Moving to Thailand

Country Guide

Country Guide: Thailand

Due to the current coronavirus/COVID-19 situation and restrictions in various countries, the below information may not be accurate. This pandemic is a fluid situation. Check with authorities for local laws and restrictions concerning movements.

Updated: June 19, 2018

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Original passport (with one-year visa issued by immigration in Thailand required for free duty and tax
  • import)
  • Packing list
  • Work permit
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) / air waybill (AWB)
  • Copy ID card (returning citizens) (air shipment only)
  • 90 day business class visa (non Thai immigrants)
  • Diplomatic privileges approval issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thailand

Specific Information

  • The shipment must arrive within 6 months after the owner of the goods’ first arrival on their non – immigrant visa or arrival stamp on a passport.
    • For returning citizens it must be on last arrival.
  • Must contain only used household and personal effect items (not new items).
  • Customs allow one of each kind of electrical appliances.
    • Double items will be dutiable.
  • Household goods must come from the country where the owner of the goods has been staying / working before moving to Thailand.
  • Customs allow one air and sea shipment duty free.
  • The owner of the goods should enter Thailand with a 90 days “class B” (business) non-immigrant visa (non – citizens).
  • The owner of the goods has a 12 month work permit (without any condition), and 12 month visa which has been stamped by immigration in Thailand.
    • Normal process for issuing work permit may take 4-8 weeks (non – citizens).
  • The owner of the goods has never imported goods into Thailand (returning citizens).
  • The owner of the goods must be in the origin country at least 365 days (returning citizens).
  • If the owner of the goods visits Thailand while staying overseas, it must be only 3 months maximum each time (returning citizens).
  • If the owner of the goods visits Thailand many times while staying overseas, the owner of the goods must have good reason and explanation for Thai customs (returning citizens).
  • Returning citizens must be overseas for 1 year in order to be considered for tax and duty free re-entry; travel to and from Thailand during the owner of the goods’ overseas stay is likely to disqualify them from the exemption.
    • A physical stamp in passport and a copy of his/her Thai ID card is required.
  • Diplomatic shipments are exempt from tax and duty, but processing takes approximately 14 business days by the respective Embassy; therefore, documentation must arrive prior to shipment to avoid additional port charges.
  • Retirement / tourist / non – immigrant O visa holders must pay duties.
    • Retirement visa holders must pay duties for household goods except used personal effects (e.g. books, clothes, shoes).
Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Original passport
  • Original driving license
  • Original car registration
  • Import license (from Ministry of Commerce in Thailand)
  • DP1 document (from respective Embassy)
  • Diplomatic exemption certificate (diplomats)
  • Original bill of lading
  • One set of certified copy of all documents mentioned and certified by the owner of the goods

Specific Information

  • Shipments containing more than one of any electrical appliance will be subject to Customs taxes and duties.
  • Duties range from 213% to 308% for cars and 94% for motorcycles not shipped under diplomatic status.
  • Motorcycles cannot be imported unless qualifying under diplomatic status or the owner of the goods has an import license.
  • Before the shipment of motor vehicles, the owner of the goods must obtain approval from the Ministry of Commerce and the import permit must be granted.
  • Import licenses are rarely granted to non – citizens.
  • Individuals must have owned the vehicle at least one and a half years prior to import and must have correct documentation supporting the claim.
  • Must have a work permit and a visa of at least one year old from immigration in Thailand.
  • If a spouse wants to import a vehicle, and is not working but following the working spouse to Thailand, then documentation must be shown as proof.
  • If the permit is approved and the automobile has been imported, the owner of the goods cannot sell it for at least three years from the date of the approval.

Documents Required

  • Vaccination record
  • Microchip certificate
  • Copy of the owner of the goods’ passport
  • Import/export license for pet shipping as excess baggage and manifest cargo
  • Government health certificate
  • Air waybill
  • Pet’s container

Specific Information

  • The vaccination record must include the following information: pet name, breed, sex, date of birth, microchip number & date, vaccination history record, vaccine’s manufacturer & serial number, etc.
    • The vaccination must be between 30 days to 12 months prior to departure.
  • The microchip certificate must include the chip number, date of implantation, etc.
  • For export, a pet must be traveling inside a plastic/wooden crate compliant to the airline’s rules & regulations (e.g. dimension, food tray, water bottle, etc.)
  • Cats and dogs only
  • Owner of the goods is not allowed to be present.
  • There is no quarantine period.
  • Pet must be at least 4 months old.
  • Baggage pets are not subject to Customs clearance.
  • Cargo Pets are subject to Customs clearance.
  • Document processing takes 7-10 business days.
  • Pet(s) must be vaccinated against rabies, Leptospirosis, Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus, wherever possible, a period of 30 days before the departure but no longer than 12 months is recommended.
    • Other vaccination is voluntary.
  • Pet(s) will be dutiable at a rate of 30% based on cost, insurance, freight (CIF) value which will be calculated by Customs assessment division.
  • Prior to import, send photocopies of:
    • Health certificate from the veterinarian (not the Official Health Certificate which is needed when the pet has arrived)
    • Rabies vaccination certificate
    • Passport or other identification of the owner
    • Original address and destination address
    • Picture of pet(s)
    • Flight details
    • All documents must be in English
  • Contact destination agent prior to arrival for more information.
Restricted/Dutiable Items
  • Wine, spirits, foodstuffs (must not be included in the shipment without prior consultation) – taxes and duties apply to quantities in excess of 1152-400%
  • Baby items, including toys
  • Alcohol
  • Antiques and objects of art (permission from the Fine Arts Department is required)
  • Office items and equipment
  • Sports equipment, including golf sets
  • Musical instruments, including pianos
  • Luxury items, including crystal and porcelain, and carpets
  • Only one of each electrical item is allowed duty and tax free; subsequent items will be assessed on the most expensive items.
  • Firearms, ammunition, fireworks (permission from the Ministry of Interior)
  • Wild flora, fauna, fish, and other aquatic fauna (permission from the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department / Department of Agriculture / or Department of Fishery is required)
  • Toys, baby items, office items including files, bicycles, exercise equipment, sport equipment, golf sets, and certain luxury items including crystal glasses and porcelain vases, and fax machines are all dutiable and are not considered by Customs for duty exemption especially coming in via air freight.
  • Buddha statues and relics require import permits
Prohibited Items
  • Shortwave radios
  • Pornographic or obscene objects, literature, pictures, etc.
  • Counterfeit currency, bonds, coins or other counterfeit objects
  • Medical equipment without a license
  • Gold and silver
  • Buddha heads / non full figure Buddha article or religious items
  • Firearms, ammunition
Consignment Instructions

Recommended: Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.

Cultural and Other Information

CIA World Factbook Entry for Thailand

Wikipedia Entry for Thailand