We have all seen the expensive, imported cars driving around the streets of Pattaya and had the dream that one day that could be us! We look in the showrooms and see the prices are far higher than that back in our home countries and think – “I could import one from my home country”. The only advice that we could give is do this through the correct channels but be prepared to pay.
The following information is a brief to importing a car into Thailand and is largely taken from the Angloinfo website.
Any 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).
• The Thai Customs Department has comprehensive information indicating exactly what is required for the permanent importation of a vehicle into Thailand
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:
• A valid non-immigrant visa
• A work permit valid for at least one year
• An import declaration form
• A bill of loading or air waybill
• Sale documents
• The Delivery Order (Customs Form No. 100/1)
• Foreign Transaction Form 2 in cases where the CIF value of the imported vehicles exceeds
• An insurance premium invoice
Used or second hand vehicles will also require the following documents:
• House registration certificate (Tabien Baan), land title (Chanote) or condo title deed
• A vehicle registration certificate indicating that the imported vehicle was used abroad for at
least 18 months
• An import permit from the Ministry of Commerce
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.
Registering a Vehicle
Once the vehicle has been permanently imported into Thailand, the owner must register it at their local DLT office in order to receive their registration book (Blue Book or Lem Tabian) and annual tax sticker. This must be done as soon as possible unless the vehicle has been temporarily imported. A temporarily imported vehicle does not require registration but must leave the country within the allocated time, or else be liable for heavy fines and taxes.
Registration is dealt with by the local Department of Land Transport Office (DLT).
For an expatriate, the following paperwork (with copies) is required by the DLT:
• Current passport
• Non-immigrant visa
• Work Permit or Certificate or Letter of Residence issued by the Thai Immigration Bureau or the relevant embassy
The new owner will be issued with proof of ownership documents in the form of a registration book called the Blue Book (Lem Tabian), which includes the owner’s name and address.
Car Tax and Insurance
All cars must display a tax sticker on the windscreen as proof that car tax has been paid.
Compulsory Motor Insurance (CMI) will also need to be purchased from the DLT or an insurance company. This must be renewed annually.