Importing goods in India requires the furnishing of certain documents and then acquiring licenses for customs clearance. Since various goods are imported in India and the documents vary from one good to another. However, general documents for import customs clearance are as follows:-

Import license – One of the documents issued by the Indian government to Importing goods from foreign nationals. It helps in customs clearance and other formalities. It can be termed as a prior condition before importing any product.

Bill of Entry is a legal document filed by Custom House Agent or an importer. It specifies that a good of certain value and description is entering from one country to another. Moreover, that good needs to be cleared by customs officials for free movement. It must be filed within 30 days from the date of arrival at the custom location. When a bill of entry is cleared, a ‘PASS-OUT ORDER’ is issued meaning that goods can now move out of customs. Bill of entry is submitted in different copies and given different colours for different purposes.

Three types of Bill of entry:-

  • Bill of entry for Home Consumption– full payment of customs duty is made to avoid payment of good at importer’s premises and is given in white colour.
  • Bill of entry for warehouses– when an importer does not need goods immediately, he keeps goods at customs warehouses and pays duty as and when he requires goods. It is given in buff colour.
  • Bill of entry for Ex-bond/Green Bill– this bond is filed when an importer custom clears the whole consignment or in parts kept at warehouses for home consumption whenever he requires. It is given in green colour. The rate of customs duty will be applicable according to the prevailing rates on cargo at the actual time of removal from warehouse.

The following are the other important documents for the importing goods:

Commercial invoice- is the first stage document required for every business transaction. The invoice must include information of cargo regarding description, price, quantity, address, signature and other necessary details. This would help in providing an image of what the products is. On the basis of this information, customs officials determine the valuation of Importing goods by assessing actual market value.It is done in order to intercept fraudulent trade practices like over/under pricing of Importing goods by importer/exporter.

Airway bill/Bill of lading/BL-is issued by a carrier to a shipper to acknowledge the receipt of a shipment. It can be shown to customs officials as a valid proof of shipment.This bill provides the description of the cargo with terms of delivery. It is a conclusive receipt.

Insurance certificate- This certificate provides insurance information that helps custom officials to verify whether the cargo includes insurance or not. It is a supporting document against importer’s declaration in terms of delivery.

Purchase order/PO–PO forms a binding contract on both importer and exporter. It protects exporter if importer denies assessing the value of the production the basis of information provided on Purchase order.

Technical write-up – When imported good is technical and requires description regarding its use, then technical write-up becomes an indispensable part. This helps custom officials to ascertain market value.

GATT/DGFT declaration– every importer needs to file this declaration along with other documents needed for customs clearance. It establishes standards for participating in international trade.
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