Guide to Import

When importing goods into Timor-Leste, ensure compliance with the country's customs regulations and documentation requirements, including a detailed inventory, commercial invoice, and a valid certificate of origin. Familiarize yourself with Timor-Leste's tariff classifications and duty rates to accurately assess the applicable taxes and fees associated with your imported goods. Utilize the services of a reputable customs broker or freight forwarder with expertise in Timor-Leste's import procedures to navigate the process efficiently and minimize any potential challenges.

You may also like to check out the step-by-step guide to importing prepared by TradeInvest.

Business Registration

A person wishing to carry out import or export operations commercially in Timor-Leste must first register their business with Serviço de Registo e Verificação Empresarial (SERVE). The business registration process in Timor-Leste targets a maximum 5 processing days

Please click here to see the procedure for Business Registration.


Tax Identification Number Registration

All persons wishing to carryout business in Timor-Leste is required to obtain a Tax Identification Number (TIN) from Autoridade Tributária Timor-Leste (ATTL). There are several categories of person subject to TIN registration such as, individuals, companies, undivided estates, trusts, partnerships, government enterprises, and associations, cooperatives and similar organizations.

Please click here to see the procedure for TIN registration.


Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) Registration

Registration is granted to Customs brokers and importers for uploading, registering, and duties and taxes on customs import declarations and electronically intervening in other parts of the goods clearance process.

For further information please click here


Import License from the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MCI)

Individuals and business entities importing goods on a commercial basis are required to obtain authorization from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Please click here to see the procedure for Import License.


Trader Registration

In order to import certain commodities the importer is required to register with the respective authority that is responsible for the governance of that commodity.

Click here Exporter/ Importer License by Regulating Commission of Pharmaceutical Activities

Click here Granting, Amendment and Renewal of Downstream Activities Licenses


Import Declaration

‘Customs declaration’. The customs declaration, which is known in Timor-Leste as the Declaracao Aduaneira Unica (DAU), is processed electronically using the ASYCUDA World system. This document allows Timor-Leste Customs to determine what duties and taxes may be due, and to confirm the presence of any required permits or licenses required for other government agencies. In most cases, the importer will have to use a customs broker to process your declaration.

When commercial goods enter Timor-Leste, they do so by air or by sea, or via a land border. When the goods arrive, they are initially considered to be in “temporary storage.” After arrival, there is a legal requirement for the goods to be placed under a “customs treatment” within a specified time frame. This means that the goods must be declared to customs as an import, re-exported, or placed in an approved bonded warehouse facility.

It is important that this process is completed within a strict timeframe, as failure to do so will result in customs issuing the importer with a financial penalty: Arrival by sea: 30 business days, Arrival by air or land: 20 business days

Please Click here to see an example DAU. 


Import Procedure

  • Cargo Manifest is submitted and registered in the ASYCUDA World by the shipping line
  • Simultaneously the broker registers the DAU in the ASYCUDA World.
  • Broker upload the DAU, Supporting Documents and Self-assessment.
  • There are four types of Custom lanes for imports Blue, Green, Yellow, and Red;
    • DAUs going through the Green lane ASYCUDA WORLD will be released without further scrutiny.
    • DAUs going through the Blue lane ASYCUDA WORLD will be released without further documentary or physical scrutiny during the clearance but will are subject to post clearance controls
    • DAUs going through the Yellow lane normally the documents are inspected for compliance
    • DAUs going through the Red lane are required to be thoroughly inspected physically and conduct a documentary check.
  • Payment of duties and taxes
  • The shipment is released.

Please click here for further details on the customs clearance procedure for imports.


Timor-Leste Electronic Single Window

Allows traders to submit all documents relating to trade and can access all relevant information regarding trade via a single electronic gateway. The TILeSW currently connects eight government agencies responsible for approving the release of goods from customs. You can use TILeSW services to:

  • Complete the Customs Clearance
  • Obtain Certificate of Origin
  • Complete the Import Vehicle procedure

Please click here to access the TILeSW system


Customs Brokers

A customs broker is a private sector professional, who is licensed by the Timor-Leste Customs Authority to act on behalf of an importer or exporter in the clearance of their shipments. In accordance with Timor-Leste Customs Code Article 32(1), customs brokers are licensed after they complete a period of technical training, successfully pass a final exam, and submit a security deposit.

The primary role of the customs broker is to help ensure that Traders shipment meets all import requirements as mandated by law.

For further details please click here.


Duties and Taxes

There are three types of duty or tax imposed on imports to Timor-Leste, as follows:

  1. Import Duty, which is also commonly known as “customs duty”, is calculated at a rate of 5% of the value of the goods.
  2. Sales Tax is charged at a rate of 2.5% of the following amounts:(A) the customs value of the goods (B) the amount of import duty imposed (C) the amount of any excise duty paid.
  3. Excise Tax is charged at different percentage rates or specific units, depending on the type of goods according to the New Excise Tax for 2023. The base value for excise tax is the cost of the goods.


Payment of Duties

The broker/declarant are responsible for paying duties and taxes owed on the Declaracao Aduaneira Unica (DAU) within maximum of five (5) days from the assessment Notice. It is possible to complete the payment by cash or via Electronic transfer.


Certain goods are exempt from duties and taxes if they meet certain conditions, including:

a) Goods accompanying a traveler arriving in Timor-Leste from another country. Please click here for more information

b) Imported goods that fall under the following types:

  • Exempted under the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and Consular Relations of 1963; Exempted under the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations;
  • Exempted under the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Specialized Agencies;
  • Goods re-imported in the same condition in which they were exported;
  • Goods imported by registered charitable organizations in Timor-Leste, except alcohol or tobacco, if the goods are to be used for charitable purposes of humanitarian assistance and relief, education or health care;
  • Goods for temporary admission, like large machinery to complete a project. The importer will be required to provide a financial guarantee;
  • Goods for consumption by international staff of UNMIT or members of the Peace Keeping Force from contingent countries, if the goods are sold in conformity with prescribed rules of sale;
  • Baby formulas that are specially designed for babies less than one (1) year of age so that after preparation they are consumed in a liquid form and provide the health benefits of human milk that would normally be provided to a baby that suckles from its mother; and Tampons and sanitary napkins

c) The goods are imported into Timor-Leste other than as personal goods accompanying a traveler, and the import duty that would be imposed on the import if not for this paragraph would be $10 or less.


Goods Classification

Use of the HS Code in Timor-Leste

Timor-Leste utilizes the 8-digit format when applying the HS Code. The first two digits categorize the product (chapter), the second two define this classification further (heading), and the final set of four digits specify the product in more detail (HS Subheading and ASEAN Subheading)

The correct classification of your goods is a legal requirement under Article 154 of the Customs Code (Decree Law: 14/2017).


A warehouse is a building or other secured area where dutiable goods may be stored for up to one year without payment of duties or taxes. Following approval from the Customs Authority, this term can be extended to two years. These types of facilities are not only reserved for government control; Any person can also apply to operate a bonded warehouse, however; they must have several strict requirements to obtain the relevant license from the Customs Authority. Once approved, you will be designated as a “warehouse operator.” Please refer to License Requirements and Application below for more information.

Temporary Imports

According to Article 183 of Customs Code (Decree Law: 14/2017)  The temporary importation procedure allows the customs territory to be used, with total or partial relief from payment of the customs duties or other taxes and without being subject to commercial policy measures, for foreign goods intended for re-exportation, unless they have undergone any modification, with the exception of the normal depreciation resulting from their use.

The exit authorization for goods subject to the temporary importation procedure shall be granted by means of the obligatory provision of a guarantee for the amount due for any customs duty and other taxes, if the goods are declared for free circulation and have undergone the customs formalities.

The Customs Services may refuse the exit authorization for the goods subject to the temporary importation procedure should it not be possible to identify them when processing the clearance for the procedure.


Prohibited Goods

Prohibited goods may include, but are not limited to:

  • Illegal narcotics
  • Firearms
  • Explosives
  • Knifes

Good that are prohibited to import in to Timor-Leste are likely to be detained by the Timor-Leste Customs, and the importer may also be liable a financial penalty, arrest and prosecution at court.


Controlled/ Restricted Goods

Restricted goods may include, but are not limited to, certain types of:

•        Medications

•        Vehicles

•        Plastics

•        Foodstuffs

Before importing controlled or restricted goods into Timor- Leste, an importer should ensure that the goods have the necessary Authorization or permits issued by appropriate authorities, and have complied with the appropriate measure for importation. To determine what goods are controlled or restricted at importation into Timor- Leste, go the ‘Measures’ link of the Timor- Leste Trade Portal.


Sanitary and Phytosanitary Requirements

If an importer wishes to import goods that are subject to sanitary and Phytosanitary measures they have to comply with special regulations relating to those products as provided for under the relevant laws of Timor-Leste, and enforced by the relevant government agencies. An importer needs to get a permit from the relevant Government Agency for the goods they are importing, or intend to import. For details on the specific sanitary and Phytosanitary measures applicable to a specific item intended for import, search the commodity using 8-digit tariff code in the ‘Commodity and Tariff’ search or go the ‘Measures’ link of the Timor- Leste Trade Portal.

Standards Requirements

For certain types of products, it may be necessary to obtain a permit that certifies that these products conform to certain technical or quality standards. The Institute of Quality of Timor-Leste (IQTL) is the national standards body. The functions of IQTL include implementation, coordination and management of the national quality system, to promote, coordinate and develop actions necessary for its function as a national metrology laboratory


Have you found this information useful ?
Please share your feedback below and help us improve our content.