Customs Service Charter

Director’s Foreword

Somaliland’s Customs laws require that importers pay customs duties, which fund a range of government programmes and community services, such as education, welfare, health, defence. We are implementing a modern customs system based on self declaration of goods. As part of this system we provide services to help you pay your duties.

The Ministry of Finance Development and its Customs Department operates on the fundamental principle that the trading community and travellers will act in accordance with the law when they are treated with respect and fairness and provided with all the information, advice, assistance and other services they need to comply with their obligations.

The purpose of this Charter is to outline the services Customs provides, inform the Department’s clients of the quality of the service they can expect from their dealings with Customs, and what they, in return, can do to help the Department deliver on its commitments.


The Customs Charter rights and obligation sections were developed based on best international practice on developing taxpayers’ charters, and a review of taxpayers charters in East Africa and elsewhere. The design of the service standards sections also considered these resources, and it is modelled on a similar section in the Rwanda charter.

The Somaliland Charter aims at simplicity and brevity, to ensure that everyone can understand their rights and obligations. Not all the material in charters that are directed at developed countries with well resourced tax administrations and high literacy levels, was included, but each of the main rights is included and explained, as well as the obligations under the Somaliland Customs Law.

Customs’ Mission, Vision and Values

Our Mission

Our mission is to encourage and strengthen trade, the rule of law and increasing domestic revenues based on improved technical expertise and knowledge and adherence to international laws and conventions.

Our Vision

Our vision is the effective administration of customs services based on the principles of modernisation, diligence and efficiency as part of efforts to delivering professional customs services through technical expertise that is in line with global standards, revenue generation and the protection of the country’s borders and society.

Our Core Values

Accountability, Transparency, Integrity, Fairness, Professionalism, Mutual respect and cooperation

Customs’ services to you

To help you meet your obligations, we provide the following services.

  • Prompt clearance of goods within the times in our service standards;
  • Our staff in the Hargeisa Headquarters and Regional Customs Stations can advise on Customs rules relating to:
    • The import and export of goods, including rules on valuation and tariff classification of goods and exemption processes;
    • Goods which must be declared to Customs by travellers entering or leaving the Republic of Somaliland.

If you are not satisfied with our service

If you are unhappy with the service we have provided or a decision we have made that affects you, you can complain. You should first raise your concerns with the person who served you, who will explain why the decision was made. If you are unsatisfied, you can ask to speak to the manager of the section, who will listen and respond to your concern. If you are still unsatisfied with this response, you can make a written complaint to the Ministry’s Public Relations and Customer Care section.


The Customs Service Charter

Your rights as a customer –

You can expect the following from us:

Be treated with respect, honesty and courtesy; We will listen to your concerns, and be polite and respectful in dealing with you. We will accept what you tell us, unless we have reason to think you are not being honest.
Receive efficient, professional and impartial services within the time under our service standards; We will seek to minimise the time taken to clear goods and provide advice, but will take care to ensure our advice is accurate. We will not give particular people or groups special treatment.
Have access to all the necessary information, including relevant acts/laws and regulations: We will answer the enquiries you make at Customs offices, help you complete forms, provide help on our website and on social media, and provide reasons for decisions we made about your liability when requested.
Have your dealings with us treated with privacy and confidentiality; Information about your business will only be shared internally to enable the Ministry to do its work, with other agencies when the law permits or requires this, or with your consent to share that information.
Have complaints dealt with in a timely and fair way. If you are unhappy with the treatment you received, you can complain to the manager of the office or section concerned. If your concern cannot be resolved at that level, you may make a written complaint to the Ministry’s Public Relations and Customer Care section.

Your obligations as a customer –

We expect the following from you:

Honesty and full disclosure of information in order for us to help you abide by your obligations. Provide complete declarations and information when required to do so. Answer questions completely and honestly.
Cooperative and courteous treatment of our staff. Listen to our requests and comply with them, avoid actions which obstruct our staff in performing their duties,  and be polite and respectful in dealing with our staff.
Completion of accurate records. Provide customs declarations that are accurate and sufficient for you to work out and verify your customs liabilities, and meet any other record keeping obligations that apply to you under the law.
Timely response to our inquiries and requests. If you respond to our enquiries and requests promptly and completely, this will help us to expedite processing of your goods.
Take reasonable care to avoid mistakes Ensure that, when providing records, completing forms and working out your taxes and duties, that you understand the requirements and the information given is correct.



Customs Charter Service Standards

The Customs Department’s Service Charter includes standards which the department aims to meet in providing services to traders and the travelling public. The timeline for these standards starts from the time you have provided the information and documentation that we need (specified in the table below).

The Ministry of Finance is progressively implementing new Revenue and Customs laws. These service standards will be added to as new processes are developed to support the implementation of aspects of those laws.

Process Information needed Time for service Measurement
Clear goods for import# – commercial at Berbera port. ·  Goods declaration form covering all goods

·  Invoices for all goods

·  Supporting documentation*

2 days Registered time for first presentation
Customs Management System (CMS) time for release
Clear goods for import#  – commercial at land boundaries. ·  Goods declaration form covering all goods

·  Invoices for all goods

·  Supporting documentation*

1 day Registered time for first presentation
CMS time for release
Clear goods for import# – air cargo including tag bags. ·  Simplified goods declaration form covering all goods

·  Invoices for all goods

1 day Registered time for first presentation
CMS time for release

#Clearance time for import of goods is from the time from presentation of the goods declaration to time for release of goods

*Supporting documentation for imports:

  • Delivery order;
  • Detailed final commercial invoice;
  • Freight invoice (if costs not shown on final commercial invoice);
  • Packing List;
  • Bill of Lading, Air Waybill, or Vehicle Manifest;
  • Ministry of Trade or other licences as appropriate