Import and Export Through Courier

Import and Export Through Courier

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Import and Export Through Courier

The facility of imports and exports by courier mode is permitted to those courier companies that are registered under Customs. These courier companies are called ‘Authorized Couriers’. The courier parcels are normally carried by cargo/ passenger aircraft. On the case of clearance through Land Customs Stations (LCS), another transport mode is used. Both are permitted to file the Courier Import Manifest. The facility of courier clearance under manual mode is available at customs airports in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Calcutta, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Cochin, Coimbatore, Trivandrum and Land Customs Stations at Gojadanga and Petrapole. The courier clearances of the electronic mode of Customs clearance is soon set to be made operational at Delhi and Mumbai airports.

Categories of Goods Allowed Import Through Courier

Except for certain categories, all goods can be imported using the courier mode. The exclusion of certain types of goods is done based on the fact that these require specific conditions that have to be fulfilled under any other Act or rule or regulations like testing of samples etc. on reference to the relevant authorities or experts before their clearance. In certain cases, due to additional compliance requirements, the assessment and clearance process takes time. These goods that are not eligible under this scheme, which envisages Customs clearance on a fast track basis. Moreover, air terminals and LCS are not equipped to handle certain goods. The following categories of goods are not permitted to be imported through courier mode.

  • Precious and semi-precious cargo.
  • Animals and plants.
  • Perishables.
  • Publications that contain maps depicting incorrect boundaries of India.
  • Precious and semi-precious stones and gold or silver in any form.
  • Goods under the Export Promotion Schemes including EOU Scheme.
  • Goos the exceed the weight limit of 70 kgs imported through courier under manual mode. However, under the electronic mode, no restriction regarding the weight has been provided.

Clearance of goods under the EOU Scheme is permitted under electronic mode.

Categories of Goods Allowed Export Through Courier

All gods are permitted to exporters through courier except for the following excluded categories.

  • Goods attracting any duty on exports.
  • Goods that are exported under Export promotion schemes, such as Drawback, DEPB, DEEC, EPCG, etc.
  • Goods where the consignment value is more than Rs. 25,000 and transaction in foreign exchange are involved (the limit of Rs. 25,000 does not apply when G.R. waiver or specific permission has been obtained from the RBI).

Import and Export of Gems and Jewellery

Import of gems and jewellery including samples provided by EOUs or SEZ units is allowed through courier. Similarly, the export of cut and polished diamond, gems and jewellery under any scheme of FTP from EOUs, SEZs or DTA is permitted through courier subjected to the condition that the cost of each export consignment under such export is not more than Rs. 20 Lakhs.

Procedure for Clearance of Import Goods

For facilitating Customs clearance, the goods that are imported through courier are classified into the following categories.

  • Documents that mentions any message, information or data recorded on paper, cards or photographs containing no commercial value that do not attract duty or subject to any prohibition/ restriction on their import or export.
  • Any bonafide commercial samples and prototypes of goods that are supplied free of charge of a value not more than Rs. 50,000 for exports and Rs. 10,000 for imports that are not subjected to any prohibition or restriction on their import or export and which does not involve the transfer of foreign exchange.
  • Any of the bonafide fit articles for personal use of a value not more than Rs. 25,000 for a consignment in case of exports and Rs. 10,000 for imports that are not subjected to any prohibition or restriction on their import or export that does not involve the transfer of foreign exchange.
  • Goods containing a declared value of up to Rs. 1,00,000 and dutiable or commercial goods having a declared value of more than Rs. 1,00,000

Various Customs declaration forms have been prescribed under the Courier Regulations for manual mode, simplified Bill of Entry has been mentioned for clearance of goods. These goods are assessed for duty on merits like other imported goods, and exemption, wherever available, can be imported when it is claimed.

  1. Courier Bill of Entry-III for documents.
  2. Courier Bill of Entry-IV for samples and free gifts.
  3. Courier Bill of Entry -V for commercial shipments upto a declared value of Rs. 1 Lakh.

The courier regulations for manual code stipulate for certain categories of import, a regular Bill of Entry that is prescribed in the Bill of Entry Regulations, 1976 has to be filed. This includes

  1. The goods that are imported under the EOU Scheme.
  2. Goods that are imported under DEPB, DEEC and EPCG Schemes.
  3. Goods that are imported against the license that is issued under the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992.
  4. Goods that are imported by a related person defined under the Customs Valuation Rules, 1988.
  5. Goods for which the concerned officer files a Bill of Entry.
  6. Goods having a declared value of Rs. 1 Lakh and above.

Asper the courier regulations for the electronic mode, the forms prescribed for filing Customs declarations are as follows.

  1. The Courier Bill of Entry-XI (CBE-XI) for documents in Form B.
  2. The Courier Bill of Entry-XII (CBE-XII) for free gifts and samples in Form C.
  3. The Courier Bill oF Entry-XII (CBE-XIII) for low-value dutiable consignments in Form D.
  4. The Courier Bill of Entry-XIV for other dutiable consignments in Form E for import consignments.

Procedure for Clearance of Export Goods

For exporting goods, the Authorised Courier has to file Courier Shipping Bills with the respective officer of Customs at the airport or LCS in prior to the departure of flight or other modes of transport. Different forms have been prescribed for the export of documents and other goods. The Authorised Courier has to present the export goods to the concerned officer for inspection, examination and assessment. For certain export goods, a regular Shipping Bill as mentioned in the Shipping Bill and Bill of Export Regulations 1991, has to be filed. These Shipping Bills are processed at the Air Cargo Complex or the STP or EOUs or EHTP and then with the permission of Customs, the goods that are handed over to the courier agency for onward dispatch. The goods for which this procedure applies are given below.

  • Goods from EOUs/ STPs/ EHTP.
  • Goods that are exported under DEPB/ DEEC/ EPCG/ Drawback Schemes.
  • Goods that require a license for exporting under the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992.

As per the Courier Regulations for electronic mode, the forms for siling Customs declarations for export goods are

  • Courier Shipping Bill-III (CSB-III) for documents in Form G.
  • Courier Shipping Bill-IV (CSB-IV) for goods in Form H.

Examination Norms for Goods Imported or Exported by Courier

The given below examination norms are provided for the import and export of courier consignments.

  • 100% screening of import/ export consignments has to be done through X-ray or other NIL techniques. The facility of X-ray machines that is available with Customs can be used or the airlines or AAI’s screening facility may be utilised to for such screening. In addition to this, in appropriate conditions, the screening of the multi-agencies can be combined to reduce the time taken and to avoid duplicity.
  • Physical examination of export documents, samples, gifts and export goods that is limited upto a maximum of 10% of the total courier consignments. The selected consignments will be examined 100%.
  • Selection of consignments for physical examination would be based on the parameters like the nature of goods, value, weight, status of importer etc.
  • The Commissioner of Customs can excise the discretion of random examination of goods, on particular parameters such as country of import/ export, the nature of goods as mentioned in the EDI system.
  • Any consignment can be analysed by the Customs of there is any particular intelligence or these are doubted during X-ray in the said consignment.
  • Under the automated process, the consignments are identified for examination on the basis of ‘risk analysis’.


A normal Bill of Entry may be filed whenever a consignee intends to take CENVAT credit of the paid duty on imported goods. This is applicable to the courier clearances as per the manual mode.

Transhipment of Goods

Transhipment of Goods between two Customs stations is applicable as per the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 and Goods Imported Regulation, 1995 and other instructions. In many circumstances, the consignments that are imported through the courier node may also be transferred to the cargo terminal of the same airport for clearance purposes. Such transfer is similar to the local movement of cargo from one customs area of the Customs station to the next custom area of the same station. This is covered by the local procedure that is evolved by the jurisdictional Commissioner of Customs.

Disposal of Uncleared Goods

The Courier regulations for both the manual and electronic mode depicts a procedure for clearance of the uncleared goods. For imported goods, the same is required to be detained by Customs and a notice is issued to the Authorized courier and that the goods can be disposed of after the expiry of 30 days of the mentioned goods. The charges that are payable for storage and holding of such goods should be taken care of by the Authorised Courier. For export goods, a procedure that is similar to the imported goods is prescribed. The only dissimilarity is that, if the goods have not been exported within 7 days of arrival into the Customs Area or within the extended period, it would be permitted by the Customs.

Registration of Authorised Courier

A person in need of operating as an Authorised Courier is required to get himself registered with the jurisdictional Commissioner of Customs. As per the regulations for the manual code, the registration is valid for 10 years and is renewable for another 10 years if the performance of the courier is satisfactory. Similar provisions are contained in regulation for the electronic mode other than the initial registration period is fixed as 2 years.

The person applying for registration has to be financially viable and has to produce a certificate that is issued by a Scheduled Bank or other proofs as evidence of possession of the assets of a value not below Rs. 25 Lakhs. Moreover, the person has to execute a bond with the security of Rs. 10 Lakhs for registration at Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta and Chennai. In other airports and LCS, the security deposit is Rs, 5 Lakh. The security deposit can be made in the form of cash or in the form of postal security, Bank Guarantee or National Savings Certificate. A condition for registration is that the applicant has to agree to pay the duty, if any, not levied or short-levied with interest, if applicable, on any goods taken clearance by the Authorised Courier.

An authorised Courier who has registered ay one customs station is permitted to transact business at more than one airport or LCS subjected to giving of intimation in the prescribed form. However, separate bind and security have to be furnished at every airport and LCS.

Existing Authorised Couriers who have registered or transacting business in terms of Regulation 12 of the Courier Imports and Exports Regulations, 1998 at locations where the automated clearance facilities become operational will be eligible to file declarations according to the electronic mode without any need for fresh appointment or fresh intimation, that are subjected to the fulfilment of other conditions or requirements according to the courier Regulations for the electronic mode. Therefore, once a person is registered as an Authorized Courier, he can file declarations under both modes that are subjected to compliance with other requirements of the concerned Regulations.

Obligation of Authorised Courier

A number of obligations are levied on the Authorised Courier. Some of the important obligations are given below.

  • File declarations for clearance of imported or exported goods through a person who has passed the examination according to Regulation 8 or 19 of the Customs House Agents Licensing Regulations, 2004 and those who are duly authorised under Section 146 of the Act.
  • Advises his clients to abide by the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 and the rules and regulations that are made under the Act.
  • Verify the antecedent and the correctness of Importer Exporter Code (IEC), the identity of the client and the functioning of the client in the declared address by using reliable, independent, authentic documents, data or information.
  • Excise due diligence in furnishing the information to the Customs in relation to the clearance of the import or the export goods.
  • Not withholding any information that is related to the assessment and clearance of import and export of the goods from the Assessing Officer and not trying to influence the conduct of any Customs officer in any matter by using threats, false accusations, duress or offer any special inducement, etc.
  • Maintains records and accounts that are prescribed by the Customs and abide by all the provisions of the Act and the notifications, rules, regulations and orders that are issued under the Act.

The obligation on the Authorised Courier to verify the antecedents, to identify the client and the functioning of the client in the declared address by using reliable, independent, authentic documents, data or information that is based upon the increasing number of offences that are involved in several modus-operandi like fraud and duty evasion by bogus IEC holders etc. Elaborative guidelines on the list of documents that are to be verified and has to be obtained from the client or customer. However, it is mandatory for the client or the customer to furnish to the Authorised Courier any two of the listed documents. There is no necessity for the client/ customer to furnish a photograph to the Authorised Courier.

Outsourcing/ Sub-letting

According to the Handling of Cargo in Customs Areas Regulation 2009, a provision has been made that mentions the necessity of prior approval of Customs if the Authorised Courier needs to sub-let/ outsource any components in the door-to-door supply chain. This is required since an Authorised Courier is defined as a person who is engaged in international transportation of goods for export and import on the door-to-door delivery basis and is registered on behalf by the Jurisdictional Commissioner. The fundamental reason for expeditious clearance facilities that are extended is that the Authorised Couriers have appropriate verifiable and secure work processes on a global basis supported by a detailed IT infrastructure for knowledge and information management. Such companies have their own in-house mechanisms to safeguard against the use of express supply chain by unscrupulous elements. Hence, any un-authorized sub-letting or supply chain may defeat the very purpose behind the facility of expeditious clearance. The Commissioners of CUstoms has to review the facilities that are available wi the Authorised Couriers appointed under their charge to ensure compliance. During this, any sub-letting or outsourcing due care has to be taken to ensure that it does not go against the purpose behind the facility of expeditious clearance.

De-Registration and Forfeiture of the Security

The registration of an Authorised Courier could be cancelled by the Commissioner and his security can be accused of his failure to abide by the conditions of the bond, the provisions of regulations and misconduct. Revocation of registration can be made only when a notice is issued to the Authorised Courier and when he is given an opportunity to present his case in writing and an opportunity of being heard in the matter. If there is a need to conduct an inquiry to establish prima facie, the grounds against the Authorised Courier, the Commissioner of Customs could suspend the registration. An Authorised Courier by order of the Commissioner, can represent to the Chief Commissioner within 60 days of communication of the impugned order.

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