Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I look up the Somali Customs Tariff online?
A: Yes. In the portal, you will find the tariff schedule with HS Codes and descriptions but not the tariff rates or duty amounts. The tariff is currently under development and MoF will communicate once the complete tariff is available and the STIP team will update once this is communicated by the Ministry of Finance.
Q: What is an HS (or Tariff) Code and how can I find the HS Code for my commodity?
A: In international trade, each product is assigned a particular classification code using the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System or simply Harmonized System (HS). The HS is an international standardized system of classifying goods, it is based on a 6-digit nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO).
You can search your goods’ commodity (tariff) code on the STIP by clicking on “Commodity and Tariff” on the ‘Trade in Goods’ menu bar to find the applicable HS (Tariff) Code. Use the description of the product to search for the tariff code.
Q: What is Customs duty?
A: Customs Duty is the charge/tax levied on imports and listed in the tariff schedules. Payment of Customs Duty on all imported goods is provided for under the amended Customs Act 2020, unless exempted under the law or other government regulations. All imported goods will be subjected to sales tax and other charges. Customs Department of the Ministry of Finance collects taxes on imported and some exported goods and applies measures to ensure the correct and full collection of taxes and other amounts payable in accordance with the Customs law on taxes, charges and fees, and other corresponding regulations of the law.
Q: What are the commercial goods?
A: Goods can be classified as being commercial if they fall into any of the following categories:
Q: What documents are needed to import commercial goods?
A: Please refer to the list of Supporting Documents required for import declaration (IM) on our Import Guide page
Q: What are the payment options for clearing commercial goods?
A: The customs office has a cheque payment method only and the cheque must be current or bankable immediately. No electronic payment is allowed at the entry points. In Mogadishu the banks are all located just a few meters away from the customs offices, the customs officers immediately bank the cheques. These payment options are safe, faster, and convenient.
Q: Do I have to use a Customs Agent (Broker) for importing or exporting commercial goods into or out of Somalia?
A: No, using a Customs Agent or Broker to clear all commercial goods at importation/exportation is optional at the moment. The Ministry of Finance is working to introduce a Customs broker licensing regime that ensures that all trade regulatory requirements are adequately complied with and may save unnecessary delays. Declarations can be done by either a Customs Brokers or the importing agency/trader.
Q: Do I have to submit my Customs declaration through SOMSAD or can I continue to prepare it manually?
A: The Somali Customs uses the Somali Single Administrative Documents (SOMSAD) as the Customs declarations Forms used by Somalia’s Customs administration. If you are importing and exporting goods through the ports and airports, you must capture and submit their customs declaration through the SOMSAD declaration Form.
Q: How are commercial goods cleared?
A: Commercial goods must be cleared using the Somali Single Administrative Document (SOMSAD) or Customs declaration which is captured and processed on the SOMSAD. The clearance process will be done by a local host software that will aid in the clearance process. This is also being reformed at the moment and MoF will launch the Customs Automated System (CAS) to fully automate the customs clearance processes.
Q: What is the clearance process of commercial goods?
A: Once the ship or aircraft arrives at the point of entry, the shipping agency will submit their manifest to both the ports authority and customs department. The submissions will be accompanied by supporting documents such as the Invoice, Bill of Lading, and other relevant commercial documents.
Q: Can you advise the duty rate to import or export goods into or from Somalia?
A: The duty rates can be found by searching the HS commodity list or tariff code for the particular goods you intend to import and export. Against each commodity (tariff) code of all products, the duty rates of all applicable taxes are indicated.
Q: Do I always need to get an import/export license before importing/exporting goods in Somalia?
A: Yes. An import or export license is compulsory for all export/import procedures. However, there are specific types of goods or agencies that may not require to obtain import/export permit/s.
Q: Can I clear my goods at any Customs office in Somalia, or do they have to be cleared at a specific Customs office?
A: You must clear the goods at the Customs office at the point of entry into Somalia where the Customs authorities receive, register and verify the customs documents and conduct a physical inspection of goods.
Q: Are goods for diplomatic missions exempted from payment of duty?
A: Yes. All goods for diplomatic missions, government institutions, mosques, and other entities approved by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) are exempted from Customs Duty as long as they comply with the required documentation.
Q: What other categories of goods are exempt from payment of import taxes?
A: No other goods are exempted from payment of customs duty under any circumstances.
Q: Do I need to fill in a Customs Declaration when I arrive in Somalia?
A: No. You can just walkthrough. Somalia does not have selectivity modules at the moment.
Anyone carrying goods in excess of the duty-free allowance will be subjected to full inspection by the Customs Officer. Personal handbags may be subjected to inspection randomly.
You will need to apply for a visa for all travel to Somalia. Before departure, you need to apply for an entry permit through this link (https://visa.gov.so/) and pay $15 for the processing fee. Upon arrival at Aden Abdullah International Airport (AAIA), you can get a single-entry visa, valid for one month, for US$60 in cash or via mobile money (EVC and Edahab). You may also be required to provide a letter of invitation on arrival in Somalia outlining the purpose of your travel. You can usually get this from your place of work (a hotel booking may also suffice). Without this letter, you could be denied entry.
Q: Can I bring personal belongings into Somalia if I am taking up residence and will they be subject to import taxes?
A: Generally, personal effects (except for motor vehicles/cars etc.) are exempted from Customs duties as long as they are not of a commercial nature and within the prescribed limit decided by Customs. If you are in doubt about the eligibility of certain items, you should contact Somali Customs Department. Generally, holders of residence permits receive equal treatment to that of Somalian citizens as far as the free allowance entitlements are concerned.
Q: Can I obtain the information on market background, business partnership and list of import-export companies in Somalia by searching on the Somalia Trade Information Portal?
A: The Somalia Trade Information Portal provides information regarding the laws, regulations and procedures for importing and exporting in Somalia.
If you would like to have information about potential business partnerships, list of import/export companies or opportunities, we recommend that you contact the Somalia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.somalichamber.so ) or the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (www.moci.gov.so ). On these websites, you will find information about business opportunities in Somalia and contact details.
Q: Does the STIP provide market exchange rates and prices of different commodities in the major Somali trading countries.
A: Not currently – The portal currently does not reflect this information but this does not preclude this type of information being added to the STIP at a later date.