Importing a vehicle into Thailand

The best way to import (permanently) a car (or a bike or any type of vehicle) into Thailand is… to forget about it. Put it simply, it’s close to impossible, especially for a used car and even for a new one. If you’re not convinced, use Google and try to find success stories. You probably won’t find any, but plenty of horror stories instead. The taxes are as high as 300%, and that’s only for starters. Basically no car is worth the hassle and if you think it’s worth it, it will only make matters worse for you.

Anyway, officially it’s possible and you will find some information on the website of the Thai Customs Department. Here are some of the required conditions:

Criteria for a Permanent Import of Used/Secondhand Vehicles
• An importer is eligible to import only ONE used/ secondhand vehicles for personal use.
• In case where the importer is a nonresident, he/she is required to stay in Thailand for at least ONE year and present a non-immigrant visa issued by the Immigration Bureau, the National Police Office together with a work permit issued by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare at the time of importation.
• In case where an importer is a Thai resident marrying a foreigner, he/she is required to present documentary evidence of marriage and proof of changing residence to Thailand. Also the importer has to own and possess the imported vehicle for at least one and a half year while staying abroad, from the date of transferring the ownership to the date of arrival into Thailand.
• In case where an importer is a Thai resident, he/she is allowed to import a vehicle only when such vehicle is accompanied the owner on the change of residence and he/she has owned and possessed the imported vehicle together with the valid driving license for at least one and a half year while staying abroad.

But remember, if you are serious about importing a car, be prepared to go through a lot of hassle and spend a lot of money, with eventually no guarantee that you will ever seat behind the wheel.

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