Custom Clearance in UAE – Full Guidance

Customs clearance is a time taking process that grants permission from the government of certain countries to either move goods out of a country or bring goods into the country. The customs clearance authorities issue a permission document to the shippers for export or import from that country’s border. 

Customs clearance is a transparent procedure requiring submitting documents, permits, and some money as a customs fee. Like other countries, you must complete the UAE customs clearance procedure to import or export from its borders. In this blog, we’ll learn everything about customs clearance procedures in the UAE. 

Custom Clearance in UAE

What is Customs Clearance?

Customs clearance is moving goods that are thoroughly inspected by customs authorities. This lengthy process allows you to move cargo in or out of the country. The customs clearance process is done at airports, seaports, and borders. The customs clearance process ensures the illegal entrance of certain goods into any country. 

In customs clearance, import and export goods have special permits, also known as customs declarations. The document allows you to enter or leave the country with the authorities’ permission.

Time Requires For Customs Clearance:

Customs clearance is a lengthy and crucial procedure compulsory for your cargo shopping from Point A to Point B. Usually, this process takes 5-10 days to complete in UAE. After completing this procedure, shipments of shipments take place within 7 days after clearance. 

Who Is Responsible For Customs Clearance?

The person (declarant) is “responsible” for the import of goods in the UAE. He must ensure the goods are legitimate, correctly valued, and declared upon import – this includes customs debt, the accuracy of the information given in the declaration, the authenticity of the documents presented, and compliance with all obligations.

Documents Needed For Customs Clearance in UAE:

International trade in the UAE requires complete paperwork to meet the standards fixed by the origin and destination countries. In this paperwork, you’ll need to mention the detailed information of your shipment, business, and reason for the shipment.

It is important to note that your shipment’s documents must be carefully checked before submission. You’ll suffer from delayed shipment if any incomplete or missed document remains.

The list of documents (original) is:

  • Bill of Landing + Copy (Lading )
  • Invoice on Shipper’s Letterhead with stamp & signature
  • The packing list on the shipper’s letterhead with stamp & signature
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Phytosanitary – Food Related
  • Health Certificate – Food Related
  • Certificate of Analysis – Food Related

Import Customs Clearance Procedure in UAE:

Import customs clearance in the UAE has strict policies and procedures that every shipper has to follow. This procedure is a sort of a legal document about goods and the trade agreement between the two countries. For importing any goods from the UAE, you will need specific documents. These documents are:

  • Certificate of Origin
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Import Permit
  • Packing List
  • Letter of duty exemption (where needed)
  • Bill of Landing
  • Original Health certificate (food)
  • Original Halal Slaughter Certificate (food)

Export Customs Clearance in UAE:

To get a customs clearance grant for your exported goods in UAE, you need the following documents:

  • Sales Invoice (Invoice/Commercial Invoice) 
  • Packing list

Restricted Goods In UAE:

Certain goods can be imported or exported only after getting permits from the UAE’s customs authorities. There is a list of these restricted goods:

  • Pet and domestic animals
  • Live animals (birds/fish)
  • Agricultural products
  • Cooked ducks
  • Meat/beef/poultry products
  • Weapons/arms
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Medicines for personal use
  • Beverages/alcohol/cigarettes
  • Vehicles
  • Publications
  • Technical equipment ( satellite phones, listening or recording devices, radio transmitters, powerful cameras, or binoculars)
  • Cash/Money
  • Commercial goods 
  • Personal goods (luggage or gifts)

Banned Items in UAE:

UAE has very strict laws that everyone is bound to follow. The customs clearance department has issued a list of illegal items to import into the UAE. The banned items are as follows:

  • Pirated media
  • Counterfeit goods and currency
  • Gambling machines and tools
  • Any artwork or publications which challenge or contradict the teachings of the Islamic faith
  • Items associated with witchcraft, sorcery, and black magic
  • Narcotic substances and controlled/recreational drugs

Important Customs Clearance Laws in UAE:

Some customs regulations need to keep in mind. International Trade Administration mentions the customs regulations for the entire UAE. These regulations are as follows:

  • According to the GCC’s Common Customs Laws, goods destined for the UAE’s mainland are not exempted from duty, while goods destined for Free Trade zones are exempted duty-free. 
  • The UAE’s government has imposed a 5% VAT on a company running in the UAE with taxable supply and imports of more than $102,000 per year. 
  • Businesses that are VAT registered cannot charge VAT on their sales or collect any tax-related fees incurred on their inputs.
  • Re-exports of goods from UAE Free Trade Zones to third-market destinations outside the GCC Customs Zones are duty-free.

How To Lower Custom’s Risk in UAE:

Here are the following points to keep in mind for lowering the risk of the custom:

  • Correctly arrange your required documents.
  • Provide all your necessary information to your customs broker to avoid any confusion.
  • Carefully examining entry paperwork to detect high-risk individuals, luggage, and vehicles is essential.
  • Formal Import/export rules and standard operating procedures should be established. 
  • Establish record-keeping procedures that are compliant.

Why and How to Choose A Customs Broker? 

If you can understand all the lengthy procedures and fulfill all the document requirements of customs clearance, you do not need brokers. But as we mentioned above, it is a hectic job, and you need custom brokers for this job. Custom brokers save your time and help to avoid any errors and delays. 

Besides this custom, brokers save your time by doing the paperwork quickly and efficiently. So, it is better to have the assistance of the customs brokers. While choosing a customs broker for your documentation process, keep the following things in mind:

  • He is reliable and dedicated.
  • He has valuable experience in dealing with customs matters
  • He is licensed.
  • He can handle your cargo volume.
  • He is acquainted with the trade route of your cargo (origin and destination).
  • Choosing a skilled customs broker saves your time and money but also assists you in completing paperwork and product inspection.
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