This Law stipulates the state management of customs with regard to goods permitted to be imported, exported or transited, and vehicle of domestic and foreign entities which are on exit or entry or in transit within the customs territory; and organization and operation of the customs service.
THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
Hanoi, June 23, 2014
LAW ON CUSTOMS
Pursuant to the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam;
The National Assembly promulgates the Law on customs.
Article 1. Scope
This Law stipulates the state management of customs with regard to goods permitted to be imported, exported or transited, and vehicle of domestic and foreign entities which are on exit or entry or in transit within the customs territory; and organization and operation of the customs service.
Article 2. Regulated entities
1. Entities that import, export, or transit goods, or have vehicle on exit or entry or in transit.
2. Entities that have rights and obligations related to the import, export and transit of goods and exit, entry and transit of vehicle.
3. Customs authorities and customs officials.
4. Other regulatory bodies involved in the cooperation in state management of customs.
Article 3. Customs policies
1. The State of Vietnam shall facilitate customs formalities applied to import, export, exit, entry and transit in the Vietnamese territory.
2. Developing Vietnam Customs into a clean, strong, professional and modern agency with transparent and efficient operation.
Article 4. Interpretation of terms
In this Law, the terms below are construed as follows:
1. Border checkpoint transfer means transfer of goods or vehicle subject to customs inspection and supervision from one place where customs declarations are made to another.
2. Transshipment means transfer of goods from a vehicle used for domestic transportation or on entry to a vehicle on exit for export or from a vehicle for domestic transportation or on entry into depots in a border checkpoint area before being loaded aboard other vehicle for export.
3. National single-window system means permission for customs declarants to send information and electronic documents for following customs formalities and formalities of regulatory bodies related to imported and exported goods through an integrated communication system. Regulatory bodies shall decide goods that are permitted to be imported, exported and transited; customs authorities shall make decisions about granting customs clearance and releasing goods on the integrated communication system.
4. Container freight station means depots used for receiving or breaking bulk containerized cargoes of many consignees.
5. Customs supervision means professional measures applied by customs authorities to ensure the original conditions of goods and law compliance in the preservation, storage, loading, unloading, transportation and use of goods, and in the exit, entry and transit of vehicle currently subject to customs management.
6. Goods include movable assets with headings and subheadings according to the Vietnamese list of imports and exports which may be imported, exported, transited or retained in customs operating locations.
7. Luggage of people on exit or entry means essentials for their daily needs or trips, including carry-on luggage and luggage consigned before or after trips.
8. Customs documents include customs declarations and legitimate documents required to be submitted to customs authorities as prescribed in this Law.
9. Tax-suspension warehouse means a warehouse used to store imported materials and supplies formalities serving production of exported products that have been granted customs clearance but taxes on which have not been paid.
10. Bonded warehouse means a depot for storing goods for which customs formalities have been completed and which are stored pending their export; goods sent from abroad and stored pending their re-export or their import into Vietnam.
11. Customs control means measures of patrolling, investigating, verifying or other professional measures applied by customs authorities to tackle smuggling and illicit cross-border trafficking in goods and other violations against the law on customs on customs.
12. Customs inspection means the verification of customs documents, legitimate documents and corresponding documents; and the physical inspection of goods and vehicle by customs authorities.
13. Customs territory means areas within the territory, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam where the Law on customs is applied.
14. Customs declarants include goods owners; vehicle owners; vehicle operators; customs brokers and persons authorized by goods owners or vehicle owners to formalities follow customs formalities.
15. Customs sealing means the use of technical tools or signs to identify and ensure the original conditions of goods.
16. Classification of goods means the determination of appellations and headings of goods stated in the Vietnamese list of imports and exports according to their characteristics, ingredients, composition, physical and chemical properties, utilities, packaging specifications and other particularities of goods.
17. Vehicle includes vehicle operated on roads, railways, airways, seaways and inland waterways transport on exit or entry or in transit.
18. Risk management means the application by customs authorities of a system of professional measures and processes to identify, evaluate and classify risks to serve as a basis for reasonable arrangement of resources to effectively inspect, supervise and support other customs operations.
19. Risk means a possible failure to comply with the law on customs on import, export and transit of goods; and the exit, entry and transit of vehicle.
20. Personal belongings means items or equipment used for daily lives and work of individuals, families and organizations which they may bring with them when they no longer reside or terminate their operation in Vietnam or abroad.
21. Customs clearance means the completion of customs formalities for goods to be imported, exported or placed under another professional customs management mechanism.
22. Customs information means information and data on import, export, exit, entry and transit activities; and entities involved in these activities, and other information relating to customs activities.
23. Customs formalities mean activities to be carried out by customs declarants and customs officials in accordance with this Law for goods and vehicle.
24. Customs value means the value of imported or exported goods used for duty calculation and customs statistics.
25. Articles on vehicle include assets used on vehicle; materials and fuel used to operate vehicle; food, foodstuff and other utensils which directly serve daily-life activities of people in charge and passengers on vehicle.
26. Prior determination of customs codes, origin and value means determination by customs authorities of HS codes, origin before carrying out customs formalities.
Article 5. Application of international treaties, customs and practices on customs
1. If a treaty to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam becomes a party becomes a party becomes a party provides for provisions different from those of this Law, the provisions of such treaty shall be applied.
2. If there are cases which have not been provided for by this Law, other legal documents of Vietnam and international treaties to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam becomes a party, international customs and practices on customs may be applied, provided that the application of such customs and practices does not contravene the primary rules of Vietnamese law.
Article 6. International cooperation in customs
1. International cooperation in customs shall contain:
a/ Negotiation, conclusion and organization of implementation of treaties and international agreements on customs;
b/ Exploitation and exchange of information and professional cooperation with customs authorities of foreign countries and relevant international organizations;
c/ Delegating Vietnamese customs officials abroad and receiving foreign customs officials sent to Vietnam to perform professional customs operations in accordance with the law on customs, treaties to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam becomes a party or concluded international agreements;
d/ Exercise of rights, performance of obligations and enjoyment of interests of the State of Vietnam at the World Customs Organization, customs-related international organizations, countries and territories.
2. Vietnam Customs must conduct operation as prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article in accordance with law.
Article 7. Customs operating locations
1. Customs operating locations include:
a/ Areas of land border checkpoints, international railway stations, international civil airports; seaports and inland waterway ports where import, export, exit, entry and transit operations are conducted; areas where goods subject to customs supervision are stored, export processing zones and customs preference zones; customs clearance places, bonded warehouses, tax- suspension warehouses, international posts, head offices of customs declarants where post-customs clearance inspection is carried out; and places for inspection of imported and exported goods in the customs territory;
b/ Other areas and places which meet state management requirements and in which import, export and transit of goods and exit, entry and transit of vehicle are permitted as prescribed in Decisions of the Prime Minister.
2. In customs operating locations, customs authorities are responsible for inspect, supervise and control goods and vehicle and handle violations against the law on customs in accordance with Vietnamese law and treaties to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam becomes a party.
3. The Government shall stipulate the scope of customs operating locations.
Article 8. Customs modernization
1. The State shall give priority to investment in modem technical equipment and facilities and advanced technologies to ensure the effective customs management; encourage entities to participate in developing advanced technologies and technical equipment to ensure the application of modem customs management methods. Entities involved in import and export are responsible for participating in developing and performing electronic transactions and electronic customs formalities.
2. The system of technical standards for communication of electronic data and legal validity of electronic legitimate documents when following electronic customs formalities shall comply with the law on electronic transactions.
Article 9. Cooperation in the adherence to the law on customs
1. Customs authorities shall take charge, and closely cooperate with regulatory bodies, organizations and people’s armed forces in implementation of the law on customs.
2. Regulatory bodies, organizations and people’s armed forces shall, within the area of competence, cooperate with and enable customs authorities to fulfill their tasks.
Article 10. Prohibited acts in customs
1. For customs officials:
a/ Causing troubles and difficulties when following customs formalities;
b/ Screening or colluding with others in smuggling or illegally transporting goods across the border, committing trade or tax fraud;
c/ Taking bribes, appropriating or embezzling temporarily seized goods or other acts for self-seeking purposes;
d/ Other violations against the law on customs.
2. For customs declarants, entities with rights and obligations related to import, export and transit of goods, or exit, entry and transit of vehicles:
a/ Committing fraudulent acts in carrying out customs formalities;
b/ Smuggling or illegally transporting goods across the border;
c/ Committing trade or tax fraud;
d/ Giving bribes or other acts for self-seeking purposes;
dd/ Obstructing customs officials in performing their official duty;
e/ Hacking, falsifying or destroying the customs communication system;
g/ Other violations against the law on customs.
Article 11. Supervision of the adherence to the law on customs
1. The National Assembly and People’s Councils shall, within the area of competence, supervise the adherence to the law on customs.
2. The Vietnam Fatherland Front and its member organizations shall mobilize the population to strictly adhere to the law on customs and supervise the adherence to the law on customs.
3. When performing their tasks and powers, customs authorities and customs officials shall abide by law, rely themselves on the people and subject to the people’s supervision.
TASKS AND ORGANIZATION OF THE CUSTOMS SERVICE
Article 12. Tasks of the customs service
Vietnam Customs shall inspect and supervise goods and vehicle; tackle smuggling and illegal cross-border trafficking of goods; implement laws on taxation applied to imported and exported goods; release statistics on imported and exported goods in conformity with this Law and other corresponding laws; propose policies and administrative measures for customs applicable to import, export, exit, entry and transit operation and tax policies applicable to imported and exported goods.
Article 13. Rules of organization and operation of the customs service
1. Vietnam Customs shall be organized and operated according to centralized and uniform rule.
2. The General Director of Customs shall uniformly manage and execute operation of customs authorities; the inferior customs authorities shall be under management of superior customs authorities.
Article 14. Organization of the customs service
1. The organization of Vietnam Customs comprises:
a/ The General Department of Customs;
b/ Customs Departments of provinces;
c/ Sub-department of Customs Sub-Departments, Customs control team and equivalent units.
2. According to quantities, scale and characteristics of import, export, exit, entry and transit and socio-economic conditions of each administrative division, the Government shall to regulates requirements for establishment of Customs Departments; and specify the organization, tasks and operation of customs authorities.
Article 15. Customs officials
1. Customs officials are those who are qualified for being recruited, or appointed to ranks, positions or titles in customs authorities; and being trained, managed and employed in accordance with the laws on officials and civil servants.
2. The service practice, titles, criteria, salaries, seniority allowance and other benefits to customs officials, customs badges, flags, uniforms and identity cards shall be prescribed by the Government.
CUSTOMS FORMALITIES, CUSTOMS INSPECTION AND SUPERVISION
Section 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
Article 16. Rules of following customs formalities, inspection and supervision
1. Goods and vehicle must be undergone customs formalities, subject to customs inspection and supervision; carried in the proper routes and passed through border checkpoints or other places on schedule as prescribed in regulations and laws.
2. Customs inspection and supervision shall be conducted on the basis of applying the risk management in order to ensure effectiveness and efficiency of state management of customs and facilitate import, export, exit, and entry and transit operation.
3. Goods may enjoy customs clearance and vehicle may be permitted for exit or entry after going through customs formalities.
4. Customs formalities shall be carried out in a public, quick and convenient manner and in accordance with law.
5. The arrangement of manpower and working time must meet the requirements of import, export, exit, entry and transit activities.
Article 17. Risk management in professional customs operations
1. Customs authorities shall apply the risk management in deciding on customs inspection and supervision of goods and vehicle; support the tackling of smuggling and illegal cross-border trafficking of goods.
2. Risk management in customs operations shall include the collection and processing of customs information; establishment of criteria for and evaluation of customs declarants’ adherence to the law, and classification of risks; and implementation of appropriate measures for customs management.
3. For the purposes of serving the application of risk management to customs operations, Customs authorities shall manage and apply the communication system that automatically integrate and process data.
4. The Minister of Finance shall establish criteria for evaluation of customs declarants’ adherence to the regulations of law, classify risks and apply risk management to customs operations.
Article 18. Rights and obligations of customs declarants
1. A customs declarant shall have rights to:
a/ Be provided by customs authorities with information about customs declaration for goods, vehicle, guidance on carrying out customs formalities, and laws on customs;
b/ Request customs authorities to predetermine HS codes, origin and customs value of goods when providing sufficient and accurate information to customs authorities;
c/ Preview goods, take samples of the goods under the supervision of customs officials before making customs declaration in order to ensure accurate customs declaration;
d/ Request customs authorities to re-verify goods if they disagree with customs authorities’ decisions provided that such goods have not been granted clearance;
dd/ Use customs documents for customs clearance or good transportation or following related formalities at other competent agencies in accordance with law;
e/ Make complaints and denunciations about illegal acts against customs authorities and customs officials;
g/ Claim compensation for damage caused by customs authorities and customs officials in accordance with the law on State compensation liability.
2. Customs declarants who are owners of goods or vehicle shall have obligations to:
a/ Make customs declarations and follow customs formalities in accordance with this Law;
b/ Provide sufficient and accurate information in order for customs authorities to predetermine HS codes, origin and customs value of goods;
c/ Take legal responsibility for the authenticity of statement declared and documentary evidence submitted; information consistency between dossiers kept at enterprises and dossiers kept at customs authorities;
d/ Follow decisions and requests of customs authorities and customs officials during conducting customs formalities, inspection and supervision of goods and vehicle;
dd/ Keep customs documents records of goods which are granted clearance within 05 years from the day on which the declaration of such goods is register, unless otherwise provided by law; keep accounting books and documentary evidence and other documents related to imported and exported goods which are granted clearance for a time limit in accordance with law; submit related dossiers, information and documents for verification at the request of customs authorities as prescribed in Articles 32, 79 and 80 of this Law;
e/ Dispose manpower and equipment to perform relevant jobs in order for the customs officials verify goods and vehicle;
g/ Pay taxes and fulfill other financial liabilities in accordance with the laws on taxes, charges and fees and other corresponding regulations of laws.
3. Customs declarants who are customs brokers or other persons authorized by owners of goods and vehicle shall comply with obligations prescribed in Points a, b, c, d, e and g, Clause 2 of this Article within the scope of authorization. Customs declarants who are vehicle operators shall comply with obligations prescribed at Points a, c, d, e and g, Clause 2 of this Article.
Article 19. Tasks and entitlements of customs officials
1. Strictly adhere to laws and customs operation processes and take responsibility for the performance of their tasks and exercise of their entitlements.
2. Instruct customs declarants and related entities on request.
3. Conduct customs inspection and supervision; supervise the packing, unpacking, transshipment, loading and unloading of cargoes at places where the customs formalities are made and places where the imported and exported goods are verified. In case of detecting violation against law on customs, request owners of goods or vehicle, commanders or vehicle operators or authorized persons to comply with their requests for the inspection goods and vehicle in accordance with this Law and the law on handling of administrative violations.
4. Take samples of goods in the presence of customs declarants in order for customs authorities to analyze or request an assessment of such goods.
5. Request customs declarants to provide information and documentary evidence related to their goods in order to ensure accuracy of HS codes, origin and customs value of goods.
6. Request vehicle commanders or operators to drive in proper routes, on schedule, and stop at proper places.
7. Other tasks and entitlements as prescribed in law.
Article 20. Customs brokers
1. Requirements for a customs broker:
a/ There is a business registration certificate or an enterprise registration certificate, in which operation of good forwarding or customs brokers is stated;
b/ There are employees in charge of customs brokerage services (hereinafter referred to as customs employees);
c/ There is information technology infrastructure satisfying the requirements for making e-customs declaration and other requirements as prescribed.
2. A customs employee must be a Vietnamese citizen who fully satisfies the following requirements:
a/ Obtain at least a collegiate degree in economics, law or technique;
b/ Obtain a certificate of training in customs declaration;
c/ Obtain customs employee’s code granted by a customs office.
3. The General Director of Customs shall decide the recognition, suspension or termination of customs broking; grant of certificates of training in customs declaration; grant and revocation of customs employee’s codes.
4. Customs brokers and customs employees shall exercise the rights and perform the obligations of customs declarants as prescribed in Article 18 of this Law.
5. The Minister of Finance shall provide guidance on procedures for recognition and operation of customs brokers; procedures for grant of certificates of training in customs declaration, and grant and revocation of customs employee’s codes.
Article 21. Customs formalities
1. While following the customs formalities, a customs declarant shall:
a/ Declare and submit customs declarations; submit documentary evidence of customs documents prescribed in Article 24 of this Law;
b/ Send goods and vehicle to proper places for physical inspection;
c/ Pay taxes and fulfill other financial obligations in accordance with the laws on taxes, charges and fees and other corresponding regulations of law.
2. While conducting customs formalities, customs authorities and customs officials shall:
a/ Receive and register customs documents;
b/ Verify customs documents and conduct physical inspection of goods and vehicle;
c/ Collect taxes and other amounts payable in accordance with the laws on taxes, charges and fees and other corresponding regulations of law;
d/ Decide grant of customs clearance for goods, release of goods and certification of completion of customs formalities applied to vehicle.
Article 22. Places of customs formalities
1. Places of customs formalities are places where customs authorities receive, register and verify customs documents and conduct physical inspection of goods and vehicle.
2. Places where customs documents are received, registered and examined are head offices of Customs Departments or Customs Sub-Departments.
3. Places of physical inspection of goods include:
a/ Places of inspection at the land border checkpoints, international railway stations, international civil airports; international post offices; seaports and inland waterway ports where import, export, exit, entry and transit operation are carried out; inland ports of importation or exportation of goods;
b/ Head offices of Customs Sub-Departments;
c/ Places of centralized inspection under decisions of the General Director of Customs;
d/ Places of inspection at facilities or works; places where trade fairs or exhibitions are held;
dd/ Places of inspection at bonded warehouses, tax suspension warehouses and container freight stations;
e/ Places of joint inspection by Vietnam Customs and Customs Service of neighboring countries at the land border checkpoints;
g/ Other places decided by the General Director of Customs in case of necessity.
4. Competent agencies, or entities shall arrange places where customs formalities are conducting and depots of imported and exported goods when they make planning, design and construct land border checkpoints, international railway stations, international civil airports; seaports and inland waterway ports where import, export, exit, entry and transit activities; inland ports of importation or exportation of goods; economic zones, industrial parks, non-tariff zones and other places where import, export, exit, entry and transit activities are carried out meeting requirements of customs inspection and supervision in accordance with this Law.
Article 23. Time limit for customs authorities to carry out customs formalities
1. Customs authorities shall receive, register and verify customs documents right after customs declarants submit such dossiers in accordance with this Law.
2. After customs declarants satisfy all requirements for carrying out customs formalities prescribed at Points a and b, Clause 1, Article 21 of this Law, the time limit for customs officials to complete the verify dossiers and conduct physical inspection of goods and vehicle following the procedure below:
a/ Complete the verification of dossiers within 2 working hours after customs authorities receive complete customs documents;
b/ Complete the physical inspection of goods within 8 working hours after customs declarants fully produce goods to customs authorities. For goods subject to specialized inspection of quality, health, culture, animal quarantine, plant quarantine or food safety in accordance with corresponding regulations of law, the time limit for completion of physical inspection of goods shall be determined from the day on which specialized inspection results are given as prescribed.
For lots of goods in large quantities and of many types or in case the inspection is complicated, heads of customs authorities where customs formalities are carried out shall decide to defer the time limit for physical inspection of goods for within 2 days;
c/ The inspection of vehicle must ensure the timely loading and unloading of imported and exported goods, exit and entry of passengers and customs inspection and supervision in accordance with this Law.
3. The customs clearance must comply with Article 37 of this Law.
4. Customs authorities shall carry out customs formalities for goods on public holidays and weekends and overtime hours in order to ensure timely loading and unloading of imported and exported goods, exit and entry of passengers and vehicle or at the request of customs declarants and in conformity with practical conditions of customs operating locations.
Article 24. Customs document
1. A customs document comprises:
a/ A customs declaration or documentary evidence in substitution;
b/ Relevant documentary evidence.
As the cases maybe, a customs declarant shall submit sale contract, commercial invoice, bill of lading, certificate of origin of goods, import or export permit, notice of specialized inspection results or exemption from specialized inspection, and documentary evidence related to goods as prescribed by corresponding regulations of law.
2. Documents in customs documents may be paper or electronic documents. Electronic documents must ensure the integrity and format prescribed in regulations of law on e-transactions.
3. Customs documents shall be submitted to customs authorities at their head offices.
In case of application of the national single-window mechanism, specialized regulatory bodies shall send import or export permits and notices of specialized inspection results or exemption from specialized inspection in the electronic form via the integrated communication system.
4. The Minister of Finance shall set the customs declaration form, use of customs declarations and documents in substitution of customs declarations, and cases in which relevant documents specified in Clause 1 of this Article must be submitted.
Article 25. Time limit for submission of customs documents
1. The customs declarations shall be submitted:
a/ After goods are transported to places notified by customs declarants and at least 4 hours before the exit of vehicle regarding to exported goods; , at least 2 hours before the exit of vehicle regarding exported goods delivered by express delivery services;
b/ Before goods arrive at border checkpoints or within 30 days after goods arrive at border checkpoints regarding to imported goods;
c/ As prescribed in Clause 2, Article 69 of this Law.
2. Customs declarations are valid for customs formalities within 15 days from the day on which they are registered.
3. The time limit for submission of relevant documents in customs documents:
a/ Regarding to e-customs declaration, when customs authorities conduct examination of customs documents and physical inspection of goods, customs declarants shall submit paper documents in customs documents, except documents which are already available in the national single- window communication system;
b/ Regarding to paper customs declarations, customs declarants shall submit relevant documents when registering their customs declarations.
Article 26. Classification of goods
1. Classification of goods aims to identify HS codes to serve as a basis for tax calculation and implementation of the goods management policy. The classification of goods must be based on customs documents, technical documents and other information related to imported and exported goods for identification of goods’ names and HS codes according to the list of Vietnamese imports and exports.
2. The list of Vietnamese imports and exports consists of HS codes, names and descriptions of goods, units of calculation and attached explanations.
3. The list of Vietnamese imports and exports is made on the basis of full application of the International Convention on Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System.
The Minister of Finance shall issue the list of Vietnamese imports and exports for uniform application nationwide.
4. According to the List of goods banned from import and export, the List of goods imported and exported under permits of competent regulatory bodies, and the List of goods subject to specialized inspection prescribed by the Government, the Minister of Finance shall promulgate HS codes consistent with headings in the list of Vietnamese imports and exports.
5. During a customs inspection, customs authorities shall determine HS codes according to customs documents, results of physical inspection or analysis and assessment of goods. In case HS codes declared by customs declarants are rejected, customs authorities may take goods samples in the presence of customs declarants for analysis or requested assessment and decide HS codes of such goods. If customs declarants disagree with results of classification given by customs authorities, they may file complaints or lawsuits in accordance with law.
Article 27. Verification of origin of goods
1. Exported goods:
a/ Customs authorities shall verify the origin of exported goods based on the verification of customs declaration and documentary evidence in customs documents and results of physical inspection of goods;
b/ If case of doubt about the origin of exported goods, customs authorities shall request customs declarants to provide documents related to the origin of exported goods, and verify the origin of goods at production facilitates. While awaiting the results of verification of goods, the exported goods may be granted clearance as prescribed in Article 37 of this Law.
2. Imported goods:
a/ Customs authorities shall inspect and verify the origin of imported goods based on customs declaration, certification of origin, documents in customs documents and results of physical inspection of goods. Certification of origin of imported goods must be issued by competent agencies of exporting countries or self-certified by manufacturers, exporters or importers under treaties to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam becomes a party;
b/ In case of doubt about the origin of imported goods, customs authorities shall inspect and verify the origin of goods at manufacturing countries under treaties to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam becomes a party. Results of origin inspection and verification are legally valid for verification of the origin of imported goods.
While awaiting the results of verification , the imported goods may be granted clearance as prescribed in Article 37 of this Law but be not entitled to particularly preferential duty rates. Official duty payable shall be based on results of verification of origin of goods.
3. The Minister of Finance shall stipulate procedures, competence and time limit for verification of the origin of goods.
Article 28. Predetermination of HS codes, origin and customs value of goods
1. In case customs declarants request customs authorities to predetermine HS codes, origin and customs value of goods to b