Customs in Thailand: Things you need to know

International Freight Forwarder

Are you thinking about importing goods or buying items in Thailand? You need to understand the regulations and customs procedures to avoid delays, fines, or legal issues.

As highlighted by a Thai customs expert at Worldgistic, "mastering customs procedures is essential for the success of any business operation in Thailand." Take a look to the key steps for a seamless importation/exportation in Thailand.

  • Have a strong understanding of customs regulations.
  • Know how to prepare necessary documents and comply with procedures.

Buying in Thailand: Customs formalities

You can avoid any inconvenience by understanding the customs implications. When you buy goods in Thailand and import them into your country, several restrictions and declaration obligations will apply.

Restrictions and declaration obligations

  1. Restrictions on certain goodsRestrictions on certain products : some items, like antiques, artworks, and products derived from wild animals, may be subject to restrictions or require special permits for export. 
    For example, Buddha statues are often regulated to prevent illicit trafficking.
  2. Declaration obligations : any significant purchase must be declared to customs. Personal belongings beyond a certain value, generally defined by the importing country, must be accompanied by adequate documents. 
    A customs form detailing the nature, quantity, and value of the items is mostly required.
  3. Customs duties and taxes : Imported goods are regularly subject to customs duties and taxes. In Thailand, the rates of these taxes can vary depending on the type of product. For example, importing jewelry or electronic equipment may result in higher fees.

Let's take the example of Marie, a French entrepreneur who imported interior decoration items from Thailand for her shop. She had to fill out a detailed customs form and pay customs duties corresponding to 10% of the total value of her goods. Thanks to a quick consultation with our customs procedure experts, she was able to avoid delays and complications upon arrival of her products in France.

Customs duties in Thailand

Customs duties in Thailand are calculated based on the CIF (Cost, Insurance, Freight) value of the imported goods. Here's how these duties are determined and the types of goods concerned:

  1. Calculation of customs duties : the CIF value includes the cost of goods, transport fees, and insurance up to the Thai border. Customs duties are generally a percentage of this value and can vary depending on the type of product.
  2. Types of goods concerned : electronic products, textiles, cars, and everyday consumer goods are among the most commonly subject to customs duties. For example, importing cars may involve high customs duties, sometimes up to 80% of the CIF value.

Mr. Tanit, an international trade professional, explains:

Importing electronic products into Thailand can be costly due to high customs duties. It is crucial to understand these costs before proceeding with the import.

Prohibitions and restrictions

  1. Prohibited products : certain items are strictly prohibited from importation into Thailand, such as illegal drugs, obscene publications, and pirated products. 
    For example, narcotic substances and firearms without authorization are absolutely prohibited.
  2. Restricted products : some goods require special permits to be imported. This includes medical products, live animals, plants, and certain food products. 
    For example, importing medicines requires prior authorization from the Thai Ministry of Public Health.
  3. Environmental regulations : products likely to harm the environment, such as chemical substances and toxic waste, are subject to strict controls and must comply with local environmental standards.

The importation of any product classified as dangerous or harmful to public health requires specific approval before the arrival of the goods.

According to the official Thai customs website.

Thai customs: specific products

Importing specific products into Thailand, such as alcohol and medicines, requires a thorough understanding of the regulations in force. Here is a detailed guide to help you navigate these requirements.

Alcohol and Thai customs

Importing alcohol into Thailand is subject to strict restrictions and high fees. Here are the details to know:

  1. Restrictions : The importation of alcohol is heavily regulated. The quantities allowed for individuals are limited, and special permits are needed for commercial quantities. It is forbidden to import alcohol without an appropriate license.
  2. Fees : Customs duties on alcohol can be extremely high, often composed of excise duties, VAT, and import duties. These fees can reach up to 400% of the CIF value.

Medicines and Thai customs

The importation of medicines into Thailand is also subject to rigorous regulations. Here's what you need to know:

  1. Import regulations : Medicines intended for personal use must be accompanied by a medical prescription and can only be imported in limited quantities. For commercial imports, a permit from the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is necessary.
  2. Necessary documents : the required documents include a medical prescription for personal medicines, a certificate of origin, an import license, and a commercial invoice detailing the imported medicines.

Sarah, an expatriate in Thailand, shares:

When I imported my personal medicines, I had to present my prescription and limit the quantities. The help of a customs expert was invaluable in navigating this process.

Customs fees between France and Thailand

Trade between France and Thailand involves specific customs fees. Here is an overview of the potential costs:

  1. Customs duties : Goods imported from France to Thailand may be subject to various customs duties and taxes. For example, the importation of wines and spirits is subject to high taxes, including excise duties and VAT.
  2. Exemptions and reductions : Certain bilateral trade agreements may offer reductions or exemptions from customs duties for certain products. It is essential to verify if your goods benefit from such agreements.

Ms. Dupont, a French importer, shares her experience:

Importing food products from France to Thailand cost me about 30% of the CIF value in customs duties and taxes. However, by using the services of a customs expert, I was able to navigate these costs efficiently.

By following these guidelines and using the available resources, you can ensure compliance with Thai customs regulations and optimize your international trade exchanges.

Shipping a package between France and Thailand

Sending or receiving packages between France and Thailand involves following specific customs procedures, designed to ensure transparent and efficient management of international shipments. Here is an overview of the key steps, timelines, and fees associated with shipping packages between these two countries.

Customs procedures

  1. Preparation of documents : Any package shipped between France and Thailand must be accompanied by appropriate customs documents. This includes a commercial invoice or a value declaration, a packing list, and the CN23 customs declaration form if applicable. These documents need to be filled out accurately to avoid delays. 
    Ces documents nécessitent d’être remplis avec précision pour éviter des retards.
  2. Processing times : Customs processing times can vary depending on the nature of the goods and the time of year. In general, shipments can take from 7 to 14 business days to clear customs, but this can be faster or slower depending on the complexity of the shipment and possible inspections.
  3. Customs fees and taxes : Packages shipped between France and Thailand may be subject to customs duties and import taxes. The amount of these fees depends on the value and type of goods. For example, importing electronic products or textiles may incur higher fees. 

Our practical tips for a successful shipment

  1. Appropriate packaging: by choosing the freight service at Worldgistic, we ensure that your goods are well-packed to withstand the rigors of international transport. We use adequate protective materials and securely pack fragile items.
  2. Tracking shipments: notification services are offered to ensure real-time tracking of your package. This allows you to monitor the routing and be immediately informed in case of any problems.
  3. Planning for deadlines: we take into account holidays and peak periods, such as the end-of-year holidays, which can extend processing times.

Paul, a Thai entrepreneur, shares:

When I ship product samples to France, I make sure to provide all the necessary documents to experts at Worldgistic. This avoids delays and unforeseen costs.

Customs for importing into Thailand

Importing goods into Thailand requires following specific steps and providing the required documents to ensure correct customs clearance. Please find below our detailed guide to the procedures and documents necessary for successful imports.

Steps and necessary documents

  1. Preparation of documents: Before the arrival of the goods, make sure you have all the necessary documents. These include the commercial invoice, packing list, bill of lading or air waybill, and certificate of origin if necessary.
  2. Importer registration : If you are a regular importer, it is recommended to register with the Thai customs authorities to facilitate future imports.
  3. Submission of the declaration : The customs declaration must be submitted via the online system of Thai Customs, known as the Thai Customs Electronic System. This allows for quick and efficient processing of documents.
  4. Customs inspection : The customs authorities may decide to physically inspect your goods. Make sure your documents are in order to minimize delays.
  5. Payment of customs duties and taxes : Once the declaration is approved, you must pay the applicable customs duties and taxes. Rates vary depending on the type of goods and their declared value.

Customs declaration in Thailand

Filling out a customs declaration correctly is crucial to avoid problems at customs. Here's how to proceed:

  1. Basic information : Clearly indicate the details of the importer and exporter, including names, addresses, and contact numbers.
  2. Description of goods : Provide a detailed description of each item, including quantity, weight, and customs value. Use appropriate customs nomenclature codes for each type of product.
  3. Value of goods : Declare the exact customs value of the goods, including transport and insurance costs, up to the Thai border.
  4. Accompanying documents : Upload copies of the required documents, such as the commercial invoice and certificate of origin.

According to Mr. Somsak Charoenphol, our Thai customs expert

A precise and complete customs declaration can greatly accelerate the clearance process and avoid costly delays.

Thai customs forms

To import goods into Thailand, various customs forms must be filled out and submitted. Here are the main forms needed:

  1. Import Declaration Form (IDF) : used to declare goods to Thai customs. This form contains detailed information about the importer, the goods, and the customs duties to be paid. 
  2. Certificate of Origin (CO) : this document certifies the origin of the imported goods and can influence the rate of customs duties applied.
  3. Commercial Invoice : details the commercial transaction, including the price, description of the goods, and terms of sale. It must be accurate and conform to the information declared.
  4. Packing List : provides a detailed description of the contents of each package, including dimensions and weight.
  5. Bill of lading or air waybill : document issued by the carrier confirming receipt of the goods for transport.

By following these steps and using the available resources, you can efficiently navigate Thai customs procedures and ensure smooth importation of your goods. For personalized advice and up-to-date information, do not hesitate to contact our customs experts.

Towards successful importation into Thailand

We’ve provided in this article a thorough understanding of the regulations and customs procedures in Thailand, as well as practical tips for importing specific products. This knowledge will enable you to navigate efficiently through the Thai customs system, avoiding delays and costly complications.

For additional information and answers to all your questions regarding customs services, do not hesitate to consult our FAQ on customs services. You will find a wealth of useful information to successfully navigate the world of customs formalities.


Worldgistic is the number one international freight forwarder in Southeast Asia and Europe. With over 15 years of experience and a team of qualified experts, choose Worldgistic!

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