Moving to Laos

Moving to Laos

IMPORT REGULATIONS ON HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECT SHIPMENTS

A foreigner may import household goods and personal effects into Laos duty free under the following conditions:

  1. He or she has diplomatic status or works for a registered foreign company.
  2. He  or  she  obtains  a  letter from  the  Ministry  of  Foreign  Affairs  verifying  his/her diplomatic status or, in the case of a non-diplomat, obtains a valid Lao work permit.  Copies of the employer’s investment license and business license will also be required for non-diplomats.

If the above criteria are met, only one sea and one air shipment are permitted duty free, and the shipper can only import one each of any electrical appliance duty free.

All  other foreigners  who do  not  meet  the  above  criteria  may  import  household  goods  and personal effects into Laos, but they will be subject to duty.  The duty amount varies and is often subject to negotiation with the customs department.  JVK will work with the shipper and his/her company to minimize any duty liability.

While the shipper does not have to be physically present at the port or airport during customs clearance, we must present  his/her original passport and original work permit (or diplomatic certificate) to the Laos Customs Authorities at the time of clearance.  Thus, the shipper must be in Laos for the shipment to clear through customs.

As sea shipments first enter Thailand before being transported in-bond to Laos, please ensure that the bill of lading shows “In-transit to Vientiane, Laos via Bangkok, Thailand”.

If you send a full container load, please use liftvans.  The Steamship lines do not permit their containers to enter Laos, so the shipment must be unstuffed in Bangkok port prior to moving in- bond through Thailand and eventually into Laos.  Again, please use liftvans.

PROHIBITED AND RESTRICTED GOODS

Goods prohibited from entering Laos include firearms, ammunition, pornographic material, and “reactionary” publications.

MOTOR VEHICLES (AUTOS AND MOTORBIKES)

Only a foreign diplomat may import a vehicle into Laos duty free.  He or she must obtain a letter from the  Laos Ministry  of  Foreign  Affairs  verifying  his/her status  and  requesting  that  Laos Customs permit duty free import.

For all other foreigners and returning Lao nationals, it is almost impossible to import a vehicle into Laos.   The procedures for a non-diplomat  to import  a vehicle are time consuming and tedious.  The duty assessed can be as high as 300% of the new purchase value of the vehicle.

ANIMALS AND PETS

Most pets, including dogs, cats, and birds, can be brought into Laos with no quarantine period. The documents necessary at the time of import are a current health certificate (not more than 7 days old) and a current vaccination card.

CONSIGNMENT INSTRUCTIONS

Consign both sea and air shipments to:

Shipper (name spelt exactly as in passport)
C/o his or her company name and
Address in Laos

Please note:

The information on this page is intended as a guide and NOT as a complete or definitive resource.
The information on this page should not be used as an authoritative reference.

Updated April, 2008

THANK YOU TO:
JVK Indochina Movers (Laos) Ltd.
For Providing the above Customs Information