identification Book” meant that all Thais who were 16 and over were legally obliged to hold a personal identification document, this was similar to the Internal passport.
In 1963 the Identification Book was replaced by the laminated paper I.D. card which had the holder’s photo and various personal information. The cost of the new card was only 5 baht, but because it was made from paper the cards were easy to damage or lose. It was also easy to forge the card as there weren’t any security features.
The next step in the evolution of the I.D. card was in 1987 when all qualified Thais were assigned a personal 13 digit identification number. This became necessary as there were many illegal immigrants coming to Thailand who could not be tracked and therefore, by implementation of a 13 digit individual number locating people was made much easier. This was the first time that inter linking between government bodies could be achieved by way of the personal identification number meaning banks, transport authority, land department etc could monitor all of an individuals' activity from one 13 digit number. In addition, all cards were centrally produced in Bangkok, printed via dot matrix, thumb prints taken and printed on special laminated paper stock.
In 1996 all cards printed in Bangkok were produced through a computer system, unfortunately, those cards produced in rural areas were still entered manually. A down side of the cards up to this point were that they were only printed in Thai language, meaning they could not be used overseas without a translator. The whole system was updated in 2005, when a bilingual version of the cards was produced, this system is still in use to this date.
Then in 2011, the Prime Minister at the time, Khun Abhisit Vejjajiva proposed that the minimum age for all I.D. card holders should be reduced from 15 to 7 years, thereby reducing the need for the use of birth certificates for the identity of children.
The process of applying for an I.D. card for a Thai national is straight forward. The subject must supply to the local department a copy of their birth certificate (if available), photo, personal details and the fee of approximately 90 baht. The I.D. card is valid for. Term of 6 years after which the card must be renewed. The renewal process is also uncomplicated as the applicant will already have their 13 digit personal number which the registrar can use to confirm identity and issue the new card.
Foreigners who wish to obtain a Thai I.D. Card must follow a different protocol. That being the foreign applicant must first apply for the “pink” I.D. card, this can only be issued after the applicant has obtained a Thai I.D. number. In order to obtain a Thai I.D. number an applicant must first register their permanent residence in Thailand with the government. You will then be issued a “Yellow House Book”. Once you have the Yellow Book, you can then apply for the Thai I.D. card (Pink ID Card). Applying is not difficult, but you will have to submit your passport, marriage certificate (if applicable), yellow residency book, birth certificate (if applicable) and work permit (if applicable). Applicants will also need to have 2 Thai persons as witnesses for the application. Once all documentation is authorised, the applicant will then have their photo taken for the card. Usually, you will receive your I.D. card on the same day. It typically takes a couple of hours although you may be asked to return in a couple of days if the office is particularly busy.
It’s debatable as to whether obtaining a Thai I.D. card is necessary as to date it doesn’t afford you any benefits within Thailand, however, if you continue the process to obtain a full “Resident” I.D. card then the recipient is allowed to stay in Thailand indefinitely without the need for visas, although this is the only benefit the holder has.