Overview of Customs Procedures:

The Egyptian Department of Customs, which operates under the Ministry of Finance, is responsible for clearing merchandise into Egypt. Imported goods may not legally enter Egyptian commerce until the shipment has arrived within the port of entry and customs has authorized delivery of the merchandise. Import declarations and corresponding documentation are filed either by the customs broker or by the importer. Standard commercial practice is for a broker to file the entry as an agent of the importer.

Prior to importing agricultural goods into Egypt, a written request from the importer to the Ministry of Agriculture is required. A response from the Ministry takes approximately two weeks. If the approval is granted, then an import can be transacted.

When the imported goods arrive, the importer must inform the Ministry of Agriculture and assemble a committee of three agriculture experts to briefly inspect the goods prior to unloading. Upon verification, the committee provides a Ministry of Agriculture Approval Letter specifically for the shipment. The Approval Letter is part of the entry documents submitted to Customs when filing the entry. The form used for import declaration is the K 19 Import Declaration. The entry is registered with Customs and is given a serial or entry number. The Customs Accounting Committee calculates the duty to be paid on the imported merchandise. The Accounting agricultural inspector (who simply inspects the commodity on its face value), an analyst who runs all the proper testing and a senior inspector who is to receive comments from the other two members before giving an approval that everything is fine and ready for discharge. At this point, Customs generates a Customs Payment Application and Receipt against which the importer is requested to pay duty and the corresponding sales tax. Receipts for both the duty and sales tax are issued by the Ministry of Finance, Customs House. The Customs Payment Application andReceipt is then stamped with the government seal finalizing the customs clearance procedure.

 A. Definitions & Terms

Terms Definitions
Importer License / Code A license/Code issued by the customs administration to the company for their customs transactional clearing. This is a license issued by Egyptian Customs to permit traders / manufacturers to import and export goods
Customs Inspection Authority conferred to customs officers to inspect goods, means of transport and persons within a customs territory and when entering and exiting customs’ zones.
Harmonized System A system set out in a systemized form coding, designations and description of goods including their payable customs duties. It is a universally accepted classification system for trade goods, used to classify products and their corresponding tariff
Representative Card A system set out in a systemized form coding, designations and description of goods including their payable customs duties. It is a universally accepted classification system for trade goods, used to classify products and their corresponding tariff.
Certificate of Origin A specific document identifying the goods, in which the authority or body empowered to issue it, certifies that the goods to which the certificate relates originate in a specific country. A certificate issued and attested by a local Chamber of Commerce stating the country in which a commodity has been grown, milled, produced, manufactured or assembled used in foreign commerce.
Delivery Order A permit from the agent, shipper or port authority for the release of goods. A document issued by or on behalf of the carrier authorizing the release of import cargo identified thereon and manifested under a single Bill of Lading.
Packing List A detailed list showing description, quantity and weight of goods preferably with Harmonized System code.
Carrier The owner of the means of transport or legally the like.
Goods Owner Any natural or legal person whose name is contained in the delivery order issued by the carrier.
Goods Owner Representative Is the agent of the goods owner or their representative registered with the customs administration.
Goods Any natural material or agricultural, animal, industrial or intellectual produce mentioned in the tariff nomenclature or may be classified under a tariff heading thereof.
Prohibited Goods Any goods that import, export or movement of which is prohibited under the provisions of any law, notice, order or system issued by a legally authorized agency.
Restricted Goods Those goods the import, export or movement of which is restricted under a system issued by a legally authorized agency.
Customs Declaration The declaration being submitted electronically or manually according to the customs approved form wherein the importer indicates the customs procedures applicable to the goods and describes the details which the customs require to be declared for the purposes of applying such procedures.
Customs Value The actual value of goods based on the principal basis for valuating the goods for customs purposes provided for in the law.
Customs Duties The duties laid down in the customs tariff to which goods are liable on entry or leaving the customs territory. The amount or the percentage of the amount levied on the goods as per the Common Customs law .
Manifest The document containing a full description of the goods carried on the various means of transport.

B. Import

  • Final Release: Declaration is processed in the event of goods being imported to the local market from other countries against the payment of Customs duty & sales taxes or duty exempted whichever is applicable.
    • Documentation:
      • Original Bill of lading / Air way bill
      • Certificate of origin legalized from only chamber of commerce in case of European origin & from both chamber of commerce & Egyptian consulate for other origins.[Applicable for both trading & industrial purposes to implement any trade convention]
      • Original stamped invoice contains full supplier contact details
      • Original packing list contains H.S code
      • Importer import license
      • Importer Tax card
  • Import for Re-Export: Such declaration is processed in the event of importation of goods into the country for the purpose of re-exportation, where 20% of customs duties & sales taxes shall be paid in the form of a cash deposit or a bank letter of guarantee that will be refunded upon presenting a proof of re-exporting.
    • Documentation:
      • Original Bill of lading / Air way bill
      • Original stamped invoice contains full supplier contact details
      • Original packing list contains H.S code
      • Letter from Egyptian authority or importer indicate the relation between shipper & consignee
  • Temporary Release: Customs authorities allow for a practice where cargo is imported into Egypt for industrial purpose & to be re-exported in full.
    • Documentation:
      • Original Bill of lading / Air way bill
      • Original stamped invoice contains full supplier contact details
      • Original packing list contains H.S code
      • Permit from temporary release authority
      • Bank letter of guaranty valid for two years covering full duties & taxes till re-exportation
  • Drawback: Import for industrial purpose with full paid duties & taxes without re-export obligation. Same documentation as Temporary release but, duties & taxes to be refunded upon presenting the original export documents for full or part exportation.
  • Exemption: Any exempted cargo for projects, industrial use or diplomatic should get an exemption decree from competent authority.
    • Documentation:
      • Original Bill of lading / Air way bill in the name of exempted consignee directly
      • Original stamped invoice contains full supplier contact details
      • Original packing list contains H.S code
      • Copy of the exemption decree or law

C. Export

In economics, an export is any good or commodity, transported from one country to another country in a legitimate way, typically for use in trade. Export is an important part of international trade. No customs duty involved if the goods are of locally purchased or locally manufactured.

    • Documentation:
      • Export clearing declaration
      • Original commercial invoice
      • Packing list with the HS codes
      • Valid export license
  • Temporary Export: Such type of declaration is processed upon exportation of goods for the purposes of maintenance, repair or display in exhibitions or use in projects and return in the same condition at which they have been exported.
    • Documentation:
      • Export clearing declaration
      • Original commercial invoice
      • Packing list with the HS codes
      • Issue form 126km
      • A formal letter from the company requesting temporary export
      • Original export permit from the competent agencies in the event of exporting restricted goods
  • Re-Export Export: Such type of transaction is processed upon exporting of goods previously imported for re-exportation.
    • Documentation:
      • Export clearing declaration
      • Original commercial invoice
      • Packing list with the HS codes
      • Valid export license
      • A formal letter from the company requesting re- export

D. Free Zones

Free Zones are part of the country’s territories but considered to be outside the customs territory and subject to customs control other than normal customs procedures. Among the Free Zone incentives and guarantees are a lifetime exemption from all taxes and customs; exemption from all import/export regulations; the option to sell a certain percentage of production domestically if custom duties are paid; and limited exemptions from labor provisions. To facilitate import/export procedures, Free Zones are usually located adjacent to sea ports and airports There are two different kinds of Free Zones; public and private:

Free zone licensees are allowed to import goods or equipments into the free zone from a foreign country without payment of customs duties. Such goods may be stored for an unlimited period of time depending upon the type of goods and the validity of the Free Zone License.

    • Documentation:
      • Original Bill of lading/AWB
      • Delivery order from the shipping agent or Airline agent addressed to a licensed company
      • Form # 1 approved from FZ authority
      • 2 originals + copy from commercial invoice
      • 2 originals + copy from detailed packing list with H.S code
      • Certificate of origin legalized by the Chamber of Commerce [EU] in the country of origin indicating the origin of goods + Egyptian consulate for any other country.

E. Transit

Imported goods from outside the country for the interest of a foreign importer addressed in his name or the name of a licensed agent carrier by a competent authority on the importer’s behalf. The goods shall only be registered since transiting the territories of the country to a final destination. A deposit amount or guarantee equivalent to the total value of duties & taxes shall be collected to ensure exit of goods outside the country.

    • Documentation:
      • Bill of lading / AWB showing [Shipment in transit]
      • Delivery order from the shipping agent
      • Original /copy of commercial invoice
      • Detailed packing list showing H.S code
      • Transit letter of guarantee covering duties & taxes value