customs clearance procedure in vietnam

customs clearance procedure in Vietnam

Are you planning to import or export goods from Vietnam? Navigating the customs clearance process can be complex, but understanding the procedures involved is crucial for ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience. In this comprehensive article, Expander Logistics will provide you with the customs clearance procedures in Vietnam and the essential information you need to know.

customs clearance procedure in vietnam

What is Customs Clearance?

Customs Clearance is necessary activities to ensure that goods exported or imported across borders legally and safely with all relevant regulations and requirements. In Vietnam, the customs clearance process is overseen by the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC). The GDVC is responsible for implementing customs policies, procedures, and regulations to facilitate international trade while safeguarding the country’s interests.

Customs Clearance Procedure for Import Goods

Step 1: Preparation

  • Open a VNACCS Customs Declaration account and prepare a digital signature (token).
  • Install VNACCS Customs Declaration software.
  • Identify the goods: Determine the HS Code, and ensure that the declared goods’ names comply with the requirements of the Customs authorities.
  • Identify Licenses and Import Specializations (if applicable).
  • Prepare the necessary documents, including: Sales Contract, Bill of Lading, Packing List, Certificate of Origin (C/O), Commercial Invoice.

Step 2: Declare information about the shipment using the software.

Step 3: Submit the declaration. The Customs system will return one of three results:

  • Green Lane: The declaration is automatically cleared when the business pays taxes.
  • Gold Lane: Customs will review the documents in detail; if the information is correct, the goods will be easily cleared. If there are suspicions or errors detected, Customs will provide feedback to the business for further coordination.
  • Red Lane: Customs will examine the documentation and may conduct physical inspections of the goods. If the goods match the declaration, they will be cleared.


Businesses must declare information on complete and synchronized sets of documents. Discrepancies in information between the documents and the Customs declaration will cause businesses to spend more time adjusting and supplementing, affecting the receiving process.

For small and medium-sized enterprises without specialized Customs declaration departments or with limited experience, the time to complete the declaration process will be prolonged due to the likelihood of making mistakes.

customs clearance procedure in vietnam

Risks that may arise during the Customs declaration process

For import-export businesses with limited experience in carrying out customs declaration procedures, the following risks leading to losses are likely to occur:

Document errors: Due to the importance and accuracy required in documents, it is essential for document preparers to be meticulous to avoid errors in the information on the documents. Errors in documents will lead to significant time loss in re-preparing documents and administrative penalties. This will subsequently affect delivery schedules and incur additional costs. In the case of specialized goods, the consignor may also need to prepare additional necessary documents stamped by relevant authorities.

Incorrect document procedures: This is a common mistake that many import-export businesses often make. Deviating from the correct procedures complicates the customs declaration process and requires additional time to rectify the document set.

Incorrect HS Code: Correctly declaring the 8-digit HS code according to the nature of the goods is crucial. Failure to detect an incorrect HS code before submitting to Customs may result in administrative penalties.

Delayed delivery time: All of the aforementioned risks will inevitably impact the delivery time of the shipment to some extent. Consequently, the consignor may lose credibility, face compensation claims, or even contract penalties, especially for perishable goods such as fresh produce, as these are time-sensitive commodities.

customs clearance procedure in vietnam

To mitigate potential risks, you can opt for the solution of using customs clearance services offered by customs brokerage agents to ensure a smooth cargo delivery process. Customs clearance services have extensive experience in assisting clients in preparing complete and accurate documentation, thus avoiding potential risks while also saving costs and time.

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