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CUSTOM HOUSE AGENTS

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Click here for the List of Suspended / Cancelled CHA Licence/CHA results.

LIST OF CANDIDATES ELIGIBLE FOR THE FORTH COMING G CARD 

EXAM UNDER REGLN. 19(3) OF CHALR, 2004    

 

                                               CIRCULAR FOR THE FORTH COMING G CARD 

 

                                                       RESULTS OF G CARD EXAM

 

                                     SCHEDULE FOR THE ORAL TEST FOR THE CANDIDATES WHO HAVE QUALIFIED  IN THE WRITTEN TEST HELD ON 19.10.2008

 

CIRCULAR

 

 

Customs House Agent (CHA) is a person who is licensed to act as an agent for transaction of any business relating to the entry or departure of conveyances or the import or export of goods at any Customs station. 

Click here to view the Full List of Custom House Agents.

Liabilities on a CHA

            Section 146 of the Customs Act is the enabling provision, which allows agents of importers and exporters to act on behalf of importers and exporters. This is necessitated by the highly involved and technical nature of the work to be done in connection with clearance of imports into and exports out of country. The importers and exporters themselves may have neither time nor the requisite knowledge on their own. Therefore, agents are allowed to act on their behalf. The work of the agents is governed by the Customs House Agents Licensing Regulations, 1984 framed under this section read with Section 157. 

            There are certain liabilities fastened on the agent of the importer or exporter under Section 147. Some of these liabilities are in the nature of extension of and exceptions to the liability of an agent under the Indian Contracts Act, 1872. Sub-section (1) empowers the agent to do everything that an importer or an exporter can do. Filing a bill of entry, shipping bill, submitting supporting documents therewith, helping in examination of goods, payment of duty on behalf of the principal, warehousing of goods, removal from warehouse and the like. The common law principle that an agent’s actions bind the principal is given the status of a legal presumption. The consequences of all actions of a CHA will bind the importers and exporters on whose behalf they act. An agent who is authorized to act on behalf of the importer or exporter is treated as the owner of imported or exports goods. In respect of that particular transaction, a notice could be given to that agent. This does not normally extend to recovery of duty not paid or short paid by the owner, importer or exporter of goods. As an exception, this is permissible when the Deputy/Assistant Commissioner is of the opinion that such recovery from the owner, importer or exporter of goods is not possible. 
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Essential features of CHA Licensing Regulations, 1984

            1. No ceiling for number of CHAs who can be appointed in a Customs House.

            2. Issue of regular licence is preceded by a period of grant of temporary licence.

            3. Prescribing criteria of experience and financial soundness for appointment.

            4. Grant of regular licence is subject to passing examination, satisfying minimum volume
                of business and complying with obligations under Regulation No.14.

            5. Change in the constitution of partnership or firm not to affect the operations of CHA.

            6. Commissioners have been empowered to prescribe fees to prevent excess billing by
                 the CHAs.      

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Application for licence

              Under Regulation 4, every January, the Commissioner of Customs has to notify and advertise and call for applications from persons for acting as CHAs within his jurisdiction. Individuals, firms and companies can act as CHAs. In case of firms and companies, the application has to give the particulars of partner or director who will actually do the work of clearance of goods at the Customs station. Application is made in Form A.

              Applications made by the firms or companies should contain full details of the directors or partners.
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Qualifications of an applicant

              The applicant individual working for a firm or a company should be:

             -           A graduate from a recognized University.

-           Should hold a pass in Form G as employee of the firm / company.

-           Should have engaged in Customs clearance work for three years.

-           Should possess assets of Rs.1 lakhs or Rs.50,000/- as certified by a scheduled bank.

-           Reliability of the applicant and soundness of financial status are very important criteria.

-           If there are too many applicants than the licenses that can be granted, the Commissioner has to select persons for licensing by seniority of holding G pass. If there are two persons of same seniority, the older person will be preferred [Regulation 8(3)].
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 Relaxations, which can be granted by the Commissioner:

              An applicant need to possess pass in Form G for one year only if permitted by the Commissioner for reasons to be recorded in writing.

 DEPARTMENTAL CLARIFICATIONS

 Qualification

              Various Custom Houses and Commissionerate prescribe certain volume of business as qualification for considering application for regular licences:

             1.       150 documents per year (for ex: shipping bill or bill of entry)

2.       Clearance or shipment 1500 packages per year.

3.       Clearance or shipment of packages of value not less than Rs.60 lakhs.

             A G-Pass holder with one year experience may also appear for examination if permitted by the Commissioner for reasons to be recorded in writing.
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Other clarifications as to qualification

              1. Diploma in “Customs clearance and freight forwarding” offered by Bombay University is not considered as graduation for the purpose of eligibility.

            2. An employee or partner or director of a CHA licensee authorized to take examination under Regulation 9(5) is allowed to take three examinations in a period of two years from the date of application by the licensee for examination.

            3. Level of knowledge of local language has to be determined by the Commissioners as the Regulations do not prescribe any requirement. Knowledge of local language by the authorized representative is considered sufficient.

            4. A person who passes examination under Regulation 9(5) can apply for independent CHA licence when applications are called for, subject to possessing other qualifications.

            5. Persons who were granted CHA licence before the amendment of 1997 prescribing graduation as qualification would continue to qualify for renewal of licence.
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 Multimodal transport operators as CHAs

              Multimodal transport operators (MTOs) are appointed under Multimodal Goods Transportation Act, 1993 by the Ministry of Surface Transport. Their work involves carriage of goods by more than one mode of transport between India and any place abroad. They handle export cargo stuffing and destuffing. This does not automatically confer any right on them to obtain appointment as steamer agents or CHAs unless thy are otherwise qualified for such appointment. Their role is different from that of a CHA or a steamer agent.
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 Temporary licence

              After scrutinizing and accepting the application a temporary licence for a period of one year is granted under Regulation 8 in Form B.

              Before receiving the temporary or regular licence, the applicant has to go through another important step.  He is required to execute a bond and give a surety or bank guarantee in Forms D and E. For major ports , the surety amount is Rs.25000/-  For other ports, it is Rs.10000/- Surety may also be given in the form of National Savings Certificates or postal security. In the last two forms of surety, these should be pledged in the name of the Commissioner. It is important to note that since a regular licence holder is allowed to work in more than one Customs station, separate bond and surety have to be given in respect of each Customs station.
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 Curriculum

              [Regulation 9(3)]

1.       Preparation of various kinds of bill of entry and shipping bill.

2.       arrival entry and clearance of vessels.

3.       Tariff classification and rates of duty.

4.       Determination of value for assessment.

5.       Conversion of currency.

6.       Nature and description of documents to be filed with various kinds of bills of entry and shipping bill.

7.       Procedures for assessment and payment of duty.

8.       Examination of merchandise at the Customs stations.

9.       Provisions of the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act,1958.

10.   Prohibitions on imports and exports.

11.   Bonding procedure and clearance from bond.

12.   Re-importation and conditions for free re-entry.

13.   Drawback.

14.   Offences under the Act.

15.   Provisions of allied Acts including Customs Tariff Act,1975, Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992,Foreign Exchange Regulation Act,1973, Indian Explosives Act,1884, Arms Act,1959, Opium Act, 1878, Drugs and Cosmetics Act,1940, Destructive Insects and Pests Acts, 1914, Dangerous Drugs Act, 1930 insofar as they relate to the clearance of the goods through Customs.

16.   Refund procedures, appeals and revision petitions.

             Although not a part of curriculum, the Commissioner has to satisfy himself that the applicant-candidate has good knowledge of English and local language of Customs station. For a person working exclusively in docks, knowledge of English is not compulsory. But, knowledge of Hindi will be considered as advantageous. [Regulation 9(4)].
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 Examinations

            Regulation 8 itself refers to two opportunities to a temporary licence holder for writing and passing the examinations. A third opportunity may be given by the Commissioner if the temporary licence holder has met with the minimum work criteria (number of package, value, tonnage, Duty amount etc). This extension of time is granted for minimum six months and maximum one year.

             If this extension of time is refused by the Commissioner, a representation can be made to the Chief Commissioner.

The candidate will have three opportunities to pass the examination within two years. One may take examinations as soon as temporary licence is granted. The examination fee is Rs.500/-per appearance.

 There will be two examinations each year. There will be both oral and written examinations. A person who passes written examination but fails in oral examination is treated as failed. But, he need not write examination again.

 The reference to applicant or candidate or temporary licence holder or regular licence holder must be correctly understood. Where the applicant is an individual, it is the same person who holds the temporary licence and also writes the examination. On the other hand, if the applicant is a firm or company, the person who writes the examination is an employee of the firm or company. But the temporary or regular licence may be issued in the name of the firm or company. This position is clear from Regulations 5 and 6.

 Regulation 9(5) allows a CHA to permit one of the employees, or partners or directors to appear in the examination conducted under Regulation 9. This would be in addition to the person already present and who has passed this examination. The person so permitted to appear for examination must be a graduate. But, he need not be a G pass holder or have experience in the capacity of a G pass holder.
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 Regular licence

              An application for regular licence can be made by a person who has passed the examinations. Application for regular licence is made in Form C. Form A and Form C are almost identical except that while the first form is issued under Regulation 5, the latter form is issued under Regulation10. Licence fee is Rs.5000/-. Regular licence is granted in Form D. The applicant for regular licence has to satisfy following conditions:

 A.      The applicant must satisfy the norms regarding quantity or value of cargo cleared form the Custom House. This is
       determined by the Commissioner.

B.      The conduct of the applicant during the period of holding temporary licence must be business like. There should be no delay in clearance of goods or in payment of duty on account of conduct of the applicant. There should be no complaint of misconduct of the applicant. There also should not be any complaint of non-compliance of provision of Regulation 14, which casts some important obligations on the CHAs.

 Disqualifications for regular licence

              Regulation 10(1) specifies that only a person who qualifies in the examination can apply for a regular licence, Nevertheless, sub-regulation (3) provides that the Commissioner may reject the application of a person who fails to qualify in the examination, It further provides that if performance criteria is  not satisfied (regarding quantity and value of clearances or conduct), the application may be rejected. A representation can be made against an order of rejection within 30 days to Chief Commissioner. The Chief Commissioner is also empowered to review the procedure of grant of regular licence within one year.

            Regular licence granted to a person cannot be transferred [Regulation 13].

 Validity of licence

              Under Regualtion12 (1), the validity of licence is for a period of five years.

 Extension of licence

              An applicant seeking revalidation or extension of licence has to apply before the validity expires, to the Commissioner. It will be renewed for a period of five years either from the date of expiration of licence or from the date of last renewal of licence, A CHA seeking renewal has to satisfy the Commissioner that he has conformed to the norms fixed by the Commissioner regarding minimum quantity and value of cargo clearance and that he is not guilty of misconduct or that he has not been the cause of delayed clearance of goods or delayed payment of duty. There should also be no complaint that he has violated the obligations cast on him under Regulation 14 read with Regulation 12.

              The renewal fee payable is Rs.3000/-[Regulation 12(3)]

            A person who has passed examination can act on behalf of another firm or company which is holding a regular licence. But, at any time, he can act for only one such firm or company.

              A CHA who has been granted licence cannot acquire a right to obtain office accommodation in the Custom House [Regulation 24].
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Working in other Customs Stations

              A person holding regular licence can work in all Customs stations as a CHA.  If a place has both sea port and international air port, there is no need to seek the facility of separate licence from each place.  Otherwise, for this purpose a separate application has to be made to the concerned Commissioner of Customs.  The applicant should satisfy the commissioner that he has the financial soundness as prescribed under Regulation 6 [see under "Qualifications of applicant", above].  Such an applicant has to satisfy the Commissioner that he has sufficient clients, that he can provide warehousing and transport facilities.  Separate bond and bank guarantee should be given as in given to his regular Customs station, in Forms D and E.
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 DEPARTMENTAL CLARIFICATION

 Regular licensees working in other Custom Houses

              In terms of the Regulations, a person who is regular licence holder and intends to work in another Custom House will be eligible to obtain a regular licence at any other Customs station from the concerned Commissioner subject to his fulfilling the requirements specified in Regulation10 (2). There is no requirement under this sub-regulation that an employee qualified under Regulation 9 should be available at branch office of the licencee where he intends to obtain regular licence under Regulation 10(2).
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 Suspension or revocation of licence

              A CHA licence may be suspended or revoked within the jurisdiction of Commissioner if there is failure of condition of bond executed by the CHA. Misconduct on the part of CHA or failure to comply with regulations will also result in suspension or revocation of licence. Suspension may be ordered in cases requiring immediate action, pending enquiry. [Regulation 21].

 Procedure for suspension/revocation of licence

             The Commissioner of Customs has to issue a show cause notice to the delinquent CHA and give him forty-five days time to reply to it. The reply has to made to an Deputy/Assistant Commissioner nominated by the Commissioner for this purpose. The reply should state whether a personal hearing is desired.

              The Deputy/Assistant Commissioner has to conduct inquiry into grounds which are not admitted by the CHA in his reply. For this purpose, both oral and documentary evidence may be taken by him. He may question any person for ascertaining the correct position. The CHA can cross-examine the departmental witness. If opportunity of cross-examination is denied, the Deputy/Assistant Commissioner has to record his reasons for doing so. At the end of proceedings, the Deputy/Assistant Commissioner will submit a report to the Commissioner.                                  

            The Commissioner has to serve a copy on the delinquent CHA requiring him to make representation against that report, within atleast 60 days. The Commissioner has to pass an order after considering the report and the representation. 

Appeal against Commissioner’s order

              Regulation 23(8) provides an appellate remedy against the above order to the CEGAT. A     CHA aggrieved by the order of the Commissioner can appeal to the Tribunal. Though the regulations do not so provide, it may be noted that the provisions of Sections 129A to 130 of Customs Act, 1962, would apply to an appeal filed under this sub-regulation.
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 Employment of Persons

              A CHA may employ one or more persons for assisting him in his work as CHA. The appointed person should have atleast passed X standard examination. The appointment of a person has to be approved by the Deputy/Assistant Commissioner designated for this purposes by the Commissioner. The antecedents of the person and his character are considered before granting approval. A new appointee has to pass an examination within six months which is conducted by a committee of Customs officers, for ensuring that the appointee has adequate working knowledge of the provisions of statutes. Upon failure of the candidate, the Deputy/Assistant Commissioner may grant permission for another appearance. Maximum four such permissions can be granted.

            A person who has passed this examination while working under a CHA will not be required to appear for examination when he works for another CHA.

              If a CHA authorizes his employee to sign documents, he must file a letter approving such authorization with the Deputy/Assistant Commissioner. If there is any change in the authorization, it should also be communicated in writing to the Deputy/Assistant Commissioner.

              The CHA will be responsible for the conduct of his employees and acts of omissions and commissions by them.

 Identity cards in Form G

              All employees of CHAs are given identity cards in Form G after passing the examination. Till he passes examination, the identity card will be in Form H. At all times during work at Customs station, the person should carry his identity card and produce it on demand. [Regulation 20].

 Departmental clarification

              Person with experience in Customs Clearance who do not possess minimum qualification of passing 10th standard examination will not be considered for issuing G pass. However, persons who were given such G pass before introduction of minimum educational qualification in 1997 would continue to be eligible for renewal of such pass.           
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Service charges

              Every CHA has to enroll himself as a member of a CHA association registered with the Custom House and recognized by the Commissioner. Regulation 25 confers power on the Commissioner to fix rates which may be charged to the client for services rendered by the CHA. This is done in consultation with a recognized association of CHAs. The CHAs are required to strictly adhere to these rates. 
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Schedule of rates

IMPORT

 

1

Bill of Entry

Rs.50/- per Bill of Entry of one page per set.

Rs.40/- for each subsequent page

2

(a)

Agency charges for all commodities except documents

(a) Rs.8/- per PKg with minimum Rs.250/- per consignment in case of import of dry fruits.

 

(b) 1 to 25% of CIF value depending upon commodity upto first 10 lacs and 0.75% for balance value over Rs.10 lacs subject to a minimum of Rs.750/- per Bill of Entry.

 

(c) Rs.1500/- per container load of 20’ and Rs.2000/- for 40’ container.

(b)

Documents other than books, periodicals and magazines

Rs.400/- to 600/- per Bill of entry depending upon value & size of the consignment.

3

Charges for Customs Examination including Opening and Sealing of packages

Actuals

4

Completion of Octroi formalities at ICD/ CFS or at cargo terminal

Rs.50/- per form.

5

Survey attendance (excluding) actual expenses

Rs.75/- per survey

6

Survey expenses

Actuals

7

Drug Control formalities conveyance to Drug Controller and expenses for making extra trips

Rs.40/- per Bill of Entry

8

Licence release order

Rs.100/- per Release Order

9

Charges for obtaining SLC/NDC and other certificates

Rs.50/- per certificate

10

Bond formalities

Rs.150/-

11

DEEC formalities

Rs.250/- per Bill of Entry

12

Direct delivery of containers at premises of the importer

Rs.400/- per TEU outside

 

EXPORT

1

Shipping Bill

Rs.50/- per Shipping Bill

2

Agency charges

(a) Rs.8/- per Pkg. Except fresh vegetable.

 

(b) Rs.6/- per Pkg. In case of Fresh Ginger and Pan

 

(c) Rs.500/- per wagon for capacity upto 20 M.Ton & beyond that Rs.650 per wagon.

 

(d) Rs.1500/- per container 20’

     Rs.2000/- per container 40’

 

(b) Air freight

Rs.250/- per consignment

3

Bill of lading, stamp & preparation (upto 15 copies)

Rs.35/- per bill of lading

4

Charges for customs examination including opening and sealing of packages

Actuals

5

Completion of formalities of Octroi

Rs.50/- per form

6

Amendment of Shipping Bill

Rs.20/- Customs fee on actual basis

7

Staff overtime for examination/ shipment during second & third shift

Actuals

8

DEEC formalities

Rs.250/- per shipping bill

(i)

Customs Drawback Claims/Insurance Steamer and Airlines Agents/IAAI/ Rly. CWC/Octroi

7.5% of the amount realized per claim

(ii)

Charges for filing of cash claim

Rs.100/- per claim

(a)

For obtaining the duplicate copies of documents

Rs.250/-

  IMPORT AND EXPORT 

            Customs duty redemption fine; penalties, AAI, Railway, CWC charges Sea & Air Freight, overtime, general averages bonding and debonding, expenses for escorting Bond Cargo sundries loading, conveyance and transport charges, fork lift charges, packing and lashing expenses, telephone, telegram, postage and telex charges, Xerox expenses, cost of stamp paper, special adhesive stamps, Bill of lading issuing expenses, GSP fee, Chamber of Commerce Fee, AEPC, Export inspection agency expenses, container rent, container movement expenses, stuffing and destuffing charges, any other charges, payable to steamer detention charges, truck detention charges, all statutory demurrage charges, shipment and delivery expenses, adjudication formalities, amendment expenses, unforeseen expenses, and all reimbursable expenses, etc. 

            The above-said charges will be collected from Importers & Exporters on actual basis. It is further directed that a certificate from a Chartered Accountant certifying that the rates charged by the CHA are strictly in accordance with the rates prescribed should be furnished at the time of renewal/extension/regularization of CHA Licence. 
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Records to be maintained by the CHA

              CHAs have to maintain detailed, itemized and upto date books of accounts. The accounts should reflect all financial transactions entered into as a CHA. A copy of all documents such as shipping bill, bill of entry, transhipment application etc. filed must be maintained by the CHA for atleast five years. These records should be made available for inspection by the officers of the department.
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Duties and Obligations of a CHA

 Clearances only against authorization

              A CHA is required to clear goods for import or export only against specific authorization from the principal and must produce it whenever required by the Deputy/Assistant Commissioner.

 Method of transacting business

              The CHA has to either personally clear the goods or clear it through an employee who is approved by the Deputy/Assistant Commissioner who is designated for this purpose by the Commissioner. All the documents prepared by him should prominently bear the CHAs name at the top of the document. The CHA should not attempt to influence the conduct of Customs officers in matters pending before him or his subordinates. There should be no threats, false accusations or duress against such officers. No promise of advantage or benefit or gift should be made or bestowed on such officers. Duty of CHA should be discharged with utmost speed and avoid delays. He cannot charge for his services in excess of rates approved by the Commissioner.  

 Personal interests of CHA

              If the CHA is a former officer of the department, he cannot represent any matter before a Customs officer, which he had personally considered as such officer. He cannot also use facts which came to his knowledge when he was an officer.

 Duty to tender correct advise

              The CHA is duty-bound to advise the client to comply with the provisions of the Act and the regulations. If there is non-compliance of provisions by any client, he is required to bring it to the knowledge of the Deputy/Assistant Commissioner. This regulation requires the CHAs to act as source of information to the department.

              The CHA has to exercise diligence and ensure that he passes on correct information to the client, ensure that all information relevant for clearance or cargo or baggage is passed on to the client if it is relevant for clearance of cargo or baggage.

 Accounting for money received

              The CHA has a duty to promptly pay to Government all money received from client for payment of duties and taxes. Similarly, any money received by him from the client or from the Government should be promptly and fully accounted to the client.

 Liability as to information

              CHA should not attempt to gather information from Government records if it is not granted by the proper officer. Access to record maintained by him should not be denied, nor removed or concealed when sought by the Commissioner. There is a duty to maintain records and accounts as directed by the Deputy/Assistant Commissioner and produce them before that officer for inspection. All documents have to be prepared strictly in accordance with the rules and orders.

            If the licence granted to a CHA is lost, it should be promptly reported to the Commissioner.

              If there is failure in complying with obligations under Regulation 14, the Commissioner may prohibit a person from acting as a CHA within his jurisdiction.
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 Change in constitution of firms, companies, concerns

              Any change in the partners or directors should be informed to the Commissioner [Regulation 15].

              If there is any change in the constitution of the firm or company, an application for grant of temporary and regular licence should be made within 30 days of such change. If there is nothing adverse against the firm or company, the Commissioner will grant licence of the category held by the firm or company earlier. In the meantime, the concern may be allowed to continue its business as a CHA if an application to that effect is made to the Commissioner.

              If the concern is not a firm or company, in case of any change in the constitution of the concern, permission will be granted to continue the business as CHA by the Commissioner, If the change occurs due to death of person who was licenced to act as a CHA, his legal heir who was assisting him in his work as CHA under Regulation 20 may be granted licence if there is nothing adverse against that person and he also passes the examination.        

            If there is any change of qualified person acting on behalf of the firm or company, such information should be immediately given to the Deputy/Assistant Commissioner.

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