Customs declaration procedures for imported and exported goods

Customs procedures are a very important part of the goods import process. So what are customs procedures? What are the steps of the import customs procedure? Let’s find out with SSR Logistics through the article below!

What is the customs declaration procedure?

Customs procedures are all the mandatory regulations and steps that imported goods must comply with before being transported into the territory of a country. This is a mandatory step to ensure imported goods are tightly controlled and comply with the policies and laws of the destination country.

In Vietnam, import customs procedures include customs documents – detailing information about the imported goods; submitting documents to the customs agency at the port of import; checking the actual quantity and types of goods match the initial declaration; stating the value of goods according to the purchase contract; calculating import tax if any; paying incurred taxes and fees; carrying out goods clearance procedures.

customs-declarationWhat is the customs declaration?

When correctly following procedures, the business will receive notice from the customs agency to receive the goods. At this point, the goods are considered to have completed official clearance procedures. Without undergoing customs procedures, the goods are considered smuggled goods and may be strictly penalized according to law.

Thus, customs procedures are an important step to ensure imported goods are tightly controlled and monitored, protecting the rights of businesses as well as enabling good management of the country’s import and export activities.

The purpose of implementing customs declaration procedures

Customs procedures are an indispensable part for every country and territory in the world, including Vietnam. Carrying out customs procedures and clearing goods plays an important role with the following two purposes:

The primary purpose is to provide a legal basis for the state to impose and manage the collection of taxes on imported goods. This is the most important goal of customs procedures as it helps ensure market stability.

The second purpose is that customs procedures help ensure security, control goods, and prevent prohibited imports and exports. This prevents illegally trafficking items like guns, stimulants or wildlife.

Thus, customs procedures play an important role for all countries.

Subjects for customs declaration 

According to Vietnamese law, the following subjects have the obligation to carry out customs procedures: 

  • Companies providing customs clearance services to help import and export customers. They act on behalf of customers to complete the necessary procedures with customs. 
  • International express delivery companies also have the responsibility to process and make customs declarations for imported and exported packages. Unless the cargo owner has other requests. 
  • Importers/exporters of goods are the main subjects responsible for carrying out procedures, or hiring an agent to carry out procedures on their behalf. 
  • Persons in charge of means of transport have the responsibility to declare goods they transport or authorize an agent to carry out procedures. 
  • People authorized to declare customs on behalf of types of goods that are gifts, personal gifts, passengers’ checked/carry-on baggage. 

Organizations and individuals providing transit services for goods. 

Procedures for implementing customs declaration 

The customs declaration procedures include 9 steps as follows: 

Step 1: Identify imported goods 

Firstly, you need to clearly identify the type of goods intended for import, check if they belong to prohibited goods, restricted goods or special goods requiring permits. This helps select appropriate procedures for each type of goods. Specific types of goods are: 

  • Ordinary commercial goods: These batches of goods are eligible for import and easy customs clearance. 
  • Prohibited goods: If the goods you intend to import are included in the list of prohibited goods, you should avoid importing these goods to mitigate legal risks. Please refer to Decree 187/2013 / ND-CP for more details. 
  • Types of goods requiring special permission: According to Decree 187/2013 / ND-CP, clear specifications on types of goods requiring import permits. You need to complete procedures before the goods arrive at the port. Failure to complete beforehand will incur additional warehouse costs while waiting for permits. 
  • Types of goods requiring conformity certification: Similar to the aforementioned special goods, before the goods arrive at the port, you need to carry out conformity certification procedures. The procedures for conformity certification have been specified in Circular 28/2012 / TT-BKHCN. 
  • Types of goods requiring specialized inspection: The authorities will take samples of the goods for inspection when the goods have been brought to the port. Once the test results are available, you can proceed with the remaining customs procedures. 

Step 2: Sign an international trade contract 

In the customs procedure, the international sale contract is the contract showing the transaction between the two parties. This contract will be required in all sets of customs documents during the clearance of goods. The content of the contract will include the name of the goods, quantity, weight of goods, packaging, price of goods and more. 

Procedures for customs declaration of imported and exported goodsProcedures for implementing customs declaration for imported and exported goods 

Step 3: Prepare goods documents 

For an imported shipment, you need to prepare a set of documents including: 

  • Commercial Contract (Sale Contract). 
  • Bill of lading. 
  • Commercial Invoice. 
  • Packing List. 
  • Certificate of Origin (C/O). 
  • Other related documents. 

Step 4: Register for specialized inspection 

Registering for specialized inspection is mandatory if your shipment is on the list of goods that requires inspection. After receiving the Arrival Notice, you need to register for specialized inspection. Typically, you will receive this document from the carriers about 2 days before the vessel arrives at the port. 

Step 5: Declare and transmit customs declaration 

After receiving the Arrival Notice, you need to make the customs declaration. The condition for you to declare and transmit the customs declaration is that you need to have a digital signature and register this signature with the Vietnam Customs General Department. Nowadays, customs declaration procedures have been simplified and can be done directly on the VNACCS system of the General Department of Customs. You need to fully fill out the declared information fields. If you have no experience, you should hire full-service customs brokers to assist you in avoiding mistakes. When the declaration form is completed and transmitted, the system will automatically assign a number if the information is correct and complete. Please double check to ensure there are no errors, especially important codes. Finally, you need to wait for the results to return before moving on to the next step. 

Step 6: Collect delivery order 

The Delivery Order is a document issued by shipping companies or shipping lines. To get a delivery order, you need to prepare the shipper with a full set of documents as follows: 

  • Copy of ID card 
  • Copy of Bill of Lading 
  • Original Bill of Lading stamped and signed by the company 
  • Fees 

Note that if the goods are in full container load, you need to double check the free storage period for containers. You will have to pay an extension fee if the free storage period has expired. 

Step 7: Prepare customs documents 

After the declaration has been transmitted, the system will categorize the goods based on the contents of the declaration. There are 3 main channels you need to remember: green, yellow and red. Depending on each channel, you will have different processing procedures. 

For green channel goods, you just need to print out the declaration and pay taxes. 

For yellow channel goods, the customs authority will inspect paperwork for the shipment. You should pay extra attention in this step to avoid mistakes that could prevent clearance of the goods. 

If the goods are classified as red channel, you will be forced to undergo customs inspection. The verification process will be extremely strict, which will cost you a lot of time and incurred costs. 

Step 8: Pay taxes and complete customs procedures 

After the customs declaration has been approved, you will need to pay taxes for your shipment. For imported shipments, you need to pay 2 types of taxes: 

  • Import tax 
  • VAT (Value Added Tax) 

In addition, for certain types of goods, you will also have to pay other types of taxes such as environmental tax, special consumption tax, etc. 

Step 9: Complete procedures to change order and transfer goods to storage warehouse 

This is the final step you need to perform after completing tax payment and the aforementioned procedures. In this step, you need to prepare 2 issues in advance: 

  • Arrange transportation to transfer goods 
  • Rent warehouse for goods storage 

Note that the delivery order must still be valid, otherwise you have to contact the shipping lines for renewal. Then go to the port trade office to provide documents such as D/O, shipper’s letter of introduction, barcode… The staff will issue an invoice for you and you pay the necessary fees. 

You just need to pay the fee and receive the ER (receipt) slip. Then proceed to load the goods onto the means of transport.

The above is the information that SSR Logistics wants to send to you to help you understand the procedures for declaring imported and exported goods customs. See more articles in our Logistics Knowledge section. 

If you are having difficulties in the customs declaration process, please contact SSR Logistics immediately for free consultation on customs procedures. With a team of experienced experts and comprehensive solutions, SSR Logistics will help streamline your import and export activities and achieve maximum efficiency. 

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