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Uganda Customs Clearance Document Requirements

Customs Clearance

Customs clearance is mandatory for all goods imported in to the country.

Customs Clearance Document Requirements

i. Note that the standard documents used in the application for tax exemption are the
same documents that are used for clearance of goods. Additional documents may be
required on a case by case basis depending on the nature of the import.

ii. Note that UN organisations, by the nature of their registration are duty and tax free.
WFP food imports are tax free. However, any relief items are granted exemption on
a case by case basis.

Weight and Value Band

For document rates over 5 lbs., please see the DHL Express 9:00 (non doc) rates starting at 6
lbs. below. These rates are applicable to both documents and non-documents.

Please refer to the Rate Zone Table (page 6) when determining your rates.

A) Customs Clearance for Import by Road

The EAC Heads of State early this year (2013) assented to the One Stop Border Posts Bill
2012 which provides for the establishment of One Stop Border Posts (OSBP) in the region in
order to facilitate trade through the efficient movement of goods and people within EAC.
This OSBP bill concept is aimed at harmonising transit clearance, with two officers from
bordering countries sitting under one roof to handle transit documents concurrently in
order to save time.
Construction of a border post at Malaba on Kenya-Uganda border is underway and also
funding of ASYCUDA WORLD, the system that allows 24-hour clearing of cargo using remote
control, the electronic cargo tracking system and integrated border management system in
both Malaba and Busia borders.
Outlined below is an overview of the customs clearance process for the importation of cargo
conveyed by road at Malaba and Busia Uganda border Customs Stations, as it relates to WFP
humanitarian food aid commodities and relief items imports. However, process (A) also
applies to other humanitarian organisations and refers to transit entry clearance whereby
Malaba customs clears goods to the Internal Container Depots in Kampala/Jinja, etc., for
onward Inland clearance.

Outward clearance from Kenya (Export) is quite uncomplicated. Major documentation will
have been done at the point of loading (Mombasa or Nairobi). At Malaba simple
reconciliation is done to confirm exit and ensure that transit cargo is not dumped within
Kenya. Clearance of imported goods in Uganda may involve various government agencies
with different public service roles as well as standards. For example in health it would be the
monitoring of standards in terms of protection of diseases on human, animals and plants.
Therefore other agencies like Uganda National Bureau of Standards, Uganda Drugs
Authority and Ministry of Agriculture plant Protection officers ( Uganda Quarantine
Inspection Services) may be involved in physical verification of the cargo.

1. In bound trucks follow a queue, after clearance through the Kenya Revenue Authority
(KRA). Each truck stops at the Lower Inward Gate Uganda, the driver presents two copies of
Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Bill of Entry C63 for recording truck number, the cargo
description and allocation of an inward rotation number. (Duration will depend in what
position the truck is in the queue, but in all within 1hour).
2. The truck proceeds to the yard and stops at the gate entrance where the driver is issued
with a parking invoice. On entering the yard each truck is then subjected to verification by
three regulatory authorities. (Duration: 30 minutes minimum).

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA):

WFP food items are not subject to full URA customs physical verification but ‘sighting’. Also
a customs seal is affixed onto the fuel tank of every truck to prevent drivers from dumping
fuel on the black market.

Uganda Quarantine Inspection Services (UQIS):

Inspectors check for any pest infestation, plant infections, grain breakage or contamination
in commodities entering the country or in transit to third countries as per international
conventions. Upon checking each truck, the UQIS inspector allows it in or directs fumigation
or may recommend destruction, depending on the findings. For processed foodstuffs, after
inspection he forwards to UNBS for quality check.

Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS):

Inspectors check for conformity with standards relating to quality, shelf life, packaging, and
contamination in the foodstuffs and relief items. Imports meeting the required standards
are allowed in, but any commodity falling short of these standards is impounded, re-
exported to the country of origin or destroyed.

3. After the physical verification a truck proceeds to the parking yard. The driver hands
over the two original C63 crossing copies and a copy of the WFP Waybill to the WFP clearing
office at Malaba. For NGOs the same would apply, two original C63 and a copy of the
organisations waybill to their appointed agent.

4. The transporters/drivers pays URA Road user charges per truck of UGX 82,200/= for
Kampala and UGX 10,000/= for Tororo respectively plus bank charges. A bank payment
advice form is requested for and payment is made through the bank, the returns take not
less than 4 hours before URA issues a receipt.

Furthermore the transporters must pay parking fees of UGX 10,000 after every 24 hours per
truck in the old yard or UGX 12,000 in the new yard. The Road User Charge receipt is handed
to WFP staff/ or authorised clearing agent to attach to the entry which will be prepared as

5. The WFP/NGO Uganda customs documentation commences at this point. A Customs

Bill of Entry (IM4) is prepared for declaration of each truck received, by self-data capture
done electronically on-line with a system known as Direct Trader Input (DTI) / Automated
System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA World) which is linked to the main URA server for
instant data transfer from a remote DTI Centre. A hard copy print-out of each bill of entry is
attached with the two C63 crossing copies plus a WFP/NGO non-commercial invoice. This
compilation is hand carried back to UQIS and UNBS for official certification. The UNBS also
requires submission of a completed application forms indicating details relevant for import
inspection and clearance.

6. Upon endorsement by UQIS and UNBS, the entries are lodged at the Customs Long-room
receiving section. Here, the entry reference numbers (allocated at data capture) plus other
cargo particulars are manually entered in a receiving register.
Note: WFP has a blanket duty exemption on imports of Food items but for imports of Non
Food Items, a specific tax exemption form is obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
per consignment and attached on the Bill of Entry. NGOs require the tax exemption without
which they must pay the full tax.

The Customs Long-room is a restricted area to non-customs staff members. WFP/NGO staff
is not exceptional in this case. Consignees and their agents therefore have limited control
over the documents lodged once they are received at lodging point. The lodged entries
process is however followed up through window pin holes. Currently for WFP, the maximum
time frame allotted within which to process a lodged home use entry is 48hrs.
7. From the Receiving section, the entry is forwarded to the Assessment desk to be vetted
for any discrepancies in the declaration. The cargo value is reviewed; any errors or
inconsistencies in declaration or data capture are queried and corrected. The Officer also
queries the ASYCUDA World system to determine the channel of further processing i.e.
Green, Yellow or Red. Invariably if the system allocates WFP entries to the green channel
the entries are forwarded to the Releasing Officer who sends the courier or agent or
consignee in the case of WFP to take them to the Bonds section.

8. At the Bonds section, dispatch copies of the C63 from Kenya are attached to the
original C63 Crossing copy and reconciliation is made in the register. The Entries are then
sent back to the Releasing officer’s desk (In Charge Customs Long-room)

9. The Releasing Officer then reviews each entry to ensure that all procedures have been
observed, prints a release order then endorses the entry as released and forwards to
Separation desk.

10. At Separation desk, an entry is split into Importer’s copies and Customs Station
copies. On receiving WFP/NGO copies, the authorised agent/WFP further separate office
copies from driver’s copies and hand over the latter to the transporters representative or

11. Finally the driver is given his copy of the entry and clears through the upper gate.
Drivers are assisted by their respective transport company representatives to flag them off.

NOTE: In some cases the IM4 entries are lodged at Malaba for imports depending on the
organisations planning and requirements. This saves money and time since the same 8
stages of customs process will be repeated for inland clearance at ICD in Kampala.

B) Customs Clearance for Import by Rail

In 2005 the Government of Kenya and the Government of Uganda outsourced the
management of the Kenya Railways and Uganda Railways to the Rift Valley Railways
Consortium (RVR) from South Africa. The selection of RVR management was done through
competitive bidding.

For humanitarian organisations importing by rail transport CIP Kampala, the goods are
cleared in transit by Rift Valley Railways at Tororo to Kampala for final clearance.

The Procedures for clearance of inbound cargo conveyed by Railway bear some similarity
with stages 1 to 8 outlined above albeit with an older version of customs regime. Processing
is done at the Tororo Railway Station & Tororo Customs Station, about 17 Km away from the
Malaba border point. This following process is customised to WFP because of the presence
of their warehouses in Tororo.
In the past, from the Kenyan port of Mombasa, the trains were operated by Kenya Railways
Corporation (KRC). On arrival at Malaba Railway Station the KRC cleared the wagons to cross
into Uganda. KRC locomotives would then terminate their journey at this point. The Rift
Valley Railways (RVR) now has the concession to operate the KRC and URC.

Once in Uganda, RVR dispatches locomotives from Tororo across the border, to marshal and
shunt the wagons to Tororo Railway Station Interstate yard.

The wagons consigned to WFP Kampala are cleared by RVR as transit and manifested for
onward rail to Kampala. The wagons consigned to WFP Tororo are marshalled at the Goods
shed pending customs clearance by the WFP office or its designated agent.

1. Every morning WFP clearing staff/agent goes to the Tororo Railway Station and first
take stand age of the newly arrived wagons. They then proceed to the customs office and
receive the C63s for the Tororo bound wagons and proceed to the RVR Goods Agent who
raises the wagon consignment notes accordingly.

2. These documents are compiled to make a Customs Bill of Entry (IM4) declaration for all
the wagons manifested and a Cargo receipt is issued by the customs office for RVR to
immediately shunt the wagons to WFP Tororo Warehouse rail siding.

3. The IM4 Entry is taken to URA Tororo Customs Long room for registration and data
capture. Note this customs station has not yet upgraded to ASYCUDA World therefore no
self-data capture is yet possible here but is done by a customs officer at the station.

4. A Customs Verification Officer is assigned to inspect the cargo at the warehouse siding
and offloading can proceed, in the presence of the freight forwarders representative’s i.e. of
nominated WFP forwarders at Mombasa Port.

5. The Verification Officer writes a Verification Account detailing the cargo s\he has

6. The IM4 entry is forwarded for valuation and assessment. In case of a rejection we are
notified and make the amendment.

7. Finally the IM4 entry is released and forwarded for separation.

8. At separation desk, importer’s copies are split from Customs station copies.

Note: It was intended for the joint Kenya/Uganda Customs border clearance for inbound
cargo by Rail, at Malaba, Kenya Railway Station. Entry document processing will no longer
be at Tororo but at URA Customs Malaba, Uganda, using the Electronic on-line DTI ASYCUDA
World system already in use for cargo by Road. To date this has only been partially
implemented to the extent that there are KRA officers who sit in URA offices and vice versa.
But full joint border operations have not yet been practically implemented. This
collaboration is a project by the World Bank.

Before the computerized system came into place it was possible to do a pre-clearance of
goods pending approval of duty and tax exemption. The current system does not have a
provision for this. To facilitate smooth flow of humanitarian assistance a new process INSITU
has been introduced. The Clearing agent is able to pre-clear goods into a “warehouse” but
releases them for use by the consignee pending receipt of the exemption. The agent then
becomes responsible to the Government for the follow-up of the exemption for submission
to customs.