Customs procedures

Procedures for importing cosmetics

The cosmetics industry is one of the rapidly growing fields and attracts the attention of many businesses and individuals. Importing cosmetics from other countries can open up great business opportunities, but also requires attention and compliance with strict import procedures. In this article, we will introduce to you the procedure for importing cosmetics, HS codes, import tax, VAT, cosmetic declaration and policies on importing cosmetics of all kinds. Check out the detailed article to help you understand and perform this process effectively.

1. Cosmetic import policy

When carrying out import procedures for any type of item, you must first understand the import policy of that item. The policy on importing cosmetics of all types is stipulated in the following legal documents:

  1. Circular No. 06/2011/TT-BYT dated January 25, 2011;
  2. Circular 38/2015/TT-BTC dated March 25, 2015; 
  3. Amended and supplemented 39/2018/TT-BTC dated April 20, 2018;
  4. Decree 69/2018/ND-CP dated May 15, 2018;
  5. Circular 32/2019/TT-BYT dated December 16, 2019;
  6. Decree No. 43/2017/ND-CP dated April 14, 2017;
  7. Decree 128/2020/ND-CP dated October 19, 2020.

According to the above legal documents, cosmetic products are not on the list of goods banned from import. However, when carrying out procedures to import cosmetics, you need to note the following points:

  1. When importing cosmetics, cosmetic declaration must be made;
  2. When importing cosmetics, goods must be labeled according to 43/2017/ND-CP;
  3. Determine the correct HS code to determine the correct tax and avoid penalties.

Besides, for products with printed images and logos of famous brands and cosmetic brands that have registered world copyrights. When carrying out import procedures, you must have a letter of authorization, or written acceptance from the company allowing import. Above are the legal documents regulating the import of cosmetics. If you do not understand the above regulations. Please contact hotline or hotmail for advice. 


2. Label imported goods

Labeling imported goods is not a new regulation. However, since Decree 128/2020/ND-CP was issued, the labeling of imported goods has been more closely monitored. Labeling goods is intended to help administrative agencies manage goods, determine the origin and unit responsible for the goods. Therefore, labeling goods is one of the indispensable steps when carrying out cosmetic import procedures.


2.1. Label content

In addition to labeling, label content is also very important. Label content of goods is regulated in Decree No. 43/2017/ND-CP. 

For cosmetic products, the content of a full label includes the following information:

  1. Information of the exporter (address, company name);
  2. Information of the importer (address, company name);
  3. Quantitative;
  4. Ingredients or ingredient quantities;
  5. Production batch number;
  6. Date of manufacture or expiry date/expiry date;
  7. For products with a stability of less than 30 months, the expiration date is required;
  8. Instructions for use unless the presentation clearly shows how to use the product;
  9. Information and warnings.
  10. Origin of goods.

Those are the basic label contents that need to be affixed to the goods. Information presented must be in English or other languages must be translated. When carrying out cosmetic import procedures, if you encounter a red channel, customs inspection will pay close attention to the label content above.


2.2. Label position on goods

Sticking labels on goods is necessary, but sticking them in the right position is more important. When importing, product labels need to be affixed to the surfaces of the package such as: On cartons, on wooden packages, on product packaging. Or anywhere as long as it’s convenient to check and easy to see. Labeling in the correct location will help save time on inspection when carrying out procedures to import cosmetics of all kinds.

For retail goods on the market, more information needs to be shown. Such as the manufacturer, quantity of goods, technical specifications, date of manufacture, safety warnings.


2.3. Risks encountered when not labeling

Labeling goods is illegal according to the law. If the goods were not labeled when imported or the content of the label is incorrect. Importers must face the following risks:

Being fined according to regulations, the penalty level is specified in Article 22 of Decree 128/2020/ND-CP;

Not entitled to special preferential import tax because the certificate of origin will be rejected;

Goods are easily lost or damaged because there are no warning labels for loading, unloading and transportation. With the above risks, we recommend that you put labels on the goods when carrying out cosmetic import procedures. If you do not fully understand the regulations on product labels.


3. Determine the cosmetic HS code

3.1. Determine HS code

To determine the correct cosmetic code, you need to understand the product characteristics: Materials, ingredients and characteristics of the product. Anlita would like to share with you the HS code table of cosmetics:



Preferential import tax (%)

Perfumes and perfumes



Makeup preparations







Paint fingernails and toenails






Anti-acne cream



HS Code for facial cream or solution applied to the skin



The other type is used for makeup



Hair preparations

The shampoo has anti-fungal properties



Other shampoos



Hair curling or straightening preparations






Another type is used for hair



3.2. Risks when applying the wrong HS code

Determining the correct HS code is very important when carrying out cosmetic import procedures. Misidentifying the HS code will bring certain risks to you such as:

  1. Delaying customs procedures: Declaring the wrong HS code can lead to delays in customs procedures, because it takes time to check and verify accurate information about the type of goods.
  2. Delayed delivery: If the goods are found to have an incorrect HS code declared, the customs authority may request correction or clarification of the information. This can lead to delays in delivery and affect the production and business cycle of the business.
  3. Penalties for declaring incorrect HS codes according to Decree 128/2020/ND-CP;
  4. In case of import tax, you will face a penalty of at least 2,000,000 VND and a maximum penalty of 3 times the tax amount.

To accurately determine the HS code for each specific cosmetic type. Please contact hotline or hot mail for advice.

4. Cosmetic import tax

Import tax is an obligation to the state that the importer must complete when carrying out import procedures. Import tax depends on the cosmetic HS code of the types selected above.

There are two types of cosmetic import tax: import tax and import VAT.

To determine import tax, you can refer to the calculation below as follows:

  • Import tax determined by HS code Import tax is calculated according to the formula:       

Import tax = CIF value x % tax rate

  • Import VAT is determined according to the formula:        

Value added tax = (CIF value + Import tax) x % VAT rate.

The above import tax rates are preferential import and export taxes. To enjoy special preferential import tax rates, the shipment must have a certificate of origin (C/O). 

5. Cosmetic import dossier set

Set of documents for import procedures for cosmetics in particular and other items in general. Regulated in Circular 38/2015/TT-BTC dated March 25, 2015; Amended and supplemented 39/2018/TT-BTC dated April 20, 2018. The dossier set for import procedures includes the following documents:

  1. Customs declaration;
  2. Commercial invoice;
  3. Bill of lading;
  4. Packing list;
  5. Commercial contract (Sale contract);
  6. Cosmetic announcement;
  7. Certificate of origin (C/O) if any;
  8. Catalog (if any).

In the above import dossier, the most important documents are: Customs declaration, commercial invoice, bill of lading, certificate of origin and cosmetic declaration dossier. These are the most important documents, but other documents will have to be provided if requested by customs.

Cosmetic declaration is an important document when carrying out import procedures. Declaration documents should be made before importing goods. Announcing jobs in advance will save you a lot of costs.

6. Cosmetic announcement procedures

According to regulations in Circular No. 06/2011/TT-BYT, cosmetics are on the list of goods that must be announced before being put into circulation. All types of cosmetics must be declared, and should be declared before importation.

6.1. Dossier for cosmetic publication

Cosmetic declaration dossier includes the following documents:

  1. Cosmetic announcement form;
  2. Soft and hard copies of published content: Ingredients table with product percentage, product uses;
  3. CFS (Certificate of Free Sale);
  4. Authorization letter from the manufacturer to the importer;
  5. Business registration license of the importer.

6.2. Cosmetic announcement process

There are two ways to make a cosmetic declaration: direct application and submission via the national electronic information portal. Anlita would like to introduce the online application process.

Step 1. Create an account on the national one-stop system are two tasks that need to be done in this step: creating an account and preparing documents for cosmetic publication.

Step 2. Select a management agency and enter information

Enter complete information as required by the one-stop information portal. Attach the publication documents to the one-stop page. After the application is submitted, there will be a return fee. Proceed to pay the fee according to the returned information.

Step 3. Receive published results

Check and receive published results from the one-stop information portal.

7. Procedures for importing cosmetics

Procedures for importing cosmetics as well as many other items. Very specifically stipulated in Circular 38/2015/TT-BTC dated March 25, 2015, amended and supplemented 39/2018/TT-BTC dated April 20, 2018. We summarize the steps in a short description so you can get an overall picture.

Step 1: Fill out the customs declaration

After having complete import and export documents: Contract, commercial invoice, packing list, bill of lading, certificate of origin, arrival notice and determining the cosmetic HS code. You can then enter declaration information into the customs system via software.

Step 2: Open the customs declaration

After completing the customs declaration, the customs system will return the declaration classification results. If there is a declaration flow, print out the declaration and bring the import dossier to the customs department to open the declaration. Depending on the green, yellow, and red channel, follow the steps to open the declaration.

Step 3. Clear customs declaration

After checking the documents, if there are no questions, the customs officer will accept customs clearance of the declaration. You can now pay cosmetic import tax for the customs declaration to clear the goods.

Step 4. Bring the goods to the warehouse for preservation and use

Upon customs clearance, proceed with the liquidation of the declaration and carry out the necessary procedures to bring it back to the warehouse. After customs clearance, you must make a self-declaration of cosmetics to be able to circulate cosmetics on the market.

Above are 4 basic steps to carry out cosmetic import procedures. In the import procedure process, the most difficult step is making a self-declaration of cosmetics. Please contact our hotline or hot mail for advice and service quotes.

8. Notes when importing cosmetics

During the process of import procedures for cosmetic products. Anlita has learned some experiences that she wants to share with you for your reference.

  1. Goods are only cleared through customs when tax obligations to the state are fulfilled.
  2. Cosmetic products must be declared before import. Avoid the situation where the goods arrive before processing, which will incur storage and storage fees.
  3. Documents such as CFS and manufacturer’s authorization must have the consulate’s stamp.
  4. The import tax on cosmetics of all kinds is quite high. When negotiating with the seller, you should request a certificate of origin to receive tax incentives.
  5. When importing, goods must be labeled according to 43/2017/ND-CP.
  6. Determine the correct HS code to determine the correct tax and avoid penalties.

Those are the notes that we want to send to you for your reference. If you find it useful, you can share it with your friends for reference. If there are any inappropriate points, please give us feedback so we can improve the article.


9. Conclusion

Above is the entire cosmetic import procedure process, HS code, import tax, VAT, import policy. Hopefully this article will bring the information you are looking for.


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