Procedures for importing frozen seafood into Vietnam

Frozen seafood is becoming a popular choice in the Vietnamese consumer market. Supermarkets, restaurants, and food stalls all actively welcome a diverse range of imported seafood products such as salmon, shrimp, tuna, squid, etc. In household menus, frozen seafood is also becoming increasingly popular. 

The increasing demand for imported frozen seafood creates great opportunities for businesses operating in the Vietnamese market. However, the process of importing these products into Vietnam is quite complex. If you are interested in this field, please follow our article below. SSR Logistics would like to share information about the latest procedures for importing frozen seafood so that you can gain more knowledge. 

HS codes and import duties for frozen seafood

HS codes for importing frozen seafood 

The HS Code system, also known as the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS), is used for classifying goods. Frozen seafood, such as salmon, shrimp, and tuna, are classified under Chapter 03: Fish and crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic invertebrates in this system. 

  • Group 0303 – Fish, frozen, excluding fish fillets and other fish meat of heading 03.04. 
  • Group 0304 – Fish fillets and other fish meat (whether or not minced), fresh, chilled, or frozen. 
  • Group 0306 – Crustaceans, whether in shell or not, live, fresh, chilled, frozen, etc. 
  • Group 0307 – Molluscs, whether in shell or not, live, fresh, chilled, frozen, etc. 
  • Group 0308 – Aquatic invertebrates other than crustaceans and mollusks, live, fresh, chilled, frozen, etc. 

ma-hs-code--quy-trinh-nhap-khau-thuy-san-dong-lanh-moi-nhatHS Codes for frozen seafood 

Consequences of incorrect HS code 

If the wrong HS code is declared, issues may arise such as: 

  • Customs clearance delays for verification of correct product information 
  • Penalties for incorrect HS code declaration under Decree 128/2020/ND-CP 
  • Delayed delivery 
  • If import duties apply, fines of at least 2,000,000 VND up to 3 times the duty amount 

Import Duties for Frozen Seafood 

The import duty rates for frozen seafood are determined based on the HS codes of the products. The import duty calculation formula is: 

Import Duty = CIF Value x Goods Duty Rate  

The import VAT is calculated as: 

Import VAT = (CIF Value + Import Duty) x VAT% 

Based on the Import-Export Tariff Schedule, import duties for frozen seafood are as follows: 

  • Preferential import duty rates: 0% – 27% 
  • Import VAT: 5% – 8% 
  • For ASEAN countries, with a Form D Certificate of Origin (C/O), products enjoy a special 0% preferential duty rate. 
  • For imports from China, with a Form E Certificate of Origin (C/O), products also enjoy a special 0% preferential duty rate. 

Relevant Legal Documents for Importing Frozen Seafood 

For businesses wanting to import frozen seafood into Vietnam, compliance with policies and regulations is very important. The following is a list of legal documents to note: 

  • Circular 14/2015/TT-BTC dated 30/01/2015: Regulations on plant quarantine and food safety for imported seafood. 
  • Circular 25/2016/TT-BNNPTNT dated 30/06/2016: Related to food safety inspection procedures for seafood. 
  • Circular 24/2017/TT-BNNPTNT dated 15/11/2017: Guidance on plant quarantine and food safety for seafood. 
  • Circular 103/2015/TT-BTC dated 1/7/2015: Customs procedures and customs valuation of imported goods. 
  • Circular 38/2015/TT-BTC dated 25/3/2015 and amended 39/2018/TT-BTC dated 20/04/2018: Adjustments to export-import duty exemptions and reductions. 
  • Decree 69/2018/ND-CP dated 15/05/2018: Regarding food safety in the import process. 
  • Decree 43/2017/ND-CP dated 14/04/2017: On goods labeling, applicable to seafood. 
  • Decree 128/2020/ND-CP dated 19/10/2020: Related to traceability management of seafood. 

Based on these documents, frozen seafood is not on the prohibited import list, but exports must come from approved sources and undergo a Veterinary Certificate before being imported into Vietnam. These regulations aim to ensure food hygiene safety, traceability, and quality management of imported frozen seafood. 

Import Dossier for Frozen Seafood 

Based on Circular 38/2015/TT-BTC dated 25/3/2015, along with amendments from Circular 39/2018/TT-BTC dated 20/04/2018, the process of importing frozen seafood requires businesses to carefully prepare documents. The necessary dossier includes: 

  • Customs declaration 
  • Commercial contract 
  • Packing list 
  • Commercial invoice 
  • Certificate of origin (C/O) (if any) 
  • Bill of lading 
  • Import permit 
  • Veterinary Certificate registration dossier and results 
  • Health certificate 
  • Other documents (if any) 

Note: The health certificate is a mandatory document for Veterinary Certificate registration to ensure imported seafood meets food safety and hygiene standards. 

Import Procedures for Frozen Seafood 

Businesses need to find frozen seafood suppliers from the 24 approved countries allowed to export frozen food to Vietnam. The two parties negotiate and sign a contract, then prepare the necessary documents to import the shipment to Vietnam. The frozen seafood import procedure includes the following steps: 

Step 1: Obtain a frozen seafood import permit from the Department of Animal Health 

After preparing all required documents, the business submits the dossier on the national single window system Approval and issuance of the permit takes 3-5 working days. 

The frozen seafood import permit is valid for 3 months from the date of issuance. 

The dossier includes: 

  • Application for permit 
  • Copy of commercial contract between parties 
  • Copy of business registration certificate/investment certificate (for foreign-invested enterprises) 
  • ID card or passport copy for individuals (submit for first-time exporters only) 
  • Import quarantine document 

Step 2: Submit customs declaration 

The business declares the customs declaration on the e-customs information portal. The declared information should be based on the prepared import dossier and await the result of the clearance channel assignment. 

Step 3: Register for a Veterinary Certificate and open customs declaration 

After obtaining the customs declaration, the business can register for the Veterinary Certificate of the frozen seafood either online via the national single window system or directly at the Animal Husbandry Department. Processing time can take 5-7 days. 

Once the quarantine registration is confirmed by the competent quarantine authority, the import customs declaration can be opened. Depending on the declaration channel assigned, processing will differ: 

  • Green channel: Goods will be cleared on the same day. However, frozen seafood requiring a Veterinary Certificate will not fall into this channel. 
  • Yellow channel: Customs officers will review the dossier details but not physically inspect the goods. 
  • Red channel: Customs officers will inspect the dossier details and physically inspect the goods. 

Sampling for quarantine will be conducted in parallel with the frozen import customs procedures. The seafood quarantine process involves many steps and documents. After obtaining the quarantine results, the business will supplement the dossier to complete customs clearance. 

Procedures for Importing Frozen Seafood into Vietnam 

Step 4: Clear customs declaration and complete procedures 

At this stage, import duties must be paid to clear the customs declaration. Once cleared, the declaration can be finalized and the remaining procedures completed to transport the goods to the warehouse.  

Step 5: Receive goods and transport to warehouse 

After completing all import and clearance procedures, the business will receive the goods and transport them to the warehouse. Appropriate transportation must be arranged to ensure the shipment arrives safely and efficiently at its destination, ready for further distribution and sales. 

Important notes for importing frozen seafood 

  • In addition to obtaining an import permit from the Animal Husbandry Department, a permit from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is also required. 
  • Imported frozen seafood must undergo a Veterinary Certificate as regulated. 
  • Businesses need to request the exporter to provide a Health Certificate for the Veterinary Certificate dossier. 
  • Businesses must accurately determine information, especially the HS code, and prepare a complete dossier to avoid errors, penalties, and additional storage/demurrage costs. 
  • Frozen seafood must be properly labeled when imported into Vietnam. 
  • Businesses must fulfill tax obligations to the state when importing. 
  • While a Certificate of Origin is not mandatory, businesses should obtain it to enjoy preferential import duty rates. 

Frozen Seafood Import Procedures Service 

SSR Logistics is proud to be a leading provider in Vietnam offering comprehensive frozen seafood import procedures services. We help businesses import goods into Vietnam quickly, smoothly, and cost-effectively. 

Our services include: 

  • Consulting and guiding on procedures, and regulations related to importing frozen seafood. 
  • Representing businesses to submit dossiers and obtain import permits from the Animal Husbandry Department and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 
  • Registering for a Veterinary Certificate online or directly at the Animal Husbandry Department. 
  • Declaring customs information for import shipments on the e-customs system. 
  • Monitoring and handling customs clearance procedures, including document inspection, cargo inspection, and duty payment. 
  • Obtaining food safety and hygiene certificates. 
  • Sea freight transportation. 

We provide comprehensive import services specifically for frozen seafood shipments to ensure compliance with all regulations. As a leading provider, we aim to make the complex process smooth and efficient for importers. For more articles, please visit our Logistics Knowledge section.  

SSR looks forward to becoming your reliable logistics partner, providing optimal solutions for your importing and exporting business. Should you have any questions regarding our services, please feel free to contact us for specific advice.  

With our experienced team, extensive network, and flexible shipping & customs solutions, SSR Logistics is confident to deliver excellent services to our clients. 
Businesses that need customs and import-export consulting between Vietnam and Korea, please contact SSR Logistics via Hotline (+84) 911 988 484 or leave your information here for specific advice. 

With a modern warehouse system and experienced transportation staff, SSR Logistics provides a variety of additional services such as customs clearance, warehouse leasing, domestic transportation, international transportation by sea and air, and international express delivery

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