Angola - Country Commercial Guide
Import Requirements and Documentation

Includes import requirements and other requirements for both the U.S. exporter and foreign importer.

Last published date: 2021-09-08

The process of importing goods into Angola is time consuming and highly bureaucratic.  The World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2020 ranks Angola among the countries with the most time-consuming import procedures worldwide in the category of “Trading Across Borders.”  Import procedures in Angola require an estimated $460 and 96 hours for import document compliance.  In comparison regionally, sub-Saharan Africa averages USD 287.20 and 96.1 hours for import document compliance.

U.S. exporters should inquire about customs broker capacities and importing experience when selecting a distributor.  Angolan import regulations are subject to periodic changes requiring U.S. exporters to maintain close contact with their importer/distributor to avoid customs entry delays.

Importers must be registered with the Ministry of Industry and Trade for the category of product they are importing.  Only registered companies can apply for an import license which is required for imports of sensitive products such as food, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural inputs.  To minimize customs problems and delays, U.S. companies should ensure that their prospective Angolan distributor holds import registration status for the appropriate product category and has experience importing and representing international products.  A competent importer company will have either in-house customs broker capacity or work with a licensed customs broker.  Only customs brokers approved by the Angolan government can process customs documentation for imports.  Custom broker rates are regulated and cannot exceed 2 percent CIF value of the product. 

Documentation required for importation into Angola includes: 

  • Commercial invoice
  • Customs import declaration (Documento Único)
  • Declaration of Customs Value (ADV)
  • Loading certificate (also known as ARC / Waiver / CNCA certificate)
  • Ministry of Industry and Trace (MINCO) Import License
  • Packing list
  • Terminal handling receipts
  • SOLAS certificate

Angolan Loading Certificate: Shipments bound for Angolan ports require a Loading Certificate (Certificado de Embarque) issued by the National Council of Angolan Shippers (CNCA) authorized agent in the country of origin.  In the United States the CNCA agent is OIC Services Inc. in Houston, Texas at tel:  (832) 912-6820 and email: info@oicservices.com  

For more information visit the website of the Angolan Private Investment and Export Promotion Agency http://www.aipex.gov.ao/PortalAIPEX/#!/

In June 2018, the Angolan Central Bank announced that letters of credit would be the preferred financial instrument for import and export transactions and proposed that letters of credit be mandatory for all international trade transactions above 100,000 euros.  U.S. exporters are encouraged to ship to Angola on pre-paid terms due to the extended delays of several months being experienced by Angolan importers in securing foreign exchange for imports.  Guidance on financing U.S. exports to Angola is addressed in the “Trade and Project Financing” section of this report.

Pre-shipment inspection 

According to Presidential Decree No. 63/13 of June 11, 2013 pre-shipment inspections are no longer mandatory.  Traders may hire pre-shipment inspection services from private inspection agencies if they wish to benefit from fast track “green channel” access upon cargo arrival at Angolan Customs, or if pre-shipment inspection is required by their letter of credit agreement.   

Laboratory Testing

Imports of foods and pharmaceutical products are subject to testing during customs clearance.  Angolan Presidential Decree No. 140/16 of July 7, 2016 sets forth regulations for the laboratory analysis of imported products and for national produced products to better control the quality of products for human consumption.   Private and public laboratories manage this inspection process at the port of entry.  The regulation specifies fees for laboratory testing by type of product as well as methodologies and type of tests to be administered.  Once in the Angolan market, these products face additional oversight during retail distribution by the Ministries of Commerce, Agriculture, and Health.