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Customs Clearance Procedure

Customs Clearance Procedure

Customs Clearance Procedure in India

Import and export of goods into and outside a country should undergo a customs clearance process. The importer and exporter of the goods should submit valid documents to clear this process. In this article, we look at some of the major steps and processes in clearing customs in India.

Calling of Vessels

Once the vessels carrying the goods reaches the country, the person who carried the vessels should make sure that the calling of vessels is done at the customs port. For instance, if goods are imported via aircraft, the pilot is responsible for call of the vessels at the customs airport. There is no requirement for the importer to get involved in this process and will be done by the airline or shipping line.

Filing Import General Manifest (IGM)

The person-in-charge of the vehicle should file an Import General Manifest electronically before the goods arrive. This file would include the details of all the goods imported by the vessel. 

Post Verification Operations

On review of the Import General Manifest and post verification of documents, the customs authorities will grant entry inwards to the vessel, assign an IGM number to the manifest and permit the master of the vessel to land and unload the cargo.

Custody of Custodian

On arrival of the vessel, the goods would remain in the custody of the Custodian until it clears the customs process. A custodian may be a person approved by Principal Commissioner or Commissioner of Customs for this purpose. Imported goods can be unloaded subject to the following conditions:

  • A note to unload the goods should be mentioned on the manifest report.
  • Could be unloaded only at the approved places in the customs port.
  • Under the supervision of the approved authorities.
  • Should be unloaded only during working hours.

Filing Bill of Entry

The importer of the goods should file a bill of entry (customs copy) electronically for the clearance of the goods, before or on arrival of the goods. In the bill of entry, the duty and taxes to be paid is assessed by the importer himself and this is called self- assessment.  The importer will self-assess the duty after considering the applicable rate of exchange and the rate of import duty. On approval of the Bill of Entry, the importer has to pay the GST and duty which will be entered in the Indian Customs Electronic Date Interchange System (ICEDIS). Once it is entered in ICEDIS, a bill of entry number will be generated.

The importer should then submit the bill of entry (customs copy), the duty-paid challan and other supporting documents to the port authorities for making an order permitting clearance. After making an order permitting clearance, the port officer would generate duplicate bill of entry (importer’s copy)  and triplicate bill of entry (exchange control copy). Both the copies will be handed over to the authorized person later.

Know more about GST on Imports and GST Bill of Entry.

Delivery of Goods

On showing the customs clearances to the port authorities, the importer can take the delivery of his goods. In case of cargo deposited in a warehouse, the importer would another bill of entry called the ex-bond bill of entry to clear the whole or part of the warehoused cargo.

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