Custom Clearance


To minimize problems, additional costs and shipping delays, Siam Shipping offers a custom clearance service to our clients for import and export. Our regular contacts with administrative departments simplify all procedures: saving time and money and less problems.

Our experts analyze case by case each request and consider what should we do in order to provide a fast and qualitative service.

Siam Shipping consider the challenges of the custom clearance for some customers; that’s why we strive to discharge a maximum of charges.

We are conscious about Thai regulations in order to estimate and anticipate any kind of issues our customers could face. We pay attention about every documents in order to avoid  any kind of fees from the local customs. On the other hand, we work as “consultant” as we advise our customers on each step of the customs clearance: what they should do, what they shouldn’t do. The process to import or export is not so easy, that’s why we follow our customers on every step of the shipment: from the departure to the arrival.


customs declarant thailand

How to get the right to import goods into Thailand?

If you are a first-time importer, we will register your company with Thai authorities.

Once the company is established in Thailand, registered for VAT and holds a corporate bank account, you are able to request an import/export permit (paperless license). This card comes with a number which is mandatory if you are willing to import or export goods in/to Thailand.

You will have to fill an application form and put together documents that have to be presented to the Customs Department. Nowadays, the whole process rarely takes more than one day. After that, you will be assigned a license number that will allow you to carry out import and/or export of goods.

The documents required are as follows:

  • KSK 1 application (only 1st and 2nd pages)
  • Copy of company affidavit (updated within six months)
  • Two copies of value added tax certificate (PP 20)
  • Copy of first page of bank account and bank statement
  • Copy of seal registration (BAJ 3)
  • Copy of passport
  • Power of attorney (The 3rd page of KSK 1)

On the first shipment, we will register your company (Paperless registration)



In Thailand, CIF (cost, insurance and freight) is used to estimate the value of incoming goods. Duty rates are calculated on the basis of:

  • Item Value: $100
  • Shipping: $20
  • Insurance: $30
  • Total CIF: $150

This CIF value is used to determine the duty rate. Duty rates hover between 0% – 80% with an average of 21%. Some goods are not subject to duty charges. Laptops, some electronic devices, and items with a value not exceeding $30 are exempt from customs duties.

You can use this online tool, brought to you by Thai customs: official Duty Rate Assessment tool. You can also check out this duty rate calculator for a quick and easy estimate.

When working with private shippers like FedEx, DHL, or UPS, there is no means of paying for import taxes in advance. These private shippers will leave that in the hands of Thai customs.

A few notes on duty rates

Even though you are declaring the item’s real value, Thai customs often end up valuating the item at a higher rate. You may estimate a value of $50 for a bicycle you are shipping to Thailand, but Thai customs may decide those bicycles are worth $100 or even $150. This is very common out here, and there are limited means of action to prevent it from happening. Some managed to avoid that problem, by providing proofs of the items’ true value (receipts, documents, etc.).

The other tricky aspect of duty rates is the non-uniformity of the percentages. Like often in Thailand, standardization is rare when it comes to rules and regulations. What duty rate you will end up paying often varies from one postal or customs agent to another. It is totally normal to pay different duty rates for the exact same item.

Finding bad stories about Thai customs is pretty much effortless.  People report missing items or even items getting blocked or retained in customs for a long period of time. You will also find stories of customs using a shipment as leverage to collect more duty, asking for a ransom.

Bribes and corruption are widespread. You can end up paying 50% of the duty rate under the table without invoices or paperwork. This kind of practices depends a lot on the location. It is recommended to carefully keep all shipping documents and receipts for later verification.


VAT, or Value Added Tax, is a sales tax added to items coming into Thailand. Currently, the VAT rate is 7%, calculated on the basis of the CIF value, as well as any duty added to the item. In that respect, the value once VAT is applied is greater than the original value of the item, as it combines the item’s value, shipping, insurance, and duty. Another 10% tax might apply to alcoholic beverages and food.


Most of the time, we will provide you a draft, an official document as follow:

customs form invoice thailand

This document acts as an invoice, we must receive payment before the release of your shipment. It is easier for you to pay us directly, so that you can save a lot of time. As we all know, time is money in logistics.


If the declared value of goods is considered to be deliberately low, or too far from their real value, the Director-General is allowed to impose the customs price of the goods.


If no agreement is reached on the price, the Director-General is allowed to accept such goods as payment tax or to buy all or some parts of the goods, or he can nominate arbitrators to resolve the disagreement. The number of arbitrators has to be equal, with a maximum of two arbitrators on each side.

If both parties have still not reached an agreement, an umpire is designated to make the final decision.

All weight, testing, estimation, etc., for tax calculations or for any other official procedures must be carried out by the Customs Department.


How shipments are chosen to be examined by Thai customs is still an enigma, as no official criteria have been revealed yet. All shipments are ascribed a risk factor number when approaching Thailand, but we still don’t know it is calculated.


Nevertheless, TCA will inform your customs agent that they will be advising a “manifest hold.” The good news is that Siam-Shipping has years of experience with this and can advise beforehand of such a possibility. Also, as Siam Shipping is certified by TIFFA, your shipment will be given priority and will be inspected before shipments that don’t have the certification.

Below are some of the reasons that your shipment may raise a red flag with Thai customs:

    1. Random Examination – Your cargo can be examined without specific reasons, as Thai customs can arbitrarily decide to examine a small proportion of the incoming cargoes. It can take different forms: a VACIS (x-ray), tailgate, partial, or intensive, exam.
    2. Type of Commodity – Further inspection may be conducted depending on the type of commodity being imported.  For instance, pharmaceuticals and chemicals are often sent for laboratory analysis, to make sure the goods are correctly classified. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Thai industrial standard institute or other government agencies also have a final say in approving perishable and animal products.
    3. Country of Origin – The country of origin plays an important role in the probability to get your cargo examined. If your shipment is coming from Colombia, or any other blacklisted countries, chances are good that customs officers will have a closer look at it. In the same way, keep in mind that there is a list of sanctioned or embargoed countries- Crimea (a region of Ukraine), Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria) – for which any transactions are prohibited without a proper license authorization.
    4. Flagged Shippers – All shippers importing to Thailand are recorded in the TCA’s database. If some shippers reportedly used to under-declare some goods in the past, with an HS code that comes with less duties payable to the government, they will be flagged for inspection. For that reason, there is an imposition of antidumping duties, which is added to regular duties, for countries like China, and for specific shippers or factories.
    5. Flagged Importers – The same goes for importers. If you have a history of penalties imposed on you for under-declaring a cargo, expect your future shipments to be inspected. Also, first-time importers are flagged for examination until it is determined that they comply with customs rules and regulations.

These are some of the most common reasons for which a customs inspection is carried out.

Is the clearing process similar at port and airport?

The process is always similar. Siam Shipping has customs services in Suvarnabhumi airport and can clear any goods within 24 hours from arrival (if all documents are eligible).

suvarnabhumi airport customs


Restricted Items

Every international shipping services impose their own restrictions on the importation of certain items. But in the end, the final say rests with what Thai customs decide can or cannot be brought into Thailand. Feel free to check with your shipper, but compare their restrictions with those listed on the Suvarnabhumi Airport and Thai Customs websites.

The following items require approval from specific government departments in order to be cleared by the Thai customs.

General Restrictions

  • Tobacco
  • Beef, products
  • Seeds, any type of seed
  • Dry Tea Leaf
  • Drugs, Non-Prescription
  • Electronic Cigarette
  • Baraku, Shisha, Hookah (Water pipe)
  • Obscene objects (literature, pictures)
  • Pornographic materials
  • Goods with Thai national flag
  • Narcotics (marijuana, hemp, opium, cocaine, morphine, heroin & etc.)
  • Fake currency, bonds, or coins
  • Fake Royal Seals & Official Seals
  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) infringing goods (a)
  • Counterfeit trademark goods
  • Sex Toy (any kind)
  • Graven Image (religious idols)

Most household pets can enter Thailand without particular restrictions, but it is not the case for some animals. For a detailed look at how to bring your pet with you in Thailand, check out our dedicated article: import animal to Thailand

Duties and taxes for personal effects

For further and more detailed information about regulations when importing personal effects into Thailand, we encourage you to have a look at our relocation website. Please keep in mind that all personal belongings are taxed. Everything is strictly-regulated these days, so read carefully our page regarding taxes on used household items.



export customs thailand

Exporting from Thailand

Goods to be exported out of Thailand are subject to regular export procedures. All goods that are shipped out of the country must be cleared by the customs. Customs’ job consists in collecting all the information about the nature and the volume of the goods, to make the decision-making process as smooth as possible. Unless specifically exempt, all shipments have to wait for the green light of the Customs before the goods are loaded.

Required Documents

Here is a list of the basic documents that must be presented to the Customs for the clearance procedure in case of red line (risky shipment):

  • Export Declaration
  • Invoice
  • Export License (if applicable)
  • Other relevant documents such as catalog, product ingredients, etc.

Export declaration & clearance process

The process of Customs Clearance for export is made up of 4 steps:

1. Submission of a Declaration

The whole procedure is launched when an exporter/broker submits an Export Declaration in ebXML message to the e-Customs system.

2. Verification of a Declaration

In a second step, the Declaration is verified (automated verification). The data is verified and validated immediately by the e-Customs system. If no errors are detected by the automated system, the Goods Declaration number is created together with the e-Payment system (in case of export taxes and duties). The broker/exporter received a confirmation message. Moreover, the selectivity profile system will check the information and classify the Declaration into one of these two categories: Green Line or Red Line.

3. Payment of Duties and Taxes

The third step is the payment of applicable duties and taxes and/or guarantee. For now, there are 3 ways to pay for duties and taxes: payment at the Customs Department, e-Payment, or payment at banks.

4. Inspection and Release of Cargo

Last step: the cargo is examined and released from Customs custody. At that point, the cargo is loaded by a freight forwarder and electronically controlled by the e-Customs system. This system check all the information and immediately correct any mistakes. The cargo control report number is automatically created by the system and the response is then sent to the freight forwarder and the exporter/broker, if no errors are detected. Following this, the cargo control report is printed by the freight forward and carry away the cargo to the exit port. At this last stage, the Customs officer at a sub-gate examines whether the declaration is a Red Line or a Green Line.

As a licensed company, we have a significant experience in customs clearance services in Thailand. Our dedicated professional team totally masters this key stage of the international transport.


We have also been maintaining strong relationships with Thai Govt officials. If you require a full custom clearance service in Thailand and want to be supported in this key process, please contact us. Our legal professional experts will guide you throughout the whole process. Don’t wait any longer, contact us now.

If you want to benefit from personal advice before considering exporting/importing goods from/to Thailand, please feel free to get in touch with us. We understand what is at stake for you, and this is why one of our professional experts will be delighted to provide you with all the information you need.