TRADE
IMPORT

As per Maldives Export/Import Law (No: 31/79) and Taxation Law (No: 3/2013), any party wishing to import goods into Maldives must be registered at Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) and should possess a license issued by Ministry of Economic Development/or any party allocated by this ministry to carry out the licensing procedures. 



License Issuing Authorities

The following authorities are designated to issue Import License.

Parties that do not possess a permit to trade imported items will be issued Import License from Ministry of Economic Development and Male’ City Council.


Customs Branches Issuing Import License

Import License are issued from the following customs branches.

  1. Valuation and Documentation Section (Male’ Head Office)
  2. Air Cargo Section (Hulhule’)
  3. H. Dh. Kulhudhuffushi Customs
  4. S. Hithadhoo Customs
  5. S. Gan Customs

In order to obtain a license, an Application Form (downloadable from here) must be sent to the above mentioned office branches.


Importer Registration at Customs

Any party importing items for any reason other than personal use must submit the following documents for registration:

  • Importer/Exporter Registration Form (available from here and from Valuation and Documentation Counter as well as stated in Appendix 30 of Customs Regulation)
  • Original Importer License Permit
  • Original Company Registration (If applying on behalf of a company)
  • Original Vessel Registration (If applying for a vessel)

Required Documents
  • Import license or Permit issued by Ministry of Economic Development or any other designated authority ( can be renewed from the 1st expiration)
  • Goods Declaration Form
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Bill of Lading / Airway Bill
  • Any other documents stated in Article 108 of The Customs Regulation (May change or be requested by Customs due to situational change)

Temporary Imports
Procedure

The following items may be considered for temporary imports, if applied for that purpose:

  • Items intended to use for temporary basis in exhibitions, international fairs, international meetings, sports ceremonies, meetings and events;
  • Items intended to be used on temporary basis by the news reporters, broadcasters, photographers covering an event in Maldives, and special equipment and cinematographic items for that purpose;
  • Items intended to be used on temporary basis for the repair and maintenance of already installed machineries, plants and special equipment for that purpose;
  • Special apparatus and equipment intended to be used on temporary basis by the surveyors, researchers professional experts;
  • Machinery, equipment and vessels (excluding spare parts) intended to be used on temporary basis on projects and related to economic and social well-being of the country;

Article 125 of Customs General Regulations

Import-duty concessions provided for goods imported on temporary basis:

  1. The goods are subject to 100% duty exemption, if the goods are being re-exported within 90 days from the date of importation.
  2. The goods are subject to 95% duty exemption, if the goods are being re-exported after the expiry of 90 days but before 180 days from the date of importation.
  3. The goods are subject to 90% duty exemption, if the goods are being re-exported after expiry of 180 days but before 1 (one) year from the date of importation.
  4. The goods are subject to 80% duty exemption, if the goods are being re-exported after expiry of 1(one) year but before 2 (Two) years from the date of importation.
  5. Goods are subject to 100% of its import duty, if the goods are being re-exported after the expiry of 2 (two) years period from the date of importation.

Article 126 of Customs General Regulations

The responsibilities of the guarantor in Maldives for the goods imported on temporary basis:

  1. A goods declaration, as defined in the Customs General Regulations, must be submitted to Customs for the goods to be imported to Maldives on temporary basis.
  2. The goods imported on temporary basis shall be re-exported from Maldives within the agreed period, and if any extension is needed, a written request must be submitted to Customs.
  3. In order to re-export the goods imported on temporary basis, a completed goods declaration as per Customs General Regulations must be submitted to Customs.
  4. The goods imported on temporary basis, shall be well-maintained until they are re-exported or until the import duty paid according to Customs General Regulation.
  5. The import duty for the goods imported temporary basis will be determined on the declared value of the goods at the time of their importation to Maldives, as stated in the Customs General Regulations.
  6. If the goods imported on temporary basis are sold or used for a purpose other than the stated purpose in the declaration, the import duty for the goods shall be paid to Customs, on the declared value of the goods at the time of their importation.
  7. If the goods imported on temporary basis are damaged beyond use, or if they are stolen, lost / missing, in full or in part thereof, Customs must be notified within 10 days of discovery of such incident and their import duty shall be paid to Customs


Prohibited Items

Prohibited goods are goods that are banned completely.

  •  Narcotics and psychotropic substances
  • Pornographic material (including sex toys) such as books, magazines, films, videos, DVDs and software
  • Religious materials offensive to Islam
  • Live pigs
  • Idols (for worship)

Restricted Items

Restricted goods are goods that require a specific permit in order to import them.

Liquor and Alcoholic Products
  • According to Maldivian Law No: 4/1975 (Import prohibition Act), importation of liquor and alcoholic products without prior approval is prohibited.
  • Hence, it is advised not to purchase liquor and alcoholic products on the flight or duty free shops while en route to the Maldives as these items will be confiscated upon arrival at the airport. However, liquor, beer and other such alcoholic beverages are available at all tourist resorts/hotels. These have been imported under special license issued prior to their importation.

Pork and its by-products
  • According to Maldivian Law No: 4/1975 (Import prohibition Act), importation of pork and its by-products without prior approval is prohibited.
Chemical and Chemical Products
  • Chemicals
  • Acid
  • Poisons
  • Toxic substances

Pets

Health certificate from an authorized veterinarian, satisfying that the animal is free from infections or contagious diseases is required.


Note: the import of dogs and dangerous animals are strictly prohibited. 


Firearms/Explosives/Weapons and Ammunition
  • Pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotguns, pellet guns, etc.
  • Replica and imitation firearms, Components of firearms, Harpoon and spear guns, Stun or shock producing devices.
  • Explosives and explosive devices, Replica or imitation explosive material or devices, Fireworks, flares and other pyrotechnics.

Live Plants and Animals

All plants require a valid phytosanitary / sanitary certificate and must be inspected and approved by the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture.


Medicine

A valid medical prescription issued by a registered medical practitioner is required for importation of controlled drugs (for personal use only)


Tobacco and Tobacco Products

All tobacco products must carry a health warning label as prescribed by the Ministry of Health.


Note: All passengers are eligible for import duty allowance upto a limit of 200 Cigarettes, 25 Cigars and 250g of tobacco.


Communication Equipment

Talkie-set, receiver and any other telecommunication equipment with radio frequency transmitting capacity exceeding 100 milliwatts should be inspected and approved by Communication Authority of Maldives.


Items that Need Special Permission
Local Permitting Authorities

Permits must be obtained from the following local authorities when importing goods mentioned below:


CATEGORYPERMITTING AUTHORITY
Liquor and Alcoholic Products 
Prior permit required from: Ministry of Economic Development
Pork and its by-products
Prior permit required from: Ministry of Economic Development
Chemical and Chemical Products
Prior permit required from: Ministry of Defense and National Security
Pets
Health certificate from an authorized v eterinarian
Firearms/Explosives/Weapons and Ammunition                      
Prior permit required from: Ministry of Defense and National Security
Live Plants and Animals
Valid phytosanitary/sanitary certificate
Valid phytosanitary/sanitary certificate
For Personal use: Valid Prescription
For commercial use prior permit required from: Maldives Food and Drug Authority
Tobacco and Tobacco Products
All tobacco products must carry a health warning label as prescribed by the Ministry of Health.
Note: All passengers are eligible for import duty allowance upto a limit of 200 Cigarettes, 25 Cigars and 250g of tobacco.
Communication Equipment
Telecommunication equipment with radio frequency transmitting capacity exceeding 100 milliwatts should be inspected and approved by Communication Authority of Maldives.
Hydrochlorofluorocarbon 
Environment Protection Agency
Live fish and frozen meat
Port Health
Bird Import License
Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture
Pesticide and Fertilizers
Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture and Ministry of Defense and National Security
Vehicles 
Ministry of Transport 


Foreign Permits Required
CATEGORYPERMIT REQUIRED
All vehicles (except motorcycle and auto cycle) that have been registered prior to import        
Original De-registration Certificate
Plants
Phytosanitary certificate
Live Animals/Birds
State Veterinary Certificate
Live Fish
Health Certificate from State Veterinary Department
Cats
Health Certificate
Rabies Vaccination Certificate
Chicken/Chicks
State Veterinary Department’s Certificate stating the vaccination for Fowl pox vaccine and Newcastle Disease
Chilled Raw Meat
Original Health Certificate from State Veterinary Department

Import Cargo Examination

All arrangements for the examination of Import Shipments must be made by the owner of the shipment. In the event that an external party is required to be present during the examination process, this arrangement must also be made by the owner himself.


Commercially Imported Shipments

After the completion of the Import Declaration and submitting it to the Valuation and Documentation Section, the following documents must be submitted to the Cargo Examination Section requesting for the examination of the shipment.


  • Payment Assessment Notice (Original)
  • Receipt of Payment to Customs (Copy)
  • Delivery Order (3 Copies)

Personal Effects

Items that fall into the categories below can be imported as personal effects.

  • Used items brought by locals coming back to Maldives after a period of 6 months or more abroad.
  • Used items brought for establishment by professionals coming to work in Maldives for a period of more than 6 months.

After the submission of the required documents to the Valuation and Documentation Section, the following documents must be submitted to the Cargo Examination Section requesting for the examination of the shipment.

  • Passport (Original)
    • In cases where an original cannot be produced, a copy of the passport must be submitted along with a letter stating the details for Date of Departure from Maldives, Date of Arrival in Maldives and Visa.
  • Delivery Order
  • Packing List
  • Work Permit Card (for foreign individuals)

Shipments Imported with Diplomatic Immunity

After the submission of the required documents to the Valuation and Documentation Section, the following documents must be submitted to the Cargo Examination Section requesting for the examination of the shipment.

  • Letter from Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Letter from the Diplomatic Mission and
  • Any other documents related to the shipment

Shipments Imported as Ship Store

Goods discharged as Ship’s Stores only include inventories that are carried on board vessels in order to meet its daily requirements such as water, food, spare parts, bunkering etc., provided that they belong to a vessel under Customs control, or a vessel duly recognized by the President of the Maldives to be in harmony to international law and conventions.

The following documentation, processed and completed by Valuation and Documentation Section, should be submitted to Cargo Examination Section requesting for the release of Ship’s Stores.

  • Letter submitted by the vessel’s Agent requesting to load goods as Ship’s Store
  • Payment Assessment Notice (Original)
  • Receipt of Payment to Customs (Copy)
  • Delivery Order (3 Copies)

Release of Items Imported for Bonded Warehouses

Before shipments are released to be stored in Bonded Warehouses, Customs Officers will inspect to see if the shipment is consigned to the said Bonded Warehouse and also if the goods are in accordance with the permit issued by Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.

The following documentation, processed and completed by Valuation and Documentation Section, should be submitted to Cargo Examination Section requesting for the release of goods for Bonded Warehouses.

  • Payment Assessment Notice (Original)
  • Receipt of Payment to Customs (Copy)
  • Delivery Order (3 Copies)

If the items are consigned to a Bonded Warehouse in Hulhule, after the documentation stage is complete only Delivery Order (3 copies) is required to be submitted to Cargo Examination Section.


Release of Items for Duty Free Shops

Before shipments are released to Duty Free Shops, Customs Officers will inspect to see if the shipment is consigned to the said Duty Free Shop and also if the goods are in accordance with the permit issued by Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.

The following documentation, processed and completed by Valuation and Documentation Section, should be submitted to Cargo Examination Section requesting for the release of goods to Duty Free Shops.

  • Payment Assessment Notice (Original)
  • Receipt of Payment to Customs (Copy)
  • Delivery Order (3 Copies)

Release of Items for Re-import

In order for an item to be considered as a re-import, the items must be declared as re-imports in the export documentation stage and must be consigned to the same individual when it enters back into the country. These goods must bear the characteristics stated in the Article 128 of the Customs Regulation.

The following documentation, processed and completed by Valuation and Documentation Section, should be submitted to Cargo Examination Section requesting for the release of re-import goods.

  • Payment Assessment Notice (Original)
  • Receipt of Payment to Customs (Copy)
  • Delivery Order (3 Copies)

Release of Items for Re-export

Items that are stated in Article 118 of the Customs Regulation are the only items that can be imported for the purpose of re-exporting. The items must be owned by a foreign individual and must have an individual who is responsible for it locally.

The following documentation, processed and completed by Valuation and Documentation Section, should be submitted to Cargo Examination Section requesting for the release of goods for re-export.

  • Payment Assessment Notice (Original)
  • Receipt of Payment to Customs (Copy)
  • Delivery Order (3 Copies)

Import Declaration
In order to complete the declaration procedure, the Goods Declaration must be completed and submitted along with the following documentation.

  • Goods Declaration Form (Soft Copy)
  • Pre- valuation form (Appendix 17)
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Bill of Lading / Airway Bill
  • Bond Receipt/Post Waybill (Postal Items)
  • Courier Airway Bill (Courier Packages)

Any other documents stated in Article 108 of The Customs Regulation (May change or be requested by Customs due to situational change)


Items for Which Goods Declaration is Not Required
  • Duty allowances declared by the president
  • Personal effect items
  • Items brought in by local passengers when entering Maldives after a long period abroad
  • Used items brought by locals coming back to Maldives after a period of 6 months or more abroad
  • Used items brought for establishment by professionals coming to work in Maldives for a period of more than 6 months
Cargo Manifest

All manifests for items entering into the Maldives via air and sea routes must be in accordance with the format stated in appendix 14 and 15 of Customs Regulation.

Responsibilities of Agent when submitting Cargo Manifest
  • The vessel’s agent must be registered at customs as a shipping agent,
  • Agent must present the inward and outward manifest containing legitimate information of all items entering Maldives via sea and air routes.
  • Agents must present inward and outward manifest for transit and transshipment items.
  • Any changes to manifest after its submission to Maldives Customs Service must be notified immediately.
  • If there are no Cargo items, it must be notified.
  • All fines charged for Inward and Outward manifest violations must be cleared immediately.

When to Submit Manifest
  • Deadlines for manifests are counted excluding Customs Holidays and Business Closing times.
  • Any vessels entering Maldives via sea route, within 72 hours or less from its last departure destination must present the manifest 10 hours before it arrives in Maldives
  • Any vessels entering Maldives via sea route, within 72 or more hours from its last departure destination must present the manifest 24 hours before it arrives in Maldives
  • Any vessels entering Maldives via air, within 3 hours or less from its  last departure destination must present the manifest 30 minutes before it arrives in Maldives
  • Any vessels entering Maldives via air, within 3 hours or more from its  last departure destination must present the manifest 1 hour before it arrives in Maldives
  • Any vessels leaving Maldives via sea, must present its outward manifest within 1 hour before its departure  and any vessel leaving Maldives via air, must present its outward manifest within 15 minutes before it departs  Maldives
  • Any manifest that has been submitted on time, but incomplete, will be accepted with a late submission fee of MVR3,000 as fine.

Manifest Amendment and Fines

Any amendments to the manifest must be submitted via the form stated in Appendix 16 of The Customs Regulation.

Late submissions of Inward Manifests for all items other than that brought via Courier Service,  that require amendments to any of the items stated below will be charged a fine of MVR500 for each time an amendment is submitted.

  • Exporter/shipper
  • Place of Discharge
  • Final Destination

Late submissions of Outward Manifests for all items other than that brought via Courier Service,  that require amendments to any of the items stated below will be charged a fine of MVR1,000 for each time an amendment is submitted.

  • Consignee
  • Container Number
  • Seal Number
  • First Load Port
  • Place of Loading
  • Goods Description
  • Container Type
  • Gross Weight (Except weight of container)
  • Combine or Split Bill of Lading
  • Bill of Lading Number
  • Number of Packages

Duty Allowances for Re-Export
  • If the item being imported is re-exported within 90 days, the item will be allowed an allowance of 100% on Import Duty.
  • If the item being imported is re-exported after 90 days, but before 180 days, the item will be allowed an allowance of 95% on Import Duty.
  • If the item being imported is re-exported after 180 days, but before 1 year, the item will be allowed an allowance of 90% on Import Duty.
  • If the item imported is re-exported after 1 year, but before 2 years, the item will be allowed an allowance of 80% on Import Duty.
  • Any item that is re-exported after 2 years will be charged 100% as Import Duty.