Import clearance processes resemble the conquest of a bureaucratic maze—one filled with too many checkpoints, paperwork piles, and vigilant authorities ensuring compliance integrity at every step.
And amid this documentation juggernaut comes the latest entrant—the e-way bill. Yet another compliance-warranting generation before your precious import consignment rolls out of customs gates.
So how exactly do enterprises issue these documents? What format should they capture trade information in? What validity and duration can be expected? Let’s get equipped with a comprehensive lowdown on end-to-end procedures concerning e-way bill creation for imports, right from regulatory backgrounds to portal navigation nuances.
Import E-waybill Generation Process
First, why is generation warranted in the first place? Basically, the interstate nature of imports, coupled with the need for revenue visibility, makes e-way bills imperative.
Now, responsibility can vary based on trade terms. For example:
- Importer Role: CFR/CIF Contract imports mean importers handle customs clearances at the gateway port. Here, they would generate the e-way bill when goods move inland to their premises.
- Customs Broker Role: Importers can authorize customs brokers to create e-way bills on their behalf by providing necessary trade and transport details and undertaking documentation responsibilities.
- Transporter Role: Where goods get transported from ICD to premises using multiple carriers, individual transporters can generate separate e-way bills for shipment segments handled by them via onward transfers.
Now that we understand probable stakeholders, let’s walk through the generation steps:
Log into the Portal
Using credentials, authorized signatory accesses the e-way bill portal: https://www.ewaybillgst.gov.in.
Choose self if you are an existing registered taxpayer. For the broker-assisted process, select the taxpayer service provider option.
Enter business details
Details like trade name, GSTIN, scheme, email, etc. need to be captured here, along with the place of business.
Specify the supply type
It has to be clearly indicated as ‘Import’ supply for inbound consignments.
Input Document and Item Details
Like BOE specifications, HSN codes item-wise; values and tax rates need capture.
Include transporter particulars
Transport mode, vehicle number, and transporter ID-based goods movement by road, rail, air, or ship need furnishing.
Generate an E-way Bill
On submitting information, the portal returns a verification message with a unique 12-digit reference number acknowledging successful documentation.
Hence, we see that by directly accessing the portal or seeking consultancy aid, e-way bill creation for imports seems fairly straightforward for compliant businesses meeting the stipulated guidelines.
Steps for Creating an E-Waybill in Imports
E-way bill creation does not happen in isolation but requires sync with other documentation processes like item procurement, customs clearances, invoice generation, etc.
Let’s see the end-to-end sequence:
The e-way bill generation applicability warrants clarity right from the purchase initiation stage itself when importing goods. Based on supplier contract terms, importers need to accordingly issue purchase orders, factoring in aspects like:
- realistic shipment schedules allowing suitable transit time
- Appropriate classification of goods based on HS codes and item types
- Agreeing to compliant trade terms and ensuring documentation support like invoices
Such diligence ensures importers receive the necessary timebound particulars, lessening the probability of delays warranting extensions subsequently.
Shipment Handling Stage
With procurement foundations set right, ensuring due diligence continues during shipment handling remains vital. When working amid tight delivery timelines, aspects like:
- Timely receipt of shipping invoices providing item-level value and quantity breakups
- Assessment of applicable import duties based on the HS code classifications declared
- Proactively tackling anomalies and minimizing iterations
assume paramount importance to enable prompt generation of papers like bills of entry, common portal registrations, etc., supporting future e-way bill creation devoid of disputes.
Customs Clearance Stage
By now, the importer would be equipped with commercial paperwork like invoices, packing lists, etc., providing item-level value and particulars. The next crucial step is appropriately executing the bill of entry submission, which encompasses:
- Careful self-assessment of applicable import taxes (Basic, IGST, etc.)
- Making differential duty payments as may be warranted post-examination
- Securing the necessary clearance documentation and NOC
This further aids timely e-way bill generation as the majority of particulars remain common, such as the BOE number, assessable value, item-level details, IGST paid, etc.
E-way Bill Generation Stage
Equipped with necessary customs, commercial, and cargo references post-clearance, the importer now accesses the portal to furnish details like:
- Trade particulars encompassing business details, IEC-GSTIN mapped
- BOE specifications: number, date, unique entry reference
- Transporter details: vehicle contracted, GSTIN, etc.
On submitting information, the system validates and generates the crucial 12-digit number acknowledging the compliant receipt of documentation for the goods rollout.
Finally, as containers queue up at port gates with goods stuffed and ready for inland transit, printer stations spring into action, issuing copies of issued e-way bills. Transporters collect and carefully stash them for verification by authorities warranting to validate goods movement legitimacy during transit.
Thus, from purchase to port clearances until city border roll-outs, ensuring diligent documentation at every milestone remains vital for importers targeting seamless compliance.
Thus, we see that e-way bill creation aligns with the overall import management process, right from purchase initiation until goods roll out locally post-customs green signal.
E-Waybill Generation Guide for Imports
For those unfamiliar with trade compliances, portal displays often seem perplexing, with lots of filters, columns, and drop-downs flashing without conveying what goes where! So let’s get oriented step-by-step:
Link GST and EWB login
You need to link the IEC-GSTIN combination on the e-way bill login so the system captures the entity mapping history.
Verify profile information
Cross-check the business name, registered premises location, etc. before submitting any details, ensuring their correctness.
Review package options
Before data input, choose an applicable package like regular, over-dimensional cargo, etc. based on the goods dimensions.
Analyze reference mappings
Observe templates and understand which document numbers populate under references like customs authorities, etc.
Therefore, spending efforts upfront on understanding portal behavior and field orientations eases change management while gearing up for updated compliances.
Import Documentation: E-Waybill Procedures
It is not enough to warrant compliance but its interlinkage, enabling a cross-referenced governance framework, becomes paramount from a monitoring perspective.
In the case of imports, technically, the e-way bill integration happens with documentation like:
|E-Way Bill Relevance
|Bill of Entry
|Core details like the BOE number, trade particulars, and IGST paid were captured.
|Bill of Lading
|Transporter name and vehicle details reconciled
|Item details, quantity, rate, and value are cross-verified.
|The E-way validates the coverage status for cargo.
Thus, revenue authorities rely on instruments like e-way bills to ensure synchronization with documents already submitted to other agencies. Hence, a key import is compliance, interlinking multiple stakeholders.
Now that we note relevance across trade paperwork, let’s examine key laws driving this generation mandate.
Creating an e-waybill for import compliance
Any compliance process’s survivability depends directly on the regulated perceiving value from adherence perspectives rather than trivial policing.
For e-way bills too, a series of discussions happened on goods categories warranting relaxed provisions like medical equipment or diplomatic cargo before firming up applicability clauses and exemptions.
Key extracts include:
E-Way Bill Relevance
Section 68 of the CGST Act of 2017 allows provisions enabling seamless goods movement monitoring across state borders through digitized documentation protocols like e-way bills aimed at improving transparency.
Section 20 stipulates that necessary payment evidence has to be furnished to substantiate applicable IGST depositions for imports enabling ITC eligibility. Thus, import e-way bills support compliance.
Rule 138(14) allows reasonable exemptions, like excluding transit cargo from Nepal and Bhutan from the e-way bill generation ambit. Otherwise, inter-state imports would necessitate them.
Thus, for usual goods of a commercial nature, compliance requirements continue to exist unless specific exceptions are defined under the law.
Import Transactions: E-Waybill Generation Steps
Trade diversities mean not all import dealings warrant a common-play generation blueprint. We need to customize the nature of transactions.
Let’s assess key cargo types and aligned execution protocols for issuing complaint import e-way bills:
Personal Carriage Imports
In today’s connected trade world, it is common for enterprise leadership or prospering entrepreneurs to take overseas business trips, merging global aspirations with some leisurely experiences. And what better than combining work with some unique retail therapy?
So that exotic Swiss watch or avantgarde music system you hauled back, leveraging permissible allowance quotas, makes for some rich travel memoirs. But given that such goods meant for self-consumption enter tax-exempt categories, generating any e-way bills to lug them home seems pointless, doesn’t it?
Well, you are absolutely right! For such personal carriage imports by directors, employees, etc. not having a commercial resale nature, there are compliance exemptions without necessitating additional documentation.
Diplomatic cargo consignments
Trade principles set high standards around ensuring speedy clearances, exemptions, and seamless movement when it comes to diplomatic cargo consisting of goods meant for consulate offices or embassy administration purposes.
And continuing with such exceptional provisions, the e-way bill documentation or generation mandate also gets blanket waived for shipment consignments covered under diplomatic clearance protocols.
Here the onus lies with assessing customs authorities to rely on verification of necessary accreditation documents that validate the declarative and preferential eligibility criteria warranted for special category clearances under the Foreign Privilege Rules, which allow duty exemptions.
Special Condition Goods
Trade laws acknowledge that when it comes to various exceptional goods having lifesaving implications for society, like vaccines, specific medical equipment, etc., it may be fair to temporarily relax a few usual procedural guidelines that otherwise warrant substantial compliance rigor so as not to impede welfare availability aspects.
And pursuant to exemption provisions like Notification No. 36/2017-Central Tax dated September 29, 2017, reasonable relaxations apply for special goods categories like:
- Exempting upfront e-way bill generation for COVID vaccines and medicines with allowed reconciliation timelines post-shipment
- Exempt generation for certain imported life-saving drug shipments
- Multi-month consolidated invoices are allowed temporarily during the pandemic.
wherever procedural complexity had the potential to hinder timely public availability despite its clear emergency utilization nature.
SEZ Procurement Orders
The e-waybill provisions primarily remain guided by the inter-state supply nature, attracting IGST levies and associated monitoring requirements to check clandestine local diversions, etc.
In the case of SEZ operations, from a customs standpoint and a taxation lens, the ability lies in tracking goods based on established inspection mechanisms upon final DTA exits, although intermediate procurement receipts meant for deemed export-oriented manufacturing enjoy relaxations as far as documentation goes.
Hence, for SEZ entities, once annual turnover thresholds breach minimum prescribed limits, e-way bill applicability majorly rides on finished goods exit transportation to local DTA locations, essentially warranting inter-state supply documentation compliance.
Thus, based on the commercial, personal, or preferential nature of import transactions, suitable mechanisms exist aligned with legal provisions.
In summary, we noted that for usual import dealings, integrating e-way bill compliance is vital for ethical businesses to avert disputes. With increasing digitization measures enhancing information availability coupled with outsourcing assistance, ensuring diligent documentation is becoming increasingly feasible.
Hence, rather than resenting another procedural layer, imbibing discipline around e-way bill creation paves the path for sustainable trade growth in the global arena pragmatically.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can customs penalize importers abroad if an Indian trade partner does not generate an e-way bill?
Customs obligations for e-way bill generation arise based on supply chain terms and conditions agreed in import contracts. However, foreign importers do not directly come under the scanner for local non-compliance, except to the extent stipulated under agreements in cases of disputes.
Who provides transport documents if imported goods shipped in containers move Lorry-Rail-Lorry to the factory?
For such multi-modal transports, carrier documentation like a truck receipt, railway receipt, etc. has to be accordingly captured by successive transporters in Part B of the e-way bill for the shipment leg handled by them along with vehicle details.
How will customs officials handle imports without duty for rupee trade if the assessable value is Rs. 60 lakhs, although the applicable GST e-waybill threshold still mandates compliance?
In such special cases where the consignment value falls under the Rs. 50,000 customs threshold but is above Rs. 50,000 as per state GST laws, the applicable e-waybill provision shall apply, mandating documentation compliance. Customs will rely on the state GST verification report to allow clearance on merit.