Smooth passage, without any obstacles and delay

An ideal customs checkpoint

An ideal customs checkpoint resembles a conveyor belt, working smoothly and without delay. Our Belarusian customs have worked hard to reach this ideal, including the introduction of a new e-service in May, for individual travellers.
By Natalia Stasko

An ideal customs checkpoint resembles a conveyor belt, working smoothly and without delay. Our Belarusian customs have worked hard to reach this ideal, including the introduction of a new e-service in May, for individual travellers. Those going abroad now need only to complete a passenger customs declaration in advance, from anywhere worldwide: home, hotel, or café.

site.pngThe advantages are evident, saving time and avoiding queues at checkpoints. Until recently, only companies were permitted to submit preliminary e-declarations — for the transport of cargo: already, 90 percent of exports and 80 percent of imports use e-declaration. It’s likely that the service will enjoy similar popularity among individuals travelling.

E-declaration requires Internet access, and must be completed at least two hours before presenting yourself at the border, but only takes around 5-7 minutes, via the website of the State Customs Committee (www.customs.gov.by): once linked through to the appropriate page, all steps are described in detail as to how to register and fill out a declaration. The system even points out mistakes. It then allocates an identification number, which can be printed out (with barcode) for presentation. Customs officers then simply check that data on the preliminary declaration matches any shipping documents; if all is in order, it takes just 15 minutes to pass through.

The system was launched on the eve of the World Hockey Championship, when hundreds of tourists came to Belarus, submitting e-declarations (also using these documents when departing). The system remains popular, especially among regular travellers transporting diverse cargoes. The State Customs Committee is now studying the possibility of introducing a similar service for postal items being transported by carriers.
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