Tanzania Imports - The Procedure and Pre – Arrival Declaration

Tanzania Imports – The Procedure and Pre – Arrival Declaration

Introduction – What Does Tanzania Import?

Import refers to bringing services and goods into Tanzania from abroad. The 2004 East Africa Community Customs Management Act (EACCMA) stipulates that import procedures must be followed in the process of clearing goods.

Tanzanian imports are subject to various stages, where the importer is directed to declare goods through the CFA by submitting the necessary paperwork at least seven days prior to the vessels.

How should I handle Import Documents?

  • An authorized CFA (Clearing and Forwarding Agents) must be appointed by the importer in order to clear products.
  • For exports and imports, the documentation procedure is conducted online using Tanzania Customs Integrated System (known as TANCIS) and they can be finished prior to the products’ arrival.
  • The documents are entered by customs agents into the TANCIS (Zanzibar and Mainland), together with any other necessary documentation supporting the import. It is strongly advised that the Agents file this paperwork at least seven days prior to the delivery of the products.

Import paperwork consists of;

  • Final Billing
  • Importer’s Letter of Agent Authorization
  • Import licenses from the TMDA, TASAC, TBS etc.
  • Packing list
  • Exemption papers (If applicable)
  • Transport paperwork, such as a road consignment letter, airline bill, and bill of landing.
  • Declaration of Bearer Negotiable Instrument
  • Cross-border Currency Declaration.

Note: Through the Integrated Query System in TANCIS, the clearing system rejects unfinished or inadequately described declarations automatically (IQS).

Procedure for Pre-Arrival Declaration

What Does a Pre – Arrival Declaration Entail?

Pre-Arrival Declaration is a feature of the clearing system that enables the importer or agent to begin the clearance processes for the goods before they arrive at the nation’s entry point. It assists the importer in completing a few tasks prior to the delivery of the products, which cuts down on the amount of time needed for clearance of the items after arrival. The importer initiates the procedure through the designated CFA.

Note: – The facility is applicable to all imports, except for the imports of white products (fuel), items shipped by courier and post parcel services, items brought in temporarily, items cleared under the provision declarations, and items shipped via transit declarations. Using the capability, the importer can know the taxes and duties required for a specific transaction before the goods arrive.

Inspection of the Goods

Selectivity is applied to the imported items to decide whether they should be released immediately (GREEN), subjected to a documentation check or scan (YELLOW), or physically checked (RED). The system uses risk management to determine selectivity, taking into account factors including the origin of the commodities, the importer, the agent, and the type of goods. After being inspected, goods are discharged from ports, border stations, or airports.

Import Duty Tanzania

Import duty in Tanzania refers to the taxes and fees imposed on goods imported into the country. These duties are collected by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) on behalf of the government. The import duty rates in Tanzania vary depending on the type of goods being imported.

Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Building
Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Building

The rates of import tax in Tanzania are typically determined based on the customs value of the imported goods. The customs value includes the cost of the goods, insurance, and freight charges (CIF value). In addition to import duty, other taxes and fees, such as value-added tax (VAT), withholding tax, excise duty, and inspection fees, may also apply.

How to Calculate Import Duty in Tanzania

To get the specific import duty rates for different goods in Tanzania, you can refer to the Tanzania Revenue Authority’s official website or consult with a customs agent or freight forwarder who can provide up-to-date information on the applicable rates. The TRA’s website may have a tariff book or an online database where you can search for the specific duty rates based on the Harmonized System (HS) codes or descriptions of the goods.

It’s important to note that Tanzania import tax rates and regulations can change over time as the government updates its policies. Therefore, it’s always recommended to consult the official sources or seek professional advice to ensure you have the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding import duties in Tanzania.

Import Tax Calculator Tanzania

You can also use the Tanzania import duty calculator as your guidance when importing different items to the country.

Import Duty Exemption in Tanzania

In Tanzania, duty exemptions may be available in the following cases:

1. Diplomatic and Consular Privileges: Goods imported by diplomatic or consular missions, their personnel, and certain international organizations may be exempt from customs duties. These exemptions are granted based on diplomatic agreements and protocols.

2. Charitable and Non-Profit Organizations: Certain goods imported by registered charitable or non-profit organizations for specific purposes, such as humanitarian aid or development projects, may be eligible for duty exemptions. This typically requires prior approval from relevant government agencies.

3. Personal Effects and Household Goods: Individuals relocating to Tanzania may be eligible for duty exemptions on their personal effects and household goods, subject to specific conditions and documentation requirements.

4. Donated Goods: Goods donated for charitable purposes or disaster relief may qualify for duty exemptions. This usually requires prior approval from relevant government authorities and adherence to specific guidelines.

5. Special Economic Zones (SEZs): Tanzania has established SEZs to attract investment and promote economic growth. Companies operating within these designated zones may benefit from duty exemptions or reduced duties on imported goods, subject to compliance with SEZ regulations.

It’s important to note that duty exemptions are typically subject to specific conditions, documentation requirements, and approval processes. The Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) is the government agency responsible for customs and tax matters in Tanzania. For detailed and up-to-date information on duty exemptions, I recommend contacting the TRA or consulting with a customs expert or licensed customs broker.


  • The importer submits the paperwork to the system online through his or her agent, adding the supporting documentation.
  • If their declaration is “Rejected,” the CFA must submit a new declaration in order to comply with the TANCIS requirement.
  • TANSAD is processed up to the payment stage prior to the submission of the manifest.
  • Write off of the Cargo manifest is moved to the Customs Release Order (CRO) stage.
  • As a result of the declared Values, CFA will receive an Acceptance Notice alongside a Payment Notice.
  • Once the validation and amendment checks are finished, CFA will receive an amendment acceptance note. The officer will rewrite the document categorization, value, and verification if they decide to reject the modification, in which case CFA will receive an Amendment Rejection Note for TANSAD.
  • The officer will record the findings when verification is complete.
  • The supervisor will be presented with the verification’s findings for approval.
  • Assessment Notice to be Sent to CFA
  • CFA must agree to the Assessment Notice or contest it.
  • CFA has to contest the officer’s Assessment by IQS
  • An Additional Payment Note will be created inside the Assessment Notice if CFA opt to accept the Notice and if the assessment has increased in comparison to the provided values. The difference between the final sum and the first created payment notice will be this notification’s value.
  • Clearance Suspension Notice will be sent to CFA if the manifest data differs from the declaration. According to the findings of the inspection, CFA must revise the declaration and resubmit it.
  • CFA will get a Release Order to the relevant products after payment has been received and the inspection has been conducted as required.

How Long Would It Take for Me to Receive My Items After This Process?

  • Pre-Arrival Declaration processing will take a total of 24 hours, from the import declaration form Tanzania document registration to the issue of the requisite A-PAD (clearance report) for PADs sent upon or with receipt of adequate paperwork that satisfies the relevant standard.
  • Within 24 hours, the P-PAD for the PADs submitted together with the full set of final papers should be processed and provided.

Note: If a PAD is registered without a full set of final papers, the P-PADs for those PADs must be processed then issued within a day of receiving those final documents; otherwise, the procedure would begin the day following receiving the final documents.

  • Selectivity shall be carried out within 24 hours of TANSAD being lodged and payment of any applicable duties. When goods are chosen for Direct Release, they will receive the release order directly from the entry point or port, while those chosen for Documentary Check will have their documents checked at the customs service centre, and those chosen for Physical Verification will be physically checked and released at the entry point or port.

Other Related Information to Import and Export in Tanzania

  • Tanzania imports and exports – What are the major imports and exports of Tanzania?
  • Tanzania food imports:
    • Rice importers in Tanzania
    • How to import cashew nuts from Tanzania?To import cashew nuts from Tanzania, you will need to follow certain steps and fulfill specific requirements. Here’s a general outline of the process:1. Research Import Regulations: Begin by familiarizing yourself with the import regulations and requirements of both Tanzania and your destination country. Contact the relevant government agencies or consult their websites to gather the necessary information.2. Obtain Necessary Licenses: Determine if you need any licenses or import permit Tanzania provides to import cashew nuts. Some countries may require specific certifications, such as a phytosanitary certificate or a certificate of origin. Contact your local authorities to understand the licensing requirements.

      3. Find Reliable Suppliers: Identify reliable cashew nut suppliers in Tanzania. You can research online, attend trade shows, or get referrals from industry contacts. Verify their credibility, reputation, and compliance with quality standards.

      4. Establish Communication: Initiate contact with potential suppliers and establish a line of communication. Discuss pricing, quantities, quality specifications, packaging, and any other relevant details. Request samples if necessary to assess the product quality.

      5. Product Quality and Inspection: Ensure that the cashew nuts meet your required quality standards. You may consider hiring a third-party inspection agency to conduct quality checks and verify that the product adheres to your specifications.

      6. Shipping and Logistics: Coordinate with shipping and logistics providers to arrange for the transportation of the cashew nuts from Tanzania to your destination country. Determine the most suitable shipping method (e.g., sea freight, air freight) based on cost, time, and product perishability.

      7. Customs Clearance: Familiarize yourself with the customs procedures and documentation required for importing cashew nuts. Prepare all the necessary paperwork, including invoices, packing lists, certificates, and permits. Ensure compliance with customs regulations, tariffs, and duties.

      8. Import Declaration: Submit an import declaration to the customs authorities in your country. Provide all the relevant information, including product details, quantities, values, and supporting documentation. Pay any applicable customs duties or taxes.

      9. Customs Inspection and Release: Your imported cashew nuts may go through a customs inspection upon arrival. Cooperate with the authorities, and ensure that the shipment complies with all regulations. Once cleared, you can proceed to take delivery of the cashew nuts.

      It is important to note that specific import requirements and procedures can vary depending on the country you are importing to. It is crucial to consult the customs authorities and relevant government agencies in your country for accurate and up-to-date information.

      Additionally, hiring a customs broker or seeking professional assistance from import/export consultants can be beneficial to navigate the process smoothly and ensure compliance with all legal requirements.

  • Imports International Tanzania Limited
  • Pharmaceutical importers in Tanzania

Import and Export Procedures in Tanzania Frequently Asked Questions

For more related articles on Manufacturing and Business in Tanzania (Trade) click here!

Recommended Articles From Around the Web