Import Customs Clearance Explained

Import Customs Clearance Explained
01 Feb, 2023

When customs clearance is associated with imported goods, it is known as import customs clearance. The process involves examination, evaluation, and appraisal of goods that aid the custom authorities to determine how much duty is to be charged and also assess the goods against any illicit import. Let’s take a closer look at major intervention points of the import customs clearance process.


Bill of Entry - The bill of entry is the first major step in the entire import customs clearance process flow. It is also termed as Shipping Bill. It is a statement that is prepared by the shipper mentioning the nature and value of goods that are to be imported. This document is presented to the Customs House and is supposed to be filed by the importer in four copies namely original and duplicate which are meant for customs, third copy for the importer himself, and the fourth copy for the bank for making remittances, if any. In the EDI way, no Bill of Entry is to be filed as the system generates it. However, the importer needs to file a cargo declaration with particulars essential to process the entry of the goods for customs clearance.

On the contrary, in the non-EDI way, along with the bill of entry, the following documents are also required:


  • Signed invoice
  • Packing list
  • Bill of Lading (BL)/Delivery Order (DO)/Airway Bill (AWB)
  • Duly filled in GATT declaration form
  • Importer/CHA’s declaration
  • License
  • Letter of Credit/Bank Draft
  • Insurance document
  • Import license
  • Industrial license
  • Test report (for chemicals)
  • Adhoc exemption order
  • DEEC book/DEPB in original
  • Catalogue/technical write-up/literature for chemicals, machineries, or spare parts
  • Split up value of spares, machineries
  • Certification of origin
  • Declaration for no commission


Bill of Entry Amendment - After the submission of documents, if mistakes are identified, amendments are carried out in the Bill of Entry with Deputy/Assistant Customs Commissioner’s approval.


Green Channel facility - Major importers are entitled to green channel facility under which goods are cleared without routined examination. At the time of filing Bill of Entry, they are required to make a declaration in the declaration form. Although the appraisement is done abiding the normal procedure but no physical examination of goods takes place.


Duty payment - Import duty can either be paid in the designated banks or through TR-6 challans.


Prior entry for Bill of Entry - There is a provision in section 46 of the Customs Act for faster clearance of goods. This allows Bill of Entry to be filed before the arrival of goods. This Bill of Entry has a validity of 30 days from the date of presentation.


Specialized Schemes - If goods are imported under specialized schemes such as EOU, DEEC, etc, the importer must sign bonds with the custom authorities.


Bill of Entry for Warehousing/Bond - If goods are cleared for warehousing purposes, a different kind of Bill of Entry is used. However, the assessment of this type of Bill of Entry remains the same as usual Bill of Entry.

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