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Formal Import: what is it, steps and advantages

When a product to be imported requires an import license, or if the sum of the value of the product, insurance and freight exceeds the limit of USD 3,000.00, it is necessary to proceed with the commonly discussed formal import. 

It is necessary to be aware of the particularities of the import process in question, because in any operation, it is important to minimize costs and increase savings whenever possible. Therefore, we will also address the advantages and steps necessary to complete the import efficiently and effectively. 

What is formal import?

Formal importation is the entry of products from a foreign country into the national territory, which, by complying with the necessary and specific bureaucratic processes for the imported product, aims to nationalize the goods by registering their data and their purpose of use, also declaring the responsibilities of each party in the import process.

When opting for formal import, the importer must comply with the following steps for the nationalization of the goods:

  • Be enabled on the Siscomex Single Portal with an available limit that covers the value of the product, shipping and insurance to be declared;
  • Carry out the tax classification of the product;
  • Negotiate and define the responsibilities of the operation with the supplier or exporter through INCOTERM;
  • Define the logistics of transporting the goods; and
  • Manage the documentation and data provision necessary for nationalization.

How does formal import work?

Formal import follows the principle that there is a foreign commodity and there is a need to provide sufficient resources for it to be nationalized and able to circulate within the national territory. As it is a more bureaucratic process, a case-by-case analysis is carried out, which may bring specific advantages based on the analyzed scenario.

For example, considering that informal imports (express shipments) set the import tax rate at 60% on the sum of the product, freight and insurance values, the tax classification stands out as an advantage, because if that the import tax rate is 0%, as is the case with products originating from Mercosur member countries, the importer would have a loss in the operation if not formally imported.

Another important issue is that even if formal imports require the importer's Radar to be enabled on the Siscomex Single Portal with a specific limit for the submodality within the summed values ​​of the product, freight and insurance, it shows the importer that there are sufficient resources to carry out the nationalization of the goods, thus avoiding several problems with cargo blockages, loss due to lack of resources, additional costs due to delays, among others, requiring the importer to correctly plan the import and be prepared. 

How to make the formal import?

Initially, the value of the merchandise and other foreign resources necessary to be provided and that will directly impact the total value of the operation in foreign currency, such as freight and insurance, are investigated. This negotiation takes place in advance to define the responsibilities of each party involved in the import, covering who is in charge of transporting the goods and issuing documents for transport by the specific route, in addition to other additional services such as insurance and nationalization and transport of the goods abroad.

With this, the incoterm will be defined, which is a code that points out this international negotiation, being referenced to the other partners of the operation, such as cargo agent, customs broker, among others.

Based on the total value of the operation in foreign currency, the authorization of the radar is followed up, which is valid for 6 months. As new operations occur within this period, this period is renewed for another 6 months from the date of the last registration, in addition to the limit of amounts consumed lasting for 6 months. It is necessary to be enabled according to the total value of the operation in foreign currency (product value, insurance and freight). The limits are:

  • Express Qualification: USD 50,000.00;
  • Limited License: USD 150,000.00;
  • Unlimited Eligibility: No Limit.

The importer being qualified to import the goods according to the necessary limit, it is necessary to carry out the tax classification of the product, a process that will verify the specific taxation, in addition to any bureaucratic process necessary for the nationalization of the goods. This step is very important, as the feasibility of the operation is verified and whether it is advisable to proceed with the import or not.

In a formal import, the commercial invoice, packing list and bill of lading (HBL/HAWB) will be used as base documents. Such documents must be signed with the original copies available for consultation, in addition to being used during the customs clearance process. Depending on the product, in order to obtain the consent of an authorizing agency, it will be necessary to issue specific documents to obtain the approval of the import license.

Preferably after the arrival of the goods at the port of destination, when the goods are released and they are ready to be nationalized, the goods will be registered, in which the importer, through the support of a customs broker, declares to the Federal Revenue of Brazil the values ​​of the merchandise and other pertinent data necessary for the conclusion of the customs clearance.

After obtaining the customs clearance of the goods, the last step is the issuance of the invoice and proceeding with the delivery of the product.

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