Foreign vehicles that have been moved permanently to Thailand need to be officially registered with the authorities.
There are to ways in which a vehicle can be imported into Thailand:
The website of the Thai Customs Department has comprehensive information indicating exactly what is required for the temporary importation of a vehicle (including motorcycles, yachts and boats).
Taxes and import duty are not payable by those who import a vehicle for a short visit (up to six months) with the intention of taking the vehicle out of Thailand at the end of the visit. However, a cash deposit or bank guarantee that covers the amount of liable taxes and duties is required. This will be forfeited if the vehicle is not exported within the time indicated on the temporary import papers.
All fittings and accessories such as stereo systems and DVD players must be declared at the time of importation. Failure to declare these may result in the importer being fined, or even the seizure of the vehicle.
At the point of entry into Thailand, the importer or agent must submit the temporary import declaration form. Once the form and relevant documents have been checked, the importer or agent must deposit the bank guarantee with the Cashier Division of the Thai Customs Department. Once the vehicle has been checked, the importer or agent will receive one copy of the form to keep, which they must return to the Thai Customs Department when leaving the country.
The relevant forms can be obtained from the Thai Customs Department at any point of entry into Thailand, or by contacting the department directly.
Note: There are agents that can assist with the entire process of temporarily importing a vehicle into Thailand.
A temporary import permit may be extended up to a maximum of two months in exceptional circumstances, such as an accident or broken engine. Anyone wishing to do this must inform the Customs Department in writing, indicating the exceptional reasons.
A person wishing to permanently import a car that only has a temporary import paper must write to the Customs Department that issued the temporary import papers. It will then levy the full amount due for taxes and duties as shown in the re-export contract.
A temporarily imported vehicle does not require registration but must leave the country within the allocated time, or else become liable for high taxes and fines.
A person with a non-immigrant visa and a work permit valid for at least one year may import one new or used vehicle for personal use.
Note: New or used vehicles permanently imported into Thailand are generally subject to very high taxes and duties (often around 200 percent of the vehicle's value).
Any prospective importer is required to have an import permit from the Ministry of Commerce (MOC). Attempts to import without the correct permit will result in the vehicle's seizure and the imposition of large fines. The information and forms on the Ministry of Commerce website are in Thai only, and owing to the complicated nature of importing a car permanently into Thailand, it is advisable to use a Thai-speaking agent. The import permit must be issued before the vehicle's arrival in Thailand.
The following documents are required for the permanent import of a new vehicle:
Used or second hand vehicles will also require the following documents:
At the port of entry into Thailand, the importer or agent must submit the relevant documents. Once the Customs Department has assessed the taxes and duties necessary and the importer has paid them, the importer must present the receipt issued by the Cashier Division to the Customs Department. After this, the vehicle will be released by the Customs Department.
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