The State of Qatar's Customs Law covers all aspects of the import and export of goods to and from its ports: Hamad International Airport, Salwa Overland Customs, Mesaieed Port, Doha Port and Ras Laffan.
Travellers, traders and businessmen must abide by the regulations and laws set by the General Authority of Customs (GAC), the government authority responsible for monitoring importation and exportation of goods in and out of the State in accordance with the applicable laws.
The State of Qatar applies strict regulations which must be adhered to regarding the customs clearance of goods. All goods must be recorded on a customs declaration form and a manifest in order to be submitted to GAC upon arrival.
If a discrepancy is found between the goods and the customs declaration after conducting the physical inspection of goods, a fine will be imposed as well as additional taxes and duties.
Failure to comply with the Customs Law may result in delays, holding of goods, penalties, storage/demurrage fees, or the return of goods to origin. In serious infringements, legal action will be taken (see Legal Action below).
"Al-Nadeeb" is an online portal that simplifies the customs clearance procedure for importers and clearing agents. Users can check information about tariffs and calculate duty. Registered login users, including approved trade brokers, importers and exporters, may perform a number of other tasks online, including accessing customs data and records, making duty payments and completing customs transactions.
All goods imported into the State of Qatar are subject to customs duties, based on a percentage value of goods (typically 5%), or a per unit basis. The value of goods is calculated according to the Regulations under the Customs and Ports Law.
Exemption categories include personal effects and household items, imports of charitable organizations and returned goods, diplomatic and military exemptions. Goods cleared for "free zones" and duty-free shops are not subject to customs levies. Goods in transit may be accepted, without payment of duty, at designated stations.
Flammable goods, radioactive materials, ammunition and explosives, narcotic drugs, goods from economically boycotted countries, generally prohibited goods, and goods which infringe rules related to commercial, industrial, artistic, or intellectual property rights are strictly prohibited.
Goods may be inspected and examined, typically in the presence of the owner or representative. However, suspicious, prohibited or improperly declared goods may be opened in the absence of the owner if they fail to show at the pre-notified time. In rare circumstances, goods may be inspected prior to notice to the owner.
If examination is warranted, the costs of transportation to the place of examination, packing and repacking are at the expense of the owner. Goods that are harmful, dangerous or that are not permitted may be damaged or re-exported.
Customs officials are authorized to investigate smuggling and to conduct searches of cargo and persons suspected of smuggling goods.
Officers have the authority to board vessels anchored in local ports, or leaving/entering ports, and inspect the cargo manifest and entire vessel. Goods may be seized in land and marine zones, at customs stations, airports, seaports and all places subject to customs control.
Customs officials may detain and arrest persons suspected of smuggling or resisting officials in the conduct of their investigations.
For more information on the customs and cargo law of Qatar, please visit the GAC website.