How to ship to Pakistan from Canada - Gifts, Personal Belongings, Temporary Imports, etc.

Sending Parcels to Pakistan


Pakistan’s Indus River Valley has been home to a series of civilizations over the last 5000 years, which has led to Pakistan being the world’s 6th most populous nation. Modern Pakistan is renowned for having won numerous international cricket events and produced the world’s best squash player: Jahangir Khan.

While Pakistan’s economy remains cash-based, e-commerce is making fast inroads with the value of those transactions having doubled in the last 5 years. With the number of internet subscribers also expected to double in the next half decade, the future of e-commerce looks bright for Pakistan.

The sources of information on this page come directly from the Government of Pakistan, the Federal Board of Revenue, and number of other government sources.



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Disclaimer!

While we have made every effort to ensure that the information on this page is accurate, Customs laws and procedures change regularly so it is important to consult a licensed broker in Pakistan before shipping any goods.




Types of Shipments


Not all types of shipments are created equal. For example, shipping a television requires different paperwork and incurs different duties and taxes than shipping a package containing only documents. 

Below is a list of the most common types of shipments. 

  • Documents Only

  • Gifts

  • Personal Effects (Personal belongings)

  • Food, Chocolate, Candies

  • Samples

  • Advertising material

  • Repairs

  • Temporary imports (ie. trade shows, exhibits, etc)

  • Permanent or Sold Goods



Documents Only

Documents can be shipped to Pakistan tax and duty free. Documents often sent overseas include:

  • Company reports and proposals

  • Cheques

  • Gift cards

  • Pamphlets and newsletters


Some document types are restricted and should be indicated on the Commercial Invoice. 


Document Type

Restriction

Business cards

No limit on quantity 

calculated on weight basis

Cheques & Traveller’s cheques

Must be personalised.

Greetings cards and invitations

Must be personalised. 

Blanks are not permitted.

Airline Tickets

To be considered a document, each airline ticket must be issued to a single person.


Newspapers

Non-commercial use only

Examination Papers

To be classed as documents they can weigh no more than 5 kg.

Maximum value of a parcel: US $20 (about $26 CDN).

 


See here for a complete list of restrictions on documents. 




Sources:

https://www.ups.com/ga/CountryRegs



Shipping Gifts

There are no exemptions for gift shipments to Pakistan. Gift parcels will incur duties and a Value Added Tax (VAT) of 17% as with all other shipments.

To ensure that your parcel clear customs most efficiently, be sure to follow the steps below:

  • The word ‘GIFT’ is clearly be indicated on the commercial invoice

  • A detailed description of each item is provided

  • The value is declared on the commercial invoice

NOTE: Shipping a gift to an individual to their work address will cause an issue - it'll be seen as a commercial shipment and will not be exempt from duties and taxes. 


 

Sources

https://www.ups.com/ga/CountryRegs





Personal Effects

You may ship personal effects duty free to Pakistan providing:

  • You are a foreign national moving to Pakistan for 2 years or more; or

  • you are a Pakistani national returning to Pakistan after staying abroad for a period of 2 years or more and you have not visited Pakistan for more than 120 days in the last 2 years. 


Moving Temporarily

If you are on your first visit to Pakistan in a year after staying abroad for more than 7 days, you can bring the following duty free:

  • One Radio or one ordinary tap recorder.

  • One VCP, VCR, VCD or DVD Player.

  • One still camera and one video camera.

  • Personal jewellery in reasonable quantity.

  • Professional tools up to the value of US $500 (about $650 CDN)

  • Used furniture, kitchen utensils, crockery and cutlery, linen and blankets


Moving Permanently

Pakistani citizens are eligible for a transfer of residence allowance providing the owner of the goods has stayed abroad for 2 or more years and has not visited Pakistan in those 2 years for a cumulative period of 120 days or more.

Foreign nationals are also eligible for a transfer of residence duty discount if they are arriving in Pakistan for a stay of 2 or more years. This is usually stated in their employment letters

.

If you are moving to Pakistan you will need to complete a Transfer of Residence (ToR) form before your move to claim exemption from duties and taxes on selected items. 

Duty free goods that qualify for a Transfer of Residence allowance are:

  • Used clothing and accessories

  • Toiletries and an electric shaver

  • One electric iron and one hair dryer

  • One wrist watch

  • One mobile phone

  • One desktop or laptop computer

  • One still camera and one video camera

  • Professional tools not exceeding $500 USD (about $650 CDN)

  • Prizes, trophies and medals given to you

  • 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 500 g of manufactured tobacco

  • 250 mL of eau de toilette and 125 mL of perfume

  • Gifts and souvenirs providing they are a reasonable number and quantities


Document Checklist

✔️  Transfer of Residence (ToR) form (include with your shipment)

✔️ Clearly indicate ‘Personal Effects’ in the "General Description" or "Remarks" section on the commercial invoice

✔️  Inventory list written in English

✔️  Packing list with purchase invoices

✔️  Employment letter


Sources:

http://www.customsenquiry.gov.pk/baggage.html

http://www.customsenquiry.gov.pk/faqs.html 

http://www.karachiairport.com.pk/Procedures/Pro-CustomRules.aspx 

http://www.sbp.org.pk/fe_returns/Custom-tariff-09-10.pdf

http://www.pakmission.ca/forms/transferofresidence.pdf

http://download1.fbr.gov.pk/Docs/201011815113751218Brochure-014.pdf




Food, Chocolate, Candies

Most food, chocolate and candy products can be imported to Pakistan at a 20% tax rate. There are a few regulations that are easy to meet but nonetheless very important.  

When shipping food to Pakistan you must ensure that the:

✔️ Food has a shelf life of six months or longer

✔️ Food is in the original manufacturer’s packaging or wrapping

✔️ Food labels list all ingredients and include an expiry date

✔️ Packaging is sealed and intact

✔️ Halal certificate is attached to the parcel

Generally you can send 1- 2 kg of food for personal consumption. Above that, you may be charged duties and taxes. The same rules apply for businesses. 

There are different rules for 2 special cases: foreign employees and privileged personnel.

  1. A foreign employee of an industrial venture is entitled to import foodstuffs duty and tax-free up to the customs and freight value of US $100 (about $130 CDN) per month. (This excludes alcoholic beverages.)

  1. Privileged personnel (defined as foreign experts, consultants or technicians visiting or residing in Pakistan under a proper Aid Agreement) are allowed to import the same values of foodstuffs as described in (1) above.

However, they are entitled to import foodstuffs and goods comprising liquor and tobacco up to the customs and freight value of US $200 (about $260 CDN) but must pay taxes and duty. Also, the value of liquor must not exceed US $100 (about $130 CDN) per month.


Chocolates 

Chocolates can be imported easily into Pakistan. The duty and tax rates vary based on the type and brand of chocolate being imported. See here for details. 

Note: Pakistani nationals are NOT exempt from duty and taxes on imported food, chocolate and candies.


Importing Food to Pakistan

Food can be imported into Pakistan providing the following restrictions and policies are observed:

  • Labels in English or Urdu are required.

  • When the foodstuffs are cleared, they must have a minimum of 66% of their shelf life. 

  • Labelling of nutritional values and usage instructions in Urdu and English.

  • The exporter must provide a certificate of origin for all shipments. 

  • For animal products and products containing animal products, the exporter must ensure that the product is ‘Halal certified’.

  • Alcoholic beverages cannot be imported for commercial sale.

Pakistan requires that commercial invoices and packing lists be included inside each shipping container. The following information must be placed in a durable and legible manner on all packages in the consignment or container: 

  • The name of the product 

  • The name and address of the manufacturer 

  • The net contents 

  • The date of manufacture and date of expiration 

  • The percentage of dye contents 

  • The normal storage stability


Documents Required

The following documents are generally required for import into Pakistan: 

  • A National Tax Number (NTN) certificate issued by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on filing of application form accompanied with one attested copy of National Identity Card of the importer. 

  • A Pakistani bank account. 

  • A Sales Tax Registration. For registration, an importer must send Form ST-1 to their local sales tax registration office via post.

  • A membership certificate of Chamber of Commerce and Industries or any relevant trade association of Pakistan.

  • A letter of credit.

  • Documents in English will suffice; there is no need to translate into Urdu

More details on this can be found here

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency provides a checklist to help businesses export food internationally. 

Note: Food samples, product samples and free samples must follow the same regulations as commercially imported items.


Document Checklist 

✔️  Clearly indicate ‘Food’ on the commercial invoice in the General Description or Remarks section

✔️  Check with your carrier that they will accept food shipments


Sources:

http://customnews.pk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/valuation-1042.pdf

http://download1.fbr.gov.pk/Docs/2018817158749999PakistanCustomTariff2018-19-CH1-99.pdf

http://download1.fbr.gov.pk/SROs/201610251510913232Updated-450-2001-2015-16-RULES.pdf




Samples


Small parcels sent to Pakistan as samples have no value restriction. The aggregate customs, insurance and freight (CIF) value of samples must not exceed US $10,000 (about $13,000 CDN) or equivalent, per firm in a calendar year. 

This valuation has an exception for medicines, which is PKR 25,000 (about 206 CDN), and for leather products it is 50 samples per calendar year. 


In Pakistan, commercial samples are items only used for demonstration purposes. Their aim is to encourage people to buy or place orders. 


You can import your commercial samples free of duties and taxes if:


  • The consignee (a.k.a. the recipient) is an established commercial entity* within Pakistan

  • An indemnity bond or bank guarantee ensures that the items will be re-exported to Canada 

  • The item shipped has tearing, perforation, slashing, defacing, or has permanent marking that clearly indicates the item as a commercial sample

  • The items are declared as ‘Commercial Sample’ on the commercial invoice (See example below)

  • For Food Samples, Product samples and free samples must follow the same regulations as commercially imported items


*Examples of consignees that are established commercial entities:

  • A government agency or department

  • A public institution or public establishment recognised and approved by the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP)


Sources

https://www.ups.com/ga/CountryRegs

https://import-export.societegenerale.fr/en/country/pakistan/regulations-customs

http://download1.fbr.gov.pk/sros/CustomsSROs/1982sro92cu.htm 

http://download1.fbr.gov.pk/sros/CustomsSROs/1998sro783cu.pdf





Advertising Material


Advertising material includes items that are handed out to promote products or services.

Unfortunately, there is limited information on this topic. Our research shows that printed advertising/marketing material can be imported into Pakistan free of duties and taxes however, sources on this are limited.  


Advertising material checklist:

  • The commercial invoice clearly indicates ‘Promotional material’ or ‘Advertising material’ in the General Description or Remarks section  (See example below.)

  • The shipper can only send advertising material to a single receiver. If they are sent to multiple receivers, duties and taxes will apply.


Source

https://about.usps.com/publications/pub141/pakistan.htm




Repairs

Sending Product for Repair to Pakistan:

Goods exported from Pakistan that are under warranty may be returned to Pakistan for the purpose of repair or correcting defects. 

Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce requires an indemnity bond in order to obtain a duty free exemption.

Ensure to complete the following on the Commercial Invoice:

  • Write the words ‘REPAIR & RETURN’ under General Description or Remarks

  • Write the Serial or Product number under the Detailed Description of Goods section 

  • Include a copy of the Repair Contract with all your export documentation


Returning Product after Repairs are Completed:

If your product has been repaired in Canada and is being returned back to Pakistan, then the following conditions must be met in order to obtain a duty free exemption:

  • The words "REPAIR & RETURN" are stated on the commercial invoice under General Description or Remarks

  • The value of the product, INCLUDING the cost of the repair, must be indicated under the Detailed Description of Goods section

  • Original shipping documents or tracking number from when the item was first exported to Pakistan

Note: If you don’t have the original tracking information or documentation then your shipment may be delayed by Customs, and taxes may be charged on the shipment.


Sources:

http://pakistanembassy.se/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/banned-items-to-import-to-Pakistan.pdf

https://www.tdap.gov.pk/pdf/IPO-2015-18.pdf

https://www.export.gov/article?id=Pakistan-Temporary-Entry 

https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/forms-formulaires/e15-eng.html



Temporary Imports


Generally, goods imported temporarily to Pakistan must be re-exported within 6 months of the date of admission. However, if required by extenuating circumstances, this can be extended by an additional 6 months.

Goods that are often part of a temporary import include: 

  • Scientific and professional equipment

  • Commercial samples

  • Items that will be used or displayed at a fair, exhibition or event

  • Tools and specialised equipment required for repairing, exploring, producing or manufacturing

  • Materials and goods to be used for entertainment or during a public exhibition such as a trade show booth

  • Equipment required to evaluate and test the operation of other goods and equipment

  • Equipment and supplies for a mountaineering expedition

To ensure that your goods qualify for temporary import, check the following website: https://www.tdap.gov.pk/pdf/IPO-2015-18.pdf.

Document Checklist 

✔️ Commercial Invoice clearly stating “Temporary Import” including the return  date. This must be written in the General Description section.

✔️ Include your ATA Carnet with your shipment   (if applicable)


Sources

https://www.tdap.gov.pk/pdf/IPO-2015-18.pdf

https://www.aramex.com/support/customs-clearance/country-search-results?country=pk

http://www.sbp.org.pk/fe_manual/hs/HS21.pdf





Permanent / Sold Goods

Exporting sold goods to Pakistan is a straightforward process. Generally, you should only need a commercial invoice. If you are shipping personal belongings, you will also need to include a packaging.  

We recommend you consult a licensed Pakistan customs broker if you are considering exporting goods on a regular basis. A list of clearing agents in Karachi, Pakistan can be found at:

http://customspk.com/wp-content/uploads/pdf/clearingagents.pdf


A list of clearing agents in Lahore, Pakistan can be found at:

https://www.lahore.ebizpk.com/custom-clearance-lahore.htm


Support is also available from The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service.



Sources:

https://www.tdap.gov.pk/pdf/IPO-2015-18.pdf

https://import-export.societegenerale.fr/en/country/pakistan/regulations-customs






Prohibited & Restricted Imports

The list of restricted and prohibited items changes often, so it's always best to check the official customs page prior to sending your packages. 


 

Prohibited items include:

  • Alcohol or any products containing alcohol

  • Goods with words or inscriptions of a religious nature

  • Any anti-Islamic or subversive material

  • Translations of the Holy Quran without Arabic text

  • Any edible product not fit for human consumption

  • Fireworks

  • Gambling equipment

  • Counterfeit and pirated goods

  • Guns, ammunition and offensive weapons

  • Passports

  • Self defence sprays 

  • Indecent and obscene material

  • Goods of Israeli origin or imported from Israel


Your carrier will refuse to accept your parcel if any of these items are in it.

Any prohibited items will be seized and you could be prosecuted. 




Restricted items include:

  • Endangered animals and plants

  • Betel nuts

  • Dried and fresh fruits

  • Cigars, cigarettes, and tobacco products

  • Mobile phones

  • Food colours

  • Infant toys

  • Live animals

  • Firearms, explosives and ammunition

  • Foods with less than 75% or 9 months of their shelf life

  • Cash and cash equivalents

  • Dangerous goods as defined by IATA

  • Furs

  • Viagra

  • Antiques

  • Drugs and non-prescriptive (vitamins, herbs)

  • Leather (wet blue)

  • Metals, precious

  • Minerals, minerals products

  • Paints, non-hazmat

  • Used goods

  • Maps and charts, including atlases, wall maps, globes



NOTE: Shipments may be inspected by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) prior to export and Pakistani Customs upon entry to Pakistan.


Sources:

http://pakistanembassy.se/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/banned-items-to-import-to-Pakistan.pdf

http://download1.fbr.gov.pk/Docs/201011815113751218Brochure-014.pdf

https://www.tdap.gov.pk/pdf/IPO-2015-18.pdf




About the author: Dan Allard

About the author

Dan Allard is a marketing specialist, guitar player, and father living in The Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In his free time he’s usually reading business and marketing blogs, watching Shark Tank, or pretending he’s Iron Man because he has an Amazon Echo. He also enjoys finding great deals online and finding ways to reduce shipping costs.

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