Import Customs procedures in South Korea

Customs clearance process required in South Korea


The information provided here details on how to import goods to South Korea especially import customs clearance procedures in South Korea.

The Korean Customs Service’s (KCS) is the official customs department of South Korea which works under the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.

As we have discussed in other post, import of goods to South Korea requires three categories of procedures wherever required.  One-time registration procedures to act as an Importer in South Korea, Specific import licence to import goods to South Korea if applicable, and certain certification from concerned government agencies of South Korea related to each import wherever applicable.

Now let us discuss about the process of import customs clearance procedures in South Korea.

Once after arrival of import cargo at sea port or airport of South Korea, such goods are unloaded by carrier at South Korea customs bonded area.   Necessary customs import process has to be completed to take delivery out of customs area of South Korea. 


There are mainly three categories of permissions required to take import clearance cargo delivery from South Korea customs bonded area.  They are Permission from South Korea Customs authorities, Permission from Carrier of goods, permission from custodian of cargo handling at particular import customs port in South Korea.


How to get permission from South Korea customs to take import delivery of cargo arrived in South Korea?


It is possible that you (importer) or your customs broker can record the vital reports for Import customs clearance strategies in South Korea import clearance procedures. The transporter of imported merchandise in South Korea records IGMS (Import General Manifest) with South Korea destination port customs specialists. Before landing of your products, you can keep prepared of all relating documents required for import clearance. The major documents required to import customs clear in South Korea are Bill of Lading or Airway bill, commercial invoice, packing list, Cargo Arrival Notice, Freight certificate, purchase order or LC and other specific documents for your goods.

Importers can make an import declaration online using the Korean Customs Service’s (KCS) Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system for paperless import clearance.

You need to track the import shipment of arrival in South Korea port properly as you need to customs clear the cargo as early as possible on arrival of shipment. Otherwise, you may be imposed demurrage by South Korea import handling authorities. Normally, a limited number of days of one, two or three are allowed by import handling authorities as free of cost time duration to take import delivery. You can complete South Korea customs formalities within this time normally, subjected to produce of all required documents with customs.   If you are unable to customs clear the imported shipment in South Korea port within the prescribed free days on arrival, you may have to pay storage charges to custodian of cargo at such South Korea port of arrival of imported cargo.  Apart from storage charges by handling custodian of imported goods, you may have to pay charges to customs authorities of South Korea also if applicable.


 The South Korea customs entry filing is being done either by a customs broker or consignee against import shipment to be cleared out of South Korea Customs.  The import entry information is filed based on the requirements of South Korea customs updating time to time.


Once the cargo arrives in South Korea port, carrier of goods files Import General Manifest (IGM) with South Korea customs department. IGM is the details of import of goods to be filed with customs mandatory, by all carriers once goods arrived. Normally, each aircraft or vessel has one IGM number and each of consignments carries ‘line numbers’. So, each shipment carries a ‘line number’ and the total load of the said vessel or aircraft has an IGM number. Here, you will have one IGM number (common for one lot of goods arrived) and a ‘liner number’ for your particular shipment.


You have to enter IGM number in the predefined column of import entry form electronically as determined by South Korea Customs authorities. This number will be automatically connected with your document while filing transferring the import bill of entry details with South Korea customs web software. The Bill of Entry number is generated at one place for everywhere throughout the ports of South Korea according to software queue consequently. In the event that your products are under green channel clearance, you can directly take conveyance of cargo with simple methods at South Korea port. Certain class of imported merchandise can be customs cleared uninhibitedly from South Korea customs authorities.. 


The inspection if required is carried out under the supervision of necessary South Korea customs officials and enters examination report in the system for the imported shipments wherever applicable.   Necessary other import customs clearance is completed with South Korea customs authorities.  Final permission to move import cargo out of South Korea customs bonded area is allowed, once South Korea customs satisfies with their rules and regulations.


How does carrier of goods release import cargo arrived in South Korea?


Once after arrival of goods in South Korea Customs port, delivery order has to be obtained from carrier of goods at import customs location of South Korea.  This is applicable for both Sea import clearance and air import clearance.  The import Delivery Order is nothing but a permission from Carrier of goods to take delivery of import cargo in South Korea.  The carrier checks whether any due amount payable to them under the said import shipment arrived in South Korea.  If freight payable at destination, necessary air freight is collected from consignee before releasing Delivery Order.  If freight already paid at load port, Delivery order is issued by carrier at destination port of South Korea by collecting nominal destination service charges. 


When does custodian of cargo release import cargo to consignee in South Korea?


Custodian of cargo keeps custody of cargo at import customs location in South Korea.  The custodian of cargo could be a government authority or private party who follows the norms of South Korea government related to imports.  The custodian of imported cargo is responsible to safeguard the imported cargo arrived in South Korea destination customs location by handling properly. 


Once after completion of import customs clearance procedures at destination port in South Korea and collected Delivery Order from carrier of imported goods, the custodian releases imported shipment to consignee after collecting their charges if any. 


The information provided here details on how to import goods to South Korea especially import customs clearance procedures in South Korea. 

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