Ship Household Items to Thailand for Retirement

Ship Household Items to Thailand for Retirement


Thai Retirement visa holders who decided to move to Thailand and live on permanent basis may bring their personal effects and household goods duty free from their home countries. After permit to stay for a year in Thailand has been granted, belongings will not be taxed. Exemption to required taxes and duties for shipping these household goods from another country into Thailand only applies to second-hand or used merchandises. Second-hand items include things used by the retiree importers at their former country of residence. Brand new household goods shipped in Thailand are subjected to the necessary taxes and tariff provided by law which is 20% import duty plus 7% value-added tax.

The origin of shipment should be the same as the origin of the importer. For example, if the owner of the household goods being transported into Thailand used to live in UK, UK is regarded as their place of origin; thus the household goods they are bringing in should have also originated from UK.

Retirement visa holders may bring household items from their home countries within a six-month period from the date of entry to Thailand. The household goods and merchandise are not allowed to be shipped before the arrival of the importers, nor six months after. If your personal items are due to arrive in Thailand more than six months after the entry date, you should inform Thai Customs about this at least two months before the six-month deadline.

The import of electrical devices such as used electrical machines or appliances like air conditioners, television sets or microwave ovens shall be limited to one unit only. Thus, if the importer brings in more than one unit, then the excess shall be subjected to taxes and duties. Exception to this one-unit rule applies if the importer is a whole family. A whole family planning on changing residence and moving to Thailand permanently will be given the privilege of bringing into the country two units of each item. Any unit in excess of this two-piece limit is already taxable. During an excess, Custom officials may levy a lower rate since the importer is a whole family.

Documents Needed:

You will need your passport, retirement visa for Thailand, inventory list showing the brand name, model & serial numbers, and your shipping documents. It will be helpful to have the original sales receipt of all the electronics items. When the shipment arrives the Thai Custom official will ask to see your original passport. Typically the shipping company that you use will coordinate with the Thai Customs officials in clearing your household goods through the customs process.

Clearance Procedures:
  1. The importer submits documents for inspection at the Customs Department/port of entry.
  2. Customs officials complete importation forms, determine eligibility, and assess duties, if any.
  3. Importation forms are returned to the importer bringing goods into the country, who then takes them to be recorded and pay customs duties, if any.
  4. The importer collects items from the port of entry.


2 thoughts on “Ship Household Items to Thailand for Retirement

  1. Can a car be personal effects, and be tax and duty free if owned for more than a year in the applicants home country?

    1. Hi,

      While some countries might allow you to import a vehicle as personal effects if you’ve owned it for more than a year, Thailand’s customs regulations are stringent. Vehicles are not typically treated the same way as regular household goods. Importing a car into Thailand usually attracts high import duties and taxes.

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