The following documents are needed to clear a vehicle from Customs:
• Original Bill of Lading from Shipping Agent
• Asycuda Bill of Lading from Shipping Agent
• Proof of Payment (Bank Wire Transfer, Paypal etc)
• Insurance Certificate
• Certificate of title
• Bill of Sale
• Cancelation certificate (Japan)
Procedure to clear a vehicle from Customs
A Broker/Tariff Clerk will assess an IM 4 Customs Declaration utilizing ASYCUDA accompanied by the invoice, bill of Lading and other supporting documents. Once the declaration has been assessed, proceed to a Customs Cashier with a copy of the Assessment Notice to pay the duties and taxes and obtain a receipt. After payment the declaration will be electronically assigned to Valuation and an examining officer. The declaration and supporting documents will then be verified as well as a physical examination of the vehicle. After examination the officer will clear the declaration and print a release order. The system will notify the Broker/Tariff Clerk that the declaration has been released by customs. Proceed to location where the vehicle is located to pick up release order from examiner then present to daspa for delivery.
If Concession Applicable The Fiscal Incentives Department oversees all duty free importations. Please provide them with a letter and/or FTI 101 from appropriate authority authorizing approval of concession (Ministry of Finance, Permanent Secretary, Cabinet etc)
Procedure: A Broker/Tariff Clerk will assess declaration in Asycuda as above and pay any applicable taxes. After payment the importer should obtain Registration# for the vehicle from the Inland Revenue Department and present it to the Fiscal Incentives Officer. At this point the declaration should be released from Fiscal Incentives and the importer should proceed to Valuation to complete the clearance process. Placing a Vehicle into a Bond/Warehouse How to duties and taxes are calculated on a vehicle. Duties and taxes are based on the Customs Value of the vehicle. Customs Value includes the cost (based on open market), insurance and shipping cost. The duties and taxes paid are determined by the applicable Tariff Code and the Customs Procedure Code (CPC). Used vehicles aged over 5 years incur an Environmental Surcharge of XCD 3,000.00 whereas vehicles aged under 5 years incur an Environmental Surcharge of 1% of the CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) Value.
Trade facilitation (TF) aims to reduce the costs and time of import and export operations, and transit of goods. Moreover, it is the traditional object of many international standards, adopted by the United Nations and specialized agencies, such as the World Customs Organization. TF has gained more importance with the reduction of tariffs and the proliferation of global production chains. Since 2004, World Trade Organization (WTO) Members have been negotiating the text of a multilateral agreement on TF, setting out specific obligations with respect to the facilitation of trade and establishing special and differential treatment for developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs).
Developing countries are expected to see the biggest gains with the passage of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) since they currently face some of the largest procedural obstacles. Studies suggest that their trade costs will fall by 13% to 15% while households will gain access to a greater variety of goods. Developing country exports are also expected to grow by 14% to 22% while becoming more diversified. For companies, it means inputs at lower costs and better entry into foreign markets, thus making them more likely to become more profitable which should encourage domestic investment. In addition, foreign direct investment is likely to be attracted to countries that fully implement the TFA.
The TFA finally entered into force on the 22nd February, 2017, when the WTO obtained acceptance of the TFA from two-thirds of its 164 Members
The entry into force of the TFA launches a new phase for trade facilitation reforms in the Commonwealth of Dominica. TF has become the baseline for emerging regional and global initiatives on paperless trade and e-trade, has a positive impact on Dominica’s ranking in the World Bank’s Annual Ease of Doing Business Report, and will deliver perceived benefits resulting from the implementation of the various measures. (Dominica ranked 103 out of a total of 190 countries surveyed in the World Bank’s 2019 Doing Business Report. This represents the third highest ranked Country among CARICOM Member States).
The result of a WTO Needs Assessment Exercise conducted in the OECS in 2013 revealed that Dominica was already in compliance with in excess of 75% of the TF Measures. This was due to the following;
- Recent upgrade of the Customs Legislation and the Dominica Air and Seaports Authority (DASPA) Legislation reflecting international best practice
- Upgrade of Customs and DASPA’s Automated Systems (the Customs Division upgraded to ASYCUDAWORLD Version 4.2.2 on June 11th, 2019)
- Various reforms undertaken at Customs and other Government Border Agencies)
The signed TF Agreement contains approximately 40 measures set out in 12 Articles. Although many of the measures apply only to the Customs Division, the majority of provisions apply to all Border Agencies that deal with trade in goods.
In the fourth quarter of 2018 Dominica made the following notifications in accordance with Articles 15 and 16 of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (WT/L/931)
- CATEGORY A Measures (Articles 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 4, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 6.3, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.8, 8, 9, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7, 10.9, and 11)
- CATEGORY B Measure Article 7.7 (Trade Facilitation Measures for Authorized Operators)
An Importers Enhanced Facilitation Program was implemented on Jan 1st, 2019, for deserving companies assessed as significantly compliant by both the Inland Revenue Department and the Risk Management Unit of Customs through analysis of their performance in the ASYCUDAWorld System. The program is designed to expedite the release of bona fide consignments through customs controls.
The identified companies enrolled in the program will benefit from the following
- Increase in the number of declarations receiving Green and Blue Lane treatment
- Designated relationship managers to help solve any cargo clearance problems that may arise
- Priority treatment at Customs clearance if selected for Customs control
- Access to Customs container officers during normal working hours
- Use of non-intrusive inspection equipment, where possible, whenever physical examination is required
- Priority Customs processing during periods of elevated threat conditions
- Priority treatment in post-incident resumptions and trade recovery programs
- Self-assessment when Customs Automated Systems are not functioning
- Priority demonstration of Asycuda updates at their work place
* The processing of declarations by other interested agencies including the Bureau of Standards, Divisions of Agriculture and Health, among others, where statutory inspection or documentary scrutiny is required such as in the case of licenses & permits will not be affected by the program, with Customs not being able to release the goods until having been cleared by them.
The Enhanced Facilitation Program is designed to evolve into an established Authorized Economic Operator Program in keeping with Article 7, Paragraph 7, of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation.
The following highlights the eligibility criteria which must exist and maintained by the importers in order to be approved and benefit as Authorised Economic Operators:
- Importers/Exporters must be compliant with Customs and other Govt. agencies laws, rules and procedures
- Importers/Exporters must have internal systems for reporting back to Customs
- Importers/Exporters must have and maintain appropriate Record Keeping
- Importers/Exporters must have Financial Solvency
- Importers/Exporters must have proven practical standards of competence or professional qualifications
- Importers/Exporters must have appropriate security and safety standards (insurance)
- Importers/Exporters must have a licensed Customs Broker/Tariff Clerk who is in good standing with the CED
Should you have any questions with regards to the program feel free to contact the Customs and Excise Division
- CATEGORY C Measure Article 1.3 (Enquiry Points)
The ICT Unit of the Government of Dominica launched a web application dubbed “Connect2Government” in 2012. The application can be described as a web based help desk system developed by the ICTU which will allow an Operator to query clients’ questions/inquiries using a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Database. The system offers two special features: a database of over one hundred questions on government services and an administrator search engine.
It is believed that this new application will offer quick and easy access to essential information on government services. This initiative forms part of the Unit’s ongoing effort to enhance the quality and availability of information to members of the general public.
The Information and Communications Technology Unit (ICTU) is the central coordinating and executing agency established by the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica (GOCD) to coordinate the planning, implementation and monitoring of e-Government and the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) within the public sector.
Recent upgrades include the accessing of Connect2Government through the internet, and plans are ongoing to make it available through a Mobile Application.
Relevant Legislation required to set up the legal platform to respond to enquiries within an established timeframe
- CATEGORY C Measure Article 3 (Advanced Rulings)
The CED in an effort to facilitate Importers, Exporters, interested parties and/or their representatives, introduces a new procedure for the issuance of advance rulings prior to the importation of goods.
The advance ruling sets forth the treatment that Customs will provide to goods at the time of importation, with regards to;
- The Goods Tariff Classification
- The eligibility of the origin of goods for exemption of customs duties limited to CARICOM preferential agreements
Requests for advance rulings shall be presented to the Comptroller of Customs prior to the importation of the goods through a written application on the prescribed form containing all the necessary information
Customs will issue the advance rulings within a reasonable time period from receipt of the application depending on the nature and complexity of the requests.
The advance rulings issued by the Comptroller shall be binding and shall be valid for a period of six months unless the law, facts or circumstances supporting the ruling has changed.
NB – Customs reserves the right to revoke, modify or invalidate a ruling in circumstances where the ruling was based on incomplete, incorrect, false, or misleading information
There is the need however to lay the legal platform for the establishment of a National Ruling Processing Unit in the Commonwealth of Dominica
- CATEGORY C Measure Article 5.3 (Test Procedures)
Efforts are ongoing by the Dominica Bureau of Standards to procure the required laboratory equipment for accreditation of the laboratory to successfully carry out confirmatory tests for goods imported into Dominica
- CATEGORY C Measure Article 6.2 (Specific Disciplines on Fees and Charges for Customs Processing imposed on or in connection with Importation and Exportation
Efforts are ongoing for mapping and costing the services rendered by Customs including the development of a fair and transparent fee structure
- CATEGORY C Measure Article 7.6 (Establishment and Publication of Average Release Times)
The ASYCUDAWorld System is a reliable tool utilized by the Customs Division to calculate the average Customs Release Times. However, there is a need to prepare a guide to measure the National Average Times for release of cargo consignments from importation to exit from port of entry
- CATEGORY C Measure Article 7.9 (Perishable Goods)
Legal guidelines for the processing of perishable goods are already developed and contained in Section 79 of the CARICOM Harmonized Regulations
- CATEGORY C Measure Article 10.4 (Single Window)
The operation of a Single Window is part of the Strategy of the Customs Division to facilitate trade in the most efficient and effective manner. A single window operation will create potential to reinforce the local economy and attract more international trade.
The Division has developed a Project Proposal for the implementation of a Single Window in the Commonwealth of Dominica and is currently seeking the much needed support from potential donors for its operation. It is the intention to begin the commencement of the project by the fourth quarter of 2019 with the much needed assistance of the revamped National Trade Facilitation Committee which was recently restructured in an effort to advance the implementation of the TFA. The Committee is made up of a wide range of individuals from both the public and private sector with Customs having a very strong presence on the make-up
A summary of the top outcomes and positive impacts of the Single Window;
- Reduced customs clearance times
- Reduce other border agency clearance times
- Reduce costs of clearance of goods
- Increased foreign investment
- Export market diversification
- Increased domestic investment
- Increase in consumer welfare
- Increase in employment
- CATEGORY C Measure Article 10.8 (Rejected Goods)
The Divisions of Agriculture, the Environmental Health Unit, and the Dominica Bureau of Standards has already developed draft legislation reflecting international standards which gives specific guidelines for the procedure and disposal of rejected goods
- CATEGORY C Measure Article 12 (Customs Cooperation)
Efforts are ongoing to develop guidelines at regional and international levels for information sharing utilizing the ASYCUDAWorld System. The Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) and the Advanced Cargo Information System (ACIS) are examples of the above.
The clearance of all non-commercial goods must be done using the Single Administrative Document (SSAD) on the ASYCUDAWORLD System.
What are non-commercial goods?
In general terms non-commercial goods are goods which are occasionally imported by a traveler or by a resident for their personal use
Importation of non-commercial goods shall be governed as follows:
- Obtain from the shipping agents who notified you of the arrival of the packages the ASYCUDA Waybill which gives release of the packages to you.
- Present the ASYCUDA Waybill to the relevant Port Office for payment of a tailgate fee.
- Present the ASYCUDA Waybill with the Tailgate Receipt to the Port Officer at the prescribed cargo shed who will locate the packages for you.
- Request the assistance of Customs stationed in the cargo shed who will then examine the contents of the packages with your assistance.
- The Customs Officer will record his examination on the ASYCUDA Waybill which will be handed over to you.
- The ASYCUDA Waybill should be taken to a Customs Cashier where the duty payment payable by you will be calculated and collected.
- Upon payment, with the receipt in your possession, return to the Shed where the packages were examined and present the receipt and other documents to the Customs Officer.
- After processing by Customs, present the Customs Release to a Port Officer who will then prepare a Gate Pass releasing the packages from Port’s Charge to your care.
- On exiting, the Port’s Gate Pass will be verified against the packages by security at the exit point
In Dominica, like in most other countries there are prohibitions and restrictions on the importation of certain items. It is basically intended for health and safety reasons, to safeguard society, or to curb the illegal use and importation of certain products.
Importers and travelers are sometimes unaware of the various permit requirements for the importation of those prohibitions and restrictions and as a result they are found to be in contravention of the Customs Act.
Any prohibited goods and restricted goods arriving without a valid permit is a breach of Schedule 3 of the Customs Act.
Even though ignorance is no excuse under the law, Customs would prefer to have knowledgeable clients who are acquiescent with the above.
Below are a list of the more common items that are prohibited:
- Counterfeit coins
- Fictitious stamps
- Food unfit for human consumption
- Indecent or obscene articles (pornography)
- Infected animals
- Pistols in the form of stylographic pens or pencils
- Any goods bearing the Coat of Arms of Dominica
Please find listed below items for which permits or licenses are required before importation:
- Importation of Arms and Ammunition must be accompanied with an “Import Permit” from the Commissioner of Police.
- Importation of gun powder, blasting powder, detonators and explosives of any description (including fireworks and firecrackers) must be accompanied with an “Import License” from the Commissioner of Police
- The Government of Dominica is the only legal authority to import Tear Gas into Dominica
- Importation of wheat or meslin flour of HS heading 1101 originating from the CARICOM MDCs (Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Surinam) and extra-regional countries, must be accompanied with the relevant “Import License” from the Ministry of Trade
- Importation of plants, plant parts, plant products, seeds, and other such regulated items must be accompanied with an “Import Permit” from the office of the Plant Protection and Quarantine Service of the Division of Agriculture
- Importation of potatoes of heading 0701.90.00 must be accompanied with an “Import Permit” from the Ministry of Trade
- Importation of meat must be accompanied with a “Phytosanitary Certificate” from the exporting country and an “Import Permit” from the Division of Agriculture
- Importation of Rice in packages in excess of 10 KGs, must be accompanied with an “Import License” issued by the Dominica Import and Export Agency (DEXIA). [exception being importations by DEXIA]
- Importation of sugar of HS heading 1701 (other than heading 1701.91.00 i.e. sugar containing added flavoring or coloring matter, and heading 1701.99.10 i.e. icing sugar), must be accompanied with an “Import Permit” issued by DEXIA with the exception being importations by DEXIA, Josephine Gabriel & Co, and Dominica Brewery & Beverages
- Importation of pets must be accompanied with a “Health Permit” from the exporting country and an “Import Permit” from the Veterinary Department of the Division of Agriculture.
- Importation of human remains must be accompanied with an “Official Certificate of cause of Death”, an “Embalmers Certificate” and a “Transit Permit” stating the names and age of the deceased, all issued by the relevant authorities in the exporting country
- Importation of radio transmission apparatus including V.H.F Radios must be accompanied with a “License” issued by the Ministry of Communication & Works authorizing the licensee to operate on specified frequencies
- Importation of Generators 20KVA and above must be accompanied with an “Import License” from the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL)
- Importation of cigarette making appliances, whether machine or paper must be accompanied by an “Import Permit’ from the Ministry of Health
- The importation of pesticides (insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, nematicides, rodenticides, acaricides, molluscicides), must be accompanied with an “Import License” from the Pesticide Control Board
The clearance of all commercial goods must be done using the Single Administrative Document (SAD) on the ASYCUDAWORLD System.
What are commercial goods?
In general terms commercial goods are goods which are sold or traded, or intended for sale or trade in the normal course of a firm’s business, or customarily used by the general public or offered to it for lease, license or sale
Goods can be classified as being commercial if they fall into any of the following categories:
- They are imported for business purposes.
- They are imported for resale.
- They are samples imported for business purposes.
Goods may be entered for the following reasons (Sec 38 (3) of the customs act)
- For warehousing, if so eligible;
- For home use, if so eligible;
- For transit or transshipment; or
- For temporary importation
What are the documents needed to import commercial goods?
- Shipping documents (Bills of Lading / or Airway Bills).
- An authentic invoice from the supplier.
- Import permits or licences, where applicable.
- An Original Certificate of Origin, if the goods are being imported from a country with which Dominica has a Trade Agreement, and for which preferential duty treatment is being claimed.
- NB - Other documents in relation to the importation of the goods may be requested
What are the payment options for clearing commercial goods?
- Debit or credit cards
- Business or bank certified cheque’s
- Pre-payment account
- Direct Bank Transfer through the National Bank of Dominica
Use of licensed Customs Brokers and tariff clerks
Businesses requiring to clear commercial goods must either hire the services of a licensed customs broker, or have persons in their employ registered and licensed as tariff clerks by the Comptroller of Customs
Private persons required to clear goods with a Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) value of more than EC$4000.00 must hire the services of a licensed Customs Broker
How are commercial goods cleared?
- Commercial goods must be cleared using the Single Administrative Document (SAD) on the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDAWORLD).
- If a Customs Broker is required, then all documents must be presented to the Broker who will complete the clearance process.
- If companies employees/or other persons so authorised by the company, is used to effect clearance, a letter of authorisation from the company must be provided to the Comptroller of Customs as well as a valid company ID (for employees).
Tax Payer Account (Trade Code) number
- Commercial Traders that are eligible for VAT registration must use their VAT ID number as their trader code number
- Commercial Traders that are not eligible for VAT registration must use their Inland Revenue Tax ID # as their Trader Code Number
- Non-commercial traders that have a valid Tax ID issued by Inland Revenue should use the Tax ID # as their trader code number
- Non-commercial traders that do not have a Tax ID will need to get a valid Tax ID from the Inland Revenue Division for use as their trader code number
The clearance process
- Collect shipping documents from local agent and pay relevant fees.
- A Customs Broker or authorized agent will prepare the commercial declaration and submit to Customs via the ASYCUDAWORLD System.
- The importer/agent will proceed to the Customs Cashier and pay the relevant fees after the declaration is assessed in ASYCUDA.
- After processing by customs, importers/agents will proceed to the port or warehouse where the goods are stored for examination (if required) and release
- After verifying that all customs requirements are met, a Customs Release Order will be generated and triggered to DASPA for release of the goods