Make sure that you prepare all of the correct import documents that are required to pass the customs formalities, and fulfil all compliance and regulations. Valid documents help increase the efficiency of the Customs Clearance process.
Required documents: Zoo or phytosanitary certificate; Certificate of origin issued by the local health service, certifying that the referred item originates in an area known to be free from quarantine pests or diseases; Commercial import authorization, pursuant to applicable legislation.
2. Business Certificate
Obtain a business certificate from SERVE. This is a license to carry out economic activity in Timor-Leste.
To import goods on a commercial basis, you must obtain authorization from the SERVE.
Fill the Application Form for Business Registration and Licensing (Serve F1-3)
See here for the different requirements for different types of businesses
Request the TIN for business from the Tax Authority. This is to ensure that illegal and dangerous goods don’t enter the country and that revenue is collected properly by the Customs Authority to further facilitate trade and boost economic growth.'
For the TIN, fill the TIN Application Form. Different types of businesses need to fill different forms, see here
To obtain the commercial license, prepare the following data:
a) For individuals: name, age, nationality, place of birth and domicile
b) For commercial companies: trade name and head office
c) Commercial activity being requested
d) Evidence of commercial registration by the pertinent entity and respective by-laws
e) Location of the premises or the address of the requesting party in the case of street vending or merchant
Good to know
Timor-Leste prohibits the following products from being imported:
Any proteins for animal feeding containing any meat powder, bone powder, blood powder, or fat from mammal tissues;
Poultry powder for ruminant feeding;
Any products from cows, sheep, or goats showing clinical signs of Spongiform 4 Encephalopathy;
Any animals or any products of any animals showing clinical symptoms of certain diseases including, for example, foot-and-mouth disease and bird flu; and
There are Specific Import Requirements for Animals, Plants, and Vegetables. Import licenses issued by the National Directorate of Quarantine and Biosecurity are required for all:
Animal or vegetal products; and
Any other goods, or merchandise, animal, or vegetal organism as specified by law.
The rate of import duty is 2.5 per cent of the customs value of the goods. Some goods are exempt from import duty.
Imports of the type:
- Exempted under the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and Consular Relations of 1963;
- Exempted under the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations
- Exempted under the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Specialized Agencies.
Goods re-imported in the same condition in which they were exported.
Goods, other than alcohol or tobacco imported by registered charitable organizations.
Goods are to be used for humanitarian assistance and relief, education or health care.
Goods for temporary admission.
To obtain an import license, you are required to submit the completed application form and attach a certificate of origin to the National Directorate Quarantine and Biosecurity. There are separate applications forms for different goods.
Import Plant Materials
This includes fresh and
frozen fruit and
vegetables, plants or plant
parts, tissue cultures
laboratory use) or seeds.
Meat or Meat Products
This includes liver
animals (for example,
laboratory animals, fish
and insects), or
(for example, animal
semen, fertile avian
eggs, and embryos).
This includes food
stuffs for human
feeds, fish feeds,
material, and any other
Additional license for certain goods are also needed:
Imports of Drugs and Medicines: The National Drugs and Medicines Policy requires all parties involved in the procurement, import and distribution of medicines to follow the WHO Certification scheme, and the WHO based guidelines on good distribution and storage practices and good pharmacy practice procedures. All drug importers are required to be licensed by the National Drug Administration.
Imports of Fuel and Gasoline: A trading license permitting the import of fuel may only be issued to companies meeting the Minimum Requirements by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and National Petroleum Authority.
Imports of Vehicles: Importers of vehicles for sale, including leasing require written approval before the goods are dispatched, from both the National Directorate of External Trade, MTCI, and the Land Transport Department, Ministry of Transport and Communications. Importer must obtain a permit from the National Director of Ground Transporation. See Importing cars and motor vehicles for further details.
Imports of Explosives: Explosives for military use and construction (mining) require an import permit from the Ministry of Defense and National Security.
Imports of Equipment Containing Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC): Import equipment containing HCFC are required to register with the National Ozone Unit located in the MTCI.
Once the documentation and legal requirements have been fulfilled, you should use the ASYCUDA system to ensure smooth customs process during the arrival of goods.
Within 24 hours before shipment
come, the shipping agency
enters the customs manifest into
the "ASYCUDA" system
Broker submit "Declaration of Customs" into the "ASYCUDA" system
Customs staff verify the
declaration form. They review
the cargo value and credentials
of the Importers
Up to 2 days
Broker and importers will pay
applicable customs duty and
levies (if any) and receive a
receipt from the bank
Depend on the value of
Then, the declaring party
presents the receipt to Customs
Up to 7 working days
Customs release the cargo
goods after confirming the
receipt from bank
If more than 30 days, the
declaring party will be
When imported goods arrive, they are initially considered to be in “temporary storage.”
Timor-Leste legally requires the goods to be placed under a “customs treatment” within a specified time frame.
Goods must be declared to customs as an import, re-export, or placed in an approved bonded warehouse facility.
Your business must submit the Customs declaration within a strict timeframe. Failure to do so will result in a financial penalty.
Package F – Companies with owners who are non-Resident of Timor-Leste (Note: Individuals are non-residents if they are not citizens of Timor-Leste.
Companies are non-residents if they were not incorporated in Timor-Leste. Only companies that are not operating in Timor-Leste should use this form.)