Importing a phone from China is pretty easy though the process does take its time. Here are the detailed steps that you need to follow to have a phone of your choice delivered to your home:
- Decide on the phone you want to buy.
- Choose a website or online store to buy it from.
- Buy your phone using your preferred method of payment.
- Get shipping details, tracking number and Airway bill from the seller.
- Track your phone as it reaches Pakistan.
- Get in touch with post office, or let them get in touch with you.
- Get Personal NOC from PTA.
- Get your phone cleared from Customs at GPO.
- Pay customs duties and other charges to the postman.
- Take your phone and enjoy.
And most importantly, be patient.
Below, I will detail how I recently imported a Xiaomi Mi Note 3 to Pakistan and all the steps I had to go through to get it.
I had already made up my mind to buy a top specced Xiaomi’s Mi Note 3, an excellent premium phone. I used the seller, “Xiaomi Online Store” on AliExpress to buy it, though there are also other reliable sellers on Aliexpress as well. You can buy Xiaomi phones from websites, like BangGood, HonorBuy, GearBest too.
It was priced $456 when I bought it.
Order Billing Details
Shipment Tracking Number
I ordered it on the 10th of October, they shipped it on 14th October, it reached in Pakistan on 21st October at Karachi airport; then reached Lahore, where I live, on 25th October.
Shipment Details (on AliExpress)
Shipment Tracking in Pakistan
You can also track your package after it reaches Pakistan using Pakistan Post’s online tracking feature.
Once the package reached Lahore, I got in touch with the GPO (Post Office) and got IMEI numbers to get NOC from PTA.
GPO’s standard procedure is that they send you a letter, called Customs Detention Letter, at your address, asking you to get an NOC from PTA but you can also get in touch with them if you want to and get the letter in person.
This letter has IMEI number(s) written for your NOC application to PTA. GPO will also issue a local shipment/article number for you to track it locally. This number is also written in the letter, and is required for your NOC application.
Here’s my Customs Detention Letter:
Getting PTA NOC
There are people outside the GPO who ask you to fill an application for NOC through them. You can do that too. But I suggest you go to PTA website, create an account and apply for Personal NOC yourself.
PTA Personal NOC application interface
You will need the following documents to apply online:
- Invoice for your phone (purchase receipt, bill or something like that. If you buy online, you can use your order’s billing details’ screenshot as invoice for your application. I used the screenshots given in this guide)
- Tracking number (given to you by the site/seller you buy your phone from)
- Airway bill (it also includes the same tracking number. You can ask the store/website/seller you bought it from to send it to you via email)
- Scanned copy of Customs Detention Letter (the one GPO sends to you, or in my case, I got it from them at GPO)
- IMEI number(s) of your phone (written in the Customs Detention Letter)
- Local tracking number (issued by GPO and written in Customs Detention Letter)
- Scanned copy of your CNIC
Airway bill (Commercial Invoice, or something like that) looks like this
PTA Application Tracking
When you apply for NOC with PTA, you will get an application tracking number. Keep it with you, it will help you track your application like this:
PTA usually processes personal NOC applications within the same working day (mostly within 3-4 hours). They will reject your application if some documents are missing but they will let you know what’s missing, so you can reapply by attaching the missing documents with your new application.
All documents are to be submitted in a single PDF file.
Then came the patience period as it took 4 days for the NOC to reach to me via Pakistan Post. You can’t rush this, unfortunately.
When I got the NOC, I took it to the GPO along with the Customs Detention Letter and went to the Customs Department in GPO.
The guy there took a look at the documents, asked me the price of the phone and then asked me to search it online for him. I did that and showed him the price. He calculated the charges for $465 phone as follows:
- Sales tax: 1500rs
- Regulatory Duty: 250rs
- Customs and others: 2290rs
- Pakistan Post charges: 30rs
It doesn’t matter if your package shows lower price for the phone as they will search its price online to be sure.
They asked me to sign the charges slip, and asked me to go home as they do not let a person receive a phone in person. Only the postman can deliver it to you. That’s also when he will get these charges from you in cash. You can’t pay the same at the post office.
After that, I waited for another two days and the postman brought the phone to my home. I paid him customs duties and other charges in cash and got my phone.
I hope this guide helps others on importing their phones. Please do keep in mind that you cannot import used phones. Only new phones can be imported. Good luck!