Latest FAQs

Customs Duties & Excises - what are these ?ss

Most countries allow personal effects to be imported "duty free" but there are exceptions depending on each country's respective regulations. 

i.e. non holder of affpplicdddddable visa in some cases may have to pay VAT, GST  or customs excise taxes based on the value of the item(s) shipped. ASas

What is the difference between "Commercial" and "Personal Effects" customs clearances ?

Exports (from Japan)

Personal effects and household goods clearances: Duty and tax free, Shipment must depart within 6 months of shippers(your) departure from Japan.

Commercial goods clearances:  Shipment may be considered commercial at destination, and subject to import country`s import duties & taxes. (Personal effects are normally duty free but depends on country)

Note: Motor cycles and cars require a  commercial customs clearance.


1) If sending personal effects and vehicles together, 2 customs clearances (Commercial & Personal efffects) are required.

2) If goods are put into storage and not shipped within 6 months of customers departure, a commercial customs clearance is required.


Imports (into Japan)

Personal effects and household goods clearances: Duty and tax free.

Commercial goods clearances:  Shipment is subject to import import duties/excises & taxes. (Duties and tax depends on commodity classification).

Note: Vehicles genenerally are duty/excise free but subject to 5% consumption tax (based on value)

What is AMS, ISF ? and what does it mean ?

AMS = Advanced Manifest System (Shipping carriers must report their cargo to destination customs before sailing). 

ISF = Importer Security Filing (Prior to loading into container or onto ship, a counter party at destination must register your cargo into the customs system - a kind of AMS reconciliation hand shake).

Non compliance can result in fines up to or exceeding US$5,000.

To comply with the advanced filing requirements a registered customs agent or freight forwarder at destination must be appointed - they also assist with shipping company & customs liaison and can assist with import customs clearance (and transportation where required).

What is a Power of Attorney ? Is it needed ?

A power of attorney ("Ininjyo" in Japanese) gives a 3rd party the authority to act on your behalf. As per Japan export regulations it is necessary however the requirement is often waived. In local ports it is likely a signed "ininjyou" will be required in order to complete export customs clearance successfully.

Quarantine Inspection - what is this ?

Some countries have strict quarantine regulations and will inspect items to ensure they are "safe" to be imported.

Vacuum cleaners, used camping gear, antique furniture, golf clubs, footwear used on farms, car tires etc are items which are often checked and may cause problems. Refer to each country's relevant customs authority for complete details and restrictions.