Customs Procedure for Importation by Overseas Filipino Workers

Customs Memorandum Order No. 27-2015 dated 27 August 2015 governs the importation of balik-bayan boxes from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). It was issued to simplify customs procedures and contribute to the enforcement efforts in suppressing unscrupulous individuals in abusing the balikbayan boxes privilege.

The order applies to all non-commercial inbound consolidated shipments of OFWs and for returning OFWs bringing in personal and household effects as provided under Section 105(f) of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP), as amended.

With the new regulation, balikbayan boxes of OFWs are not subject to random or arbitrary physical inspection. Instead, they are required only to undergo mandatory X-ray scanning. For containers, mandatory container X-ray scanning are conducted at the X-ray Inspection Project (XIP) Designated Examination Area (DEA) for preliminary examination of non-commercial inbound consolidated shipment.

In cases of non-commercial inbound consolidated shipment tagged “suspect” after X-ray scanning, the XIP image analysis inspector shall identify the Balikbayan boxes with possible violation and recommend the issuance of an Alert Order. For Balikbayan boxes without violation, it shall be segregated and provisionally released to allow its continuous processing.

Balikbayan boxes which are alerted shall be subjected to 100% physical examination at the authorized examination area to be conducted by a Customs Examiner in the presence of the apprehending officers, freight forwarder consolidator, representatives of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and/or a designated office of an OFW Association be present.

Respicio Law & Co. can help in customs procedures for importation.