Here’s How You Can Register Your Imported Phones in Pakistan

Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has directed Customs authorities to detain all mobile devices imported through Postal/Courier services in Pakistan and make it mandatory to register mobile devices carried in the accompanied luggage of international passengers at airports.

The FBR has also issued a new procedure for holder/proprietor of un-registered mobile devices to voluntarily approach the nearest Collectorate of Customs and file declaration for regularization of such devices on payment of duty/taxes and registration with Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA).

However, the FBR’s customs general order (CGO) 6 of 2018 issued has not specified any slabs of duties and taxes for the legalization of unregistered mobile phones and mobile devices coming through Postal/Courier and accompanied baggage.

According to the customs general order (CGO) 6 of 2018 issued by the FBR, Federal Cabinet has approved the launching/operationalization of Devices Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) with effect from 1st December, 2018. The DIRBS system was developed by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to ensure the sale, purchase and provision of mobile communication services to compliant mobile devices only.

Accordingly, all Type Approval holders, authorized distributors, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) will be required to ensure that non-compliant devices are not imported, sold, marketed or connected with the mobile operator networks. The compliant mobile devices are such devices with SIM or IMEI functionality which are type approved or have certification of compliance (CoC) to technical standards to IMEI devices issued by the PTA.

At present, mobile devices are brought into the country either through commercial imports or imported by individuals in accompanied baggage/courier or brought in illegally by smuggling. The commercial imports of mobile devices are regulated. The Custom’s WeBOC module is already operational and commercial consignments having PTA issued Type Approval or CoC are allowed clearance.

In order to regulate the import of mobile devices brought in by individuals for their personal use in accompanied baggage or through couriers or mobile devices brought in through informal channels and available in the local market, the FBR has formulated a new procedure.

Imported Devices Via Post

In order to regulate the import of un-registered mobile devices imported by individuals through postal/courier service for personal use or gift, the following procedure is devised:-

  • The Customs authorities shall initially detain the mobile device imported through Postal/Courier service in Pakistan and issue a stamped declaration form to the applicant as provided.
  • The applicant will apply for CoC via PTA portal by submitting documents mentioned on the said website.
  • PTA will issue CoC (online) in accordance with their SoP for the release of the detained device and forward a copy of the same to the Customs authorities.
  • Upon issuance of CoC from PTA, the applicant shall deposit the Custom’s assessed leviable duty/taxes and the detained device will accordingly be released.

In the case of non-issuance of CoC, the Customs authorities will take further action in accordance with the law with respect to the detained device.

Devices Brought by Foreign Passengers

In order to regulate the registration of mobile devices brought by international passengers, the PTA/Customs in coordination with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) shall make necessary arrangements at all international airports to aptly inform the incoming passengers about mandatory registration of mobile devices carried in the accompanied baggage. This may be done by means of appropriate display of the instructions for registration under DIRBS inside the international arrival halls/lounges or by means of leaflets available to the incoming passengers or distributed through tourist agencies, airlines etc.

The new procedure has been devised to regulate registration of mobile devices brought by the international passengers in their accompanied baggage:-

  • The mobile devices brought by international passengers are required to be declared at Customs counters established at all international airports by filling a declaration form as prescribed. On receipt of the declaration, the Customs authorities shall verify the particulars and process the declaration under PTA module for the issuance of online CoC;
  • A system generated CoC shall accordingly be issued by the PTA through the aforesaid module. Afterwards, the Customs shall assess the import levies applicable on the mobile devices in accordance with the admissible allowances as envisaged in the Baggage Rules, 2006. Thereafter, the passenger shall deposit assessed duty/taxes.

Mobile devices will accordingly be released in accordance with the above-mentioned procedure. In case of non-issuance of CoC, the mobile devices shall be detained for further processing under the law.

The above-stated procedure will apply mutatis mutandis for passengers arriving into Pakistan through Land Border Customs Stations.

In case the International Passenger, due to any reason, does not get the Mobile Device registered at the time of arrival at the airport, he/she may approach the nearest Customs Collectorate for registration of the same within fifteen days of the date of arrival in Pakistan. The passenger will be required to submit declaration form as prescribed, along with copies of travel documents i.e. passport duly stamped for entry into Pakistan. The declaration will accordingly be processed in the same manner as prescribed for the release of Mobile Device.

Illegal Phones in the Market

The Collectorates are requested to furnish the information on a monthly basis, regarding the import of Mobile Devices in Accompanied Baggage:

  • In order to regulate the mobile devices brought in illegally through informal channels and are available in the local market, the following procedure is prescribed to regularize such devices on payment of duty/taxes and for further registration with PTA in accordance with their SoP on one time basis until 31st December, 2018:
  • The holder/proprietor of un-registered mobile devices shall voluntarily approach the nearest Collectorate of Customs and file declaration as provided along with a soft copy of IMEI details of such devices in excel format. On receipt of the declaration, the designated Customs official shall verify the particulars and endorse the stamp on the declaration form and detain the mobile device.
  • Thereafter, the holder shall file an application supported with duly stamped declaration form before PTA for the issuance of CoC. The PTA shall process the application in accordance with their SoP and accordingly issue CoC.
  • Upon issuance of CoC, the applicant shall approach the Customs authorities for the release of the mobile device. The Customs authorities shall assess the leviable duty/taxes after adjudication proceedings. The holder afterward shall deposit the duty/taxes in the designated branch of National Bank of Pakistan. Accordingly, the mobile device will be released to the holder.

In the case of non-issuance of CoC, the Customs authorities will take further action in accordance with the law in respect of the detained device.

After the expiry of aforesaid timeline no option shall be available to regularize the illegal mobile devices and all such devices shall be liable for seizure/outright confiscation under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1969. In addition, all such devices shall be permanently blocked through DIRBS by PTA.

All the Collectorates are requested to furnish the information regarding regularization of mobile devices in the format detailed as under by December 31, 2018 positively, FBR added.

  • can anyone comment with authentic information that what will happen if a new phone is bought abroad and the person will likely to return after Dec 31st. Do i have to pay or should i ask someone to activate my roaming for a day

        • My interpretation. You can have only 5 phones at max at arrival stage. If you are already using a phone, it will be included in that count. So whether boxed phone, or unused phone, or a phone with sim already in it, you have to goto customs counter. You can keep one phone duty free but you will submit its IMEI anyway. For other four, you will submit IMEIs and they will tell you the duty amount leviable. Pay that amount and your IMEIs will be white-listed. I guess you can and should register devices online before coming to PK.
          This is totally against the law though, introduced in September last year. The law says that once a device is type-approved, all devices of that exact model should be white listed. According to that law, if someone gets type-approval for their galaxy s10, this precise model becomes compliant and subsequent s10 users need not register their devices individually. However, instead of the law PTA must follow, they are whimsically asking everyone to register every IMEI entering PK. I hope someone sues PTA for violation of law.

  • What if a person goes abroad and buys a new phone. Ditches his old phone. Uses the new phone for 3-4 months and returns to Pakistan in February. Still that person is liable to pay customs to get registration with PTA?

  • Why they are detaining personal mobile? if you are allowed 1 mobile then they should do at that time. i didn’t get it

  • as if a phone is the most expensive thing in the world, these politicians are roaming with their tax free hummers and their mansions and businesses are tax free but who can annoy the wealthy in Pakistan.

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