Customs and import to Bangkok


The Thai Government strictly controls the goods imported into Thailand. There are two types of controls.

  • Absolute Prohibition: Goods cannot be imported under any circumstances; or
  • Restricted imports: Written permission is required in order to import the goods

Prohibited Imports to Thailand

It is prohibited by law to import any of the following items into Thailand:

  • Obscene objects/literature/pictures
  • Pornographic materials
  • Goods with Thai national flag
  • Narcotics e.g., marijuana, hemp, opium, cocaine, morphine, heroin
  • Fake currency, bonds, or coins
  • Fake Royal Seals/official seals
  • IPR infringing goods e.g. musical tape, CD, VDO, computer software, etc.
  • Counterfeit trademark goods

Restricted Imports to 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:

  • The importation of drugs, foods, and supplementary products requires prior licensing from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • The importation of antiques or objects of art, (registered/unregistered), needs consent from the Fine Arts Department.
  • The importation of weapons and ammunition, explosives, fireworks and real and replica firearms must have the correct license from the Ministry of Interior. Other weapons like electric shock devices must also be declared. Such items may need a permit, ahead of importation.
  • The Cosmetic Act orders that to protect public health, any importer of controlled cosmetics must provide the name and location of the office, the manufacturing and storage location of the cosmetics, the type of cosmetics to be imported, and the main ingredients of such cosmetics.
  • The importation of wild fauna, flora, fish and other aquatic fauna needs authority from the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, the Department of Agriculture, or the Department of Fishery as applicable.

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.

Declaring Goods in Thailand

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.

Taking Your Pet to Thailand

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:

  • Microchipping - Verifies pet's identity. All microchips conforming to the ISO standards are easily readable.
  • Vaccination - Vaccinations range from country to country, but in general every pet older than 3 months must be vaccinated against rabies. The vaccination must be administered at least 21 days before arrival. However the vaccination cannot be older than 12 months from the date of arrival. Dogs may also get full shots for Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvo, and DHLPP. Cats may also be vaccinated against Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calcivirus, Panleukopenia and Rabies. It is important to keep your pets vaccinations up-to-date as pets in Thailand generally must be vaccinated against rabies every year in additional to the other usual annual vaccinations. It is important to ensure that these vaccinations are recorded on your pet's passport which is signed and stamped by the vet or animal hospital otherwise your pet may not be allowed to exit Thailand or enter your new country.
  • Certificate of Good Health - Issued by a vet after an exam. You will usually need to get an official form from the consulate or embassy of the country you are moving to. It is often available on-line from the customs website.

Pet Transport to Thailand

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.

Quarantine in Thailand

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

Read EasyExpat's article on "Expat Pets: Bringing Along Fido" for more info on importing pets.

Custom's Resources

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 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.
Washington, DC20229
Tel. 877/287-8667

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

Update 15/09/2013


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