Urgent: Export Permit Extension For Thai-registered Motorbike

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by Italianhawksfan, Sep 19, 2016.

  1. Hi everyone, I'm faced with a weird problem and could really use some help...

    I came to Thailand on June 1st of this year to purchase a motorbike and tour South East Asia. I bought a 2015 Kawasaki Ninja 250 off of Craigslist, transferred the green book/license plate into my name and got a Thai driver license which is valid for 2 years. After 3 months in Thailand (one 30-day exception stamp, one Cambodian border run and one 30-day visa extension) I left for Cambodia with the motorbike at the Hat Lek/Cham Yeam (Koh Kong) border checkpoint. Everything went fine except at the customs window where the customs officer gave me a document that said I had to bring the motorbike back within 30 days! The document says (in both Thai and English) that if I do not bring the motorbike back to Thailand within 30 days I will have to pay a fine of 1000 baht per day for each day that I'm late up to 10,000 baht maximum!

    What the hell is this all about?! At first I thought it might be a scam being run out of that one border checkpoint to squeeze more money out of foreigners but I ran into a guy named Kay Kaesler, the owner of Big Bike Tours (www.bigbiketours.net), at the border and he said it's true. He said you can't take a Thai-registered motorbike outside of Thailand for more than 30 days.

    This makes absolutely zero sense. Why restrict the freedoms of Thai residents like that? What is the reasoning behind it?

    It makes even less sense when you consider the fact that I can't even stay in Thailand for more than 3 months out of the year now due to the new visa/border run restrictions. Also, I can't get a work visa and I don't want to get an education visa. Do the math... I can only stay in Thailand for 3 months out of the year but I can't leave for more than a month at a time? I would be forced to violate one of these laws at some point. I have also read online that if you come back 6 months late or longer, Thai customs will confiscate your motorbike!

    This is a huge problem for me now... I was planning to tour Cambodia and Laos over a 3 month period and then re-enter Thailand, cross Myanmar and then go to India and Nepal where I would probably spend 5 or 6 months if not longer.

    Has anyone else had this problem before with a Thai-registered motorbike or car? If so, what did you do about it? What was the solution?

    I read online that it's possible to get an extension of the motorbike export permit. One guy said that it's possible to get a 6 month extension before leaving Thailand, but he didn't give any details as to how he got it. I tried calling the Customs Help Line in Thailand multiple times but no one ever picks up. I have also sent many emails to Customs but have not received a response. I tried to find a phone number for the Hat Lek border checkpoint but I can't find one. Does anyone know how to do this? Who do I need to contact or where do I need to go to get an extension? What is the likelihood that they will give it to me?

    When I re-enter Thailand in about a week I will only have one more month that I can spend there until June of 2017 (I think) so I need to figure out a solution to this problem ASAP.

    If I can't figure out how to get an extension of the export permit or Customs/Immigration won't give it to me for whatever reason, I will need to either:

    1. Try to sell the motorbike in Thailand within one month.

    2. Move to Cambodia and try to register the motorbike there.

    If I'm able to sell the motorbike in Thailand I will probably move to Vietnam and try to buy a motorbike there instead and register it into my name. I have read that Vietnamese-registered motorbikes can travel freely all over South East Asia and that they are currently the only motorbikes that can cross the border into Vietnam without a licensed tour guide and written approval from the Ministry of Transportation in Vietnam. The question then would become, does Customs in Vietnam also give you an export permit for Vietnamese-registered motorbikes, and if so, how much time do you get???

    Any help with this problem or clarity you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  2. Italianhawksfan,
    I looked into this same thing a couple weeks ago as I've been thinking about taking my bike to Europe next year. I had my Thai wife call the customs department and they informed that the limit is in deed 30 days unless you apply for permission before hand. She was told by them that it could be extended up to 12 months. The fine is 1000 baht/day up to 10,000 baht. They also told her if the bike was gone longer than 6 months without permission the bike may be subject to import duty to bring it back in. My wife said it sounded somewhat complicated to get the permit but it is possible. The numbers she called are: 1164 (from within Thailand), 02 667 6000, 02 667 7000. I'm not sure which number she got through on. Hope that helps.
  3. Indeed the one month limit is the rule.
    It's on GTR here
    Border Crossings
    and here
    Motorcycle Import

    Your best bet is just go in & out one month at a time.
    Thailand - Laos-Cambodia.
    No big deal, just a "slight inconvenience."
    Come back in for a week or two then head off again.

    Good luck & please let us know how you.
  4. #4 Italianhawksfan, Sep 21, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
    That does help. Thank you very much. I will keep trying to call those two phone numbers (02 667 6000 and 02 667 7000) for Customs while I'm in Cambodia and then will call 1164 once I cross the border and activate my Thai SIM card. I have tried calling those two numbers multiple times but no one has ever picked up. I also tried calling the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh today but they said it wasn't their department.

    Really? Would you ride it all the way from Thailand to Europe? If so, what route would you take?
  5. Did you read my entire post? My plan is (or was) to stay in Asia long-term with the motorbike. I bought the motorbike in Thailand thinking I would be able to travel freely from country to country. I love Thailand and would stay there long term if I could, but when I left for Cambodia, immigration told me I can only re-enter Thailand once more during the year (or a one year period starting when I arrived in June, I'm not sure). They said I can only stay in Thailand for a maximum of 3 months out of the year (or a one year period), not including visa extensions I think. So my predicament is that once I am forced to leave Thailand due to having stayed for 3 months out of the year (or a one year period), I will have to stay in Cambodia (or some other country) for multiple months until either the year is over or the one year period has reset again. This would force me to overstay the 30-day export permit for my motorbike. That's why I need an extension. I might need a 6 month or 12 month extension depending on when immigration will let me come back to Thailand.

    Is that not the way it is now? Because that's what everyone's telling me, including multiple travel agents in Thailand.
  6. I believe the temporary export rules are there to try to stop vehicle theft. For those of us that stay here, they are a good thing. In the past, many vehicles were stolen to order and taken to Laos & Cambodia etc.
    I'n afraid some things here are not as flexible as in the U.S. or the E.U. but then again, this is a better place to live, so I guess you can't have everything in life.
    Good luck.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Yes i did read your post.
    You have both visa & customs issues that need to be addressed to hang around for a long time.
    I would have thought a multiple entry tourist visa may have been a satisfactory solution.
    For the bike & customs permit, the easiest way would have been to go in & out, once you've sorted out your visa issues.

    For riding overland " cross Myanmar and then go to India and Nepal" you cant just rock up at the Myanmar border & ride on through. You need approval in advance & need to buy a package via a tour company.
    Border Crossings

    For riding around on a Vietnamese registered bike, its probably only good for Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia.
    Getting into Thailand is now a problem with that bike.
    New Transit Import Rules

    For taking your bike all the way to Europe I think you my have Carnet issues - getting one.
    Thais do it, but the system is cumbersome & must be somewhat expensive.

    Good luck & please let us know how you go.
  8. A brief update on the Customs permit.
    Yes as Hua Hin said, you can get an extension, that must be approved in advance - before you leave.
    I should have the contact details in a couple of days.

    For a Carnet - Thailand does not issue them apart for "motor shows or racing" overseas.
    There is a solution / system for getting them (a Carnet) issued from Malaysia.
    More info should be forthcoming.
  9. #9 Italianhawksfan, Sep 21, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
    I don't see how restricting the registered owner of a Thai motorbike to only being able to leave Thailand for 30 days with the motorbike would prevent vehicle theft... unless I'm missing something. So long as you have all the paperwork which proves you're the registered owner of the motorbike, you should be able to leave a country with the motorbike for as long as you want. Give me one good reason why this shouldn't be the case...
  10. Alright, I'll have to talk to more people about what my options are as a tourist now. I've read online that if I get a 60-day tourist visa in Cambodia I can extend it for one month, then come back to Cambodia for a month, get another one and keep doing the same thing over and over again. But then there are other people (including travel agents in Pattaya) who tell me that this is no longer possible because immigration is trying to prevent tourists from doing multiple border runs and consecutive tourist visas.

    Right, I've read all about that. I read that it's possible now so long as you get a permit to cross both into Myanmar and then into India. The person who did it did not mention anything about needing to do it with a tour company though. Are you sure?

    I saw that. Crazy... There goes that option then. I think my only options left are to (1) get an extension of the export permit, (2) try to get consecutive 60-day tourist visas while in Cambodia (if possible) + one month extensions, (3) get a one year education visa and stay in Thailand, and (4) sell the motorbike and hoof it like 99% of other travelers.

    I've never heard of "Carnet" before. What is that? "Carnet de Passage", some sort of customs document? Which country (or countries) would I need this for and why might I have trouble getting it?

    Thank you very much David for your help.
  11. Info for a Carnet is here
    What is a Carnet? | ATA Carnet

    Thailand is not a signatory to that agreement though & seem to have their own forms & system
    Thai Customs talk about their system there
    Customs English

    But my mates who ride bikes to Europe say that there is a system to get one out of Malaysia that will cover you for those countries that require a Carnet.
    Not everyone uses them, but more do than don't I think; & having a Carnet makes international travel & border crossings a lot easier. But they cost money.

    It may be time for a bit of a rethink on your master plan to conquer the region & the world on your Ninja 250.
    I'd just take your time & enjoy Thailand, Laos Cambodia as much as you can.
    To avoid the back to back visa border runs, you could hang out in Cambo a bit, slip up to S Laos for a bit; then back into Thailand all within a month. That way it's not a straight return to Thailand.
    You can get a Thai visa in Savannakhet, southern Laos.
    Then do the same in reverse. Back into Laos for a few weeks, and then ride back into Thailand via Cambodia. It may work. OR just get a multiple entry Thai visa.
    The new Thai visa & vehicle transit rules are making life difficult for a lot of people, but it's still possible to enjoy & have a really good time in the region.
    Government bureaucracy sucks every where all over the world.
  12. Haha! Honestly, I'm just curious if it's possible to ride a motorbike from Thailand to Europe. I doubt I would actually do it. I'm more concerned about whether or not I can travel freely in South East Asia (or other parts of Asia) with a motorbike since I'm here already and went through the hassle of purchasing a motorbike, transferring the title into my name, paying the tax, getting insurance, getting a Thai driver license, etc.

    Why would I want to do this? Just to avoid crossing at the same border checkpoints and being seen by the same immigration/customs officers? I thought all of Thailand's border checkpoints were connected via centralized computer systems... So therefore it wouldn't matter which border I cross at, they would still be able to see all the times I ever crossed into and out of Thailand and whether or not I had the motorbike in my possession when I did.
  13. Because you wouldn't be coming straight back into Thailand from Cambodia, you would be going to another country first - Laos - then back into Thailand.
    So it wont be a straight visa run across the border to Cambodia & then straight back into Thailand again. That may facilitate your re entry back into Thailand.
  14. Indeed, Carnet can be obtained from Malaysian AAM (Auto Association Malaysia).
    Monetary guaranty amount depends on motorcycle value. Usually that is more than Thailand since bikes in Malaysia are costlier.

    Automobile Association of Malaysia
  15. I live near the Mekong in CR province, boats carry new scooters all the time across the border. At one point I assume they get registered on the Lao side, so somehow there must be a procedure.

    I assume with the current climate here, it crossed a lot peoples mind already to turn their back on Thailand. So I wonder what would be the procedure to export a (used) bike permanently, and get it registered in either Laos, Cambodia or Malaysia.

    Did anyone tried that? I wouldn't mind too much about the Thai customs, if planning to leave anyway, but registering it in a neighboring country would be the challange.
  16. #16 harrythefinn, Jun 6, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017
    I recently (in April 2017) received a 180 day temporary export paper exiting Chong Mek border into Laos. It was after a lot of talking and back and forth between the customs boss and his staff. It is meant to be "pre approved " before the exit , I have no details on that procedure. The computer at customs on the border only had options for 30 days or 180 days export, this was the problem as I only asked for 60 days. I had visas for onward travel to China from Laos. It was with the help of the senior immigration guy (his daughter is married to a foreigner same nationality as myself), he convinced the customs boss that I had a valid visa (one year Non Im) and would have no problems on re entry. Generally the customs guys at the borders only deal with every day traffic and any curve ball like a foreigner wanting to temporary export a motorcycle for longer than 30 days is non standard, and they have no set procedure to follow,if my spoken Thai was more fluent I think it would not have been a problem and I would not have wasted 2 hours.
    • Like Like x 2
  17. i know this is an old post, but the only one that shows up on google, so i believe this will still be useful for many others to come.

    did you get the contact details? anyone done this successfully recently? I would love to go to cambodia/laos for 2-3 months on my bike. i can not reenter thailand too soon, as i have just been here for 9 months on a tourist visa.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Sorry i never got the details as promised, despite reminding the contact who had them to come good with his promise.
    • Like Like x 1

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