Customs Procedures

On importation and exportation of goods there are following requirements regarding customs procedures.

  1. On arrival or departure a cargo manifest stating the same information as on the bill of loading or Airway bill has to be delivered to customs. The manifest is then used for customs clearance control. This clearance control has for some years been computerised and the main cargo/forwarding firms supply the manifest information with EDI covering ca. 97% of the consignments. Every import consignment has a unique reference number given by the freight forwarder according to regulation. No clearance is allowed unless the manifest information has been delivered to customs. In some cases of urgency special clearance permit is allowed although complete information is not available.
  2. The manifested cargo is not to be removed from the premises of the forwarding firm unless the goods have been cleared through customs. The forwarder is liable for customs duties if the goods are removed from his premises without permit. The accommodations for keeping goods have to be accepted by the customs authorities.
  3. Customs officers can inspect goods at any step of the importation procedure.
  4. Consignments can be stowed in bonded warehouses or a tax-free zone. Special regulations cover those procedures but the main purpose is to split up consignments to the convenience of the user. In the case of tax-free zone some processing is allowed.
    • Bill of loading/Seaway bill/Airway bill.
    • Commercial invoice, or similar information if invoice is not available.
    • Bills/invoices covering cost of delivery other than stated on the commercial invoice (freight, packing, insurance and forwarding charges and fees) in accordance with the customs value (cif on import, fob on export).
    • Other documentation if necessary to determine the goods.
    • Permits and certificates if necessary according to the legislation covering the respective commodities.
  5. To be able to clear goods for free circulation an entry form has to be filled out, signed and handed over to customs with following supplementary documents:
  6. Clearance by customs authorities was computerised in 1988 and covers all importation aspects, f. ex. calculation of duties, manifest/inventory control, statistics, accounting and other fact-finding and control mechanics.
  7. Electronic data interchange, EDI, in customs clearance has been introduced and covers about 98% of the declarations of import and export firms.
  8. Clearance can be made through customs in some minuets if EDI is used but may take longer time if manually processed and then usually few hours.
  9. Declarants can appeal against customs decisions to the local customs director if they believe that customs value, tariff heading or duties are wrongly levied by customs officers. They can reappeal to a special customs procedures committee which gives the final verdict.
  10. Customs valuation procedures is based on WTO rules of valuation. Tariffs are applied to the c.i.f. value in imports and f.o.b. value in exports. The method of pre-shipment inspection is not practiced in Iceland. In cases of fraud, valuation is sometimes obtained with the assistance of customs authorities of the originating country.
  11. Minimum prices or reference prices are not used as bases for customs valuation. Average prices for tariff headings and exporting country are sometimes used as guidance to discover discrepancies.
  12. There are no special formalities for importation of goods other than mentioned before such as licences and special permits.