Customs clearance services in Vietnam


In recent years, Vietnam has gained large investment from FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) especially from import/export electronic devices and clothing sectors. As a result, logistics services became more and more diversity and appealing offers for businesses. Among them, customs clearance services is one of the most crucial chains to ensure business’s supply chain remains stable and resilient. But due to the requirement of customs’s precision and strictness protocols, not everyone can handle this process without firm experience. 

So, by all means, what are customs clearance services in Vietnam? What are included in customs services and which types of businesses should choose this service? Let’s find out in this article. 

I. What are customs clearance services in Vietnam?

Customs clearance services can be explained by showing the process of goods being handled from the factory to the airports/ports and going to other countries. 

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Before goods can be exported/imported to/from a country, a specified governmental body called customs is authorized to inspect goods in accordance with the country’s laws and regulations for import/export goods, in which process, the owner needs to declare goods’s information with the customs department for verification.

When the customs department receives the owner’s declaration form, the department will conduct specialized operations such as: inspection, supervision, classification and other protocols after clearance with the goal of preventing illegal goods from entering the country.

Customs clearance, in business’s perspective, is the process by which the owner of the goods declares necessary information about the goods and complete tax duties, the customs will verify information and actual state of goods, if the goods are accepted, they can be imported/exported to the destined country. 

Filling customs declaration form is the most crucial step to decide whether the goods can be imported/exported or not. Some of the common mistakes with customs declaration forms are: 

  • Identifying wrong classification of the goods (HS code)
  • Wrong information about value of goods, sender or receiver
  • Wrong description about the goods
  • Incorrect labeling dangerous goods
  • Incorrect attaching the form or barcode
  • Not following with specified import/export laws of the destined country

The common issues that many companies get when conduct customs clearance process are:

  • Companies don’t have specialized department in conducting specialties that related to customs clearance procedures,
  • Export/Import to/from many countries but each country has different laws and regulations about import/export
  • Language barriers

For such reasons, companies often choose third party services from local logistics companies to avoid such burdens.

II. What are included in customs clearance services in Vietnam?

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Customs declaration

In fact, this process is not easy as it sounds, both experienced and fresh staffs in customs declaration services still get issues when declaring the form, especially when identifying HS code of the goods, for example, HS code of apples can be varied into different versions:

  • 08081001 for Braeburn apple
  • 08081002 for Granny Smith

Not to mention that many countries add secondary HS codes for goods to be classified in the country’s trade data. For this reason, the difficulty of declaring goods relies on secondary HS code, the popularity of matched HS codes and some of other elements.

When declaring information, the owner also needs to prepare common required papers: 

  • Commercial contract: 1 copy
  • Commercial receipt: The original and a copy
  • Bill of Lading: 1 copy
  • Packing list: The original and a copy
  • Certificate of Origin: 1 copy
  • Policy document (If available): 1 copy
  • Export licenses (For one-timed export): 1 copy, tracking document (For more than one time export): 1 copy
  • Customs declaration form: 2 originals (For physical document submit) or 1 record on customs digital system

Fulfilling customs declaration procedures

Before the goods are qualified for customs acceptance, they are classified into 3 main lanes: Green, Yellow and Red.

  • For the goods in green lane: Goods are exempted from document and actual inspection
  • For goods in yellow lane: Customs officers will conduct document inspection to decide if the goods will go to green or red lane.
  • For goods in red lane: Goods will be inspected in both document and actual methods. Customs officers will decide if the goods will go to green lane or reject the acceptance.

The step of fulfilling customs declaration procedures only proceeds when the goods are accepted in green lane, for yellow and red lane goods, the customs clearance service provider will handle the rest based on customs’s requirements.

Delivering accepted import/export goods

After the goods are accepted, customs declaration services provider will support customers in 2 methods:

  • For export goods: Providing modes of transport by aviation, maritime, LCL, FCL or other modes
  • For import goods: Providing delivery service to the desired warehouse for businesses.

III. Which businesses should use customs clearance services?

  • Businesses haven’t got specialized department for customs declaration procedures
  • Businesses with various import/export routes to other countries
  • Increasing the speed of customs declaration and ensuring the stability of goods flow
  • Minimize the risks of time consuming, additional expenses

IV. Which is the reliable service provider for customs clearance in Vietnam?

ALS is renowned as the leading aviation logistics company in Vietnam with large logistics infrastructure in the main hubs of Northern region. Furthermore, ALS has a close relationship with the customs department in terms of handling international import/export goods.

ALS commits to provide efficient customs declaration, handling customs procedures, goods clearance services with optimized cost. 

From our firm experience in providing professional services for international enterprises and forwarders, ALS helps goods circulation flow smoothly and stable in and out of Vietnam.

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