You need to move from Thailand or somewhere else to the US? SIAM Relocation’s expert team is here to handle all your logistic and relocation needs. Our decades of experience in this domain give us credit to take care of your move. In this article, you will find reliable information about the customs, the best methods of transportation, our appropriate services and about your future life in the US.
Summary (Click on the subject you are looking for):
- 1.1 Customs process
- 1.2 Taxes exemption
- 1.3 Vehicle importation
- 1.4 What duties and taxes will I pay for my personal effects?
As you probably know it, when you travel from a country to another with your personal belongings, it is mandatory to go through customs and thus clear your goods. Of course, SIAM Relocation is used to working with customs and can offer you to deal with the custom clearance of your goods.
Every person arriving at a port-of-entry to the United States is subject to an inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. CBP officers will conduct the Immigration, Customs and Agriculture components of the Inspections process.
Here are the documents you must have with you during your international moving:
- Copy of visa
- Copy of passport
- S. Customs Form 3299 (Importer’s Declaration)
- S. Customs Service Supplemental Declaration for Unaccompanied Personal and Household Effects
- Inventory of goods in English (without using the terms “Miscellaneous” or “Contents Unknown” in it)
- Ocean Bill of Lading or AWB
- Stamped I-94 form for non-residents (if applicable)
- Power of Attorney form (POA)
- ISF (Import Security Filling) submissions
It is of the utmost importance that you have a detailed inventory of imported goods to furnish the Customs and Border Protection officers. A simple statement that says it is household effects is not sufficient.
Household effects are furniture, dishes, linens, libraries, artwork and similar household furnishings for your personal use. They should not be mistaken for personal effects. Personal effects are items that belong to and are used by one person, such as wearing apparel, jewellery, photographic equipment and tape recorders. They will also be subjected to inspection by Customs and Border Protection officers.
The Import Security Filling (ISF) must be submitted to U.S. Customs and Border Protection at least 24 hours prior to the vessel loading at the foreign port.
Your Bill of Lading must include the name of the owner of the goods, the address, city and state at origin and at destination. But you don’t need to precise your date of birth, social security number or passport number in it.
For inheritance goods, you need to present a relevant extract of the will or death certificate, a copy of the inventory and a letter of inheritance from the inheritor (and the documents needed for any goods clearance, see above).
Antiques (over 100 years old items) require a certificate of antiquity showing approximate date of production. It is possible that the officer shows it to an appraiser to be sure of its origin or date.
Duty rates based on the imported items value vary from 0 to 20% in the US. They also are sensitive to the quantity imported. You will sometimes pay because your import a high value product and other times because you import many products.
Customs duty in USA is one of the lowest in the world. It is about 3% on average.
It is likely, according to your shipment, that the applicable tax for your entire shipment will be the highest applicable duty rate among the various duty rates of your products.
Beyond the fact that some goods can be exempted of tax (a classification defines that), you can benefit from a tax exemption in the following situations.
In order to avoid paying duty on household items, your goods must have been available for your use for one year (or in a household where you lived). If the goods are intended for sale or for any other person, they can’t be exempted of duty. They must be destined for your own use in your new residence.
Items used for less than one year are subject to duties and require a separate declaration.
*Antiques are admitted duty free if their “antique” status is accepted.
Works of art are subject to the same rules than household effects. To be duty free, they have to be part of the household removal, possessed by owner for at least one year and not destined to resale.
Vehicle importation to the US is subject to various laws regarding safety, air pollution and equipment standards promulgated between 1966 and 1990.
It is quite important that you know the day your vehicle will arrive in the US so that you can organize the processing through CBP. The clearing process will take place at the first port of entry in the country.
You will need some documents to import your vehicle to the US. You must have the original bill of lading provided by your shipper, the bill of sale, foreign registration and other documents covering the vehicle if any.
An Environment Protection Agency form (EPA form 3520-1) is to be filled, as well as a Department of Transportation form (DOT form HS-7). In these forms, you will declare your car’s emissions and safety provisions under which the vehicle is being imported.
If the vehicle is older than 21 years old, there are no EPA compliance requirements upon importation. If it is older than 25 years old, DOT requirements don’t apply.
*The age of the vehicle is calculated from the date of its manufacture and needs to be proven with, for instance, a label affixed to the vehicle, an invoice or a registration document.
If the vehicle does not meet U.S. emission requirements, the importation has to be done through an ICI (Independent Commercial Importer) and he will perform the modifications required to meet EPA requirements.
Also note that your car should be steam-sprayed and cleaned thoroughly before shipment, in order to avoid carrying dangerous pests. Empty your car, don’t let any of your personal goods in it.
Here are the duty rates to apply to motor vehicles (percentage on value appraised by customs):
- Automobile: 2.5%
- Motorcycle: either free or 2.4%
- Trucks: 25%
*Canadian made vehicles are generally duty-free.
Nonresidents of USA can import a vehicle without paying duties if it is for personal use, for a shorter duration than one year and if it is imported in conjunction with the owner’s arrival. In this situation, the vehicle has to be exported before the end of the one year period.
Customs contact in Thailand
Customs contact in Singapore
Our customs broker inform you
Prohibited & restricted items
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Sea freight is quite common to go from Thailand to the US. Indeed, thanks to the Strait of Malacca and the maritime dynamism of the area, the route to the US, and particularly the West Coast, from Southern Asia is often taken and sure. To go to the East Coast, the easier and faster seems to be to navigate via the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Sea, and finally cross the Atlantic, but some trips are done via the Pacific and the Panama Canal.
Main ports in the USA
There are approximately 160 ports in the US, which allows you to get shipped almost wherever you want in the country. Yet, most of them are small, not as efficient as others, etc. Here is a short presentation of the biggest container ports of the country.
The port of Los Angeles, California, is specialized in East Asian relations as its biggest trade partners are China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Around Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach is even more impressive in terms of tonnage and known for its efficacy.
In Northern USA, Seattle & Tacoma port is well reputed too and is a frequent destination from Thailand.
There are three huge ports in southern USA: The Port of South Louisiana, which is the biggest port in the US and one of the 20 biggest in the world in terms of tonnage, the Port of New Orleans and the Port of Baton-Rouge, also in Louisiana, which makes the State an important traffic hub in North America.
The port authority of New-York and New Jersey is an ever-growing port which trades with countries all over the world and benefits from the excellent road network of the megalopolis to quickly dispatch the goods and merchandises.
|Bangkok||San Francisco / Oakland||25-30 days|
|Bangkok||Long Beach / Los Angeles||21-27 days|
|Bangkok||New Orleans/ Baton rouge||42-44 days|
Sea freight rates
Sea freight rates are not stable at all, depending on many parameters. For instance, according to whether you ship a big volume or a small one, you will not choose the same container type, it could be a 20 feet container, a 40 feet or a 40 feet HQ.
We advise to use a FCL (Full Container Load) if your volume is higher than 15 cubic meters and a LCL (Less than Container Load) if your volume is lower than 15 cubic meters. Of course, our experts will help you to choose the best solution in order to fit your needs.
*According to your budget, we can modify our offer (with or without a packaging and/or loading service) which could have huge consequences on the final price.
The USA has very competitive airports in every big city. Choosing air freight allows you to ship your goods at a terminal closer to your final address. For instance, if you live in Utah and don’t want to pay for the delivery at home, shipping your goods to Salt Lake City Airport would be much more convenient than shipping them to the Port of San Francisco.
Airport in USA
There are more than 5,000 public airports in the USA. It is about the third of all paved runway airports in the world, the most of any single country. Thus, shipping goods by air to the US is very common, especially in the following airports, which are the biggest cargo airports in the US.
Memphis, Tennessee, is a transportation hub because of the Mississippi river but also of its airport, the biggest in annual cargo volume (4,290,000 tons every year). For example, FedEx is based in Memphis and operates for huge percentage of this transit.
Louisville International Airport in Kentucky is a very popular airport for it accommodates millions of passengers every year and millions of tons of merchandise.
In Florida, Miami has one of the biggest cargo airports in the US (more than 2 million of tons transit in this airport every year). Its warehouses have a total capacity of 3.4 million square feet of space.
Los Angeles International Airport in California combines both passenger transportation and cargo facilities. It is the biggest cargo airport of the golden state.
As for busiest airports in terms of passengers, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is ranked first in the world with more than 100 million passengers a year. Los Angeles International Airport and O’Hare International Airport in Chicago complete the USA podium.
By air, the transit time from Bangkok is almost equal to that from Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, etc, almost to the hour.
*Note that the flight does not include the whole logistics process, some parcel could be stuck in customs for X or Y reason.
Air freight rates
Air freight rates are highly sensitive to weight and volume matters, meaning that the price really are inclined to vary according to what you ship. More, your shipment will have to go through custom clearance at the arrival and so what you ship will determine your expenses.
Why choose us?
SIAM Relocation has a long experience in air freight transportation and is used to working with the best agents for years. Please contact our moving consultants and they will work to find out the best solution to your needs.
Let’s see together how air freight are calculated. The most important aspect that you have to understand is the difference between actual weight and volumetric weight. Once you get it, you can understand your air freight quotations.
*If the volumetric weight is higher than the actual weight of your box, the carrier will quote based on this weight. You can use online chargeable weight calculators to make it easier, now that you understand how it works.
SIAM Relocation is dealing with relocations since now many years and always with a unique point of view: the client will always come first. This explains why, through these years of operating and observing, we chose to set a specific range of offers to best fit your needs.
When transporting your goods in international waters or air routes, there will always be a possibility of delay, damages, loss or even theft during the transit. Thus, we do advise you to look ahead and anticipate before an eventual problem happens and spoils all your efforts. It Is named an insurance (“cargo insurance”). SIAM Relocation works with a strong operational network worldwide which will provide you with the best solution of protection.
The damages generally covered by an insurance are damages resulting of bad weather, non-standard storage in warehouse and fumigation services. No need to explain that it will differ according to the type of insurance you choose. Some insurances cover piracy acts, others don’t. They are almost frequent near Africa’s East horn and in some seas of Asia.
To subscribe to an insurance, you can contact a specialized insurance broker or a general insurance company. But you may also contact your personal bank to get an insurance or us, Siam Relocation.
We have consultants who are here to help you be sure the service you opt for really is what you need and one that is trustworthy.
*Our consultants are here to make sure you choose the service you need. feel free to contact him!
First, any animal must be inspected by a Thailand’s government veterinary before leaving Thailand. Thus, precisely three days before your planned departure, you must head to the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport and then look for the Custom and Animal Quarantine Office. Your pet needs to have all its vaccinations up to date. You will be asked some documents during this inspection at the airport.
- The (English written) rabies certificate, with the complete contact details of the veterinary who made it. The pet also needs to have passed a blood serology test in order to check for rabies antibody levels minimum 30 days afterthe date of the rabies vaccination. The test results must be minimum 0.5 IU/mL.
- One copy of your passport
- Your flight information
- Your pet’s micro-chip number (if your animal is chipped)
*Afterwards, you will need to fill in an export request form once at the office.
*All of this is what you imperatively must do with Thailand authorities. But the United States of America also has its requisites.
First, rabies vaccination proof is the most important document to have. The US can’t let rabies enter its territory. It must present the following information:
- Name and address of the owner
- Color, markings, breed, age, sex, and other identifying information
- Date of vaccination against rabies and vaccine product details
- Date of vaccination expiration
- Name, license number, address and signature of the vet who administered the product
An unimmunized dog permit also exists. It is made for dogs that have either not been vaccinated against rabies or was first vaccinated when less than 3 months old or less than 30 days before entering the United States.
As Thailand is considered by APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) to be an affected by screwworm country, you have to be vigilant with the procedure. In addition to rabies certificate, you will have to produce a document signed by a full-time salaried veterinary official of the region of origin stating that the dog has been inspected for screwworm within 5 days prior to the departure to the US. If the dog was found to be infested, he should have been held in quarantine and treated against screwworm until free from it.
Same, Thailand is considered by APHIS to be an affected by Foot and Mouth Disease. Thus, the feet, fur and bedding of the pet should be free of dirt, mud, hay and straw. The dogs has to be bathed as soon as it reaches its final destination. The pet should also stay away from all livestock for a minimum of 5 days after the arrival.
*When you arrive at your US port of entry, you need to have a printed copy of your permit to a US Customs and Border Protection officer. Then, they will check if your pets are healthy and if their appearance and age match the description.
*Here are the most common packing materials.
Packing boxes. They exist in different sizes and are very resistant, especially if the cardboard you chose is of good quality (double corrugated carboard for instance). Think smartly to pack if you have a tight budget. Choose the best boxes for the goods you care the most about and sturdy goods.
Bubble wrapping will be of great help to take care of fragile items like glasses or anything that you want to treat delicately to prevent the damages.
One last very common material is wooden boxes. When a large packing sized is needed, wooden crates are often used because they provide solid packing and can resist a high strength pressure during loading. Wooden boxes have the advantage of being very solid. They can be used longer than cardboard boxes and stay in a warehouse, resisting the humidity.
Thanks to its international network and experience, SIAM Relocation has warehouses all over the world. They are fully secured and under 24/7 surveillance with alarm system and guard presence. We want all our services to be as trustworthy as possible.
For a few years, we have developed a specialized service for companies moving (which also is available for associations or government agencies). Our experience has been proved in those logistics needs as our international team is separated into several departments: customs broker, warehousing and packing team, operation team.
As we always seek our customers satisfaction, we decided to create moving packages, adaptable to your needs and your budget. Our three packages go from the simplest to the complete offer.
*Many types of visa exist that can allow you to stay for a long time in the US.
The most common is the Green Card because it is as stable visa to live and work in the US. It is quite easy to obtain if you are the spouse or child of someone who is a US citizen. Thus, it is common that people try to obtain it by marriage but the authority are cautious about this.
Family links can also lead to the obtention of the Green Card if you have a US citizen relative who is your father, your mother, your brother, your sister or your spouse. Then, you have to fill the I-130 form and get informed about the procedure by the USCIS. Depending on your parental links, your Green Card will be valid for 2 to 15 years.
The Green Card can also be obtained through investing in the US. If you decide to be an active investor, you will need to invest at least 1 million of dollars in a business that will lead you to contract at least 10 people and in a project that is thought to be viable for 2 years minimum. Your Green Card will be available during your project duration. If you decide to be a passive investor, you will have to invest at least half a million dollar in disadvantaged centres accredited by the Federal State.
The J-1 allows someone to work or study in the US for a temporary period of time. It requires very specific criteria regarding the company where you work.
One of the best ways to get permanent entry authorization if you work is to opt for a H-1B visa. For this, you will have to have your job before moving. This non-immigrant visa often conducts to the attribution of a Green Card. Yet, it is quite hard to qualify for it because of the quotas the American administration imposes. You need to demonstrate specific qualifications that will help your company and that justify to employ a non-American person. Among the 65,000 H-1B visa delivered each year, a big part are selected by a lottery. Your application has to be submitted to the USCIS on April 1st for entry in the year, in October 1st.
The US is known as a land of opportunity. It was true in the past and still is in some business sectors.
Here are the 7 fastest growing industries in the U.S. according to Forbes :
First is the mining sector. It is no secret, the oil industry is a gold mine all over the planet and the technology in the US has taken it to the next step. Shale gas are booming in the US, despite the controversies around it. The conjuncture seems favourable to this growth with Mr. Trump at the head of the Government.
*Civil engineering construction, beverage manufacturing, personal services, direct selling establishments, building finishing contractors, real estate are also in a good dynamic.
The USA is the most powerful western country in the world from a political, economical and commercial point of view. As an expat there, you can get quite a high standard of living. The country is huge, and it offers such a variety of places to stay, work, enjoy your holidays, etc. The United States is definitely a good place to be relocated to.
The US is the 3rd largest country in the world with 9.8millions km². Geographically, the country is very rich for it is composed of plains, mountains, long rivers, lakes (water represents 6.7% of the total area) and has access to both the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans.
Because of this geographic diversity, it is impossible to describe the United States climate shortly. Among the 50 States of the US, a lot of different climate are present. Some regions are warmer than others, especially in the south of the country. The Northern part can be very cold during winter but also very warm in summertime. Some states are humid and subjects to floods like Louisiana or Florida for instance.
Strangely, there is no official language in the US, even though English is used by all government agencies and is the used language all over the country. Spanish is also very present in the country, especially in big cities and in the South of the country due to the immigration of Mexicans and the proximity with Spanish speaking countries.
Cost of life
If you are wondering about real estate industry in the US, keep in mind that the country is huge, and obviously, you will find huge disparities between the various cities. Overall, prices tend to be reasonable as compared to other countries at the same level of development (Australia, Japan, etc.).
The US has to be named among the most expensive country to live in. In cities like New-York or San Francisco, a monthly rent for a single bed flat rarely costs less than 1,000 USD. In other big cities, the cost of living can be very comparable to that of Europe, Japan or Australia.
Below, our table compares US and Thailand costs of basic needs and leisure based on June 2018 data.
|Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant||60.00 ฿
|Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course||683.50 ฿
|McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal)||190.00 ฿
|Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught)||70.00 ฿
|Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)||120.00 ฿
|Cappuccino (regular)||60.49 ฿
|Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle)||19.95 ฿
|Water (0.33 liter bottle)||10.47 ฿
|Milk (regular), (1 liter)||54.85 ฿
|Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)||39.44 ฿
|Rice (white), (1kg)||39.51 ฿
|Eggs (regular) (12)||50.80 ฿
|Local Cheese (1kg)||575.27 ฿
|Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg)||93.72 ฿
|Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)||335.27 ฿
|Apples (1kg)||95.45 ฿
|Banana (1kg)||36.29 ฿
|Oranges (1kg)||72.63 ฿
|Tomato (1kg)||43.16 ฿
|Potato (1kg)||46.56 ฿
|Onion (1kg)||33.98 ฿
|Lettuce (1 head)||30.98 ฿
|Water (1.5 liter bottle)||15.93 ฿
|Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)||500.00 ฿
|Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)||54.40 ฿
|Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)||92.15 ฿
|Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro)||120.00 ฿
|One-way Ticket (Local Transport)||30.00 ฿
|Monthly Pass (Regular Price)||1,000.00 ฿
|Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)||35.00 ฿
|Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)||10.00 ฿
|Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)||120.00 ฿
|Gasoline (1 liter)||29.61 ฿
|Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car)||848,545.14 ฿
|Toyota Corolla 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car)||829,843.65 ฿
|Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment||2,414.55 ฿
|1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)||1.68 ฿
|Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)||723.10 ฿
Sports And Leisure
|Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult||1,802.55 ฿
|Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend)||311.38 ฿
|Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat||200.00 ฿
|Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child||10,675.75 ฿
|International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child||364,562.50 ฿
Clothing And Shoes
|1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar)||1,791.57 ฿
|1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …)||1,022.67 ฿
|1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range)||3,089.65 ฿
|1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes||2,654.68 ฿
Rent Per Month
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre||14,891.82 ฿
|Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre||8,086.08 ฿
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre||40,316.15 ฿
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre||20,451.17 ฿
Buy Apartment Price
|Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre||113,580.62 ฿
|Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre||58,307.10 ฿
Salaries And Financing
|Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax)||19,522.60 ฿
|Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate||5.76||4.26||-25.92 %|
Here are some precious contacts that you must know if you are to live in USA.
Fire Engine : 998
Emergency Ambulance: 911
Police Emergency: 999
Here are some well reputed real estate companies in the US. They can be of a great help to guide you through your relocation.
You will find below four of the most famous international schools in the US.
Nord Anglia Education (in New-York)
International School (in Los Angeles)
Awty International School (in Houston)
Ogden International School (in Chicago)
852 3951 1100