±A - Join Our Community

Learn from the experiences of other expats and make new friends in our disccussion forums and Facebook groups

±A - Cigna

±A - Read Our Guide

The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad contains everything you need to know when planning an international relocation available now, completely free

±A - Compare Quotes and Save

Insurance, FX and international movers

±A - Listen to the Podcast

The Expat Focus podcast features interviews with expats living abroad and service providers meeting their needs subscribe today!

±A - Expert Financial

From our tax, investment and FX partners

±A - ExpatFocus Partners

Expat Focus Partners

Become a Partner. Click Here.

Importing a Vehicle

Thailand - Importing a Vehicle

If you are driving a foreign car in Thailand with the intention of keeping it permanently in the country then it must be registered with the department of land transport. There are different regulations for a temporary import than for a permanent import.

Those who have a valid visa and work permit for a period of at least one year are permitted to import a car into the country on a permanent basis although the restriction is one vehicle. It is worth noting that importing a vehicle is not generally recommended as it often costs twice as much in taxes and duties than the car is worth.

If you do intend to import a vehicle you will need to obtain an import permit from the Ministry of Commerce. If you attempt to bring a car into the country without this permit then the car can be taken from you and you will need to pay large fines. It is possible to use an agent to help with this procedure as it is fairly complicated and all paperwork needs to be completed in Thai. A permit cannot be issued after the car has arrived in the country.

In order to apply for the import permit for a new vehicle you will need to produce a copy of your visa, your work permit which proves that you have the right to be in the country for a minimum of a year, an import declaration form, an airway bill from the company who are shipping the vehicle and all the relevant documents of sale. A customs form is needed (form reference 100/1) and a transaction form which will show the value of the vehicle if it is over 500,000 THB. You will also need to prove that you have insurance in place before the car is brought into the country.

If you are importing a second hand vehicle then you will also need to provide a house registration certificate (known as a ‘tabien baan’) or title deeds to land or property, a copy of your passport and a registration certificate which proves that the car has been used in another country for a minimum of 18 months. Cars younger than this are considered to be new vehicles.

When the car enters the country the company carrying out the import will need to present all the documents so that the customs department can determine the taxes and duties that need to be paid. These need to be paid promptly. A receipt is issued and then the car can be released.

Once the import procedure has been completed the owner needs to re-register it in Thailand and obtain a new vehicle registration document. This is known as a blue book or ‘lem tabian’. This will allow the local transport office to issue a tax sticker each year. This should be done as quickly as possible as it is illegal to drive the car in Thailand without these documents.

In order to register the vehicle you will need to have your passport, your visa information and your work permit. The Department of Land Transport will issue you with the blue book.

Useful Resources

Ministry of Commerce
Tel: + 66 2507 8000
Email: webmaster@moc.go.th

Department of Land Transport
Tel: + 66 2271 8888

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.