18 JUNE 2019: Malaysia and Thailand have agreed to commence 24-hour operations at Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) Bukit Kayu Hitam and Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Sadao starting from midnight (June 18). The 24-hour operations will be conducted for a three-month trial period, involving only cargo and goods movement carried by trucks and heavy vehicles. (Reference: https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2019/06/496899/malaysia-thailand-run-24-hour-icqs-operations-midnight)
Ever since my last trip to Thailand, a few people had asked me about the procedures to drive across the border. Ever since the implementation of “drive-thru”s at the Bukit Kayu Hitam/Sadao border in October 2017, driving into or out of Thailand couldn’t be any easier, even for first-timers. Unless you are traveling by foot, van or bus, which requires you to go through the immigration counters to stamp your passport individually, driving your own vehicle would be hassle-free. However, there are some points to be noted if your day of visit/departure fell on weekends or on long Malaysian public holidays. There could be a long queue but it might not take more than an hour to settle all the entry/departure documents.
Firstly, even before you and your group members think of traveling out of Malaysia, please check everyone’s Immigration Status to avoid any embarrassment at the Immigration Check Point (Find the reasons here). Visit Immigration Department of Malaysia’s site, enter your Nombor Kad Pengenalan (IC number) in the text field, click the “Semak” (Check) button and if the status appeared as “Tiada Halangan” (No Restriction), you’re clear to travel. Important Note: Do prepare a photocopy of everyone’s passport as some hotels might keep the passports as a deposit when checking in. My advice is to pay whatever deposits required (normally it’s between THB500 and THB1000) and hold on to your passport wherever you go.
Though lots of vans and buses would be arriving at the border as between 5.00am and 8.00am (Malaysian Time) or departing between 11.00am and 2.00pm (Thailand Time), these crowds won’t affect your driving through. The opening time at the borders is at 6.00am (Malaysian Time) or 5.00am (Thailand Time), and the closing time is at 12.00am (Malaysian time) or 11.00pm (Thailand Time). Do plan your traveling time wisely and make sure you’re at least 2-3 hours at the border to avoid being denied exit.
There are two ways you could get all the documents needed – either by downloading them and fill them up yourself or just get an agent to settle all for you at a minimum fee. Since you would be needing the Compulsory Motor Insurance (CMI) and also the TM6 (Arrival/Departure Card), I would recommend the latter.
Here’s the summary of the documents checklist:
A. For Malaysian drivers with car ownership: (9 Documents)
1. TM2 (Information of Conveyance Form): 2 copies (inbound & outbound) – remember to sign on both copies
2. TM3 (Passenger List Form – only needed when there are passengers): 2 copies (inbound & outbound) – remember to sign on both copies
3. TM6 (Arrival/Departure Card) – sign on 2 places
4. Passport (Valid for at least 6 months)
5. Malaysian Driving License or International Driving License
6. Grant/Vehicle Ownership Certificate (VOC) – Bring the original, in case the certified true copy is not acceptable due to some unforeseen circumstances
7. A printout of your Road Tax Details to prove that it’s not expired (can be printed out at any nearest JPJ at RM20 per annum – it’s not a must but do try to get the JPJ’s stamp to authenticate the printout)
8. Compulsory Motor Insurance (CMI)
9. Simplified Customs Declaration Form (SCDF) – Obtainable at another building after stamping your passport at the Thai Immigration Drive-Thru. More information below.
B. For Malaysian drivers without car ownership: (11 Documents)
1. All documents above
2. A copy of Authorization Letter from the car owner or company if company car (backup an extra copy)
3. A photocopy of the owner’s passport/identification card or company’s Form 24 & 49 (backup an extra copy)
A sample of an Authorization Letter as below:
To make the transitions clearer and smoother, let’s look at the pictorial guide to enter Thailand as below:
STEP 1: Get all your documents in proper. I would recommend that you engage the expertise of an agent, at a minimal cost, to avoid all the confusions in filling up the form. One ideal place would be Chuan Bee Kedai Kopi & Insuran (GPS: 6.427042, 100.428644), Tel: +604-924 1368 (6.00am-7.00pm) in Changlun, Kedah, as it’s less crowded. While the agent prepares all the necessary document, you could get some breakfast, ease yourself or even exchange some Thai Baht at a competitive rate (compared to other states in Malaysia or Thailand), A 9-days 3rd Party CMI will cost you RM15 (please do inform the agent if you were to stay more than a week but within the 30-days period to travel into Thailand without visa), while the processing fees for your TM2, TM3 and TM6 forms will cost you another RM10 or more, depending on the number of passengers you are chauffeuring.
Alternative: Since the opening of the above shop could be quite unpredictable nowadays as it could be opened as late as 7.00am or later, you could still visit the one next door which is the Head Office for the shop on Penang island, which would open as early as 5.30am.
Nudee Enterprise Sdn. Bhd @ Kedai Makanan Pertama Bak Kut Teh, 23 Pekan Lama, 06010 Changlun, Kedah Darulaman. Tel: +604-924 1180/+6012 789 1445, Business Hours: 5.30am-7.00pm (GPS: 6.426934, 100.428558)
UPDATED January 2019: For Penangites, you are lucky as another agent opposite to the one mentioned above had set up a branch in Penang with the service for your Thai insurance purchase, documents filling as well as money exchange, at the same cost as their Head Office in Changlun. You can now pre-buy your necessary documents based on your confirmed traveling dates.
Nudee Enterprise Sdn. Bhd @ Wisma Khoo Kah Chin (before SO Hotel), 88 Jalan Siam, 10400 Penang. Tel: +604 210 1167/+6012-428 1622/+6018 614 3789 (Ms. Lee), Business Hours: 9.00am-6.00pm (Closed on Sundays and alternate Saturdays) (GPS: 5.415206, 100.320658). It’s advisable to get your documents done on weekdays.
It’s also advisable to fill up your petrol tank full at Stesen Minyak Petronas Changlun (GPS: 6.423617, 100.428028) BEFORE visiting the agent as petrol could be rather costly in Thailand. It’s only 400m or a minute’s drive away.
STEP 2: Do note that before exiting Malaysia, you might get stopped by some Malaysian border patrol personnel. Smiles always work wonders. Drive up to the Malaysian Immigration Clearance Drive-Thru at the Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Security Complex (CIQS). Wind down your car window and pass all the passports to the officer in charge. It won’t do any harm to greet them to brighten up their day~ 🙂
STEP 3: While driving into Thailand, you might get stopped by more border patrol personnel (police/army) before you could reach the next drive-thru counter (Thailand). Please slow down and adhere to the law by answering with a smile.
After seeing the “Welcome to Thailand” sign, keep to your left and follow the arrow for cars towards Thailand’s Vehicle and Passenger Checkpoint. Follow the queue and wait for your turn to go to the drive-thru counter. All passengers MUST get down from the car for a face and fingers scan.
Things to take note:
1. Make sure all the TM6 (Arrival/Departure Form) are slotted into each individual passport. The Departure Form will be returned once your passport is stamped. Do not lose this piece of form or you won’t be able to leave the country.
2. Pass the two sets of TM2 and TM3 forms (inbound & outbound) to the officer. A copy (outbound) will be stamped and returned to you. You would need this piece to exit Thailand.
3. You would need to get ready some amount of Thai Baht as a token fee for their “overtime”. Please take note of the Thailand Time. It’s from 5.00am-8.30am, 12.00pm-1.00pm, 4.30pm-11.00pm plus full-day fee for weekends and holidays. Basically, you just prepare the “tips” without questioning more. Chargeable overtime amount is Car/MPV THB25 and THB5 per passenger or Motorbike/Superbike THB10 and THB3 per passenger.
UPDATED 1 August 2019: Effective 1 July 2019, Thailand Immigration would require a full set of biometric data which would also include the scanning of your fingers. All individuals are required to provide their fingerprints in 3 simple steps as per order, namely Right Hand (4 fingers), Left Hand (4 fingers) and Both Thumbs. The processes are quite straightforward. All you need to do is to pay attention to the lited lights on the machine.
STEP 4: After stamping your passport at the Thai Immigration Drive-Thru, find a parking space and walk up to the “Customs Declaration Form” building/Sadao Customs House (Temporary Importation of Motor Vehicles)
1. Present your VOC, Road Tax Printout and Passport (plus the Authorization Letter and photocopy of owner’s Passport/IC, if the car is not registered under your name) at the first counter
2. Sign at two places and pass back to the last counter
3. Collect the stamped copy (to be returned at Counter 8 upon departure) – Please take serious note that if you failed to return the Simplified Customs Declaration Form within 30 days, you will be slapped with a fine of 1,000 Baht per day and up to a maximum of 10,000 Baht. There’s no law to state that you could not exit via other borders. Just make sure that you return the form there within 30 days from the date of your arrival.
Welcome to Thailand~ 🙂
You are free to travel to any part of Thailand now. From the Thai Immigration, it will take you just a few minutes to reach Dannok upon exiting, approximately 1 hour to reach Hatyai City, 2 hours to reach Satun, 2 hours to reach Songkhla City, 3 hours to reach Patthalung, 3 hours to reach Nakhon Si Tammarat, 5 hours to reach Krabi, 7 hours to reach Phuket, 13 hours to reach Bangkok, 15 hours to reach Pattaya City and more.
1. Always adhere to the local traffic laws. Occasionally, there may be inspection spots by Thai border patrol personnel (police/army). When driving in Thailand, do keep your documents (passport, driving license, CMI, Grant/VOC & Customs Declaration Form) conveniently accessible at all time. Speed limit signs in Thailand could be rather rare compared to Malaysia. As most roads are narrow and bumpy with occasional holes, stay safe by driving at a safe speed limit of 50km/h. Do take note on the speed limit changes as it would be shown most of the time on your Waze application.
2. You will need a mobile data plan for your traveling needs such as using Waze or Google Maps. For me, AIS is very stable compared to the next two top telcos, DTAC and TrueMove H. AIS, DTAC and TrueMove H is almost similar to Maxis, Celcom and Digi in Malaysia. You may consider using the roaming service from your telco but getting a Thai Tourist SIM Card would be more practical as they are cheaper and faster than in Malaysia. You could buy a Thai Tourist SIM Card at most of the petrol kiosks, rest areas, insurance agents in Changlun, Kedah or you could just grab one at any 7-11 shop in Sadao, Thailand. The nearest 7-Eleven is just 2-3 minutes’ drive away upon leaving the Thai Immigration or you could visit the bigger one in front of the MBI Resort. As for me, I’ve my own fixed AIS prepaid SIM Card as I travel into Thailand quite often and it’s much cheaper in a long run. Just choose your number (About THB60) at major AIS centers, eg. Central Festival Hatyai or Lee Gardens Hatyai, and top up via the machine with THB20 x 12 times and your SIM Card is valid up to a maximum of a year.
3. As for Thai insurance, all agents will only sell 3rd party CMI to foreign registered cars, meaning you’re protected against claims from other people, vehicles and property in the event of an accident that was deemed to be your fault. Damages to your own car or any injuries you or your passengers suffer WILL NOT be covered. Thus, it’s advisable to get in touch with your Malaysian insurance company to extend your Comprehensive Insurance Policy (CIP) to include the “Extension of Cover to the Kingdom of Thailand”. In addition, Personal Travel Insurance is not something that most people will add on to safeguard themselves or their passengers as most people had already bought their own insurance policy. If any of your passengers are not insured, it’s advisable to get a plan. Chubb Travel Insurance seemed to be the best so far as you could choose to be insured only within your traveling period.
That’s all you need to know for the time being. Enjoy your stay in Thailand~ 🙂
To depart from Thailand, here are the steps:
STEP 1: Before driving up to Thailand’s Vehicle and Passenger Checkpoint, please make sure that all passports have the TM6 Departure Form slotted in. Get ready the TM2 and TM3 (outbound) ready too to surrender to the Thai Immigration Officer. Follow the queue and wait for your turn to go to the drive-thru counter. All passengers MUST get down from the car for a face scan and to stamp their passports as before. As before, you would need to get ready some amount of Thai Baht as a token fee for their “overtime”. Overtime fees are applicable from 5.00am-8.30am, 12.00pm-1.00pm, 4.30pm-11.00pm plus full day fee for weekends and holidays. As before, you just prepare the “tips” without questioning more. Chargeable overtime amount is Car/MPV THB25 and THB5 per passenger or Motorbike/Superbike THB10 and THB3 per passenger.
STEP 2: After you have checked that all the passports are properly stamped, drive on to the next counter (Counter 8) to return your Simplified Customs Declaration Form (SCDF). Only the driver would need to get down to return the form as well as to write down the car’s Plate Registration Number and sign off on a book provided.
STEP 3: Drive up to the Malaysian Immigration Clearance Drive-Thru at the Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Security Complex (CIQS). Wind down your car window and pass all the passports to the officer in charge.
STEP 4: After scanning your passports, drive further up to the next counter. Please make sure that you switch off your engine. Only the driver will get down from the car to show the Customs Officer(s) your purchases in Thailand. Do remember that a smile and some greetings won’t do any harm. Normally, you won’t be charged any tax for food items and some smaller items. Just don’t buy so much that it looked like you’re relocating to a new house. Most of the time, the officers would be looking for alcohol, cigarettes, stainless steel products and rice grains (allowable up to a maximum of 1kg per person).
Technically, you might want to know the Customs Import Regulations as below:
– 200 cigarettes or 225 grams of tobacco (more than 72 hours out of Malaysia)
– Maximum 1 liter of wine, spirits or malt liquor (more than 72 hours out of Malaysia)
– Maximum 3 pieces of new wearing apparel
– One pair of new footwear
– One unit of each portable electrical/battery-operated appliance for personal care and hygiene
– A maximum RM75 worth of dutiable food preparations
– Miscellaneous: Gifts and souvenirs up to a total value of maximum RM400 (except goods from Langkawi and Labuan, up to a total value of maximum RM500)
Note: The trafficking of illegal drugs is a serious offense in Malaysia and the penalty will be a death sentence.
Once you have cleared at the Malaysian Customs, you are free to go.
Welcome back to Malaysia~ 🙂