Rules and customs formalities
Passengers' Baggage and Personal Effects
Goods imported by passengers arriving from places outside the Partner States shall, subject to the limitations and conditions specified in the following paragraphs:
(a) be the property of and accompany the passenger, except as provided in paragraph 7;
(b) be for the personal or household use of the passenger in a Partner State;
(c) be of such kinds and in such quantities as the proper officer may allow;
Notwithstanding paragraph (1)(c), the following goods shall not be exempted under this item:
(a) alcoholic beverages of all kinds, perfumes, spirits and tobacco and Manufactures thereof, except as provided in paragraphs 6 and 7 of this item;
(b) fabrics in piece;
(c) motor vehicles, except as provided in paragraph (3) and (4);
(d) any trade goods or goods for sale or disposal to other persons;
Subject to paragraphs (1) and (2), the following goods may be exempted under this item when imported, as baggage by a person on first arrival or a returning resident of a Partner State whom the proper officer is satisfied is bona fide changing residence from a place outside a Partner State to a place within a Partner State:
(a) wearing apparel;
(b) personal and household effects of any kind which were in his personal or household use in his former place of residence;
(c) one motor vehicle, "(excluding buses and minibuses of seating capacity of more than 13 passengers and load carrying vehicles of load carrying capacity exceeding two tonnes)" which
the passenger has personally owned and used outside a Partner State for at least twelve months(excluding the period of the voyage in the case of shipment):
Provided that the person has attained the age of Eighteen years;
Subject to paragraphs (1) and (2) of this item, the following goods may be exempted under this item when imported as baggage by a person whom the proper officer is satisfied is making a temporary visit not exceeding three months to a Partner State:
(a) non-consumable goods imported for his personal use during his visit which he intends to take out with him when he leaves at the end of his visit;
(b) consumable provisions and non-alcoholic beverages in such quantities and of such kinds as are in the opinion of the proper officer consistent with his visit;
(c) that the goods are imported by a returning resident being an employee of an international organization the headquarters of which are in a Partner State and who has been recalled for consultations at the organization's headquarters;
Subject to paragraphs (1) and (2) of this item, the following goods may be exempted under this item when imported as baggage by a person who the proper officer is satisfied is a resident of a Partner State returning from a visit outside a Partner
State and who is not changing residence in accordance with paragraphs (3) and (4):
(a) wearing apparel;
(b) personal and household effects which have been in his personal use or household use;
Subject to paragraph (1) of this item, and subject to sub-paragraph (b) of this paragraph, duty shall not be levied on the following goods imported by, and in the pos- session of a passenger:
(a) spirits (including liquors) or wine, not exceeding one litre or wine not exceeding two litres;
(b) perfume and toilet water not exceeding in all one half litre, of which not more than a quarter may be perfume;
(c) Cigarettes, cigars, cheroots, cigarillos, tobacco and snuff not exceeding in all 250 grammes in weight.
The import duty free allowance shall be granted only to passengers who have attained the age of eighteen years;
Subject to paragraphs (1) and (2) of this item, the exemptions granted in accordance with paragraphs (3), (4) and (5) of this Item may be allowed in respect of baggage imported within ninety days of the date arrival of the passenger or such further period not exceeding three hundred and sixty days from such arrival as the Commissioner-General may allow. The duty free allowances granted in accordance with paragraph (6) of this item shall not be allowed in respect of goods specified in the paragraph imported in unaccompanied baggage;
Where any person who has been granted an exemption under paragraphs (3) or (4) changes his residence to a place outside a Partner State within ninety days from the date of his arrival, he shall export his personal or household effects within thirty days, or such further period not exceeding sixty days from the date he changes his residence to a place outside a Partner State, as the Commissioner may allow, otherwise duty becomes payable from the date of importation;
Subject to paragraphs (1) and (2) of this item, goods up to the value of United States Dollars five Hundred for each traveler in respect of goods, other than goods referred to in paragraph 8 of this item, shall be exempted when imported by the traveler in his or her accompanied baggage or upon his or her person and declared by him or her to an officer; provided that the person has been outside the Partner State for a period in excess of 24 hours.
The following is the summary which provides circumstances under which exemptions may be granted ( See Art.1 of Law N0 54 of 31/12/2006 Modifying and complementing Law N0 21/2006 of 28/04/2006 establishing the customs system and Art.137 of Ministerial Decree N0 003/07 of 09/05/2007 implimenting the Law N0 21/2006 of 28/04/2006 establishing the custom Law).
- Personal luggage of travelers;
- Personal effects;
- Goods imported for diplomatic missions,consulates and International Organisations;
- Consignments of negligible value (F.O.B value does not exceed 100.000frw);
- Gifts with negligible value(exemptions shall not be granted to frequent applicants);
- Educational, scientific, technological and cultural materials;
- Information and communication technology equipments;
- Pharmaceutical products;
- Instruments and apparatus intended for medical research, diagnostic or treatment;
- Equipment and instruments use in conseving and protecting the environment;
- Goods for charitable or philanthropic organizations;
- Articles intended for the handicapped persons;
- Donations to the state or its institutions;
- Reproductive animals;
- Solar enrgy equipment;
- Medical optical spectacles;
- Raw materials;
- Agriculture inputs.
1. ARRIVING TRAVELLERS
Any person arriving in Rwanda is required to make a declaration of all goods or articles in his possession to Customs either verbally, in form 126 Bis or DD COM depending on the value of goods (For 126 Bis, value must be < or = 500.000frw; above that value a DD COM must be established).
In case the person denies carrying any goods, Customs officers may, when they have reason to believe that the person concerned does carry dutiable goods:
- Inspect luggage, packages or any parcels carried by the person concerned;
Perform a search on the person concerned, including anal search;
If a physical examination is to be carried out, the officer must be satisfied that the person presenting the declaration is the actual owner. If it is owned by more than one passenger, all passengers must be present when conducting the physical examination. If circumstances do not permit the owner to be present, the one that presents the declaration must know the contents and be ready to answer queries that may arise.
Once satisfied that the declaration is correct, the officer should give the traveler the statutory allowances as indicated under the respective regulation. However, should the traveler posses goods beyond the allowances, appropriate duties and taxes must be calculated and collected in prescribed manner.
2. DEPARTING TRAVELLERS
All travelers leaving Rwanda must make a declaration to customs of all goods and effects in their possession, whether purchased from open stock or duty free shop or received as a gift.
Where an officer suspects that the declaration is not genuine, or the traveler has not made or refused to make a declaration, a physical inspection of the baggage should be carried out.
- (1) All goods the importation of which is for the time being prohibited under this Act, or by any written law for the time being in force in the Partner State.
- (2) False money and counterfeit currency notes and coins and any money not being of the established standard in weight or fineness.
- (3) Pornographic materials in all kinds of media, indecent or obscene printed paintings, books, cards, lithographs or other engravings, and any other indecent or obscene articles.
- (4) Matches in the manufacture of which white phosphorous has been employed.
- (5) Any article made without proper authority with the Armorial Ensigns or Court of Arms of a partner state or having such Ensigns or Arms so closely resembling them as to be calculated to deceive.
- (6) Distilled beverages containing essential oils or chemical products, which are injurious to health, including thijone, star arise, benzoic aldehyde, salicyclic esters, hyssop and absinthe (provided that nothing in this paragraph contained shall apply to "Anise and Anisette" liquers containing not more than 0.1 per centum of oil of anise and distillates from either pimpinella anisum or the star arise allicium verum).
- (7) Narcotic drugs under international control.
- (8) Hazardous wastes and their disposal as provided for under the base conventions.
- (9) All soaps and cosmetic products containing mercury.
- (10) Used tyres for light Commercial vehicles and passenger cars.
- (11) The following Agricultural and Industrial Chemicals:
(a) Agricultural Chemicals (Aldrin, Caplafol, Chlordirneform, Chlorobenxilate, DDT, Dieldrin, Dibroacethanel (EDB), Flouroacelamide, HCH, Hiplanchlor, Hoscachlorobenzene, Lindone, Mercury compounds, Monocrolophs (certain formulations), Methamidophos, Phospharrmion, Methyl - parathion, Parathion).
(b) Industrial Chemicals (Crocidolite, Polychlorominatel biphenyls (PBB), Polyuchorinted, Biphenyls (PCB), Polychlororinated Terphyenyls (PCT), Tris (2.3 dibromopropyl) phosphate, Methylbromide (to be phased out in accordance with the Montreal Protocol by 2007).
(c) Counterfeit goods of all kinds.
Part B- Restricted goods
- (1) All goods the importation of which is for the time being regulated under this Act by any written law for the time being in force in the Partner State.
- (2) Postal franking machines except and in accordance with the terms of a written permit granted by a competent authority of the Partner State.
- (3) Traps capable of killing or capturing any game animal except and in accordance with the terms of a written permit granted by the Partner State.
- (4) Unwrought precious metals and precious stones.
- (5) Arms and ammunition specified under Chapter 93 of the Customs Nomenclature.
- (6) Ossein and bones treated with acid.
- (7) Other bones and horn - cores, unworked defatted, simply prepared (but not cut to shape) degelatinized, powder and waste of these products.
- (8) Ivory, elephant unworked or simply prepared but not cut to shape.
- (9) Teeth, hippopotamus, unworked or simply prepared but not cut to shape.
- (10) Horn, rhinoceros, unworked or simply prepared but not cut to shape
- (11) Other ivory unworked or simply prepared but cut to shape.
- (12) Ivory powder and waste.
- (13) Tortoise shell, whalebone and whalebone hair, horns, antlers, nail, claws and beaks, unworked or simply prepared but not cut to shape, powder and waste of these products.
- (14) Coral and similar materials, unworked or simply prepared but not otherwise worked shells crustaceans or echinoderms and cattle-bone, unworked or simply prepared but not cut to shape powder and waste thereof.
- (15) Natural sponges of animal origin.
- (16) Spent (irradiated) fuel elements (cartridges) of nuclear reactors.
- (17) Worked ivory and articles of ivory.
- (18) Bone, tortoise shell, horn, antlers, coral, mother-of pearl and other animal carving material, and articles of these materials (including articles obtained by moulding).
- (19) Ozone Depleting Substances under the Montreal Protocol (1987) and the Vienna Convention (1985).
- (20) Genetically modified products.
- (21) Non-indigenous species of fish or egg of progeny.
- (22) Endangered Species of World Flora and Fauna and their products in accordance with CITES March 1973 and amendments thereof.
- (23) Commercial casings (Second hand tyres).
- (24) All psychotropic drugs under international control.
- (25) Historical artefacts.
- (26) Goods specified under Chapter 36 of the Customs Nomenclature (for example, percussion caps, detonators, signalling flares).
- (27) Parts of guns and ammunition, of base metal (Section XV of the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System), or similar goods of plastics under Chapter 39 of the Customs Nomenclature.
- (28) Armoured fighting vehicles under heading No 8710 of the Customs Nomenclature.
- (29) Telescope sights or other optical devices suitable for use with arms, unless mounted on a firearm or presented with the firearm on which they are designed to be mounted under Chapter 90 of the Customs Nomenclature.
- (30) Bows, arrows, fencing foils or toys under Chapter 95 of the Customs Nomenclature.
- (31) Collector's pieces or antiques of guns and ammunition under heading No 9705 or 9706 of the Customs Nomenclature.
Tips for Travelers
What is Merchandise in Baggage (MIB)?
MIB means goods, which are carried by passengers in accompanied baggage or private vehicles for trade or business use. These goods are neither manifested as freight on the aircraft, nor are they for the personal use of the passenger.
What goods are included:
- goods acquired for your company;
- goods for sale;
- spare parts
- trade samples, etc;
- goods on which you are claiming relief from duty or VAT
Whether or not they are :
- Permanently imported;
- Temporarily imported;
- In transit;
- Liable to Customs charges
- Returned goods.
What must I do?
If you are carrying MIB in your baggage or private vehicle, you must declare it to Customs. If there are no separate Red and Green Channels, go to the Customs office.
What if I fail to declare the goods?
You may lose the goods and be liable to prosecution, or a fine.
Can I use a Customs clearance agent?
If the goods are worth more than 500,000 Rwf. including freight costs and insurance (CIF), you will be required to use an agent to deal with the formalities for you. As a legal declaration is required, a Customs officer can only give you general advice.
It will save you time if you arrange for an agent to meet you when you arrive. If the goods are worth less than 500,000Rwf, it is not necessary to employ an agent.
What if the goods are in transit?
You must declare them at customs. You can either pay Customs charges, determined by the Customs officer in regard of the value of marchandise as a guarantee that these goods are in transit and will be exited. The amount payed at Customs entry point shall be refunded to you at the exit point on declaring the marchandise on the Customs Officer at the exit border post.
NB. To avoid transit delays and possibly missing your connecting flight, you are advised whenever possible to carry MIB in your hold baggage for clearance at your final destination.
What if I am in transit by air with MIB in my hold baggage?
You do not have to declare it here. It cannot be dealt with until you clear your hold baggage at your final destination.
Rwanda Revenue Authority: www.rra.gov.rw
Tel : +250 788185500
Mail : email@example.com
RRA Call Center : 3004