Custom regulations

Documents required for export include:
-    Customs declaration form for export goods (original);
-    Detailed packing list (original);
-    Export permit for goods requiring export permit (original);
-    Purchase and sale contract or equivalent documents (copy);
-    Other documents as stipulated by law for specific items (copy).

Documents required for import include:
-    Customs declaration form for import goods (original);
-    Commercial invoice;
-    Purchase and sale contract or equivalent documents (copy);
-    Import permit for goods requiring import permit (original);
-    Bill of lading (copy);
-    Detailed packing list (original);
-    Certificate of origin (original). It is requited to be eligible for the preferential or special preferential rates, the import goods must be accompanied by an appropriate C/O certifying that they are sourced from preferential treatment countries, otherwise C/O is not required.
-    Certificate of registration for quality inspection issued by an inspection organization or note on exemption from state quality control issued by the competent authority and other documents as stipulated by law.

Customs procedures are completed at customs offices established at international seaports, international river ports, international civil airports, international railway stations, international post offices, or land border gates or at customs offices established elsewhere under the decision of the Minister of Finance.

The head of the customs office that receives customs declaration shall determine whether to examine the merchandise or the extent of examination. Vietnam has adopted a system of minimum customs inspection. Under the newly amended Law on Customs, whether a consignment of goods is examined or not depends on the result of analysis of information, records of compliance with law by the owner, and the level of risk of breach of the customs law. Instead of actual customs examination before clearance of goods, the customs now relies more on post-entry auditing to enforce the law.

Examination Exemption: The actual customs inspection is exempted for:
-    Goods being imported or exported by owners with good observance of the law;
-    Export goods, except those produced from imported materials and those subject to conditional export;
-    Import goods which are machinery and equipment to form fixed assets and which are tax exempt as part of an investment project;
-    Goods imported into free trade zones, transit ports and customs bond warehouses, goods in transit, emergency relief goods, specialized goods directly servicing national defense and security, humanitarian aid goods and goods temporarily imported for re-exported within a specified time;
-    Goods in other special cases as may be decided by the Prime Minister;
-    Goods other than the above mentioned may be exempted from actual customs examination if the analysis of information from various sources and from a reconnaissance by Customs establishes that there is no possibility of a breach of the law of customs.
Random examination of no more than 5% of merchandise may be conducted by the customs to assess the goods owner’s compliance with the customs law.
Whole –Lot Examination shall be applied to goods whose owners have bad customs records or where customs violation is suspected.

In general, goods are released after customs procedures have been completed and taxes have been paid. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, where there is an appropriate reason, declarers may be allowed to submit certain documents in delay. Deferred tax payment may also be applicable to certain type of merchandise such as inputs imported for export manufacturing etc. Goods imported in emergency cases are released immediately without waiting for the completion of customs procedures or paying taxes.
For import or export goods which must be appraised in order to as certain if they are permitted to be imported or exported, if the goods owner requests to hold the goods for preservation, the customs office shall accept such request only in the case where all conditions for customs control have been satisfied.
For goods which are permitted to be imported or exported but their value must be verified or they must be appraised, analyzed and classified in order to determine the amount of duty payable, such goods shall be cleared by Customs only after the goods owner has discharged the obligation to pay duty on the basis of a self –declaration and assessment of duty and has provides sufficient guarantee in the form of a surety, a deposit or some other appropriate instrument, covering the ultimate payment of customs duties for which the goods may be liable as the results of the verification of the value of the goods and of the appraisal, analysis and classification of the goods.

Post-clearance Audit
Where merchandise has been released to the importer and customs comes to believe that the merchandise has been entered in violation of the laws, they may decided to carry out post customs clearance examination. Customs has the right to do so within five years after the date of registration of the customs declaration.
Signs of violation include illegal or invalid customs declarations, unreasonable tariff duties, commercial and tax fraud and invalid import and export permits for those goods that fall into the sector management. Post clearance audit may be conducted:
-    At the customs office to compare declarations with information, analysis and related Customs law or
-    At the enterprises to compare customs declarations with accounting records of the importer;
-    Actual examination of the cleared goods will be conducted if necessary.

Merchandise Classification for Tax Purpose
If customs office disagrees with the classification of the declarer, they may ask the declarer to supply additional documents or the samples under the witness of the declarer for analysis, classification and determination of tax rate. If the declarer disagrees with the classification of customs office, he may hire another organization at his own expense to reclassify the merchandise.