Import via Courier: which are the most suitable cases?


Import via Courier is an option with several advantages and savings that every importer needs to know, specially because it can be used both by individuals and companies.


As a rule, it is considered for small volumes and in urgent cases, since transit and clearance are faster and more agile than normal Import.


However, it is important to know its particularities, therefore, in order to explain it better, we will show you which situations or cases are most suitable for importing via Courier.


What is Courier Import?


These are documents or goods received from abroad, whose Import is carried out exclusively by door-to-door international express transport companies, authorized by the Brazilian Federal Revenue, known as Courier companies.


The Correios (ECT), inclusively, fit into this modality.


However, it is necessary to respect the value of the goods, at most US$3,000.00 (or the equivalent in any currency) and without exceeding the limit of R$100,000.00 in the calendar year, as well as goods that require consent via Import Licenses (LI).


The differences between Formal Import and Import via Courier can be deepened in this text that we published earlier.


Its speed is a consequence of international logistics and the fact that Courier customs clearance is all carried out by the Courier company itself and international transport is by air.


There is no legislation limiting the weight and size of shipments, however, companies that offer the Courier service set limits on their operations (due to various factors).


The importer does not need to be qualified in Radar SISCOMEX, as the Courier company is responsible for the entire customs import process.


Taxation is simplified, levied only on Import Tax (II), with a single rate of 60% on the Customs Value (= cargo value + freight + insurance), plus ICMS, which is charged at the rate of the tax domicile.


Medicines worth up to USD10 thousand, imported for their own or individual use, have their taxation reduced to 0% (zero percent), provided that the established requirements are observed.


For individuals, this modality can be used only for consumer goods or samples and for legal entities, the Import via Courier is broader, as we will see below.



The most suitable cases for Import via Courier


As it is exclusively air, fast and simplified, it can also be relatively more expensive, everything will depend on the aspects that are taken into account when compared to Formal Import (also already detailed in this text here).


However, it is important to assess some factors beyond just the cost of the Import process itself.


Warranty parts.


The urgency to receive it weighs a lot. Think about parts under warranty, or even parts that need, for any technical reason, to be exchanged in an industrial park equipment.


In addition to the factory literally stopping production, losses with contractual fines as a result can be monstrous.


Imported equipment, usually with high added technology and no technical assistance available in Brazil, used to provide specialized services, are also strong candidates for a need for Import via Courier eventually.


We do not always stock or know which parts and components will need to be replaced. Everything can be a surprise!


It is necessary, in these cases, to consider how much time with the equipment stopped and the impossibility of working will cause losses against the costs of this type of Import.


Samples and Gifts.


Samples can also be considered for this type of process: it is not rare that, for commercial reasons or even participation in an event, speed is more than strategic, it is essential.


Gifts, small treats that usually do not have high commercial value, can also enjoy this modality (always observe the legislation in these cases!).


Manuals, magazines and periodicals.


Although we are increasingly experiencing the availability of documents digitally and there is not much need for the transit of this type of paper, manuals, magazines and periodicals can also be considered for Import via Courier.


In addition, products of this type have a zero import taxes (II) rate.


What can mischaracterize my Import via Courier?


It is important to respect the legislation of Import by express shipment (official name of the Import via Courier), as the Internal Revenue Service can mischaracterize a shipment if it detects any irregularity or non-compliance with legislation (IN No. 1737, of 15/09/2017).


When an express shipment is mischaracterized, it becomes a Formal Import, and when it does, the benefits of agility and economy are lost.


Therefore, pay attention to the Customs Value of the goods: if it is above USD3,000.00, the Import via Courier will not be characterized.


And it's no use declaring a lower value to stay within this limit. The Internal Revenue Service constantly uses and invests in technology to detect, through Artificial Intelligence, discrepancies in values and other technical and commercial aspects of products.


As well as shipments that demonstrate the commercial purpose of resale, which are characterized by the shipment of scale quantities of one or a few goods, even if the shipment is declared as "in guarantee".


There is also a list of products that cannot be imported via Courier and will be immediately uncharacterized:


  • Goods whose Import is suspended or prohibited (that's why it's important to check the fiscal classification of the goods you want to import via Courier, its administrative treatments and exceptions);

  • Used or reconditioned goods, except physical media that comprise integrated circuits, semiconductors and similar devices, recorded or intended for personal use or consumption (even cleared, in this case, resale is not allowed);

  • Alcoholic beverages;

  • Dangerous charges (such as batteries);

  • Currency (no sending specimen of money by Courier!);

  • Weapons, ammunition and their parts and pieces;

  • tobacco and tobacco products;

  • wildlife animals;

  • Wild fauna plants;

  • Precious and semi-precious stones.


Double attention to individuals.


In the case of individuals, the warning is that importing several identical products and describing them as a sample does not stick! Remember that for you this modality is only allowed for consumption.


The IRS ends up one way or another realizing the intentions of those who matter via Courier those 15 pots of famous moisturizer (even with different fragrances), or those beauty products and perfumes that everyone likes, or even any significant amount of same products and/or very similar features purchased on these famous Asian B2B sites.


It may even pass a few times, but when they do, it is very unlikely that you will be able to import again without your purchase not going through a thorough (and time-consuming) check.


My Courier Import “de-characterized”, now what?


When the decharacterization of the Import via Courier happens, its Import will be transformed into Formal Import, that is, it will be necessary to nationalize the goods via Customs Clearance, therefore, you will need:


  • Be with the current RADAR and in order;

  • Hire a Customs Broker; and

  • Have the Import tax values to be paid as soon as the DI is registered.


There may be an error on the part of the exporter in having requested the Courier shipment instead of the formal shipment. In this case, it is possible to request the decharacterization at the Internal Revenue Service and proceed with the formal Clearance.


Final considerations


Import via Courier is really more suitable, interesting and simplified when greater agility and security is needed for relatively small loads and when costs are lower than those projected in Formal Import.


Observing the details and characteristics of this Importation modality, considering the use and general purpose of the goods to be imported and doing the math is the best way to decide how to operate: the advantages and even the final amount of the disbursement may surprise.


And you, did you already know this option? Have you used it? Had problems? We are here to help you!

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