Self-Declaration Of Goods For Customs

The Customs Department of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) is introducing a new goods declaration procedure at customs stations at the ports, airports and land border crossings. The aim is modernising and reforming the goods clearance process in line with international standards and best practice. A legal requirement of the Customs Act 73/2016 and the Ministerial Decree of December 2018, the new goods self-declaration process enables Somaliland to move to self-declaration by the owner or his/her agent. This can save time as traders can complete the goods declaration form before the goods arrive, and do not need to wait for Customs to complete it.

In 2016, Somaliland Customs began to record information on the Single Administrative Document (SAD), which is the main customs form used in international trade, to assist traders and agents to declare commodities for Customs procedures, including import, export, and transit. To prepare for the eventual trade completion of the SAD, a simplified goods only declaration process was designed through the use of the Goods Declaration Form (GDF). This form was trialled in June/July 2018.

In addition to the completion and submission of the GDF, from January 2019 the Ministerial Decree will require that traders also present trade documents that provide Customs with detailed information on the goods imported. The information required includes invoices, freight invoice where freight costs not separately shown, packing list, bill of lading or air waybill and Ministry of Trade, Industries and Tourism licence. This information, which is detailed in the guidelines for completing the GDF form, is necessary to help Customs assess the value, classification and origin of the goods. The failure to submit invoices with the GDF may lead to delays in the declaration process and the release of goods.

Traders are responsible for the completion of the list of goods on the GDF. Customs will continue to identify the classification and value of the goods from the Customs Valuation Book.

Self-declarations together with supporting documents allow Customs to use modern methods such as risk management, which will assist business by reducing the number of inspections of shipments. Customs will continually work with Somaliland's private sector to implement other trade facilitation measures to ease the importation process for business.

Once in full use, the benefits of the introduction of GDFs in Somaliland are:

  • Compliance with the law and international best practice
  • Standardised approach to clearance
  • Improved accuracy of trade statistics
  • Reduced clearance times

In time, it is hoped that the owner/agent will have the option to either make a declaration at the customs’ office or complete the declaration electronically from his/her own premises.

More information on the new self-declaration process, the Ministerial Decree about Goods Declaration, and a copy of the GDF are available to the public on the Ministry of Finance’s website,

No Increase in Customs Duties

Customs duties will not increase as a result of this change. Transaction values from invoices will be used to improve trade statistics. Goods values for the purpose of calculating customs duties will continue to be taken from the Customs Valuation book.