Russia - Customs Regulations

14/08/2019

The introduction of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) has not affected the internal structure of the Russian Customs service, which continues to be comprised of the Federal Customs Service, regional Customs administrations, Customs-houses, and Customs posts.  However, on January 1, 2018, Russia updated its Customs Code to be congruent with its EAEU commitments.  Goods that are moved into Russia through other EAEU member countries are placed under the transit Customs regime at the external border of the EAEU and are finally released for free circulation by the Russian customs authorities through electronic notification.

Customs clearance is normally completed by the importer of record (or a customs agent acting on its behalf) filing the Customs declaration along with the required set of supporting documents.

Customs brokers can be utilized to fully outsource the Customs clearance process.  In many cases brokers let the companies outsource their import operations without being a party to the international transaction.

Only companies that are local residents of any EAEU member state may act as importers of record before the Customs authorities.  The declaring importer of record must have a direct interest in goods imported under a foreign trade transaction (i.e. the right to own, possess, or dispose of the imported goods.).  Alternatively, a declarant may clear goods through a Customs broker/agent, as long as the broker/agent is registered on the official list maintained by the EAEU Commission.  As a general rule, foreign entities may not act as importers of record, except for a limited number of cases when goods may be imported by representative offices or branches of foreign legal entities accredited in Russia.

The timing for the Customs clearance procedure is usually one business day after the declaration is registered by the Russian Customs authorities provided that all documentation is in order.  However, legislation does provide a Customs inspector the right to extend the term by up to 10 business days at the discretion of the chief of a Customs terminal. 

The list of documents required for Customs clearance depends on the type and characteristics of the goods, and the terms of their importation.  As December of 2014, nearly all Customs declarations were being submitted in electronic format without any documents in hard copy. The transition to full e-documention was completed in January  2017, equipping all the Customs posts with e-docflow.

The website of Russia’s Federal Customs Service  contains regional Customs contact information, as well as a link to the portal for electronic declarations.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce