THE BUREAU of Customs (BoC) said imported goods for personal use worth less than P50,000 will be cleared through an informal entry process to separate it from bigger commercial shipments.

Customs Administrative Order (CAO) 02-2021 sets the rules for importations that will undergo an informal entry process. This covers imported goods with “free on board” or “free carrier” value of less than P50,000, and are used for personal consumption only. Shipments with declared value exceeding the amount will have to undergo a formal entry process.

The BoC said the threshold can be raised or lowered by the commissioner and with the approval of the Finance secretary.

“[The CAO was issued] to identify and segregate the importation of personal and household effects and other qualified non-commercial goods, not intended for sale and commerce, from the mainstream of commercial importation of highly dutiable goods intended for commercial purposes,” the order read. A copy of the order was published in a newspaper on Sunday.

The informal entry process also covers conditionally taxed or duty-exempt imports such as those of returning residents and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and balikbayan boxes sent by OFWs. Also covered are shipments of personal effects of foreign consultants and experts, foreigners or Filipinos resettling in the Philippines, foreign diplomats and their families, and officers and employees of the Department of Foreign Affairs and other departments assigned abroad. 

Goods declaration will be lodged in the BoC’s electric-to-mobile (e2m) system for the meantime, while the bureau has yet to set up its informal entry system.

The bureau said goods declaration must be lodged within 15 days from its removal from the vessel or aircraft, but the deadline can be extended for another 15 days if the request of the importer is valid.

Grounds for extension include fraud against the owner, importer or consignee; force majeure; technical issues; or if there was an accident, mistake or negligence.

Shipments cleared through the informal entry process will be inspected through an X-ray machine or by a mandatory physical examination if there is no equipment.

Containerized cargo and all goods that will be placed for airport warehouses will also undergo mandatory X-ray inspections, except for the personal baggage of diplomats. — Beatrice M. Laforga