The Thai Government strictly controls the goods imported into Thailand. There are two types of controls.
It is prohibited by law to import any of the following items into Thailand:
Presently more than 50 classes of goods require import licenses from the Ministry of Commerce prior to importation. These categories are frequently changed and current conditions can be found on the Ministry of Commerce website. Application for the license must be accompanied by a supplier's order, confirmation, invoice, and other relevant documents.
In addition, a number of other imported goods are controlled by other agencies. For example:
If you are intending to ship personal possessions to Thailand, these will not be permitted entry to the country unless you are holding a valid work permit. Food cannot be included in the shipping and import duty must be paid on any alcohol.
If you claim to have "Nothing to Declare" when entering Thailand, you are allowed to bring the following items: personal belongings for personal use not exceeding a value of 10,000 baht; 200 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco or cigars; and a maximum of one liter of alcohol. As with most countries, customs officers, however, will still check the baggage of "Nothing to Declare" passengers at random.
"Goods to Declare" fall under the following categories: items that were not declared entering Thailand and have quantities exceeding a reasonable amount for personal use and/or valuing more than 10,000 baht; and items brought back for commercial use, business, or trade. Medications carried in and out of Thailand; including written prescriptions signed by a doctor, the original prescription bottles or containers, and any other documents related to the medication.
For further information look at the Thai Customs Department website.
If you want to bring your pet to Thailand, it can be done but takes planning and preparation. It is sensible to double check all current requirements with Thailand as well transportation from your home country shortly before your trip. Official guidelines are frequently updated.
Importing your pet to Thailand usually includes:
Some airlines allow pets to travel in an airplane's cabin, provided their cage is small enough to fit under your seat. Small birds may also be able to travel in the cabin, but tropical birds such as parrots are usually not allowed.
If your pet's cage does not fit under your seat, you will have to ship it as checked baggage. Since the outside air temperature also affects the temperature in the cargo bay, airlines may restrict the transportation of pets during certain times of the year. Airlines have special requirements for containers in the cabin and cargo bay. Make sure you get detailed information from your preferred airlines before purchasing a cage or kennel. Before leaving, acquaint your animal with the kennel or container. Add some familiar toys or some of your clothing items, so your pet has a sense of familiarity during the transport. Sedation of your pet during the trip is generally not recommended and should only be used as a last resort.
Take some time to think about your flight itself. If possible try and arrange it so you only need to take one flight to your final destination. It is much more straightforward and less stressful for both you and your pet to travel some of the way by car to an airport that has a direct flight as it means you do need to worry about getting your pet on and off the plane.
There are also pet relocation services, such as Pet Air UK that figure out all the details of the move. These services tend to be quite expensive, but take away the stress of doing it yourself. Services offered usually include: collecting your pets a couple of days ahead of travel to give you pet time to recover, carrying out the final blood checks ahead of flight, arranging the export and import licenses, building custom crates for your pets to travel, ensuring your pet is checked in at the airport, and arranging an agent to meet your pet, help them through customs and then delivering them to your accommodations in Bangkok.
Pets are legally required to be kept in quarantine for 30 days when entering Thailand. However, the present unofficial guidance from the Veterinary Officer at the Suvarnabhumi Airport Animal Quarantine Station is that they do not have the resources to quarantine the pets. As long as you promise to keep the animal indoors for 30 days then they should release them immediately. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read EasyExpat's article on "Expat Pets: Bringing Along Fido" for more info on importing pets.
UK Citizens: The HMRC has an expatriate team who are on board to help understand customs regulations.
U.S. Citizens: The free pamphlet "Know Before You Go" at http://www.cbp.gov/ is very helpful. (Click on "Travel" and then click on "Know Before You Go! Online Brochure").
You can also contact:
U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP)
1300 Pennsylvania Ave.
Canadian Citizens: "I Declare", issued by the Canada Border Services Agency (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada, or 204/983-3500 ) is helpful.
Australian Citizens: A helpful brochure is available from Australian consulates or Customs offices called "Know Before You Go". Call the Australian Customs Service at tel. 1300/363-263, or log on to http://www.customs.gov.au/.
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