Shipping & Mail Forwarding to Hong Kong

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GENERAL IMPORT CLEARANCE INFORMATION

Clearance Process

Most of Hong Kong's international traffic arrives at either its airport or at its cargo seaport and entry is submitted to the Customs & Excise Department at those locations. Shipments arriving by land from China must have an import/export declaration filed at the border. For more information, contact the Hong Kong Trade and Industry Department. For air shipments, customs clearance is initiated by the carrier sending cargo information to C&ED electronically through the ACCS (Air Cargo Clearance System) prior to the arrival of the aircraft.¬ For shipments arriving by land or sea, manual paperwork is submitted.¬ C&ED staff will review the inbound cargo information and assign constraint codes to shipments which are restricted,¬ prohibited from entry or which are subject to excise duty (Tobacco, Liquors, Methyl Alcohol, Hydrocarbons Oil).¬ Shipments with constraint codes must be presented to C&ED staff and any other relevant government departments upon arrival.¬ Shipments subject to control by other government departments will be held until the controlling department has been contacted for their instructions and that¬ department has granted an endorsement.¬ The controlling department may perform a physical examination.¬ Shipments without a C&ED constraint code and those which have been examined and released by C&ED are considered cleared through customs.¬

Persons importing counterfeit goods, infringing copyright laws related to computer software, music CD's and tapes, etc. will be held¬ liable for¬ criminal prosecution.

Except for certain exempted articles like sample shipments valued under HKD 1,000,¬ import shipments¬ usually require an import declaration and, depending upon the commodity, may also require an import license from the government agency which regulates that commodity.¬ When required, the import declaration must be submitted by the importer to the Census & Statistics Department within 14 calendar days of shipment arrival and must include the Harmonized Schedule (HS) statistical data.¬ Unlike many countries, it is possible for a shipment to be cleared through customs before HS number classification has been provided to the government.¬ For those commodities which are subject to excise duty (Tobacco, Liquors, Methyl Alcohol, and Hydrocarbons Oil), the importer must pay the excise duty and obtain an import permit before the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) will release the shipment.¬ It is the responsibility of the importer to follow the procedures necessary to become a licensed importer and to obtain the required import licenses and permits from the appropriate agency(ies).¬ It is important that the names and addresses of the foreign exporter and of the Hong Kong importer are consistent on all shipping and license documents.

Import licenses are specific and are issued by the relevant government departments.¬ Examples of licenses and permits are found on many of the Hong Kong government department web sites such as http://www.customs.gov.hk/pda/en/home/index.html, the website for the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department.¬ Application is made by the importer to¬ the appropriate government department, if possible, prior to the shipments arrival. Carriers, forwarders, and agents may not apply for an import license on behalf of the consignee.¬ The licenses may be valid for up to 6 months and may or may not have quantity restrictions.

Textiles Trader Registration Scheme
Hong Kong has instituted the Textiles Trader Registration Scheme (TTRS)¬ that provides an alternative to the standard textile license requirements for certain textile goods.¬ Those companies which participate in this scheme have been exempted from many import and export licensing¬ requirements and can make application through EDI.¬ ¬ Additional information about the TTRS is available from the Trade and Industry Department web site at¬ http://www.tid.gov.hk/english/import_export/textiles/textiles_ttrs/textiles_ttrs.html

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Document Requirements
Air Waybill or Bill of Lading
There are no special requirements; however, whenever other documents such as a commercial invoice are included, it is important that the name and address of the foreign importer or exporter and the name and address of the Hong Kong party are consistent on all shipping and license documents. Commercial Invoice
Commercial invoices are not required to obtain clearance but are needed for advance clearance processing. They are used to identify the different types of licensable shipments and to contact importers prior to arrival in order to obtain any missing information or documentation. It is recommended that all shipments shipped via FedEx have a commercial invoice prepared and included with the shipment when exporting to Hong Kong.

Import Declaration
An import declaration must be lodged with the Census and Statistics Department for all shipments after the receipt of the goods but within 14 calendar days of importation. It is not required for sample shipments valued below HKD 1000, gifts or personal shipments. Declaration charges are assessed at the rate of HKD 0.5 for the first HKD 46,000 of value plus HKD 0.25 for each additional HKD 1,000 or part thereof and rounded up to the nearest 10 cents. The declaration must be submitted through EDI via Tradelink or Global e-Trading to the Census and Statistics Department.

Import License
Import licenses are specific and are issued by the relevant government departments and may be valid for up to 6 months. There may or may not be quantity restrictions. Application is made by the importer directly to the government department. See the "Useful Contact Information" section of this profile regarding information on government departments and specific products they control. Import licenses are required for the following:

  • Dutiable commodities* (tobacco, alcoholic beverages, hydrocarbon oils and methyl alcohol)
  • Strategic Commodities (certain electronic equipment, scientific instruments, integrated circuits, computer equipment with encrytion function, metalloid and petroleum products, arms and ammunitions, chemical and biological agents)¬
  • Reserved commodities (rice, frozen meat and frozen poultry)
  • Agricultural pesticides
  • Optical disc mastering & replication equipment
  • Left-hand drive vehicles, outboard engines exceeding 150 hp/111.9 kilowatts, optical disc mastering & replication equipment
  • Radioactive substances and irradiating apparatus
  • Pharmaceutical products and medicines
  • Textiles, finished or unfinished**
  • Rough Diamonds¬
  • Manufactured products made from endangered species¬
  • Dangerous Drugs¬
  • Controlled Chemicals¬
  • Radio Transmitting Apparatus

* Dutiable commodities are licensed by Customs & Excise Department.¬
** Import Notification is allowed in lieu of an import license under the Textile Trader Registration Scheme (TTRS) for sensitive markets.¬ Comprehensive Import License is used for import textiles from non-sensitive markets.¬

Dutiable Commodity¬ Permit
Dutiable commodity permits, also called DCP are electronic permits¬ and required for each importation of dutiable goods.¬ The permits are issued by the¬ Customs & Excise Department (C&ED) to an importer after the payment of excise charges.¬ Once obtained, it must be submitted to C&ED to obtain release of the shipments

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Customs Valuation
Customs valuation is applied to duty/tax assessment for import of dutiable commodities, i.e. liquor, tobacco, hydro-carbon oil and methyl alcohol. The value of goods for the purpose of assessing the ad valorem excise duties is determined under the Dutiable Commodity Ordinance.



Import Duties
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) is a free port and does not levy any Customs tariffs, tariff quotas or surcharges on imports.¬ Nor¬ does "value added" or "general services" taxes on imports apply. There are import duties that are levied on 4 types of goods irrespective of whether they are imported or locally manufactured. These goods are:

  • Liquors
  • Tobacco
  • Hydrocarbon oil
  • Methyl alcohol¬
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Hong Kong Customs assess duty/tax based on the value of goods when assessed, import duties must be paid prior to clearance and release of the shipment. Importers may pay prior to arrival in order to obtain an Import Permit.¬ For shipments which have¬ import charges assessed in an amount under¬ 2,000.00 (HKD),¬ FedEx will normally advance payment to the appropriate¬ department on behalf of the importer, but such advance is subjected to Custom's approval and is made at FedEx's¬ discretion.



Antidumping
None.



Excise Duties
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) is a free port and does not levy any Customs tariffs, tariff quotas or surcharges on imports. HKSAR does not assess "value added" or "general services" taxes on imports either. There are excise duties that are levied on 4 types of goods irrespective of whether they are imported or locally manufactured. These goods are:

  • Liquors
  • Tobacco
  • Hydrocarbon oil
  • Methyl alcohol¬
¬

When assessed, excise duties must be paid prior to clearance and release of the shipment. Importers may pay prior to arrival in order to obtain an Import Permit.¬ For shipments which have excise charges assessed in an amount under¬ 2,000.00 (HKD),¬ FedEx will normally advance payment to the Customs and Excises Department on behalf of the importer, but such advance is subjected to Custom's approval and is made at FedEx's¬ discretion.



Additional Duties
None.



Import Taxes
None.



Customs Fees
None



Exchange Controls
None.



Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT's)
Technical barriers or non-tariff barriers to trade as they are sometimes known, can cause many problems for exporters looking for new markets for their products. These barriers can be in the form of regulations, standards, testing and certification procedures. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade tries to ensure that these barriers do not create unnecessary obstacles. To obtain further information on Technical Barriers to Trade as well as Notifications on technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures, go to the WTO website at http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tbt_e/tbt_e.htm.

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Consular Fees
None.

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