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General Custom clearance in oversea country (not Vietnam)

 Custom clearance for import goods in oversea destination country

Please note: ImportExportVietnam will NOT support any illegal import or any banned goods to import into the destination country according to Destination country laws and conditions. We or our Agent networks always do the custom clearance on behalf of consignee, and consignee will be fully responsible for the goods inside the cargo.

ImportExportVietnam can assist in organizing and setting up any authorization for your goods to export out of Vietnam. Systematically, our know-how and our experience team will enable you to realize significant savings in terms of time and money.

We are located near the port and the international airport, We have a state-of-the-art warehouse in which we offer a wide range of services for all products that leave or arrive in Vietnam.

We are able to handle customs clearance at all airports, and ports in the country. The following items can help you understand some aspects of customs clearance.

How to get the right to import goods into your country

Any business in any countries which have the tax code are able to import the goods normally. Some special goods such as beer, wine, tobacco, recycled rubber, food, plant, animal etc, will require a special import license and special process to import. Before import anything to your country from Vietnam, please consult us for the process, or we will send you the contact of our agent in your country, so you can know each other before even process the goods. 

Personal import is possible with the low quantity, (preferable less than 80 kgs).  However, most couriers such as DHL, TNT, UPS, FEDEX will do the custom clearance on behalf of the consignee, so consignee doesn’t need to worry about the custom clearance to import the goods.

If a personal would like to import a big quantity of anything, they will need to think about hiring a trusted importer or custom broker to help them to import the goods. At ImportExportVietnam, we have many experienced years about send personal effect goods. Please let us know which goods you need to send to your country, we will advice the paperwork and process

The documents required are as follows for the personal cargo: 

  • Copy of passport/ ID card of consignee and shipper.
  • Power of attorney
  • Invoice
  • Packing list
  • Pr/Working pass/studying pass. (to prove that you will stay in that country for a long time).
For the business cargo, we will require:
  • Invoice
  • Packing list
  • Power of Attorney (optional)
  • Contract (optional)
  • Digital signature. (optional)
  • Business registration certificate
  • Import permit (optional)

What happens if my shipment is examined by the customs?

How shipments are chosen to be examined by each customs is still an enigma, as no official criteria have been revealed yet. All shipments are ascribed a risk factor number when approaching each country, but we still don’t know how it is calculated.


 Nevertheless, The custom system will inform your customs agent that they will be advising a “The goods need to examined and will be hold.” The good news is that ImportExportVietnam has years of experience with this and can advise beforehand of such a possibility. Also, as ImportExportVietnam, we can guaranteed that your shipment will be given priority and will be inspected  asap. We will notice you for the schedule of inspection. Once inspection complete, and all the goods are the same with your documents, The custom will release it soonest. 

Below are some of the reasons that your shipment may raise a red flag with destination customs:

    1. Random Examination – Your cargo can be examined without specific reasons, as in any country customs system can arbitrarily decide to examine a small proportion of the incoming cargoes. It can take different forms: a VACIS (x-ray), tailgate, partial, or intensive, exam.
    2. Type of Commodity – Further inspection may be conducted depending on the type of commodity being imported.  For instance, pharmaceuticals and chemicals are often sent for laboratory analysis, to make sure the goods are correctly classified. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), The officer will send the sample to the Food and Health Office, after that they will decided and may also have a final say in approving perishable and animal products. Normally to import Food and Drink, we need to do the sample checking in advance with the Officer, to make sure the goods meet the requirement to import into each country.
    3. Country of Origin – Normally any shipment coming from Vietnam, will have the tax deducted compare to other countries. to have the tax deducted, please tell the shipper to send the Certificate of origin together with the shipment, so your goods will have tax favour.
    4. Flagged Shippers – All shipment sent from Vietnam are recorded in the Custom’s database in each countries. . If some shippers reportedly used to under-declare some goods in the past, with an HS code that comes with less duties payable to the government, they will be flagged for inspection. For that reason, there is an imposition of antidumping duties, which is added to regular duties, for countries like China, and for specific shippers or factories.
    5. Flagged Importers – The same goes for importers. If you have a history of penalties imposed on you for under-declaring a cargo, expect your future shipments to be inspected. Also, first-time importers are flagged for examination until it is determined that they comply with customs rules and regulations.

Remark from ImportExportVietnam: These are some of the most common reasons for which a customs inspection is carried out. If your shipment is a bit borderline with your country regulation, we advise you to contact one of our Custom team memberWe have a wide agent network around the world, which understand the rules of every countries, so we are confident to advise you about custom clearance process in each country. 

How duty and Tax are calculated?

Duty rates

In most countries, CIF (cost, insurance and freight) is used to estimate the value of incoming goods. Duty rates are calculated based on:

  • Item Value: $100
  • Shipping: $20
  • Insurance: $30
  • Total CIF: $150

This CIF value is used to determine the duty rate. Duty rates hover between 0% – 100% with an average of 21%. Some goods are not subject to duty charges. All countries has tariffs for each commodity.

ImportExportVietnam Tips: Each country will have the tariff per commodity. 

ImportExportVietnam note: When working with private shippers like FedEx, DHL, or UPS, there is no means of paying for import taxes in advance, or custom clearance fees in advance These private shippers will leave that in the hands of destination Custom officer. it means when you use service like Fedex, DHL, UPS, you always need to pay the tax receipt from Custom once you receive the goods from courier. 

A few notes on duty rates

Even though you are declaring the item’s real value, Destination customs often end up valuating the item at a higher rate. You may estimate a value of $50 for a bicycle you are shipping from Vietnam, but the destination customs may decide those bicycles are worth $100 or even $150. This is very common out here, and there are limited means of action to prevent it from happening. Some managed to avoid that problem, by providing proofs of the items’ true value (receipts, documents, etc.). We are here to help you negotiate the duty rate with the custom officer by provide proof of purchase.


VAT, or Value Added Tax, is a sales tax added to items coming into Vietnam. Currently, the VAT rate is 10%, calculated on the basis of the CIF value, as well as any duty added to the item.

*In that respect, the value once VAT is applied is greater than the original value of the item, as it combines the item’s value, shipping, insurance, and duty. 


Most of the time, we will provide you an estimate of tax and VAT based on your invoice, the declared price you’ve quote for CIF term. However, in some case, if your price is significant lower than the custom price, the custom will ask for proof of price. otherwise, the price will be increase to meet the database price. Normally we will pay the tax in advance if the tax is under 50 USD. if the tax more than 50 USD, we will provide the custom bill to you, you can pay it yourself, or you can transfer it to our acccount, and we will pay it on behalf of the consignee.

Remark from ImportExportVietnam: the tax invoice acts as an invoice, we must receive payment before the release of your shipment. It is easier for you to pay us in advance, so that you can save a lot of time. As we all know, time is money in logistics.

Can I underestimate goods to save money?

If the declared value of goods is considered to be deliberately low, or too far from their real value, the Director-General is allowed to impose the customs price of the goods. If this is the case, you need to have enough proof for the custom believe you’ve the products with that price. otherwise, the price will be increase, and the tax will be charged based on the new price.

Remark ImportExportVietnam: All weight, testing, estimation, etc., for tax calculations or for any other official procedures must be carried out by the Customs Department.

Certificate of Origin

Certificate of Origin is a document used in international trade. It traditionally states from what country the shipped goods originate, but “originate” in a CO does not mean the country the goods are shipped from, but the country where there goods are actually made. This raises a definition problem in cases where less than 100% of the raw materials and processes and added value are not all from one country. An often used practice is that if more than 50% of the sales price of the goods originate from one country, that country is acceptable as the country of origin (then the “national content” is more than 50%). In various international agreements, other percentages of national content are acceptable.

Normally with the Certificate of Origin, the consignee can have the tax favour, which will reduce the duty significantly. For example the below Certificate of Origin is valid with Vietnam custom:

  • C/O form ATIGA: this certificate is valid for the goods from Asean country to Asean country
  • C/O form ACFTA: This certificate is valid for the goods from China to Vietnam
  • C/O form AKFTA: This certificate is valid for the goods from Korea to Vietnam
  • C/O form AJCEP/VJEPA: This certificate is valid for the goods from  Japan to Vietnam
  • C/O form AANZFTA: this certificate is valid for the goods from Australia/New Zealand to Vietnam
  • C/O form AIFTA: this certificate is valid for the goods from India to Vietnam
  • C/O form VCFTA: this certificate is valid for the goods from Chile to Vietnam

Is the clearing process similar at port and airport?

The process is mostly similar. ImportExportVietnam has customs office services in most international port and  international airport of more than 60 countries. , we can make sure that we always prepare paper in advance and do priority custom clearance, so you can have your goods as soon as 24 hours after the plane or the vessel arrives.

General Prohibited Goods (this will be different base on destination countries)

Restricted Items

Ordinal number Names of goods or services Current legal documents (*) Branch-managing agencies
A Goods
1 Military weapons, special-use military and police equipment, technical facilities, devices and means (including badges, rank stripes, force badges of the army and the police), military gear for the armed forces; particular components, parts, spare parts, supplies and equipment, and special-use technologies for manufacture thereof
2 Narcotics
3 Chemicals of Table 1 (under international treaties)
4 Reactionary, depraved or superstitious cultural products or those harmful to aesthetical or personality indoctrination
5 Firecrackers of all kinds
6 Dangerous toys, toys harmful to personality and health education for children or to the social security, order and safety (including video games)
7 Veterinary drugs, plant protection drugs banned from, or not yet permitted for, use in Vietnam according to the provisions of the Veterinary Medicine Ordinance and the Plant Protection and Quarantine Ordinance
8 Wild plant and animal species (including also live plants and animals and their processed parts) on the lists of those provided for by treaties to which Vietnam is a contracting party, and precious and rare plant and animal species on the lists of those banned from exploitation and use
9 Aquatic resources banned from exploitation, aquatic products containing residues of toxic and hazardous substances exceeding the permitted limits, aquatic products with natural toxins dangerous to human life
10 Fertilizers not on the list of those permitted for production, trading and use in Vietnam
11 Plant varieties not on the list of those permitted for production and trading; plant varieties harmful to production, human health, environment and eco-system
12 Livestock breeds not on the list of those permitted for production and trading; livestock breeds harmful to human health, livestock gene sources, environment and eco-system
13 Special and toxic minerals
Imported discarded materials causing environmental pollution
15 Medicinal drugs of all kinds for human use, vaccines, medical biologicals, cosmetics, insecticidal and  medical use not yet permitted for use in Vietnam
16 Assorted medical instruments and equipment not yet permitted for use in Vietnam
17 Food additives, food processing enhancers, micronutrients, functional food, food of high biohazard, food preserved by radiation and genetically modified food not yet permitted by competent state agencies
18 Products and materials containing asbestos of the amphibole group

How can you do the custom clearance for exporting goods out of your country

Goods to be exported out of your country are subject to regular export procedures. All goods that are shipped out of the country must be cleared by the customs from the origin country. Customs’ job consists in collecting all the information about the nature and the volume of the goods, to make the decision-making process as smooth as possible. Unless specifically exempt, all shipments have to wait for the green light of the Customs before the goods are loaded.

Required Documents

Here is a list of the basic documents that must be presented to the Customs for the clearance procedure in case of red line (risky shipment):

  • Export Declaration
  • Invoice
  • Export License (if applicable)
  • Other relevant documents such as catalog, product ingredients, phytosanitary, health certificate, fumigation, etc.

Export declaration & clearance process

The process of Customs Clearance for export is made up of 4 steps:

Step 1: Submission of a Declaration

The whole procedure is launched when an exporter/broker submits an Export Declaration in the origin custom system

Step 2: Verification of a Declaration

In a second step, the Declaration is verified (automated verification). The data is verified and validated immediately by the e-Customs system. If no errors are detected by the automated system, the Goods Declaration number is created together with the e-Payment system (in case of export taxes and duties).

The broker/exporter received a confirmation message. Moreover, the selectivity profile system will check the information and classify the Declaration into one of these two categories: Green Line or Red Line.

Step 3: Payment of Duties and Taxes

The third step is the payment of applicable duties and taxes and/or guarantee. For now, there are 3 ways to pay for duties and taxes: payment at the Customs Department, e-Payment, or payment at banks.

Step 4: Inspection and Release of Cargo

Last step: the cargo is examined and released from Customs custody. At that point, the cargo is loaded by a freight forwarder and electronically controlled by the e-Customs system. This system checks all the information and immediately correct any mistakes.

The cargo control report number is automatically created by the system and the response is then sent to the freight forwarder and the exporter/broker, if no errors are detected.

Following this, the cargo control report is printed by the freight forwarder and carry away the cargo to the exit port. At this last stage, the Customs officer at a sub-gate examines whether the declaration is a Red Line or a Green Line.

ImportExportVietnam Tips: As a licensed company, we have a significant experience in customs clearance services in Vietnam. Our dedicated professional team totally masters this key stage of the international transport.

We have also been maintaining strong relationships with Vietnam Goverment Custom officials. If you require a full custom clearance service in Vietnam and want us to support in this key process, please contact us. Our legal professional experts will guide you throughout the whole process. Don’t wait any longer, contact us now.