Egypt simplifies customs clearance, VAT refund procedures for COP27 guests

Egypt’s Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait has issued on Wednesday the simplified customs procedures and Value Added Tax (VAT) refund for the thousands of guests of the Climate Change Conference (COP27).

The simplified customs procedures’ manual has been developed in both Arabic and English languages that includes identification of import customs procedures under the temporary release system, according to ministry’s statement.

In addition to that the manual is under cargo temporary release for exhibition and re-exports procedures and VAT refund procedures for foreign departing passengers.

Maait added that the manual was circulated, uploaded, and published on the COP27 official website, Ministry of Finance’s website, and other related authorities’ websites.

This manual also includes many procedural facilitations for all import shipments coming COP27 to be exempted from Advance Cargo Information (ACI) registration at all customs ports.

While, all cargo arriving at Sharm El Sheikh International Airport will not be declared through the NAFEZA system.

Many simplified procedures are also provided to proceed the temporary release for cameras and media equipment of foreign press and media correspondents, Maait explained.

The participant delegations at COP27 will enjoy taxes, customs exemptions and benefits, the statement mentioned.

The arrival passengers to Egypt must declare to competent authorities the amount of foreign currency they hold, tradable financial, commercial bonds, or any other above the allowed limit other than personal use items.

Non-Egyptian passengers departing Egypt are allowed to travel with the remaining amounts providing they were declared to customs at the time of arrival.

The passengers are obliged not to accompany any prohibited items under the law, the said statement indicated.

El-Shahat Ghatouri, the head of the Tax Authority and Customs Authority, explained that the committee will make decisions on the temporary release of equipment, machines, devices among all items imported to the COP27.

Maait has approved establishing a bonded area at Sharm El Sheikh International Airport for the examination, inspection, and valuation processes to facilitate cargo customs procedures.

Gatouri has clarified that a central operations room was created at the Cairo International Airport to monitor and remove immediately any impediments to customs release.

Egyptian Tax Authority’s CEO Mokhtar Tawfik has announced that foreign passengers who departed Egypt for a period less than three months shall be entitled to refund VAT value they paid of the registered seller for purchases of taxable goods.

The provided value of their purchases must be in one invoice and not less than 1,500 Egyptian pounds. The departing passengers shall accompany their purchases by themselves or by any other means when they the state.

In addition, the tax shall be refunded if purchasing is made from one of the shops that issue a tax invoice stating a description of the purchased goods in terms of type, number, amount, and value of VAT.

In case the seller has an electronic system, the passport data shall be recorded on the invoice by the seller, while the purchases shall be presented to the responsible customs official in the customs port upon the departure.

This is to make an inspection of the purchased goods and match them on the reply form, and approve the supporting purchase evidence, which is the purchase invoices.

Tawfik asserted that the refund will promptly be made in foreign currency to bank cards of departing passengers who deserve tax refunds instead of cash.

A series of meetings were held with the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), National Bank of Egypt (NBE), and Banque Misr to discuss the proposed work cycle to facilitate VAT refund to foreign departing passengers.

The tree banks have agreed upon the work cycle and signed cooperation protocol in this regard, Tawfik added.

This committee is competent to take the necessary procedures to facilitate temporary customs release of all equipment and machines accompanying the UN secretariat, official delegations, or international media briefing delegations that will attend COP27.

The committee is also responsible for coordination with the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to release items related to the United Nations Climate Conference Secretariat.

Also, they will responsible to release items accompanying foreign correspondents who will provide media coverage, and items accompanying the delegations participating in COP27.

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