ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has changed the definition of ‘tourists’ for allowing temporary import of vehicles by tourists without payment of duties and taxes for a period of six months.

The FBR has amended the Customs Rules 2001 through a notification, issued here on Thursday.

According to the SRO 495(I)/2021 issued by the FBR, here on Thursday, the ‘tourist’ means a person not normally resident in Pakistan, who enters Pakistan for a stay of not more than six months in the course of any 12 months period for legitimate non-immigrant purposes.

Previously, the definition of the tourist as per Customs Rules is that a "tourist” means a foreigner of any of the following categories who has no residence or occupation in Pakistan and whose stay in the country is not likely to exceed three months: (i) A person visiting Pakistan for recreation or sight-seeing or is in transit for a short duration; (ii) a person travelling for domestic or health reasons; (iii) a person on study or lecture tour or on pilgrimage; (iv) a person travelling in his individual or representative capacity to attend a meeting or function of any scientific, administrative, educational, social, cultural sports or religious nature or for giving a performance; (v) a person travelling for business purposes; and (vi) a person arriving in the course of a sea cruise whose stay in Pakistan exceeds 24 hours.

The rules for the temporary import of vehicles by tourists revealed that a tourist who imports a vehicle against carnet-de-passage or a bank guarantee may be given delivery thereof by the officer-in-charge of the Customs station of entry without payment of customs-duties for its retention in Pakistan if such tourist makes a declaration at the Customs-station of entry to the effect that he will not constructively or substantially transfer the ownership of the vehicles to any other person during his stay in Pakistan.

Provided that if it is not practicable for the tourist to export such vehicle within the said period and he makes an application to the FBR before the expiry of that period to this effect, the Board may extend that period not exceeding three months: Provided further that if the same vehicle re-enters Pakistan within one year after its exit, whether in the name of the same tourist (non-Pakistani) or in the name of somebody else (non-Pakistani) temporary release shall not be allowed against carnet-de-passage or a bank guarantee for more than 14 days except for vehicles operated by recognised foreign tour agencies which shall be allowed re-entry within one year for a period not exceeding three months at one point of time.

Where the export of such vehicle is not possible on grounds of health of the importer, or in circumstances beyond his control, or because of an accident in which the vehicle is involved, the FBR may extend the period not exceeding six months, in which case a fresh bank guarantee shall be furnished if the existing bank guarantee does not cover the period of extension: Provided that if the importer wishes to retain such vehicle beyond period for which permission for retention has been allowed, he shall obtain an import permit from the Ministry of Commerce and shall pay the Customs-duties and taxes leviable thereon on the date of its import.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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