Customs regulations for your trip to Liberia

Last modified: July 25, 2023
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Customs regulations

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required                                          

  • Copy of passport
  • Detailed inventory
  • Packing list (in English)
  • Valued inventory
  • Invoice of the shipment
  • Certificate of exemption from employer or organization
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) / telex release / air waybill (AWB)
  • Clear report of findings (CRF) issued by the pre-inspection company’s representative in Liberia, at the end of the pro-inspection process (non-exempt shipments)
  • Diplomatic exemption (diplomats)
  • Waiver of import duties (diplomats)

Specific Information

  • Duties and taxes must be paid.
  • Import taxes will be claimed on sea freight and air freight.
  • Indicate “used personal effects” instead of “household goods” on the OBL / AWB.
  • Detailed volumes of the household goods and personal effects should be indicated on the OBL / AWB.
  • Documents with OBL / telex release must be delivered to agent at least 10 days prior to shipment arrival.
  • Non-diplomatic shipments are subject to pre-shipment inspection at origin.
  • The invoice of the shipment must show the value that the government will waive to the employer or organization; agents and customers should create an invoice from the value inventory list (diplomatic and exempt shipments).
  • Diplomatic shipments are exempt from import duties and taxes.
  • The diplomatic organization must provide agent with diplomatic exemption and documents received from Liberian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (diplomats)
  • A copy of the OBL / AWB should be forwarded to the destination agent to start the clearance process prior to arrival of the shipment.

Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind.

If you commit a criminal offence, including drug trafficking and diamond smuggling you can expect to be subjected to local law. There are heavy penalties for those convicted. Local prison conditions are harsh.

Homosexuality is illegal. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Carry photographic identification with you at all times, you may be asked to produce it at any time by immigration officials or the police.

The government office responsible for adoptions in Liberia is the Ministry of Justice. All petitions for adoption are filed in the Probate Court, which issues a decree of adoption if all legal requirements are met. Adoption orders from Liberia are not recognised in the UK. Liberian nationals require a visa to enter the UK. If you are returning to live in the UK, you will need to apply for entry clearance for the child as a child coming for adoption in the UK.

The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) is responsible for managing Liberian customs, including assessing, collecting, enforcing, and auditing all taxes on domestic and international trade.  It manages customs processes and procedures through all ports of entry, including land borders.  As the lead agency for processing trade taxes (custom duties, tariffs, etc.) at all borders and ports of entry, the LRA is the repository for international trade statistics.  Over the past few years, the LRA has automated and continues to automate several of its processes and activities.  Some of the eservices are Online and POS payments, ASYCUDA System, E-tax Clearance, Direct Transfer Payment, Mobile Money Payment, Register Property, and Request TIN (Tax Identification Number).  For further details on Liberia’s customs regulations, trade taxes, and tax system, please visit the LRA website or contact the following offices:

  • Commissioner Domestic Taxes: Phone (231) 886-819485.
  • Hotline numbers for reporting professional misconduct: (231) 880-631093, (231) 880-631275
  • For inquiries about LRA services: (231) 770-572572, (231) 888-572572.

In January 2019, the National Port Authority (NPA) initiated the implementation of the Cargo Tracking Note/Advanced Cargo Declaration (CTN/ACD) system for all shipments to any destination ports, including transit through Liberia.  Therefore, shippers, exporters, and forwarders at various ports of loading around the world are required to obtain a validated Cargo Tracking Number (CTN) using the online platform and to submit the required shipping documents.  Additionally, the NPA requires inspection through the exclusive pre-shipment provider for Liberia Bureau Veritas or BIVAC, with such services costing 1.5 percent of the shipment’s value.  Pre-shipment inspections are required for goods valued at US$3,500 and above.  The penalty for importers who fail to complete the BIVAC pre-shipment inspection ranges from 10 percent to 30 percent of the shipment’s value.  After clearing customs, importers present cost information to MOCI for price approval.

BIVAC has listed the following products as items exempt from import duties (customs):

  • Goods imported with a value below the threshold of US$1,000 free on board (FOB).
  • Reasonable number of personal effects and household items.
  • Supplies for diplomatic missions, and United Nations organizations.
  • Gold, precious stones, objects of art.
  • Explosives, pyrotechnic products, arms, ammunition, weapons, and implements of war imported by the Liberian Armed Forces and other security and/or law enforcement entities.
  • Fresh fish caught by local Liberian fishermen.
  • Goods imported by parcel post not exceeding US$1,000.

Dutiable Items

Liberia’s Revenue Code provides the legal and regulatory basis for customs duties and standards.  The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) is a semi-autonomous agency that administers and enforces the Revenue Code and other related tax laws.  Imports are subject to tariff duties, which vary according to product type, category, volume, etc., and constitute a major source of government income.  Import duties are specific (based on volume) for some commodities, and ad valorem (based on cost, insurance, and freight value) for others.  Specific duties apply to food, beverages, petroleum products, and certain rubber products.  The cost of equipment and machinery used in the year the asset is placed into service is eligible for a tax deduction of up to 30 percent.  The construction cost of a new hotel or a tourist resort is eligible for a tax deduction of up to 30 percent of the cost of the investment.  Additionally, the cost of buildings or fixtures used to manufacture finished products containing at least 60 percent local raw materials are eligible for a tax deduction of up to 10 percent.  Machinery, equipment, raw materials, semi-finished products, and other supplies used for construction projects in the tourism sector are exempt from import duty for up to 90 percent of their dutiable value.

Since 2010, the ECOWAS commission introduced a common external tariff (CET) system based on a value added tax (VAT) regime as part of the regional efforts toward establishing a common custom union across West Africa.  The aim is to make trade and commerce easier within the region.  However, Liberia continues to use a single-stage goods and services tax (GST) while the government gradually transitions and harmonizes its external and domestic taxations to adapt to the VAT regime.  GST is imposed at the manufacturing stage on several goods and services specifically listed in the Liberia Revenue Code; it is levied at the rates of 7 percent (for goods) and 10 percent (for services), except for communication services which are set at 15 percent.  The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and the LRA  are working on several policies as well as legal and regulatory frameworks to introduce the value-added tax (VAT) regime that would replace the existing Goods and Services Tax (GST) system.  Contact the LRA for specific categories of duties or tariffs.

Additionally, see “Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings” below for related provisions.

  • Flowers, plants and seeds being imported into the country will require a valid health certificate from the country of origin before being granted admission.
  • Cats and dogs will need to be accompanied by an import permit from the Ministry of • Agriculture and a veterinarian good health and rabies inoculation certificates from the country of origin.

Prohibited Items

Generally, Liberian law prohibits the importation of convict-made goods and recognizes international regulations on narcotics and other contraband.  Importation of certain goods, including illegal drugs, weapons, explosives, ammunitions, knives and deadly weapons, and counterfeit money are either prohibited or restricted.

  • Illegal drugs
  • Weapons, Explosives and ammunition
  • Knives and deadly weapons
  • Flowers, seeds and flower products – unless permission has been obtained
  • Pets and other animals – unless permission has been obtained
  • Meat and meat products
  • Counterfeit money and goods
  • Rough diamonds – can only be imported under strict international trade laws.
  • Pornographic material

Miscellaneous (Pets, Motors, and others.)

Wild Fauna and Flora:

The import of certain endangered species of plant, live animals and their products is prohibited or restricted under CITES.
For further details please refer to CITES: www.cites.org.

Additional Information on regulations:

For flowers and plants: a health certificate issued by the competent authorities in the country of origin is needed.

Pets:

Cats and dogs must be accompanied by an import permit issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and veterinarian good health and rabies inoculation certificates issued at the point of origin.

Baggage Clearance regulations:

Baggage is cleared at the first airport of entry in Liberia.

Exempt: baggage of transit passengers with a destination outside of Liberia.

Currency

Currency Import regulations:

Local currency (Liberian Dollar-LRD) and foreign currencies: Up to a maximum of USD 10,000.- or equivalent in other currencies. Higher amounts must be declared on arrival.

Currency Export regulations:

Local currency (Liberian Dollar-LRD) and foreign currencies: up to USD 7,500.- or equivalent. Higher amounts (may only be exported in the form of bank drafts, traveler’s cheques, money orders etc.) must be declared.

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Original registration card
  • Copy of passport
  • Original commercial invoice

Specific Information

  • Vehicles older than 12 years cannot be imported.
  • Chassis number and number must be indicated on the OBL.

Pets

Documents Required

  • Import permit
  • Rabies vaccination certificate (from country of origin)
  • Veterinary health certificate (from country of origin)

Specific Information

  • Documents must accompany animals.
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