Diagram of Import Process via Dubai

importThis diagram shows the steps and processes that an importer has to go through, as well as the documents that need to be submitted in order to complete the import process successfully for Full Container Load via Dubai.




Import is the process of bringing goods from one country into another country in a manner satisfying the legal requirements of the receiving country. An organization that is licensed to receive these goods in the country is referred to as an Importer. For importing goods into Dubai, an Importer should have a valid Trade License issued from any of the License Issuing Authority in U.A.E. and should be registered with Dubai Customs.

The Importer has the option to carry out import procedures online on Dubai Trade or manually through Ports & Customs Documentation Centers. The procedure mentioned below describes the paperless import process through Dubai Trade.

To access Dubai Trade portal electronic services the customer must register himself with Dubai Trade. The registration process is available online on Dubai Trade Portal (www.dubaitrade.ae).

The Import process can be summed up as per following:

  1. To initiate the Import process in Dubai, the importer must obtain following documents in original from the exporter: 

    • Original Bill of Lading copies
    • Commercial Invoice
    • Packing List
    • Certificate of Origin
    • The above documents are required irrespective of the sales agreement and payment method agreed between the importer and exporter.

  2. Based on the vessel arrival date, the importer must then approach the shipping agent to submit the original Bill of Lading and settle any dues with the Shipping agent. In return, the shipping agent must issue a Delivery Order to the importer.

    A Shipping agent may issue Delivery Order 3-4 days before vessel arrival. The Importer must ensure that all cargo clearance formalities (step 3 to 8) are completed before the Delivery Order expiry date.

    Post expiry of the Delivery Order, DP World will not release cargo to the importer. In such cases the Delivery order needs to be extended by the agent and the Shipping agent may charge an additional fee for providing the extension.

  3. The importer can then login to Dubai Trade to create and submit the Import Declaration application for Dubai Customs clearance. The importer can make payment for customs duties and other fees online using the CDR account or E-payment using credit card or direct debit. In case of restricted goods or duty exempted cargo, the importer must arrange for necessary permits from the designated Permit Issuing Authority before filling the Customs Import Declaration. For import of goods from outside the country into Dubai following documents are required:

    • Commercial invoice from the exporter addressed to the importer detailing total quantity, goods description and total value for each item
    • Original certificate of origin approved by the chamber of commerce at the country of origin detailing the origin of goods.
    • Detailed packing list as per weight, method of packing and HS code for each individual article contained in the shipment.
    • Import permit from the competent agencies in the event of importing restricted goods or duty exempted goods.

  4. Dubai Customs will verify and evaluate the information provided for the purpose of payment of customs duties and import approval. Dubai Customs may mandate examination, checking and inspection of the goods by a competent authority before release of cargo to the importer

  5. At the time of Import Declaration application submission, if the mode of payment selected is CDR account, then the importer can print the Customs Import Declaration immediately after approval. In case the mode selected is e-payment, then the importer must use the E-Payment service to make payment for customs duties and fees using a valid credit card or direct debit account. On successful payment completion the importer can print the Customs Import Declaration.

  6. The Importer can settle DP World dues any time after receiving the Delivery order from the Shipping agent. The importer must use the DP World Payment e-service on Dubai Trade portal to make payment to DP World using the Advanced Deposit account or e-payment gateway. The e-payment gateway allows importers to make payments using credit card, e-dirham card or direct debit.

  7. The importer can check the vessel arrival using the Vessel Enquiry e-service and container discharge status using the Container Enquiry e-service.
  8. Once the container is discharged, the importer can then nominate a transport company to take delivery of the cargo/ container from DP World on importer’s behalf using the Haulier Nomination service on Dubai Trade. 

  9. The importer can also generate an e-token through Dubai Trade portal. e-Token system manages the flow of trucks entering and exiting the Jebel Ali Port. e-Token number is a unique identifier generated by Dubai Trade portal when a user selects a designated day and time slot to pick or drop containers from Jebel Ali Port using a registered truck. The importer must provide this e-token number to his nominated haulier. The haulier can then enter Jebel Ali port by quoting the e-Token number or presenting the e-Token slip to the security at the Jebel Ali port gates. DP World will deliver the containers to the nominated haulier as advised on e-Token. The haulier will be provided an Equipment Interchange Receipt (EIR) by DP World for each container taken out from the Jebel Ali port. 

  10. If inspection is required as per the Customs Import Declaration, the haulier must take the cargo/ container to the inspection area of the competent authority. Post inspection clearance, the haulier can exit the Jebel Ali Free Zone by presenting a copy of the EIR to the security staff at the Free Zone gates.