State minister tweets 'mobile tax policy' for foreign visitors

Updated December 11, 2018

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Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar says foreign visitors will be able to register one handset without having to pay duty charges. — File photo
Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar says foreign visitors will be able to register one handset without having to pay duty charges. — File photo

Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar on Tuesday announced the 'mobile tax policy' for foreign visitors after the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) released details of duties imposed on imported handsets.

In a series of tweets, Azhar said that people flying into Pakistan will be allowed to register one handset without having to pay duty charges. Furthermore, foreign visitors will not have to register or pay duty charges on mobile devices that fulfil the following conditions:

  • Cellphones that use a roaming network

  • Will be used in Pakistan for less than 30 days

  • Phones that have been used in Pakistan before Dec 1, 2018

Visitors can pay duty charges and register their handsets at the airports or in any custom house across the country, Azhar said. He also clarified that mobile phones will not be confiscated during the process of registration.

In order to curb illegal imports of handsets, the FBR and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) have laid out new procedures for regularisation of unregistered mobile devices.

Users of illegally imported mobile devices have until Dec 31 to get their phones regularised with the PTA, without having to pay penalty charges. The body also clarified that after the deadline of Dec 31, no option would be available to regularise illegal mobile devices. All such devices will be liable for seizure/outright confiscation. In addition, all such devices will be permanently blocked through Devices Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) by the PTA.

The customs procedures for imports of non-commercial mobile phones will be implemented through customs notification SRO1455 of 2018 and Customs General Order 06 of 2018 issued on Nov 30.

Import through couriers

The FBR has also notified new procedures for import of unregistered mobile devices by individuals through postal service or courier for personal use or gift.

The customs authorities will detain such imported phones and then issue a stamped declaration form to the applicant, who will have to apply for certification of compliance (CoC) via PTA portal by submitting documents.