Shipping personal effects to Thailand: The ultimate guide 2018

This article will help you prepare for your upcoming move by providing details of current customs regulations, customs clearance and other practical information.

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SIAM Alert: Prohibited items

  • Narcotics and drugs
  • Guns and weapons (including ornamental)
  • Ammunition and explosive goods
  • Pornography of any kind
  • Short wave (two-way) radios
  • Rare live animals of any type
  • Buddha images of any type
  • Plants of any type
  • All food items of any type

Import duty on personal effects

SIAM Info : For Expatriates, all used household and personal effects shipments without an eligible one-year work permit are subject to import duties.

To apply for import duty free, an original passport and one-year work permit is required upon shipment is arrived in Thailand and shipment should arrive in Thailand within 6 months from the issuing date of the 1st work permit

*For any FCL shipment, Thai Customs Department may require the original passports of family members as well as shipper’s original passport and 1-year work permit, to apply for the import duty exemption.

For Returning Thai Citizens: Thai citizens can import used household and personal effects shipments duty free if they comply with all the following conditions:

  • The person has stayed at the origin country longer than 1 year (Even if the shipper claims that the resident period out of home country has been one complete year, the customs would deduct the living out period from the main period if they consider this unreasonable. Hence any consideration depends on the customs in each case. A scanned passport can be checked prior to sending the shipment into Thailand.)
  • The person should not travel in-out to Thailand over 7 times per year during their stay in origin country. Each Stay in Thailand should not be over 90 days.
  • Shipment should arrive in Thailand within 6 months from the last entry date to Thailand.

Note SIAM: All dutiable items below are items that are subject to duties and taxes even if the client complies with all customs conditions.

Dutiable items

  • More than one electrical item of the same type
  • Computers and laptops of any description
  • Golf club, golf balls (old or new)
  • Toys (old or new). Passport copies of the whole family are required
  • Marble items of any kind
  • Exercise equipment (free weights, multi-gyms etc.)
  • Fax machines
  • Cosmetics of any kind
  • Bicycles
  • Plasma televisions
  • Pianos
  • Musical Instruments
  • Brand new items

Note SIAM: In addition to this non-exhaustive list of examples, you can also include the majority of dangerous goods such as explosive, flammable… Further information on the official website: Prohibited goods - Thai customs

Automobiles & motorbikes

Vehicles, motorcycles or scooters with an engine capacity greater than 49cc may be imported into Thailand, however, there are restrictions and heavy duties applicable. Only Diplomatic vehicles are exempt.

For any vehicle, motorcycle or scooter with an engine capacity greater than 49cc, the owner must personally submit for an Import Permit at the Department of Foreign Trade (Ministry of Commerce.)

The owner will need to present and submit for an Import Permit at the Department of Foreign

Trade and Customs House along with the following documentation:

  1. Signed application form (the application form need to get from Department of Foreign Trade, no online application)
  2. Original passport with the copy of every page in passport
  3. Original car registration book with one copy
  4. Original driver license with one copy
  5. Original driver license with one copy
  6. Photo of car (all the side)
  7. Photo of car with the owner
  8. Original work permit with one copy
  9. Employment contract in Thailand
  10. Photo of the residence in Thailand
  11. Copy of bank statement in Thailand
  12. Invoice

Once the Import Permit is completed, SIAM Relocation will attach it with all shipping documents to forward along with normal customs clearance.

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*No approval is guaranteed.

Diplomatic shipment

Diplomatic shipments must be processed through the Foreign Ministry of the Thai government. This process is completed by the Embassy of record and requires approximately 14-30 days from the arrival date of the shipment.

All items imported, including cars, are afforded duty free entry upon acceptance and approval of the Foreign Ministry. SIAM Relocation along with any moving company does not have any control over this process, but simply provides the shipment documentation to the Embassy of record for submission to the Foreign Ministry.

Note SIAM : Allowable shipments

Each shipper can only import one air shipment and one sea shipment into Thailand. These shipments are duty-free if the shipper can provide a one-year work permit (for foreigners) or the shipper complies with all customs conditions (for returning Thai citizens.)

Should the shipper be willing to pay import duty and taxes, they can import as many shipments to Thailand as they wish.

Thai work permit for expatriates


Documents required


  • Original passport.
  • One-year immigration B visa.
  • Original One Year Work Permit.

Returning Thai citizen

  • Original Thai passport (with valid visa of origin country) including all old passports.
  • All travel records. (All departure and entry stamps in past two years) in passport.
  • Please see conditions to apply for import duty free on topic “Import Duty”.

Note SIAM: If all the travel records are not already in your passport, they can be obtained, personally from the immigration bureau, or SIAM Relocation can assist. This process will take three working days. The records should be received before the arrival date of the shipment.

The documents required to obtain the records are as follows:

  • Copy of National ID card
  • Copy of Passport
  • Information of last entry date to Thailand and last departure date from Thailand for Thai Citizen.

*SIAM Relocation can assist with obtaining thee records.


  • Approval letter from Thai Ministry of Foreigner (The embassy/organization needs to apply for an approval letter once shipment arrives at Bangkok Port). The document is called “Entry Form for Diplomatic Clearance of Goods Imported by Diplomatic Missions/International Organizations” or “Form DP1”
  • Copy of valid passport with one-year non-immigration F visa and a one-year stamp from the immigration office.

Clearance procedure


Clearance procedures

Expatriates and Returning Thai Citizen

When the shipment arrives, SIAM Relocation will contact the consignee to collect their original passport and/or work permit. SIAM Relocation generally retain these documents for three to five working days to clear the consignment with Thai customs. After customs clearance has been completed, we will arrange the delivery of the consignment to their residential delivery address.


When the shipment arrives, SIAM Relocation will notify contact person at Organization and send Delivery Order Request Letter (DO Letter) to the contact person. They need to print on Organization’s letter head, sign and stamp on the form and submit back to us. SIAM Relocation will use the document to collect Delivery Order from freight/vessel agent.

Delivery Order with Packing list, Bill/Airway Bill of Lading and Import Declaration Entry will be submitted to contact person at Organization to proceed applying Approval Letter from Ministry of Foreigner. Once SIAM Relocation received the Approval Letter from the Organization, SIAM Relocation will proceed to clear the consignment with Thai customs. After customs clearance has been completed, we will arrange the delivery of the consignment of their residential delivery address.

Note SIAM: Please be advised that if any consignment arrives in Thailand during weekends or on public holidays or, if SIAM Relocation cannot begin the customs clearance process due to not being provided with an original passport or problems with a work permit, the consignee may be required to pay airport rental charges after two days (counted from the arrival date) for air shipments and port rental charges after three days and container demurrage charges after five days for sea shipments. If applicable, please be advised that SIAM Relocation will require the consignee to arrange payment of such charges before we can proceed with final delivery.

Clearance times

Air shipments Surface shipment (FCL) Surface shipment (LCL)
2-3 working days 3-5 working days 3-5 working days

*Above times are estimates only and provided on the basis that all required documents are available and in order. Actual time for customs clearance may be subject to change.

Quarantine requirements


Live pets are permitted into Thailand without quarantine.

Documentation required:

An importation permit must be attained from the Livestock Department at the applicable airport before arrival of the animal/s. SIAM Relocation can assist in this process. Please contact SIAM Relocation for further information on the charges applicable for this service.

All documentation must be sent to SIAM Relocation at least seven days prior to sending a pet shipment:

  • Health certificates
  • Vaccination records
  • Copy of owner passport
  • Flight details and address in Thailand
  • Pet photo
  • Pet import duty subject to breed and size of animals
As accompanied baggage

Animals imported as accompanied baggage from a country where there is no rabies, do not require the above, but can be hand carried through customs by the owner/shipper. SIAM Relocation accepts no responsibility for any undue delays at the airport if a pet is being brought into the country accompanied by the owner or shipper and where no paid service is being provided for by SIAM Relocation whatsoever.


All plants of any nature are prohibited for importation into Thailand.

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