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Import/Export

United States to South Korea

Country or Territory Regulations Topics:

Commodity Specific Stipulations

There are special stipulations on the following commodities when shipping to South Korea. If you plan to ship one of the commodities listed below, be sure to adhere to the following stipulations in order to avoid delays and holds at customs.

Importation of cellular telephones requires a license. Private individuals are rarely permitted the license.
Shipments of checks are considered as non-documents which require Formal Entry (shipment value above US$100.00). Invoice must state the declared value and the actual amount written on the check. Consignee should apply for an import permit from Korea Customs Service.
Effective 31 July 2015, shipments of chemical materials under HTS Codes: 2524, 2526, 2707, 2903, 2934, 3204 such as Asbestos, talc (industrial materials), polymer, will require permission from Korea Chemicals Management Association.

To avoid delays, it would be helpful to state the HTS code/s on the invoice and attach the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and Certificate of Analysis (imaged in IDIS).

Shipments of clothing intended for sale must be commerced labeled with the material type and country or territory of origin.
A Quarantine License is required by the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA).
Shipments of cosmetics, including manicure items, shampoos, etc. require the consignee to have a Quarantine License as provided by the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA).

Functional cosmetics shipment must be customs cleared via formal entry. Cosmetics which contain placenta or steroid, whitening products, wrinkle treatment cosmetics and UV protection are considered as functional cosmetics.

Shipments of dental instruments require an Import Permit from the Korea Medical Devices Industry Association or Korea Food & Drug Administration.
Shipments of medicine require a recommendation from the Korean Food and Drug Administration. Medicine is subject to analysis by a chemist.

Personal shipments of medicine are exempt from the recommendation but are limited to 6 bottles. Personal shipments of DHEA (steroid hormone) are limited to 2 bottles, not to exceed 90 pills per bottle.

Commercial shipments of DHEA are prohibited, including samples.

Cables, batteries, switches, fuses, Capacitor, Automatic circuit breakers etc. require permit from Korea Electric Testing Institute with effect from 31 July 2015.

To avoid delays, it would be helpful to state on the invoice : Purpose of usage (example: switches for PCB), HTS code and Voltage.

Shpr/cnee should provide a certificate from RRA in advance and then UPS contracted broker could get a no. of certificate from RRA in place of shpr/cnee (handling fee per shpt is KRW 33,000). Related website : https://www.rra.go.kr/en/index.do

To reflect duty reduction from university for research purpose, application form of duty reduction and description of products are required. If invoice value is over USD 1,000, recommendation letter from KOAMI(www.koami.go.kr) is additionally required.

Samples of empty bottles are allowed but limited to a maximum of 2 bottles. Korean Customs will confiscate shipments exceeding the 2-bottle limit.
Shipments of food, including aloe extracts, seeds, and bamboos require quarantine inspection.
Shipments of medical instruments require a recommendation from the Korean Food and Drug Administration.
Shipments of medicine require a recommendation from the Korean Food and Drug Administration. Medicine is subject to analysis by a chemist.

Personal shipments of medicine are exempt from the recommendation but are limited to 6 bottles. Personal shipments of DHEA (steroid hormone) are limited to 2 bottles, not to exceed 90 pills per bottle.

Commercial shipments of DHEA are prohibited, including samples.

Shipments of military equipment require permission from the National Military.
Effective 1 Jan 2017, Undiluted nicotine or solutions containing more than 1% nicotine must submit Specifications of Chemical Materials to the Korea Chemicals Management Association.

If the accumulated weight of imported nicotine from January 1 of each year exceeds 100kg, importers must submit a Toxic Hazard Importation Declaration to the Ministry of Environment of South Korea.

Customers must use an authorized UPS / MBE (Mail Boxes Etc) Store, UPS Customer Center or ISC Approved Shipper to ship personal effects.

The UPS Store, Mail Boxes Etc, UPS Customer Center or ISC approved shipper will be required to identify personal effect shipments on the shipping label by placing "Personal Effects" in the Reference Field of a UPS "smart" label or in the Special Instructions Field of a UPS waybill. They must also clearly indicate 'Personal Effects' shipment on the Commercial Invoice.

Personal Effects are classified as used items (owned for a minimum of 6 months) intended for the consignee's personal use. Any items intended for any other use, such as wholesale or retail sales, business purposes, or for distribution are not considered personal effects and cannot be shipped on this basis. "Personal Effects" must be clearly stated on the invoice and goods description.

All of the following documents must be scanned into DIS/SIR and originals on the package:

An inventory list with estimated values with the reason for importation (holidays, move, relocation) A confirmation that the goods are older than 6 months and that they are intended for personal use only A photocopy of passport or ID card Any items intended for any other use, such as wholesale or retail sales, business purposes, or for distribution are not considered personal effects and cannot be shipped on this basis.

Excisable goods (for example, perfume, alcoholic drinks, tobacco), medicine and perishable food can not be cleared as personal effects.

Personal effects shipments are not allowed in combination with Return Services.

Shipments of pharmaceuticals need a recommendation from the Korean Food and Drug Administration.
Korea has opened its rice market since January 1, 2015. With the effect from March 13, 2015, only 9 customs offices which are well equipped with expertise and experience are dedicated to perform clearance for shipments of rice (Import and Export). These offices are located at Busan, Incheon Sea Port, Pyeongtaek, Kunsan, Mokpo, Donghae, Ulsan, Kwangyang and Masan.

UPS' customers must arrange bonded truck to transport shipments of rice to the nearest customs office for customs clearance. Incheon Airport Customs is not able to handle shipments of rice.

The consignee must provide a description of the content of the tapes.
In accordance with Korea's Radio Waves Framework Act on Telecommunications, shipments of broadcasting & communication equipment requires certification from Radio Research Laboratory.
Effective 31 July 2015, Furniture (e.g. childrens playground equipment) and Toys for sale to children aged below 14 years, require permission from Korea conformity Laboratory. Personal shipments and toys for children over 14 years are exempted.

To avoid delays, it would be helpful to state on the invoice : Age group suitability for toys, detailed commodity description, HTS code.

Shipments of vitamins require a recommendation from the Korean Food and Drug Administration. Personal shipments are exempt from the recommendation but are limited to 6 bottles.

Prohibited or Restricted Commodities

In addition to the commodities which UPS prohibits to all countries or territories served (listed here), it is prohibited to ship the following commodities to South Korea.

Import of Alcoholic beverages into South Korea is permitted via ISC contract service.

For direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipments, the wine shall be packaged in appropriate receptacles of less than 1 liter each.

The receptacles of the wine must bear an indication enabling the bottler to be identified.

It can be cleared without quarantine if for personal consumption only and it is limited to 1 bottle (1 liter).

Animal skins are prohibited.
Electronic Cigarette can only be shipped with an International Special Commodities (ISC) contract.

Shipment with battery and charger requires import permit under the provision of Electrical Appliances Safety Control Act. Products brochure review or physical inspection is required by Customs if there is no battery.

Any form of toy gun or gun replica is prohibited.
The environmental protection law prohibits kitchen waste disposers from being imported into Korea.
Shipments of knives require permission from the Police Department.
Shipments of Lithium Metal Batteries are prohibited on Emirates Airlines flights which UPS uses to this destination country or territory.

Alternative arrangements are in place, but expect transit delays if the normal planned flow of the package is via Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Time in Transit may be extended due to solution found.

Negotiable bonds and drafts are prohibited.
Products made in Iran are prohibited in our service due to a current embargo.
Any form of toy gun or gun replica is prohibited.
Traveler's checks are prohibited.

NOTE: Information provided by UPS is provided AS IS, may not be current, and does not constitute legal advice. In no event shall UPS be liable for any errors in the information, forms or features made available by UPS, or by any third party site linked to from UPS. Selection and completion of proper forms for any given shipment is the sole responsibility of the shipper. All shipments are subject to the UPS Terms and Conditions of Service in effect at the time of shipping for the country or territory of origin.
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