Outline of the system
Import licensing (or certification) system is regulated by the External Trade Act. The licensing (certification) system is administered by the Directorate of Foreign Trade in the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Products on the Negative List of Banned Imports. The Negative List of Imports has 11 items only and is subject to review from time to time.
Nature of licensing
If Automatic, administrative purpose
If Non-Automatic, description of the notified Non-Automatic Licensing regime
Products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
Non-automatic import licensing is for the purpose of administering import bans and restrictions maintained pursuant to the statutory instruments in force.
Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
Please see Answers 6.1-6.11
The system applies to products originating from which country?
The certification system applies to goods originating in and coming from all countries
Expected duration of licensing procedure
Is the licensing statutorily required?
The licensing system is operated under the External Trade Act requirements.
Does the legislation leave designation of products to be subject to licensing to administrative discretion?
Authority exists to suspend the system whenever it is determined that such action is appropriate.
Is it possible for the government to abolish the system without legislative approval?
Notice of such action has to be published in the Government Gazette.
Eligibility of applicants
Is there a system of registration of persons or firms permitted to engage in importation?
What persons or firms are eligible to apply for a licence?
All persons, firms and institutions are eligible to apply for licences.
Is there a registration fee?
Is there a published list of authorized importers?
Contact point for information on eligibility
Directorate of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Trade and Industry
Plot No. 6/8 Parliamentary Avenue, P.O. Box 7103, Kampala
Submission of an application
Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application
Ministry of Trade and Industry
What information is required in applications?
A sample application form is available for reference in the Ministry.
What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?
An importer is required to submit the following documents:
-Certificate of Registration or Incorporation of the company/firm;
- A trade licence (wholesale or retail).
Window of submission of an application
How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?
Are there any limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence can be made? If so, explain
Issuing the license
Can a licence be granted immediately on request?
Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence
Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?
Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?
Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?
There are no special conditions attached to the issuance of a licence.
Fees and other administrative charges
Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?
What is the amount of the fee or charge?
There is a licensing fee or administrative charge of U Sh 1,500 per licence (about US$1.25).
Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?
There is no deposit or advance payment requirement associated with the issuance of licences.
Amount or rate?
Is it refundable?
What is the period of retention?
What is the purpose of this requirement?
Refusal of an application
Under what circumstances may an application for a licence be refused other than failure to meet the ordinary criteria?
Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?
The reasons for any refusal are given to the applicant in writing and normally relate to the goods on the Negative List of Banned Imports.
Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?
If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?
Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?
What documents are required upon actual importation?
Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?
There are no other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing requirements prior to importation.
Conditions of licensing
What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?
A licence is valid for six months from the date of issue and is automatically extended for a further six months. Thereafter the validity can be extended as and when the applicant so wishes.
Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?
There is no penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of it.
Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?
Licences are not transferable between importers.
Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?
Foreign exchange is automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported, on payment of local currency equivalent.
Is a licence required as a condition to obtaining foreign exchange?
Is foreign exchange always available to cover licences issued?
What formalities must be fulfilled for obtaining the foreign exchange?
The following questions are only for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports (whether applicable globally or to a limited number of countries or whether established bilaterally or unilaterally)
Where is information on allocation and formalities for licences published? Is the overall amount published? The amount allocated to goods from each country? The maximum amount allocated to each importer? How to request any exceptions or derogations from the licensing requirement?
We do not operate any quota system, but can any time lift the ban on the items in the Negative List once deemed necessary.
Is the size of the quota determined: on yearly, six-monthly or quarterly basis? Are there cases where the size of quota is determined on a yearly basis but licences are issued for imports on a six-monthly or quarterly basis? In the latter case, is it necessary for importers to apply for a fresh licence on a six-monthly or quarterly basis?
There are no quota arrangements in the system.
Are licences allocated for certain goods partly or only to domestic producers of like goods? What steps are taken to ensure that licences allocated are actually used for imports? Are unused allocations added to quotas for a succeeding period? Are names of importers to whom licences have been allocated made known to governments and export promotion bodies of exporting countries upon request? If not, for what reason? (Indicate products to which replies relate)
Licences are issued to importers regardless of whether they are producers of identical products. Once a licence has been issued it can be used for six months for any quantity and from any country.
From the time of announcing the opening of quotas, as indicated in I above, what is the period of time allowed for the submission of applications for licences?
No quota system.
What are the minimum and maximum lengths of time for processing applications?
Applications for licenses (import certificates) are processed within 2-3 hours of a working day.
How much time remains, at a minimum, between the granting of licences and the date of opening of the period of importation?
Import licences (certificates) are granted immediately on filling the simple application forms.
Is consideration of licence applications effected by a single administrative organ? Or must the application be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval? If so, which? Does the importer have to approach more than one administrative organ?
Licence applications are considered by one administrative body (Ministry of Trade and Industry).
If the demand for licences cannot be fully satisfied, on what basis is the allocation to applicants made? First come, first served? Past performance? Is there a maximum amount to be allocated per applicant and if so, on what basis is it determined? What provision is made for new importers? Are applications examined simultaneously or on receipt?
Licences for items not on the Negative List are issued automatically and are not based on past performance.
In the case of bilateral quotas or export restraint arrangements where export permits are issued by exporting countries, are import licences also required? If so, are licences issued automatically?
There are no bilateral quotas or export restraint arrangements. Export permits from exporting countries are not required.
In cases where imports are allocated on the basis of export permits only, how is the importing country informed of the effect given by the exporting countries to the understanding between the two countries?
Are there products for which licences are issued on condition that goods should be exported and not sold in the domestic market?
No licences are issued on condition that goods should be exported and not sold in the domestic market.