imported goods

How to import Goods to the Philippines

If you are decided to move in the Philippines, then better sort out your things and decide what to bring. It is best if you choose only the essentials. Choose the items that you want to bring along and the items that you want to leave behind. One recommendation though, it is better if you just take your most treasured items and better buy new when you are in the Philippines. Shipping your things to the Philippines is quite expensive.

Of course there are items that you intend to keep thus it is best if you choose the best carrier for you to secure your package. For safety and fast delivery, you can use FedEx, or UPS or any other courier. With these companies you are safe because your goods are insured and is covered if in case the goods is lost.

The most recommended one is the use of Balikbayan boxes. You can put all your items in the Balikbayan box from clothes, books, canned goods, electronics and many more. You can purchase a Balikbayan box in a cargo forwarding company or you can find this in your local Filipino/Asian grocery store or supermarket. You can choose from the different sizes of the box from the small ones (23x17x20 inches) to large boxes (30x20x20). What is good with Balikbayan box is that the cost is just the same regardless of the weight of the box. This is best if shipped by sea which can take several weeks depending on the location. It can be shipped by air, but it will be subject to airline luggage restrictions.

It is important that you do your research well and you know the customs regulations details in the country where you plan to move. For your information and guidance, check out the customs regulations applicable in shipping to the Philippines.

What are the Documents Required?

  • Original Passport which shows the last date for departure and arrival.
  • Residence Visa
  • Residence or Work permit
  • Inventory of items
  • Letter of request for exemption (customs bond, letter of guarantee or bank guarantee)
  • Depending on the customer’s immigration status, there may be other documents required.

What are Customs Rules?

It is important that customer is present for customer clearance.
Visa must be approved first before shipment arrives
Shipment must arrive within 60 days after customers arrival.
Shipment will be inspected upon arrival.

All household goods and personal effects should be in customer’s possession at least six months before it is imported.

Tourists are allowed to bring household goods, vehicles and personal effects as long as they report bond that is good for six months if not pay for the customs duties and taxes.
For those who are immigrants or has permanent residence status, they are given duty free entry in one shipment only whether by air or sea.

Retiree and non-resident who is first time to settle are allowed entry tax and duty free if all household goods and personal effects does not exceed $7,800.

Taxable or Restricted Items

  • Color Reproduction Machine
  • Animals, plants and fish
  • Films, disks and video tapes
  • Medicines
  • Telecommunication Equipment
  • Parts of Motor Vehicle

Banned or Prohibited Items

  • Toy guns
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Pornography
  • Large quantities of foodstuffs, rags and used clothing
  • Narcotics and opium smoking paraphernalia
  • Misbranded and adulterated drugs
  • Gambling machines and articles
  • Drugs for abortion
  • Counterfeit money, banknotes and securities
  • Silver or gold and metal bullion

Importation of Motor Vehicles

Importation of privately owned vehicles to the Philippines is quite limited. It undergoes a long process and requires lots of documents and its also needs a special import permit. This import permit can only be availed in Philippines. The following things you should know if you plan to import your vehicle to the Philippines.

  • Duty Free is only applicable to returning Filipino residents and foreign embassy diplomats.
  • An import permit is needed for motor vehicles to be shipped to the Philippines.
  • The owner must be abroad for at least a year and vehicle must be in his name at least six months. Vehicles that are three years older should be registered to the owners name at least one year before the application of the Import Permit.
  • Penalties and confiscation of vehicle may result if owner fails to comply with all the requirements above.
  • Vehicle must arrive within 60 days from customers arrival.
  • All vehicles are subject to duties and taxes.
  • Vehicles five years and older is not permitted
  • Documents required – Deed of Sale or Commercial Invoice, Original Registration and proof of ownership, Original Bill of Sale, Import Permit, Certificate of Arrival, Surety Bond, Stencils of chassis/engine number, Original Passport, and other documents depending on the immigrants status.

Bringing of Pets

  • Cats, Dogs and Birds can be imported, however exotic pet could be restricted.
  • Game Fowl and Race Horses is subject to taxes and Duties
  • Documents required is ID card of the pet, owner’s passport, Pedigree Certificate, Import Permit from Bureau of Animal Industry, records of vaccination and Health certificate.

The information above is subject to change any time. For current or update information check out Philippine Bureau of Customs website – I recommend you check out their Frequently Asked Question Section.

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