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By No owner — last modified Nov 24, 2017 10:26 AM

 Thailand - Formalities

Clearance

GENERAL INFORMATION FOR ALL PORTS OF ENTRY

Yachts should anchor flying the Q flag. Customs very rarely visit yachts.

Within 24 hours of arrival, except at weekends, the captain must go ashore to complete entry formalities.

Important Points when Clearing-In

  • ALL crew must visit Immigration on arrival and departure to have their photographs taken (same procedure as at the airports).
  • If any crew on board are planning on leaving the yacht by air at any time, paperwork is greatly simplified if they are recorded as passengers when checking in, not as skipper or crew. They can then come and go as they please. One person must be recorded as skipper, however all others can be recorded as passengers. It is advisable for them to be noted as passengers on the zarpe from the previous port.
  • The alternative is to place a substantial cash bond before leaving the country (and before going to the airport). This is difficult to reclaim and if it has not been done you will be unable to board your flight and will be turned away. See Immigration below for more details on placing a bond.
  • The other alternative is to change your status (see this report for details).
  • Since February 2014 the length of time visiting yachts are permitted to stay in the country is no longer tied to the length of the owner's visa. The initial time is now 6 months, with the ability to apply for an extension for another 6 months. See Customs below. This rule is not necessarily understood and practised by all clearance ports. Printing out this pdf of the New Amendment to Customs Regulationsand presenting it to Customs should you have problems is worthwhile.

 

PHUKET INFORMATION

AIS REQUIREMENT
Effective 1 January 2016 it is now mandatory for all in-coming and out-going yachts to have AIS. See the Phuket page for more details. Failure to have an AIS transponder will result in a substantial fine.

Corruption amongst Thai Marine Officials does exist and can affect visiting cruising yachts. Read this news article for more about what to watch out for.

Last updated June 2017.

Immigration

Visa on Arrival - 30 days

Yacht crew arriving without a visa will be granted a 30 day stay on arrival (a "transit visa"). It is not easy to extend this visa, so if wanting to stay longer you will have to travel out of Thailand by plane or overland and get a new visa on re-entering (see details on bond payment below).

Visas for longer stays can be issued and are accepted if one has been signed on as a passenger, not crew. Every boat needs at least one crew (normally the skipper), so the remaining crew can be classed as passengers and will then be given a 30 day visa on arrival which can be renewed twice, but only for 15 days at a time, making a total stay of 60 days (as per tourists who arrive by air).

For a list of countries entitled to visa exemption or visa on arrival go to http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/services/123/15393-Visa-on-Arrival.html

Travelling out of Thailand - placing a bond

All yacht crew (not passengers) leaving Thailand for whatever reason without their boat, must declare the dates of departure with Immigration when checking-in and pay a security bond of THB20,000 which is refundable. This bond is in case the person decides to not leave and therefore overstays their visa – the bond is then confiscated by Immigration and could be used to deport the person when found or just held as a fine for breaking the agreement to leave.

As stated above, the bond only applies to whoever Immigration consider as crew and there must be one crew on the boat which is usually the skipper. All the others as passengers get the 30 days and can leave any way they like without the need for a security bond.

When you fly back into Thailand, your bond money will be refunded to you by Immigration in your port of entry minus a THB200 fee. The procedure is as follows:

- Bring ALL required documents to the Immigration office plus paper copies of each (Passport, contract with marina, plane ticket incl. return-flight).
- Pay a deposit of THB 20.000 which will be refunded on your return to Thailand back at the Immigration office.
- You will be given an envelope to hand over to the Immigration officer at the airport on departure.

If a captain knows in advance that he will be leaving the country, he should perhaps declare one of the crew members staying on the boat as captain/crew and himself as a passenger. There must always be someone who is designated to be in charge of the boat; and it is not possible for everyone to be declared as passengers.

Note: It is possible to pay a one-off, non-recoverable fee of BT2,000 to have your passport re-stamped as a passenger. See this report for details.

Some Immigration departments are more strict about this requirement than others.

Visa in Advance

If you obtain a 60 day visa (which can be extended for another 30 days) before you arrive in Thailand, life is more simple.  Most will obtain this visa in Penang. This visa is a tourist visa and your passport stamp on arrival will have the letters TR in the middle.

If you arrive with a visa, then you will be given a "white card" which negates the requirement to pay a bond if leaving the country by plane or overland.

If you need to extend this visa for an additional 30 days, go to your local Immigration office with 2 passport photographs, a copy of your passport photograph page, a copy of the page with your entry stamp and a copy of the visa itself.  Prepare to wait for 2 hours and pay THB1,900.

For detailed current regulations see Visa information for The Kingdom of Thailand

Where to get a Visa?

There are a number of different visas issued by various Thai embassies or consulates. Yachts are advised to check with their nearest Thai embassy or consulate for details on what visas are on offer.

There is now a Thai consulate in Langkawi, but Penang is still more convenient at the moment for visas.

Last updated June 2017.

Immigration Bureau
Tel:00662 286 2119

Customs

Length of Stay Permitted

Note: From 21st February 2014 the rules regarding length of stay for visiting yachts were amended.

Thai legislation now states that a vessel entering Thailand may stay for up to 6 months initially. Customs may then extend the time-limit, on application, to allow the yacht to remain in Thailand for up to another six months.

First application can be for a 4 month extension and then a final 2 month one. Both applications should be made 4 weeks before your existing permit expires as the paperwork has to go to Bankok for approval. A photo of the boat showing its name clearly displayed is required, along with a letter from the marina and photo copies of your visa and passport.

Be aware that at some Ports of Entry Customs interpret these rules in their own way (for example in Krabi, where cruisers report in 2016 that they are only giving 2 month extensions, 3 if you push).

Printing out this pdf of the New Amendment to Customs Regulations and presenting it to Customs should you have problems is worthwhile.

The fine for overstaying is 1,000 baht per day of overstay with a maximum of 10,000 baht.

Spare Parts

Yacht parts duty varies depending on the item. A solar panel for example is exempt of duty, alloy and many other items are at 5%, and others at 10%. Sails however are 40% and things with a high plastic content.

VAT at 7% applies to everything imported.

Make sure that the document / invoice accompanying the item has a freight charge on it. Without a freight charge marked on the invoice, Customs will work out a percentage for freight and add it on before they work out the duty, and after that they apply the 7% VAT. In this case the duty demanded by Customs will be high.

If you do your homework, you can save money on importing parts. If however you don't understand the rules, it's highly likely you will be charged with a high duty charge.

Other Customs Rules

Firearms should be declared. They will be removed and held until departure, unless there is a secure locker on board, where they can be sealed under the supervision of Customs officials.

Care should be taken to declare any medication which may contain a narcotic, even if it is a prescription drug.

Last updated June 2017.

Health

Malaria prophylaxis is recommended as there is some risk existing all year in most areas. Phuket island is reportedly free of malaria.

Water available to yachts in Thailand is not considered drinking water. It is fine for showers, washing dishes, deck etc. Drinking water in Thailand should be bought by the bottle and not taken from a tap. Unlike Malaysia and Singapore who have heavily treated tap water with lots of Chlorine in it.

Fees

Immigration

Immigration charge between 200 and 300 Baht for clearing in, and for clearing out. On Saturdays/Sundays and Holidays this goes up to 500 Baht.

The bond for someone arriving by yacht and listed as crew but who plans to leave the country by other means is 20,000 Baht (cash).

Customs

Customs charge between 200 - 300 Baht on departure only. However on Saturday/Sunday and Holidays this goes up to 800 Baht on inward clearance and 1000 Baht on departure.

Harbour Master

The Harbour Master (Port Control) charges 100 Baht on departure only (although this varies with the port).

All give correct receipts. If you check in on a public holiday or a weekend extra fees apply with both Customs and Immigration. Make sure you have the correct money and try not to turn up with 1000 Baht bills.

Other Fees

There is a daily charge for visiting National Parks (including National Marine Parks). These increased in February 2015. See news report here.

Last updated December 2016.

Restrictions

National Parks

Nearly all of the waters of Thailand are covered by one national park or another. The Chief Park Ranger can:-

  1. Charge the schedule anchoring fees as set out by the Forestry Department. This is up to 200 baht per night for the yacht depending on its size (and also the number of persons it takes e.g. he may charge more for a 30ft yacht with 5 people than a 40ft boat with 2 people).
  2. Charge the park visiting fee - this is per person and per visit, be it one day or a week - but again it depends on the ranger. Fees are between 200 and 500 Baht per person per day, and are due to increase 1 February 2015.

The current charges (October 2014) for Koh Rok Nok, Koh Lanta, Surin & Similan islands National Parks are 400 baht ($13) per person and 200 baht for the boat for 3 days. The charges are due to increase from 1 February 2015 to 500 baht per person.

For an update on park fees for 2015 read news report here

Anchoring

New Regulations for ‘tourism boats” to better protect marine natural resources and aid recovery of coral bleaching - May 2016.

When cruising in the Gulf of Thailand towards Pattaya, more
specifically Ocean Marina located at Jomthien, all of the islands off the coast in and around this area are in fact owned and managed by the Thai Navy. Up until recently it has been possible to anchor off these islands, however due to overly active day trip operators in the area the Thai Navy have advised that anchoring at these islands is now prohibited and that they will enforce this restriction with vigilance.
this is a list of the main islands that are restricted:
Koh Rin (northern most)
Koh Khram
Koh Khram Noi
Koh Samaesan
Koh Chan (southern most)

Fishing

There is definitely no fishing in the Similans and Surin Islands and there is a maximum fine of 500 baht per person on the boat i.e. if there is only one line but five people on the boat the fine will be 2500 baht regardless of who was fishing.

For the other islands, you may be allowed to fish but you must ask the ranger first, again it is up to the individual ranger.

Phuket and surrounding waters - Birds' Nests

Yachts cruising in the waters of Phuket and surrounding waters of Phang Nga , Krabi, Trang and Satun provinces, should be aware that the practice of guarding and harvesting birds' nests is quite common on certain small islands. Do a little research before anchoring in what looks like a idyllic anchorage. It may not be so. See this news report for further details.

Last updated March 2017.

Local Customs

An interesting travel blog to read re. local customs and habits is 12 Lessons Learnt after one month travelling in Thailand.

Clearance Agents

Faraway Yachting Charters Co. Ltd
109/20 Moo 5 , 109/20 Moo 5 , Phuket 83110, Thailand
Tel:+ 66(0) 817974061 (Bob Mott)
Offer complete service obtaining licences for Myanmar as well as individual trip applications once the licence is valid. Can also provide skilled guides for the Mergui.
Importers/ distributers of GME AIS “ B” Systems, EPIRBS as well as EPIRB programming and testing for the Australian brand GME, Rocna and Vulcan anchors and CMA chain amongst other products.

[Show additional 1 entries for this category]

Pets

Health Certificate to comply with State and Federal Laws to be supplied by recognised Veterinarian. Certificate should be no more than 30 days before departure if travelling with owner or 10 days before departure if pet travelling as cargo. USDA requires pets to be at least 8 weeks old and fully weaned before travel

Enquiries about bringing animals into the country made be made by contacting:

The Department of Livestock Development Bangkok Tel: 0-2251-5136, 0-2252-6944

Vaccination certificates are required for all animals entering Thailand. For further information or queries contact the website of the Customs Department of the Kingdom of Thailand.

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Thailand, Phuket: Chalong one-stop yacht center open at last (temporarily)

Thailand, Phuket: Chalong one-stop yacht center open at last (temporarily)  (24 Apr 2014)

Thailand: New Customs Rule for Visiting Yachts

Thailand: New Customs Rule for Visiting Yachts  (09 Apr 2014)

Thailand Boat Stays: Old System now back in place

Thailand Boat Stays: Old System now back in place  (23 Feb 2014)

Thailand: New rules for boat/yacht stays - with further updates

Thailand: New rules for boat/yacht stays - with further updates   (10 Feb 2014)

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Thailand: Phuket’s ‘invisible moorings’ sink B10mn luxury cruiser  (21 Jan 2014)

Indian Ocean Crossing 2014/15 to South Africa

Indian Ocean Crossing 2014/15 to South Africa  (14 Jan 2014)

Thailand: Phuket Customs yet to enforce new rules for boat stays

Thailand: Phuket Customs yet to enforce new rules for boat stays  (10 Jan 2014)

Indian Ocean: Two vessels attacked in four days indicates resurgence of Somali piracy

Indian Ocean: Two vessels attacked in four days indicates resurgence of Somali piracy  (17 Oct 2013)

Thailand, Koh Samet, Ao Phrao (Phrao Bay): Closed following oil spill

Thailand, Koh Samet, Ao Phrao (Phrao Bay): Closed following oil spill  (30 Jul 2013)

Great New Service for noonsite users: Get notified of cruising news, reports and country updates as they are posted

Great New Service for noonsite users: Get notified of cruising news, reports and country updates as they are posted  (23 May 2013)

Is the Indian Ocean safe for yachts?

Is the Indian Ocean safe for yachts?  (07 May 2013)

Thailand, Phuket, Chalong: Shots fired as yacht robbery thwarted

Thailand, Phuket, Chalong: Shots fired as yacht robbery thwarted  (26 Apr 2013)

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Thailand, Koh Chang: Siam Royal View opens Phase 1 of state-of-the-art marina  (03 Apr 2013)

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Summary of Security & Piracy Reports 2012  (28 Feb 2013)

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SE Asia Cruisers Radio Net Now Closed  (22 Feb 2013)

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Thailand, Phuket: New moorings break loose, wreak havoc for yachtsmen in Chalong Bay  (01 Jan 2013)

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Thailand, Phuket, Chalong Bay: Warning about Unsafe Mooring Buoys  (17 Dec 2012)

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New - AIS Requirement for Yachts Entering Singapore  (02 Apr 2012)

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Sevenstar Sailings to and from the Far East   (28 Mar 2012)

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Thailand, Phuket: Bay Regatta for Cruising Yachts  (31 Jan 2012)

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Thailand, Koh Lipe: Locals save yacht as it drags its anchor out to sea  (23 Nov 2011)

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Thailand to Turkey Convoy through the Gulf of Aden Cancelled  (23 Nov 2011)

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Treat with Extreme Caution - Convoys & Rallies through the Indian Ocean  (22 Sep 2011)

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Thailand: Phuket ready to launch online check-in for yachts  (19 Aug 2011)

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The Latest Information on Yacht Transport Voyages  (08 Mar 2011)

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An Alternative to the Risks of ‘Pirate Alley' - Updated  (23 Feb 2011)

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Indian Ocean Net (IO Net) Now Closed  (06 Jun 2010)

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Thailand: Pirates Jailed for Yacht Murder  (01 Dec 2009)

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Yachtsman Murdered in Thailand  (25 Mar 2009)

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Phuket poised to welcome King's Cup Regatta 2008  (24 Oct 2008)

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Update Mobile Maritime Net SE Asia  (27 Aug 2008)

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Latest News On Mobile Maritime Net SE Asia  (04 Aug 2008)

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Phuket - New Immigration Requirement  (27 Jul 2008)

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Pirates Attack French Yacht and Take Crew Hostage  (05 Apr 2008)

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YANGON TO MANILA BAY: A NEW CRUISING PLAYGROUND  (23 May 2005)

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Brunei Bay Radio Services  (23 Feb 2005)

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Yachts Can Visit Galle, Sri Lanka  (01 Feb 2005)

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South East Asian Maritime Net frequency modification  (13 Jul 2004)

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Zero Boat Tax Becomes Reality For Thailand  (01 Mar 2004)

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Protest Against Controversial Local Fees in Phuket  (02 Feb 2004)

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Weather Websites for SE Asia  (01 Feb 2003)

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Thailand tightens rules for long term visiting boats  (19 Aug 2002)