Import Customs procedures in Importing country

Customs process in Importing country, step by step


The information provided here details on how to import goods to Importing country.

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

Now let us discuss about the process of import customs clearance procedures in Importing country.

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


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


How to get permission from Importing country’s customs to take import delivery of cargo arrived?


Either you (importer) or your customs broker can file the necessary documents for Import customs clearance procedures in importing country.  The carrier of imported goods in importing country files IGMS (Import General Manifest) with importing country’s destination port customs authorities.   Before arrival of your goods, you can keep ready of all pertaining documents required for import clearance. The major documents required to import customs clear in importing country 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.

You need to track the import shipment of arrival in importing country 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 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 Importing country’s 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 Importing country’s port within the prescribed free days on arrival, you may have to pay storage charges to custodian of cargo at such Chinese 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 Importing country also if applicable.


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


Once the cargo arrives in Importing country’s port, carrier of goods files Import General Manifest (IGM) with  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 need to enter IGM number in the specified column of import entry form electronically as specified by Customs authorities. This number will be automatically linked with your document while filing uploading the import bill of entry details with customs web software. The Bill of Entry number is generated at one place for all over the ports of country as per software queue automatically. If your goods are under green channel clearance, you can directly take delivery of cargo with simple procedures at country port.  Certain category of imported goods can be customs cleared freely from customs authorities. 


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


How does carrier of goods release import cargo arrived in Importing country?


Once after arrival of goods in Importing country Customs port, delivery order has to be obtained from carrier of goods at import customs location of Importing country.  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.  The carrier checks whether any due amount payable to them under the said import shipment arrived.  If freight payable at destination, necessary air freight/ sea freight is collected from consignee before releasing Delivery Order by carrier.  If freight already paid at load port, Delivery order is issued by carrier at destination port of Importing country by collecting nominal destination service charges. 



When does custodian of cargo release import cargo to consignee in Importing country?


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


Once after completion of import customs clearance procedures at destination port in Importing country and collected Delivery Order from carrier of imported goods, the custodian releases imported shipment to consignee after collecting their charges if any.  The necessary proof for completion of import customs clearance procedures and delivery order permission from carrier has to be submitted with custodian of cargo to release import cargo to consignee.


The information provided here details on how to import goods to Importing country especially import customs clearance procedures in the Importing country.




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Ahmad: I have Pomegranate products of Iran to send from United Arab Emirates which documents are required. You are early reply will be highly appreciated. Thanks

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