How to import goods to Russia

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The import of goods should be understood as a process characterized by the importation into a country of goods produced in another country, for domestic consumption, the subsequent sale of the imported product, or its re-import.

A company that is going to expand its interests always tries to think of an optimal scheme for importing goods to Russia, which will take into account its financial benefits and, last but not least, time costs. However, the import of goods to Russia is a complicated procedure and it is very different from similar activities, for example, in the European Union. Despite this, a lot of companies are showing their interest in importing their products to Russia and the countries of the Customs Union. The Russia’s accession to the WTO has had a positive impact on imports from foreign countries. In particular, there was a reduction in customs duties on many types of goods, making the Russian market more attractive for foreign companies. But the procedures for passing customs control remain very complicated.

The procedure for importing imported products to the territory of Russia is regulated by the Customs and Tax codes of the Russian Federation. All imported goods are subject to mandatory taxes: customs duties, excise duties, VAT and other types of duties. The fees are paid by the importer or an authorized representative of the importer, whose authority is to represent the importer’s interests at the time of crossing the border and is confirmed by relevant documents.

So, first of all, you should find an importer on the territory of Russia. That can be another company or, for instance, your representative office.

We have decided to divide the information on importing goods into steps for you. The following procedure is described in terms of the importer’s actions.

1. Select the product for import and pre-negotiate with the seller about the cost

This cost will later be shown in the Customs Declaration. The cost of the goods will be the main part of the” customs value ” of the goods — the funds actually spent on the purchase of products, licenses and transportation by the time of crossing the border of Russia. The customs value is the tax base on which duties, customs duties, excises, and VAT are calculated.

2. Determine the most appropriate product code in the Unified Commodity Nomenclature of Foreign Economic Activity (UCN FEA)

Knowing this code, you can determine the rates of taxes, duties and fees, find out the specifics of importing a particular product to the territory of the Russian Federation: what licenses, certificates, and permits may be required.

By selecting the most accurate and appropriate code for your product, you can optimize your expenses. However, the product code must be selected based on the documents for the product (technical descriptions, manufacturer’s descriptions, etc.). The conformity of the product to the code in the UCN FEA must be documented.

3. Sign a contract with the seller and get all the necessary licenses and certificates from the seller, which can be provided at the time of shipment of your product

Some licenses and permits are issued at the stage of crossing the border of the Russian Federation, or upon arrival at the destination — after passing the necessary examinations.

4. Sign a contract with a transport company (if the seller or buyer does not perform the delivery)

All types and conditions of transportation are set out in the international document “INCOTERMS 2010”. It is important to know these names of cargo transportation conditions as specified in the Customs Declaration.

5. Make payments under contracts for goods and transportation of goods

6. Provide money for customs clearance of goods

At the time of submitting the Customs Declaration, the Federal Treasury must receive funds to ensure payment of customs payments to your unified personal account. Often, when calculating customs payments, an amount is transferred to a personal account “with a reserve”, so that there are exactly enough funds. The remainder will not be lost — it can be used in the future when importing another product.

7. Carry out an electronic preliminary notification to the Customs of the Russian Federation not later than 2 hours before crossing the border

This notification allows customs officers at border crossings to automate the process of preparing a Transit Declaration and speed up the verification of documents at the border.

8. Submit a Transit Declaration

  Depending on the type of transport, the specifics of the border crossing and the imported goods, “customs clearance” can occur directly at the border. Still, in the vast majority of cases, a Transit Declaration is submitted at the border instead of a Product Declaration. This means that the cargo falls under the customs procedure “customs transit” and follows the status “customs cargo” inland to the internal customs post at the place of delivery. The “customs cargo” status means that the goods belong to the state until their full customs clearance and release.

9. Deliver the cargo within the specified time from the border to the place of delivery at the internal customs post and place it in the customs control zone or temporary storage warehouse

If you are not engaged in transportation, then it is the obligation of the customs carrier you have hired to deliver the goods on time. The products following the “customs transit” procedure are under the control of Russia’s Federal Customs Service.

So, if the cargo does not appear at the internal customs post within the period calculated by the customs, the authorities start searching for the cargo and investigating the reasons for its non-delivery.

10. Prepare and submit a Declaration of Goods

11. Make customs payments to the Federal Customs Service at the stage of customs clearance

12. Transport the products to your warehouse

After the customs inspector has checked the cargo and Declaration for compliance and found no violations, he closes the Declaration and “releases” the goods. From now on, you can take your cargo anywhere in the country and use it as an owner.

13. Store all documentation for completed imports for at least 5 years

Information about imported goods and provided documentation is stored in the Federal Customs Service and can be rechecked after some time. Most often, declarations are rechecked for undervaluation of the customs value and, as a result — underpayment of customs payments, as well as for the incorrect classification of goods. This is a so-called post-control procedure.

Each of the above steps has a lot of details and nuances, depending on the type of transport, type of product, features of transportation and border crossing, and documentation. To organize the import of goods, it is better to contact professionals.


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