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Import Procedure

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
Import Procedure

Question: What are the basic requirements to import goods?

Any body intending to import goods for commercial purpose has to submit an application to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade and obtain Importer and Exporter Code (IEC) number.  In the case of 100% EOUs / EPZs the importer and Exporter Code (IEC) numbers are allocated by the Development Commissioner of Export Processing Zone concerned.  This number has to be indicated in the documents filed with the Customs for clearance of the imported goods.  This number is not required in the case of import of gifts and baggage

Every goods imported shall be in conformity with Section 11 of the Customs Act 1962, ForeignTrade (Development & Regulation) Act 1992 read with the EXIM policy in force. Those goods which are not falling within the parameter of EXIM Policy are normally confiscated or allowed to redeemed on payment of fine / penalty.   



Question: What is Import General Manifest (IGM)?

Import General Manifest (IGM) is a document to be filed in prescribed form with the Customs by the carriers of the goods i.e., the Steamer Agent or Airlines in terms of Section 30 of the Customs Act 1962.  This document indicates the details of all the goods to be unloaded at the Port from a vessel (ship) or Aircraft.  Particulars of goods to be transshipped, private property of the crew and Arms and Ammunition, Gold and silver should also be declared separately irrespective of whether for landing, for transshipment or for being carried as same bottom cargo.  The IGM has to be filed within 24 hours after arrival of the Ship /Aircraft. However, in the case of vessel (ship) the Manifest may be delivered even before the arrival of the vessel. This is known as ‘Prior Entry Import General Manifest’.  This system enables the importers to file Bills of entry and get them assessed and pay duty so that the goods can be taken delivery soon after the unloading. 


Question: When should the Bill of Entry be filed?

Bill of entry can normally be filed to clear the goods after the Import General Manifest (IGM) is presented to the Customs Officers by the Steamer Agents / Airlines, as the case may be.  In exceptional cases the customs authorities may note the Bill of entry before the Manifest is filed. In addition to the goods entered in the vessels manifest Bills of Entry are also required for the clearance of :

(a) Ship’s Stores, if in considerable quantities

(b) Ship’s ballast such as stone, sand shingla etc.

(c) Salvaged goods

(d) “Sweepings” of Import Cargo. 

No Bill of Entry is however required in the following cases :

(i) Passengers Baggage

(ii) Favour Parcels

(iii) Mail Bags and Post Parcels

(iv) Boxes, Kennels of Cages containing live animals or birds

(v) Un-serviceable stores, e.g. Dunnage wood, Empty bottles, drums etc. of reasonable value.

(vi) Ship’s stores in small quantities for personal use.

(vii)  Cargo by sailing vessels from Customs Ports when landed at open bunders only.   


Question: Can the importers/Exporters themselves clear their goods or is it necessary to appoint any agent?

The importers/exporters themselves can clear the goods by filing necessary document after taking permission from the Asst. Commissioner/Deputy Commissioner in charge of Import section.  The agent, if appointed, should be a holder of a valid license issued by the Commissioner of Customs.  Such agents are known as Customs House Agents. 

Question: What the different kinds of Bills of Entry?

There are generally three kinds of Bills of Entry.

(i) Home consumption Bill of entry: This has to be filed when the importer wants to clear the goods on payment of duty and remove them to his premises immediately. (Section 46 of the Custom Act 1962).

(ii) Into bond Bill of entry:  It is also known as Warehousing Bill of Entry.  This has to be filed when the importer does not want to pay duty immediately but prefers to keep the goods in a warehouse and pay the duty subsequently and clear the goods for home consumption. (Section 46 and 60 of Custom Act 1962).

(iii) Ex-bond Bill of entry:  This has to be filed when the importer wants to clear the warehoused goods for home consumption on payment of duty (Section 68 of Customs Act 1962).   


Question: What are the documents to be filed to clear the imported goods for home consumption?

The main documents to be filed are the home consumption Bill of Entry in the prescribed form after filling up various columns are as under:

1) Supplier’s invoice.

2) Import Authorisation, if applicable

3) Bill of lading (original and non-negotiable).

4) Packing list (2 copies).

5) If invoice is for FOB, freight charges and insurance premium amount certificate should be attached.

6) Catalogue/write/up/drawing for machinery items.

7) If second hand machinery is being imported then Chartered Engineers certificate is necessary as per the Import Export Policy

8) If steel is being imported then analysis certificate from manufacturers.

9) In the case of chemicals & allied products like synthetic resin wax, literature showing chemical composition.

Apart from the above the importers are also required to file declaration in the prescribed form by the importers regarding correctness of the contents and the value of the goods,the Assessing officer may call for any other documents/information if found necessary, to determine the correct value and correct rate of duty (Section 46 and 17 of the Customs Act,. 1962). For Chapter wise Details of documents to be filed please see under Customs Procedures for Clearance of Imported goods

Question: What are ‘Project Imports’? What are the advantages of importing under Project Import Regulations?

Project Imports are the imports of machinery, instruments, and apparatus etc., required for initial sating up of a unit or for substantial expansion of an existing Unit.

Some of the advantages of importing the goods under Project Import Regulations are that all the machinery, appliances, instruments etc., imported are charges to duty at a flat rate of duty under the same tariff heading.

Project Imports assessment is a scheme of assessment which is designed to help expeditious and easy assessment of variety of industrial goods falling under different chapters of the Customs Tariff,.  The importer to arrive at the cost structure etc can easily work out estimation of import duty payable.



Question: What is Provisional Assessment? What are the circumstances under which provisional `assessments are resorted to? What is the authority to make such assessment?

When an importer or exporter is unable to produce any documents or furnish any information necessary for assessment of duty on the imported or export goods, he may request for provisional assessment of the goods pending production of such documents, furnishing such information.

Where the importer or the exporter has produced all the documents and furnished full information but the proper officer of customs may deem it necessary to make further enquiry for assessing the duty, he may resort to provisional assessment, pending such enquiry. (Section 18 of The Customs Act 1962 authorizes provisional assessment).

For making provisional assessment the importer or exporter is required to execute a bond for the differential amount of duty between the duty provisionally assessed and the duty most likely to be assessed at final assessment stage.  The importer or exporter is also required to deposit with the customs a sum not exceeding twenty percent of the provisional duty as determined by the proper officer of customs.  On execution of bond and depositing the sum, goods may be released.

On receipt of all the necessary documents/ information or on completion of enquiry, the proper officer of customs finalizes assessment. If the duty finally assessed is more than the provisional duty collected, the difference is payable by the importer/exporter. If the duty provisionally collected is more than the duty finally assessed the difference is refundable to the importer/ exporter.




Question: What are the relevant provisions in the Customs Tariff? What are the conditions to be fulfilled to avail of the benefits?

Only contracts, which are registered with the Custom house of import, will be eligible for assessment under Heading No. 98.01.   This registration must have been obtained before an order of clearance for home consumption is passed by the proper officer of Customs Apart from the machinery, spares up to 10 percent of the value of machinery, are also eligible for the benefit of the Project Import Regulations, 1986

The benefit is available only to such of the goods forming apart of the plant.  The goods imported for manufacture of the finished product (end product) of the plant are not eligible for the benefit of Project Import Regulation 1986. 

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