Guides

Customs clearance in sea

Learn how to navigate the different customs regulations to get your shipment through customs without a hitch. This guide will be updated with the latest changes that each SEA country brings about.

Customs clearance in Southeast Asia

A Crash Course for B2C E-commerce Businesses

Southeast Asia (SEA) has been heralded as the next land of opportunity for e-commerce. With fast-growing markets like Indonesia looking ripe for cross-border sales of your e-commerce goods, it would ideal for your shipment to sail through customs, reaching your customers safely and on time.

Dealing with customs in Southeast Asia could be challenging seeing that each country has its own set of customs regulations, import duties, paperwork and taxes that need to be complied with.

This is a living page covering how best to navigate the different customs regulations to get your products through customs without a hitch. This guide will be updated with the latest changes that each SEA country brings about.


PART 1: BASICS OF CLEARING CUSTOMS

1. Shipping Regulations

Regulations vary depending on which country you are shipping to and from. Ensure that you are aware of the licenses required, special provisions and restricted and prohibited goods for the respective countries. Most countries also require importers to register with the relevant trade authorities and obtain customs identification numbers.

In most cases, importing items into countries would require registration for required permits and licenses. For e-commerce merchants who do not have these permits and licenses, you have the option of using shipping partners as importers of record.

If you are planning on importing goods into Southeast Asian countries using your own company, find out each country’s import regulations below:

Import regulations in Indonesia

Import regulations in Thailand

Import regulations in Malaysia

Import regulations in Philippines

Import regulations in Singapore

Import regulations in Vietnam

Import regulations in Brunei

2. Documentation

Ensure that you have the right set of documents as well as confirm that all necessary information has been included in these documents in advance.

This is important as the customs officers will process and classify your shipment based on the given documents. Inaccurate or missing documents may lead to delays at the customs clearance.

Usually, the documentation you would need to pass to your shipping partner is the following:

Commercial Invoice

Gives total shipment value. Helps to determine the import duties and taxes, and eligibility of shipment.

Packing List

Gives product details, shipment volume in kilograms (KG) or cubic metres (CBM), and serves as a checklist to ensure shipment has been packed correctly or not.

Volumetric dimensions of your package are often required on shipping-related documents, which can be calculated using this formula:

3. Restricted & prohibited goods

Ensure that you have the right set of documents as well as confirm that all necessary information has been included in these documents in advance.

This is important as the customs officers will process and classify your shipment based on the given documents. Inaccurate or missing documents may lead to delays at the customs clearance.

Usually, the documentation you would need to pass to your shipping partner is the following:

Commercial Invoice

Gives total shipment value. Helps to determine the import duties and taxes, and eligibility of shipment.

Packing List

Gives product details, shipment volume in kilograms (KG) or cubic metres (CBM), and serves as a checklist to ensure shipment has been packed correctly or not.

Volumetric dimensions of your package are often required on shipping-related documents, which can be calculated using this formula:

4. Duties & taxes

Ensure that you have the right set of documents as well as confirm that all necessary information has been included in these documents in advance.

This is important as the customs officers will process and classify your shipment based on the given documents. Inaccurate or missing documents may lead to delays at the customs clearance.

Usually, the documentation you would need to pass to your shipping partner is the following:

Commercial Invoice

Gives total shipment value. Helps to determine the import duties and taxes, and eligibility of shipment.

Packing List

Gives product details, shipment volume in kilograms (KG) or cubic metres (CBM), and serves as a checklist to ensure shipment has been packed correctly or not.

Volumetric dimensions of your package are often required on shipping-related documents, which can be calculated using this formula:

5. Calculating import tax

Ensure that you have the right set of documents as well as confirm that all necessary information has been included in these documents in advance.

This is important as the customs officers will process and classify your shipment based on the given documents. Inaccurate or missing documents may lead to delays at the customs clearance.

Usually, the documentation you would need to pass to your shipping partner is the following:

Commercial Invoice

Gives total shipment value. Helps to determine the import duties and taxes, and eligibility of shipment.

Packing List

Gives product details, shipment volume in kilograms (KG) or cubic metres (CBM), and serves as a checklist to ensure shipment has been packed correctly or not.

Volumetric dimensions of your package are often required on shipping-related documents, which can be calculated using this formula:

Part 2: Best Practices

1. Shipping Regulations

Regulations vary depending on which country you are shipping to and from. Ensure that you are aware of the licenses required, special provisions and restricted and prohibited goods for the respective countries. Most countries also require importers to register with the relevant trade authorities and obtain customs identification numbers.

In most cases, importing items into countries would require registration for required permits and licenses. For e-commerce merchants who do not have these permits and licenses, you have the option of using shipping partners as importers of record.

If you are planning on importing goods into Southeast Asian countries using your own company, find out each country’s import regulations below:

2. Documentation

Ensure that you have the right set of documents as well as confirm that all necessary information has been included in these documents in advance.

This is important as the customs officers will process and classify your shipment based on the given documents. Inaccurate or missing documents may lead to delays at the customs clearance.

Usually, the documentation you would need to pass to your shipping partner is the following:

Commercial Invoice

Gives total shipment value. Helps to determine the import duties and taxes, and eligibility of shipment.

Packing List

Gives product details, shipment volume in kilograms (KG) or cubic metres (CBM), and serves as a checklist to ensure shipment has been packed correctly or not.

Volumetric dimensions of your package are often required on shipping-related documents, which can be calculated using this formula:

3. Restricted & prohibited goods

Ensure that you have the right set of documents as well as confirm that all necessary information has been included in these documents in advance.

This is important as the customs officers will process and classify your shipment based on the given documents. Inaccurate or missing documents may lead to delays at the customs clearance.

Usually, the documentation you would need to pass to your shipping partner is the following:

Commercial Invoice

Gives total shipment value. Helps to determine the import duties and taxes, and eligibility of shipment.

Packing List

Gives product details, shipment volume in kilograms (KG) or cubic metres (CBM), and serves as a checklist to ensure shipment has been packed correctly or not.

Volumetric dimensions of your package are often required on shipping-related documents, which can be calculated using this formula:

 

4. Duties & taxes

Ensure that you have the right set of documents as well as confirm that all necessary information has been included in these documents in advance.

This is important as the customs officers will process and classify your shipment based on the given documents. Inaccurate or missing documents may lead to delays at the customs clearance.

Usually, the documentation you would need to pass to your shipping partner is the following:

Commercial Invoice

Gives total shipment value. Helps to determine the import duties and taxes, and eligibility of shipment.

Packing List

Gives product details, shipment volume in kilograms (KG) or cubic metres (CBM), and serves as a checklist to ensure shipment has been packed correctly or not.

Volumetric dimensions of your package are often required on shipping-related documents, which can be calculated using this formula:

5. Calculating import tax

Ensure that you have the right set of documents as well as confirm that all necessary information has been included in these documents in advance.

This is important as the customs officers will process and classify your shipment based on the given documents. Inaccurate or missing documents may lead to delays at the customs clearance.

Usually, the documentation you would need to pass to your shipping partner is the following:

Commercial Invoice

Gives total shipment value. Helps to determine the import duties and taxes, and eligibility of shipment.

Packing List

Gives product details, shipment volume in kilograms (KG) or cubic metres (CBM), and serves as a checklist to ensure shipment has been packed correctly or not.

Volumetric dimensions of your package are often required on shipping-related documents, which can be calculated using this formula:

Part 3: Countries

1. Shipping Regulations

Regulations vary depending on which country you are shipping to and from. Ensure that you are aware of the licenses required, special provisions and restricted and prohibited goods for the respective countries. Most countries also require importers to register with the relevant trade authorities and obtain customs identification numbers.

In most cases, importing items into countries would require registration for required permits and licenses. For e-commerce merchants who do not have these permits and licenses, you have the option of using shipping partners as importers of record.

If you are planning on importing goods into Southeast Asian countries using your own company, find out each country’s import regulations below:

2. Documentation

Ensure that you have the right set of documents as well as confirm that all necessary information has been included in these documents in advance.

This is important as the customs officers will process and classify your shipment based on the given documents. Inaccurate or missing documents may lead to delays at the customs clearance.

Usually, the documentation you would need to pass to your shipping partner is the following:

Commercial Invoice

Gives total shipment value. Helps to determine the import duties and taxes, and eligibility of shipment.

Packing List

Gives product details, shipment volume in kilograms (KG) or cubic metres (CBM), and serves as a checklist to ensure shipment has been packed correctly or not.

Volumetric dimensions of your package are often required on shipping-related documents, which can be calculated using this formula:

3. Restricted & prohibited goods

Ensure that you have the right set of documents as well as confirm that all necessary information has been included in these documents in advance.

This is important as the customs officers will process and classify your shipment based on the given documents. Inaccurate or missing documents may lead to delays at the customs clearance.

Usually, the documentation you would need to pass to your shipping partner is the following:

Commercial Invoice

Gives total shipment value. Helps to determine the import duties and taxes, and eligibility of shipment.

Packing List

Gives product details, shipment volume in kilograms (KG) or cubic metres (CBM), and serves as a checklist to ensure shipment has been packed correctly or not.

Volumetric dimensions of your package are often required on shipping-related documents, which can be calculated using this formula:

4. Duties & taxes

Ensure that you have the right set of documents as well as confirm that all necessary information has been included in these documents in advance.

This is important as the customs officers will process and classify your shipment based on the given documents. Inaccurate or missing documents may lead to delays at the customs clearance.

Usually, the documentation you would need to pass to your shipping partner is the following:

Commercial Invoice

Gives total shipment value. Helps to determine the import duties and taxes, and eligibility of shipment.

Packing List

Gives product details, shipment volume in kilograms (KG) or cubic metres (CBM), and serves as a checklist to ensure shipment has been packed correctly or not.

Volumetric dimensions of your package are often required on shipping-related documents, which can be calculated using this formula:

5. Calculating import tax

Ensure that you have the right set of documents as well as confirm that all necessary information has been included in these documents in advance.

This is important as the customs officers will process and classify your shipment based on the given documents. Inaccurate or missing documents may lead to delays at the customs clearance.

Usually, the documentation you would need to pass to your shipping partner is the following:

Commercial Invoice

Gives total shipment value. Helps to determine the import duties and taxes, and eligibility of shipment.

Packing List

Gives product details, shipment volume in kilograms (KG) or cubic metres (CBM), and serves as a checklist to ensure shipment has been packed correctly or not.

Volumetric dimensions of your package are often required on shipping-related documents, which can be calculated using this formula:

Questions about Customs Clearance

Should you require more detailed information or assistance on customs clearance for your B2C cross-border shipments, you may contact us or schedule a free consultation.

Contact Us

More on Best Shipping Practices In SEA

Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about shipping within Southeast Asia or stay updated with the latest news in the e-commerce and logistics industries.

Sign up

Get all our country information offline and on the go with our pocket Guide to Customs Clearance in SEA 2019!

Get My Free Copy

Connect with us

Subscribe to our email newsletter and receive the latest news and insights into the world of
eCommerce and logistics in Southeast Asia.

   
Follow us