Importing your Car and Household goods into Thailand

by Jason Mueller
Man standing on the island

Are you moving to Thailand in the near future, either for work or pleasure? If that’s the case, you’ll need some in depth information on the regulations that govern the importation of vehicles and household goods into the country. Like many nations around the world, Thailand has a strict set of rules regarding importation, a specific set of required documentation and various taxes and duties that you must pay when bringing in items from abroad.

To help you navigate this sometimes-complicated topic, covered below is all the information you need to make an informed decision about what you should pack (and what you should leave behind).

Paperwork required to import a car into Thailand. Temporary Importation.

Unfortunately, importing a car into Thailand is a complex and expensive proposition, and many people find it easier to simply buy a car locally after moving. The exception to this is temporary importation of a personal vehicle, which carries no duties or taxes. If you plan to import your car for six months or less, you can do so without paying anything for the privilege. However, be aware that you’ll be required to deposit the full amount of applicable taxes and duties that would
come due, were you to fail to re-export the car back out of the country in time.

You’ll also need a good deal of paperwork to complete the process, the full list of which can be found on the Official Thai Customs website.

Permanent importation of a new vehicle. The process involved in permanent importation of a personal vehicle is much more involved, though it is somewhat easier if you’re attempting to import a brand new vehicle. Again, you’ll

need a slew of specific paperwork. The biggest difference between permanently importing a new vehicle versus a used one, is that you won’t be required to obtain an import permit from the Foreign Trade Department of the Ministry of Commerce (which can be a difficult feat). Permanent importation of a used vehicle.

When it comes to importing a used vehicle into Thailand, you’ll need all of the documentation necessary for bringing in a new vehicle. In addition, you’ll be required to submit several more items and procure an import permit from the Foreign Trade Department of the Ministry of Commerce before your vehicle arrives in port. Otherwise, you’ll be subject to a fine equal to 10% of the vehicle’s price (1).

Taxes and duties you’ll pay to import a car Into Thailand.

The final point to cover regarding importing a car into Thailand, are the taxes and duties you’ll pay to do so. As already mentioned, for a temporary importation you won’t owe any taxes or duties – which make this an attractive option.

For permanent importation of both new and used vehicles, the exact amount you’ll pay is figured using a table that’s based upon the size and power of the engine. For the least powerful vehicles you can expect to pay a total of 187.47% of the CIF value in taxes and duties. This percentage climbs as your vehicle’s power increases, topping out at 328% of the CIF value for
vehicles with the largest engines. However, be aware that you’ll be eligible for a discount ranging from 2.5 – 70% (or even more), based upon the length of the registration period of your used vehicle.

Documentation and taxes for importing household goods.

The discussion takes a turn for the better, when moving to the topic of importing your household goods. Here the regulations and expenses are far more palatable, which is excellent news if you’re moving overseas to Thailand for the long haul. If you plan to make Thailand your place of residence and fulfil certain criteria (covered below), you can import your used household effects without paying any taxes or duties. That means you can bring in all the furnishings of your home abroad with you, without incurring any additional expenses.

Be aware that you’ll need to be given a non-immigrant quota (it will be shown in your passport or Nonresident Identification Card) or obtain a one year non-immigrant work visa by the Immigration Department. Another option is to be given an annual temporary stay in a letter from the Immigration Department, or you can procure a work permit valid for one year or longer from the Department of Labour. Finally, for non residents coming into Thailand with a contract to work for a government agency or as a specialist in your field, a letter from the relevant agencies certifying you’ve been given a non-immigrant visa by the Immigration Department good for one year or more will suffice (2).

You’ll also be expected to provide these forms and documentation, to successfully complete the importation of your household items.

You’ve probably come to realise that importing household goods and especially a personal vehicle into Thailand, involves quite a bit of bureaucratic red tape. It’s advisable for you to seek out qualified international moving companies, as they are likely to be familiar with the process

involved. This can help things to move smoother and allow you to avoid any undue difficulties or hefty fines. Many people also choose to hire a local agent who is fluent in Thai and intricately familiar with all the required forms and procedures. No matter what you ultimately decide, one thing is sure – moving overseas is always an adventure.

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