Customs clearance Philippines

The Philippines is a major market for business development, thanks to its thriving economy and abundance of potential sectors of activity for companies. If you are operating a business in the Philippines, then you will likely need to import certain goods into the country. 

The key to importation is properly navigating the intricacies of customs clearance regulations to ensure that your products reach the intended destination. This article will dive deeper into customs clearance in the Philippines and explore how an importer of record can make the process easier.

How does the customs clearance process work in the Philippines?

Submit the required import documents

To ensure an efficient customs clearance process, it is essential to prepare the necessary documents and permits thoroughly. This will be the primary element that border protection officers will look at before determining how to proceed with your import clearance. The following documents are mandatory for customs clearance:

  • Commercial invoice: A detailed document describing goods, including quantity, price, and terms of sale. 
  • Bill of lading: A legal document with details of the cargo in a shipment, its value, delivery specifications, and the receiving party.
  • Packaging list: The document specifies what is inside each package/shipping container.
  • Certificate of origin: Certificate confirming where your products are coming from.
  • Product specification: Details regarding the type of products, quantity, and weight.

It is important to keep in mind that import regulations vary depending on the type of goods you are submitting for customs clearance in the Philippines. You will therefore need to present the corresponding permits and certificates. For more information on the full import process, read this guide to importing goods into the Philippines. 

Navigating customs inspections and clearance delays

Any shipment entering the Philippines will be subjected to customs clearance, regardless of port of entry (air, sea, and land). Upon arrival, border officials will determine through which inspection lane your goods will enter, based on the type of goods and their risk assessment:

  1. Green Lane: Low-risk shipment. No physical inspections or document reviews are conducted. Clearance generally takes 1-2 days.
  2. Yellow Lane: Moderate-risk shipment. Only document reviews will be conducted. Clearance generally takes 3-4 days.
  3. Red Lane: High-risk shipment. Goods will be subjected to physical inspection and document review. Clearance can take 7 days or more.

Once a shipment has been inspected and is released by customs officials, it may be put through to the Blue Lane, which consists of a Post-Clearance audit. This audit is conducted to verify and improve compliance of importing companies and traders. The audit can be a complex process and primarily looks into your commercial and financial data, and company assets. 

Additional considerations for clearing customs in the Philippines

If you are interested in shipping goods into the Philippines, then it will also be necessary for you to pay the necessary customs taxes and duties on your shipment before it can be released. The duties are calculated based on the full value of a shipment and are mandatory for all imports. To learn more, check out this article on how to calculate import tax and duties in the Philippines.

You should also thoroughly research logistical-specific customs regulations, depending on the type of goods you are importing. Shipping by air, for example, can be a time-efficient, albeit expensive means of transportation of goods. However, certain goods may be required to be shipped exclusively by sea, as is the case with toxic and chemical substances, for example.

It is best practice to stay up to date with current regulations and trade laws in the Philippines regarding the specific type of good that you wish to import through the Philippine National Trade Repository.

How does an Importer of Record make customs clearance easier?

What is an Importer of Record?

An Importer of Record (IOR) helps you import goods into the Philippines without the need to set up a local legal entity or obtain import licenses. As your consignee throughout the shipment process, the IOR will ensure that goods are shipped following Philippine customs regulations through a reputable logistics network. 

An IOR offers a convenient approach to importing goods quickly without needing a business entity in the Philippines or having to spend valuable time and resources securing an import license. This is beneficial for the timely handling of both one-time imports and recurring shipments.

Emerhub’s Importer of Record service has all the necessary permits and licenses to start importing immediately. Our team is also well-versed in import laws and regulations, which will avoid penalties and delays for compliance with Customs and Border Protection. Our experts will also help you handle any issues regarding red-lane inspections and audits.

IOR customs clearance process

Clearing customs in the Philippines can be a complex affair. As an importer, you must ensure that all the necessary documentation has been provided, while also calculating duties. Any mistakes or missing documentation can result in further complications and delays in your goods being released by customs. 

Through its experience, the IOR has established a streamlined process to ensure that your shipment clears customs in as little time as possible: 

  1. The IOR secures the Import Clearance Certificate (ICC) from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
  2. It then registers your shipment with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) before it arrives in the Philippines.
  3. Once the shipment arrives in the country, the IOR pays the customs duties based on the value of the goods.
  4. Finally, after the clearance process, IOR  arranges the release and delivery of the goods to their destination.

If you are looking to avoid having to navigate the complexities of customs clearance in the Philippines and ensure that your goods are imported efficiently, contact Emerhub via the form below!

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