Customs Information

Laos - All


  • A foreigner may import used household goods and personal effects duty free if having diplomatic status or working for a registered for an non-governmental organization (NGO).
  • If the document 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.
  • Foreigners employed with private companies in Laos will have to pay duty on personal effects.
  • Foreigners not employed in Laos are prohibited from importing personal effects.
  • Returning Lao nationals who have lived abroad will have to pay duty on personal effects.
  • As sea shipments first enter Thailand before being transported in-bond to Laos, ensure that the OBL shows “In-transit to Vientiane, Laos via Bangkok, Thailand”.

Documents Required:

  • Copy of Passport
  • Work Visa
  • Letter of Employer
  • Employer’s investment license
  • Business license (applies only to non-Diplomats)
  • Original Bill of Lading (OBL) / Air Waybill (AWB)
  • Diplomatic ID card (Diplomats)


  • Only a diplomat may import a vehicle into Laos duty free. He or she must obtain a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs verifying his/her status and requesting that customs permit duty free import.
  • For all other foreigners, it is almost impossible to import a vehicle into Laos. The procedures for a non-diplomat to import a vehicle into Laos are time consuming and tedious. The duty assessed can be as high as 300% of the new purchase value of the vehicle.


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


  • The following items are subject to restriction and required permission from the Ministry of Information and Culture for import:
    • Weapons and ammunition
    • Receivers and transmitters through satellites, internet, broadcasting equipment, etc.
    • Images of Buddha and God made from copper, glass, wood, bone, ivory, stone, and other materials
    • Weapons
    • Firearms and ammunition
    • Cigarettes (500), cigars (100), tobacco (500 g)
    • Wine (2 bottles) and other types of alcohol (1 bottle)


  • Illegal drugs
  • Explosives
  • Chemicals and fertilizers
  • Plant and plant products
  • Pornographic materials
  • Anti-communist publications