Frequently Asked Questions

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1.     What are the most exported products (non-oil) from Timor-Leste?

The top exports of Timor-Leste are coffee, locust beans, seaweed, sugar beet, cane, scrap metal.19 Other products that are commonly exported are Candlenut, Candlenut Oil, Coconuts, Coconut Oil, Virgin Coconut Oil, Dried Coconut, Sandalwood (can only be exported once every 3 or 4 years), Vanilla, Maek, Konjac and Tais Cloth.

2.     Which target markets do businesses commonly want to export to?

Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, European Union (the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Germany), United Kingdom and the United States.

3.     What are the general steps that should be taken before exporting?

·       Conduct market research and understand your (potential) customers.

·       Make contact, negotiate with your client and send some samples if necessary.

·       Prepare the relevant documents: business registration, commercial license, export

permit license, phytosanitary certificate, debt certificate, TIN, Certificate of Origin,

customs declaration.

·       Hire a broker (optional) for customs-related activities.

·       Check shipping schedule, book the container, prepare packing list and invoice.

4.     Which Ministries/line agencies are involved in the exporting process and what are their roles?

·       SERVE issues the business registration and commercial license for businesses.

·       Tax Authority issues the TIN and debt certificate for businesses.

·       The National Directorate of Quarantine and Biosecurity, MAF, issues the Export Permit

and Phytosanitary Certificate.

·       MTCI issues the Certificate of Origin.

·       Customs Authority provides the DAU (Deklarasaun Aduaneira Unika – Single Custom

Declaration) form that should be filled by businesses and conducts the inspection.

5.     What do businesses need to do to fulfill the requirements?

  • Businesses must submit Certificate for Commercial Authorization; Company’s Statute; TIN (Single Fiscal Number for the company); and Certificate of Risks to SERVE to obtain the business registration and commercial license.
  • Fill the Application Form for Business Registration and Licensing (Serve F1-3). See Annex A for the different requirements for different types of businesses.
  • Documents to be submitted in hardcopies to the SERVE office.
  • Fill in the TIN Application Form to obtain the TIN.
  • Different types of businesses need to fill different forms, see Annex B.
  • Documents to be submitted via email to the Tax Authority (
  • Fill in the Dividas form to obtain the debt certificate.
  • Businesses need to submit the following documents: association article, commercial license, location map, ID card of Director and owner of the business.
  • Documents to be submitted via email to the Tax Authority (
  • Businesses must fill in the export permit and quarantine-related forms from MAF and submit business registration, commercial license, TIN, debt certificate to obtain the export permit.
  • Forms related to quarantine process could be obtained directly from the MAF office.
  • Documents to be submitted in hardcopies to the National Directorate of Quarantine and Biosecurity (MAF) office.
  • Businesses must submit the following documents to obtain the Certificate of Origin: Bill of Booking Container (from shipping agency), invoice of products (quantity and costs), commercial license, packing list, customs declaration, debt certificate, TIN, letter of application to MTCI (including the goods to be exported), ID Card of Director of the business.
  • Forms related to Certificate of Origin can be obtained directly from the MTCI office.
  • Documents to be submitted in hardcopies to the Directorate of External Trade (MTCI) office.
  • Businesses must fill in the Single Custom Declaration (DAU) from the Customs Authority.
  • All information and forms related to customs are available on the Custom Commission’s website There are 200 documents together with SOPs available for public – in Tetum, English and Portuguese.
  • DAU to be submitted in hardcopy to the Customs Commission (soft copy submission facility for Tibar Port is on progress).

6.     What should be noted when submitting the documents?

·       Make sure that the required documents (both for export and import) and forms are filled and completed.

·       Make sure to submit all documents ahead of time.

7.     Which department/s in the Ministries/line agencies can answer export-related questions?

·       Customs Authority: National Directorate of Operations for exportation and National Directorate of Conformity for complaints or investigation of suspicions, etc.

·       Tax Authority: Information Unit

·       SERVE: Registration Department

·       MAF: The National Directorate of Quarantine and Biosecurity

·       MTCI: The National Directorate of External Trade

·       The questions can be submitted in person (directly visiting the related offices), by

phone, or letter.

8.     Do different products require different requirements or documents? E.g. agriculture (fresh produce vs. processed products)

·       For general cargo, businesses need to provide packing list, commercial invoice, TIN, Debt Certificate, and business licence.

·       There are different requirements for the registration step at SERVE, see Annex A.

·       There are different requirements for quarantine documents at MAF. However, for

Business Registration, Debt Certificate and TIN, the requirements are the same.

·       There are different requirements for the Certificate of Origin at MTCI. Please check with

the MTCI office.

·       Food stuffs and live animals may require a special permit and some level of control by

the National Directorate of Quarantine and Biosecurity of Timor-Leste. Businesses should always confirm potential permit requirements directly with the National Directorate of Quarantine and Biosecurity prior to exporting. See page 10 for the list of goods that may be subject to special requirements.


9.     What requirements do businesses need to fulfil, specifically for agricultural products?

For agricultural products, it is important to have packing list, commercial invoice, and lab report of the products.


10. As there is no laboratory in Timor-Leste to test agricultural products, what do businesses need to do if they need to test their products for export? Where do they need to go to?

Currently, businesses can the samples of their agricultural products overseas for laboratory testing (corporate lab).


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