Imports Via Air or Sea
Shipping companies, airlines, or freight forwarders and Courier Services will usually provide arrival papers (e.g Arrival Advice) around the time the shipment is due to arrive.
You will be required to arrange any necessary permits from other agencies (such as agriculture, health, or veterinary services or permits for firearms from the Police Department). If you are a first time importer, you will be required to register yourself at MRA, Customs.
For registration purposes,you will need to provide Customs with:
- Tax Account Number (TAN)
- Certificate of Incorporation, in case of a company
- Business Registration Number (BRN)
- Copy of invoice and bill of lading or airway bill
- Copy of Identity Card of importer or representative / passport - in case of foreigners
At times of clearance of goods, you will need to provide Customs with:
- Invoice and packing list
- the arrival documentation from the shipping company, airline, or freight forwarder
- evidence of overseas freight and insurance costs and any other relative documents
- permits issued from other agencies, if applicable
Imports Via Postal and Courier Services
Customs provides clearing services at the Parcel Post Office and Courier Services.
An individual has an allowance of Rs. 3,000 on gifts and personal items (excluding merchandise for sale, tobacco in any form, wines, spirits, arms and ammunitions), and duty and VAT are payable if the value of the parcel exceeds this amount. Foodstuffs, agricultural items and pharmaceutical items need clearance from the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, the Ministry of Agro Industry and Food Security and the Government Pharmacist respectively.
Where it is clear the importation is for a private individual and the parcel contains sufficient information, an assessment will be made by Customs and the parcel will be released.
If further information is required for an assessment to be made, or permits from other agencies are required (such as firearms permits),the recipient will be informed and the parcel detained until the required permit is obtained.
Goods meant for personal use of any value is cleared without customs declaration (bill of entry). However, duty, excise duty and taxes remains payable, subject to the allowance of Rs 3,000 granted in respect of customs duty and VAT.
Gifts are items sent from persons abroad to persons resident in Mauritius that are unsolicited (unasked for) by the recipient and relate to a special occasion eg birthday, wedding, Christmas etc.
- If the value of the gift does not exceed Rs. 3,000, the gift will be cleared free of Customs charges.
- If the value of the gift exceeds Rs. 3,000 Customs charges will be payable on the value of the gift that is in excess of Rs. 3,000 e.g. if the gift is valued at Rs. 4,000 Customs charges will be payable on the remaining Rs. 1,000. The Customs charges applicable will vary according to the item being sent.
Calculation of Customs Charges
Where applicable, Customs duty is levied on the transaction value of the goods (the price actually paid or payable). Value Added Tax (VAT) payable at the rate of 15 percent is then calculated on the duty-inclusive value. If there is no transaction (such as the goods being supplied free of charge, or a relationship between the supplier and importer which affects the transaction price), an alternative form of valuation may be used.
For information on the rate of Customs Duty applicable on goods, importers may contact the Tariff Unit. Official forms may be downloaded via the link http://www.mra.mu/index.php/download-centre/customs-forms for Tariff Rulings on classification of goods.
Payment of Customs Charges
Payments for the Customs Charges should be made at the Cashier in Mauritian currency only. Importers can effectuate their payment in Cash, Cheque or electronically (e-payment). In addition to that, payment can be made at the Port-Louis Cashier (Custom House or Ehram Court) or at the Airport Cashier irrespective of where the Bill of Entry is validated.
If you import goods that will be re-exported within 6 months (The initial period of 6 months may be extended to a further period of 6 months.) of importation, the goods may be entered on a temporary admission basis.To be able to import goods temporarily, you may be required to provide some form of adequate security (such as a cash deposit or other approved security) to cover any duty, excise duty and taxes pending re-export. The deposit will be fully refunded if the goods are re-exported within 12 months from the date of importation and if customs is satisfied upon verification that the same goods that were imported have been exported.
One of the conditions for goods on temporary admission is that they should respect all the restrictions and prohibitions which apply to goods as if they were cleared for home consumption. That is temporary admitted goods should be accompanied by the appropriate permits or authorisation.
Customs may affix Customs marks, seals, stamps, perforations or other devices to such goods or may take samples for identification purposes. Temporary admitted goods may remain in Mauritius with the approval of customs on payment of duty, excise duty and taxes, and interest computed on the basis of duty, excise duty and taxes payable on such goods, at the rate of 1 per cent per month or part of a month for the period for which payment of duty, excise duty and taxes has been deferred.
Temporary admission may also be terminated (without payment of duty, excise duty and taxes) at the request of the importer, if the goods are abandoned, destroyed or rendered commercially valueless under customs supervision. In addition to that, if customs is satisfied that the temporarily admitted goods have been destroyed or lost by accident or force majeure, no duty shall be payable on such goods.
Any importer who fails to export temporarily admitted goods at the end of the authorised period or any person who sells, purchases, alters, replaces or otherwise modifies any temporarily admitted goods shall commit an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine which shall not be less than three times the amount of duty, excise duty and taxes underpaid on the goods and any goods which are the subject matter of the offence shall be seized. Mauritius accepts the ATA carnet in lieu of security as a means of facilitating the temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment and goods for use or display at an exhibition, and certain other materials and equipment.
This is an international Customs document designed to facilitate the temporary importation of goods into other countries where you intend to return all the goods to the country of original export. The same document set is used at arriving and departing ports / airport as it contains a set of detachable import/export vouchers and counterfoils that are completed by Customs at each port / airport. The ATA carnet has a validity of 12 months commencing from the date of issue.
The ATA Carnet is normally used to cover Professional Equipment, goods for exhibitions, fairs, demonstration, and similar events and goods for educational, scientific, and cultural purposes. However it does not cover goods for transhipment, goods for repairs or goods for further processing.
Goods under ATA Carnet are covered by an internationally valid guarantee provided by a recognised body(Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry).
Refunds of Customs duty may be made when:
- duty is paid by error
- a concession is later approved for the goods
- the goods are of faulty manufacture, are found to be defective, obsolete or not according to specifications (return to exporter) provided importers notify the Director-General in writing within 5 working days from the date of clearance.
- in the case of a provisional entry, where the importer has paid customs duty in excess
- goods are short shipped, short landed or short packed
- the claim for refund should be made within 3 years from the date of payment of duty.
Evidence to support any refund application will be required.
Goods on which import duty is paid and subsequently exported may also be eligible for a drawback of the duty and VAT (examination by Customs at time of export to ascertain if the goods have not been altered/substituted).