Rwanda - Country Commercial Guide
Import Requirements and Documentation

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

Last published date: 2021-11-11

Import documentation to Rwanda includes:

  1. Air Way Bill (Airfreight) or Bill of Lading (Seafreight)
  2. Commercial Invoice(s) or equivalent document(s)
  3. Packing List
  4. Import Declaration Form (IDF)
  5. Importer’s Tax Identification Number (TIN) and VAT numbers
  6. Duties and Taxes Exemption Certificates, if any
  7. National Drug Authority Certificate or permit for import of drug and pharmaceuticals
  8. Phytosanitary certificates for import of agricultural products.
  9. Registration/De-registration Card of country of origin of old/used vehicles
  10. Gift Certificates, if gifted to any organization eligible for duty free clearance
  11. Passport of the individual for clearance of personal effects
  12. Certificate of Origin, especially for goods imported from COMESA countries

EAC rules of origin can be found here.  

COMESA rules of origin can be found here.  

Since 2012, the RRA has employed the One Single Electronic Window, an online system for filing, issuing, and modifying export and import declarations.  Through scanning and uploading of key documentation such as certificates of origin or quality and customs declarations, the system allows importers, exporters, or their brokers to send or receive information or documents to the concerned agencies related with the clearing process at one point without moving from one agent to another.

More information on Electronic Single Window can be found here.

Import Procedures for Importation into Rwanda can be found here

Customs clearance procedures can be found at the eRegulations Rwanda website (http://rwanda.e-regulations.org/).

Procedures for importing goods into Rwanda include the following steps:

  1. Obtain notice of arrival of the goods (“avis d’arrivee”)
  2. Submit goods arrival notice for verification by Rwanda Standards Board
  3. Obtain manifest
  4. Submit import document to the clearing agent for tax calculation
  5. Pay import tax
  6. Obtain an invoice for warehouse handling fees
  7. Pay warehouse fees for goods handling
  8. Obtain goods exit note

In addition to documented and physical verification at border posts, importing taxpayers may be subject to Post-Clearance Audits (PCA).  PCA is explained in more detail at https://www.eac.int/sct/65-sector/customs/471-709-403-customs-post-clearance-audit-manual.

Import procedure restrictions resulting from COVID-19 containment measures on Rwanda Trade Portal