This week, our expert explains whether you need a license to import.
Q: What licenses do I need to import?
A: Luckily importing isn’t like getting your driver’s license – you don’t need to sit a test and get a license just to be able to do it!
Most imports these days are pretty straight forward. Consumer products such as electronics, clothing, footwear and homewares generally don’t have any restrictions; therefore you won’t need a license. Your main worry will be Customs duties. These can be expensive if you don’t know what you’re doing, so it’s a good idea to seek the advice of a Customs broker, or talk to Customs directly to find out what duty rate will apply.
Generally speaking, you’ll only need to get an import license if you want to import wholesale items that could potentially pose a health risk - for example, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, fertilizers, animals, drugs and food. Each of these items has a corresponding governing body, who will ask you all sorts of questions before they decide whether you can be trusted with a license to import said item. For example, if you wished to import food containing animal products into the United States, you would need to apply for an import license to The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Want to check which items require an import license in your country? Then Google “[your country] + customs” and read the information on prohibited or restricted items. If you’re still unsure or confused, give the Customs department in your country a call and talk to the support staff. They will happily provide guidance and tell you exactly what steps you need to follow to carry out your import.