Gambia, The - Country Commercial Guide
Import Requirements and Documentation
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Requirements for Clearance of Goods


Documents to Be Submitted:

An import declaration form must be prepared in triplicate and submitted to Customs with the following documents:

  • Invoice (Cost, Insurance, Freight)
  • Bill of lading or Air Waybill
  • The certificate of origin (where a World Trade Organization WTO rate is applicable), ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) (where a preferential rate is applicable), Generalized System of Preferences, Certificates of Origin
  • Packing lists
  • Licenses and certificates required by law.
  • Tax Identification Number (TIN)

Import Licensing

The Gambia maintains import certification provisions regarding food products, in connection with health and sanitary provisions of the Food Act 2005.

All imports of animals, marine life, plants, their products, and processed foods of plant or animal origin, must be accompanied by an import certificate issued in accordance with Codex Alimentarius quality control requirements. In addition, no food item may be imported into The Gambia without: a certificate from the manufacturer that it was manufactured in accordance with an existing standard or code of conduct pertaining to the product; or where such standard or code of conduct does not exist, any international standard laid down by the Codex Alimentarius Commission; or a certificate issued by the government of the exporting country that its sale in that country would not contravene the law.

Imports of cereals, pulses or legumes, including rice, require phytosanitary certificates issued by the national plant protection service of the country of origin, and fumigation certificates issued by the exporting company or an approved company. The Minister of Health may, at any time, issue regulations providing that food items may not be imported unless manufactured in accordance with specified standards.


The exportation of certain goods may require licences/certificates from specific government agencies such as the National Envornment Agency, National Drug Agency, Food Safety and Quality Authority, Phytosanitary Agency, Fisheries Department, Forestry Department, Gambia Police Force, Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, Gambia Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Central Bank of The Gambia, or other agencies.

What are the Export procedures involved?

  • An exporter or agent can make export declaration.
  • Export clearance procedures are also necessary when an individual wishes to export goods for personal use.
  • Goods leaving The Gambia by air, land or sea shall be stored in a customs area until customs clearance is completed. 
  • When goods arrive at the port of exit, shipping or airline company submits manifest to Customs.
  • The exporter or agent shall obtain the necessary documents from the carrier.
  • The goods will be released from customs control for exportation.

What is a Single Administrative Document (SAD)?

This is the document the importer or agent uses to declare to customs.

Framework of the Customs Documentary Process Flow

  1. Goods arriving in The Gambia shall be under customs control prior to clearance.
  2. A declaration must be made by the importer or agent to customs.
  3. The declaration is submitted for verification, documentation and payment.
  4. The goods shall be released from customs control after completion of all formalities.