How Do You Import Pets to Thailand?

My wife and I will be relocating to Chiang Mai in mid Oct. We’ll be bringing our dog and, in checking the airport website, it’s not clear if we need to contact them before arriving or not.  If you can shed any light on the subject it would be very helpful.  – Bob P.

I asked Mark Davis, a client and friend who imported his (very spoiled) dachshund, Scooter, whom you see in this photo. Here’s Mark’s advice:

Importing Your Dog to Thailand
Importing Your Dog to Thailand

I brought my dog from the US to Chiang Mai a few months ago. The process is a bit arduous but manageable once you know the steps. Your travel dates will be dictated by the timelines for you pet’s paperwork as there are tight requirements on the dates the pet passport will be valid. Here’s what’s involved:

  1. Pick a travel date in the future and work the timeline backwards, leaving slack time for paperwork processing.
  2. Apply for an Import Permit from Customs Office at Chiang Mai airport. If you are entering Thailand via Chiang Mai, the Import Permit must be issued by the Chiang Mai Customs office.
  3. All vaccinations must be done more than 30 days before your travel date.
  4. There is a Medical Certificate form available from the Thai Land and Agriculture Department that must be completed and signed by your veterinarian.
  5. You will also need a US Medical Certificate for your pet: same information as on the Thai form.
  6. The US Medical Certificate be completed by a USDA-approved veterinarian, then
  7. It MUST be sent to the regional USDA office for approval and certification. This MUST be done no more than 10 days before your scheduled travel date!!!  
  8. This completed paperwork is your Export Permit for your pet.
  9. The timing is tight. That’s why your travel dates are contingent on your pet’s paperwork.
  10. Once you have the Export Permit, scan and email it to the Chiang Mai Customs office so they can review them and issue you an Import Permit.
  11. You must follow up by telephone when you send the documents.
  12. During this process you need to book your airline tickets well in advance to make sure the airline has birthing space on the flight for your pet because most airlines have room for only a few pet crates per flight.
  13. The airline may require their own set of paperwork for your pet.
  14. If flying in the summertime book a night or in the early morning flight and avoid long layovers or transfers in the middle of the day. (The death of a friend’s pug occurred when airline departure was delayed in sweltering heat.)
  15. Pick flights with the least layover time. KAL’s is the most direct flight to Chiang Mai.
  16. There are strict airline requirements on the pet crate so check before buying a crate.  
  17. Contact your airline to check requirements for pet transportation internationally.
  18. Make sure there is plenty of water in the kennel. Freeze their filled bowl overnight and insulate it on the trip to the airport. It will time for the ice to melt.
  19. Make sure they reserve birthing for your pet on ALL legs of flight.
  20. Download Thai forms for Import Permit, noting vaccination requirements.
  21. Have your pet vaccinated, then wait 30 days.
  22. Approach your vet to complete the Thai Medical Certificate and have the US Medical Certificate completed. Your vet must be USDA certified.
  23. 14 – 18 days before flight, have your Vet send the paperwork to USDA regional office for certification. Send via FedEx and include self-addressed return FedEx envelope.
  24. Once you have the certified US Export Permit back from the USDA and the completed Import Permit paperwork, scan and send them to Thai Customs office in Chiang Mai.
  25. Follow up with a phone call to make sure they do it.
  26. The Import Permit from Thai Customs and the Export Permit from the USDA together comprise your Pet Passport
  27. You’re now  ready to travel but remember: the Pet Passport is only good for 10 days.
  28. When you arrive in Chiang Mai, customs will meet you at baggage claim, check the paperwork and collect a 1000 baht duty, so bring some Thai money with you.

Hope this helps,


P.S. Here’s contact information for Thailand’s central Bureau of Disease Control and Veterinary Services, Department of Livestock Development: Phayathai Rd., Ratchtavee Bangkok 10400. Tel. +66 (0)2 653-4550 – 7 ext. 4175 or +66 (0)2-6534925 Fax. +66 (02) 653-4929. E-mail :

And here’s how Royal Thai Airways treats pets royally


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