Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. The complete HS commodity classification and tariffs applicable in Zambia are available within the ZTIP.

In international trade, each product is assigned a particular classification code using the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System or simply Harmonized System (HS). The HS is an international standardised system of classifying goods, it is based on a 6-digit nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO).

You can search your goods’ commodity (tariff) code on the ZTIP by clicking on “Commodity and Tariff” on the ‘Trade in Goods’ menu bar to find the applicable HS (Tariff) Code. Use the description of the product to search for the tariff code.

Customs Duty is the charge levied on imports and listed in the tariff schedules. Payment of Customs Duty on all imported goods is provided for under section 32 of the Customs and Excise Act, unless exempted under the law or other government regulations. Apart from Customs Duty, Some imported goods may be subjected to Excise Duty and Import VAT. Examples of goods that are subjected to all 3 taxes – Customs Duty, Excise Duty and Import VAT includes Alcohol, Cigarettes and Motor Vehicles, among others. The Customs division of ZRA collects taxes on imported and some exported goods and apply measures to ensure the correct and full collection of taxes and other amounts payable in accordance with the Customs law on taxes, charges and fees and other corresponding regulations of the law.

Goods can be classified as being commercial if they fall into any of the following categories:

  • They are imported for business purposes.
  • They are imported for resale.
  • They are samples imported for business purposes.
  • Shipping documents such as a Bill of Lading (BOL), Airway Bill (AWB), Rail or Road Consignment Note (RCN)
  • An authentic invoice from the supplier.
  • Import permits or licences, Phytosanitary Certificates, or authorisation documents, where applicable.
  • Certificate(s) of Origin, where duty preference is sought depending on the Trade Agreement applied
  • Packing List/Manifest
  • Any other documents depending on the goods being imported

The ZRA has abolished payment of taxes using cash or cheques. This includes payment of taxes for imported goods which is now done electronically using the following online platforms:
- Electronic payment at commercial banks using the Taxpayer’s TPIN or PRN
- Mobile money platforms – MTN, Airtel and Zamtel
These e-payment options are safe, faster and convenient.

Yes. Using a Customs Agent or Broker to clear all commercial goods at importation/exportation is mandatory and provided for under the Customs and Excise law. Using a Customs Agent also ensures that all trade regulatory requirements are adequately complied with and may save unnecessary delays. Customs Brokers and their employees exercise the rights and perform the obligations of customs declarants as prescribed in the Customs Act.

ASYCUDA (AUTOMATED SYSTEM FOR CUSTOMS DATA) is the Customs Clearance System used by Zambia’s Customs administration. If you are importing and exporting goods through the ports and airports, your Clearing Agent must capture and submit your customs declaration through the ASYCUDA system.

- Commercial goods must be cleared using the Single Administrative Document (SAD) or Customs declaration which is captured and processed on the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA).
- Importers and their agents are notified on the status of processing their declaration electronically.
- Queries are communicated via electronic messages.
- When declaration processing is finalised, a Release Order is generated by ZRA Customs and sent to the Customs Agent

- Your Supplier through their shipping or transport agents send you a pre-alert containing Invoice, Bill of Lading and other relevant commercial documents.
- Forward the pre-alert with commercial documents to your appointed Customs Agent or Broker.
- The authorised Customs Agent (Broker) prepares a Customs declaration in the ASYCUDA system and submits to ZRA Customs at an appropriate Customs border or Airport office.
- The importer/agent proceeds to pay for the assessed import taxes including the ASYCUDA processing fee using e-payment or mobile money payment platforms.
- A Customs Officer is assigned to examine the shipment against the documents presented by the importer/agent. ASYCUDA’s risk management tool – SELECTIVITY assesses the declaration against various risk parameters and channels the declaration to various processing lanes – Red, Yellow, Blue or Green. If there are no discrepancies, the declaration is selected to Green lane and a Release Order is generated.
- An Exit Note is generated by the Agent from the ASYCUDA system to authorise the transport medium carrying the imported consignment to exit the Customs area.

The duty rates can be found by searching the HS commodity list or tariff code for the particular goods you intend to import and export. Against each commodity (tariff) code of all products, the duty rates of all applicable taxes are indicated.

Please click here to see various Customs duties applicable in Zambia.

No. An import or export license is not compulsory for many commodities. However, there are specific types of goods that require an import/export permit before transactions.

As a member of the World Trade Organization Zambia has to follow the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). There are three types of technical barriers:
• Technical Regulations are mandatory technical requirements for importers and exporters (mandatory compliance requirement).
• Technical Standards are the technical requirements to be approved by the country’s standards body – Zambia Compulsory Standards Agency or ZABS
• Conformity Assessment Procedure: This is the process of assessing the suitability of a commodity with the regulations and technical criteria.

You must clear the goods at the Customs office where the Customs authorities receive, register and verify customs documents and conduct a physical inspection of goods. This includes Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) and major Customs border offices. Click on this link to view a list of all Customs Offices where goods can be cleared in Zambia.

Yes. All goods and vehicles for diplomatic missions approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are exempted from Customs duty as long as they comply with the required documentation. In this case a customs declaration will be captured and an appropriate customs procedure code (APC) entered in a particular field of the customs declaration form.

All goods and vehicles imported by approved international organizations, NGO's, Schools, Hospitals, Orphanages, Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) such as Churches and Church organisations, are exempt from payment of Customs duties. For such organisations, the Ministry of Finance issues Government Vouchers to cover for duty amounts which are accepted by the ZRA Customs. Click here to view the list of organisations or entities that are entitled to duty exemptions and their requirements.

No. You can just walk through the Nothing to Declare or Green Channel. If you are carrying goods in excess of the duty-free allowance or if you are in doubt you must walk through the Red Channel and declare the goods to the Customs Officer on duty. An appropriate declaration form CE 7 will be issued to you either at arrival at the border or airport or while still on the aircraft or bus. If you are in doubt about this, please ask Customs officers at the airports or at the Customs border office.

Generally, personal effects (except for motor vehicles/cars etc.) are exempted from Customs duties as long as they are not of a commercial nature and within the prescribed limit decided by Customs. If you are in doubt about the eligibility of certain items, you should contact ZRA Customs officers. Generally, holders of residence permits receive equal treatment to that of Zambian citizens as far as the free allowance entitlements are concerned.

The Zambia Trade Information Portal provides information regarding the laws, regulations and procedures for importing and exporting in Zambia.
If you would like to have information about potential business partnerships, list of import/export companies or opportunities, we recommend that you contact the Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( or the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) ( On these websites you will find information about business opportunities in Zambia and contact details.

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