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Pilot Implementation of Paperless Processing under SWIFT

Circular No.ES/ 182/ 2017-18                                                            October 16, 2017  

To: Members of the Council

Sub: Pilot Implementation of Paperless Processing under SWIFT

Dear Member,

CBEC has issued Circular No. 40/ 2017- Customs dated 13.10.2017   informing about the implementation of Paperless Processing under SWIFT.


Attention is invited of members of Trade to Board’s Circular No. 10/ 2016 dated 15.03.2016 wherein the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) had stated that it was in process of procuring IT infrastructure to capture digitally signed copies of the supporting trade documents. Under project 'Saksham', CBEC has upgraded its IT infrastructure, which would inter alia be used for introduction of paperless processing under Single Window Interface for Facilitation of Trade (SWIFT).

Now, with an aim to increase the speed to clearance, CBEC has proposed,

  • To introduce a facility to upload digitally signed supporting documents on pilot basis to be shortly launched at Air Cargo Complex, New Delhi, and Chennai Customs House.
  • The pilot project will cover all types of imports under Indian Customs EDI System (ICES).
  • Paperless processing will also reduce physical interface between Customs/regulatory authorities and the trade.
  • Under the pilot project, traders and brokers would be required to submit all trade documents online on ICEGATE after affixing digital signatures.
  • New Delhi, and Chennai Customs House Customs House will issue Public Notices that for a specified appraising group, all supporting documents may be uploaded on ICEGATE for Bills of Entry filed through ICEGATE for that appraising group.
  • The facility to upload supporting documents on ICEGATE would be opened on October 20, 2017. On a voluntary basis, Members of the trade may use this facility to upload the supporting documents concerning Bills of Entry that may be filed on or after October 20, 2017.
  • After 15 days of the launch of the facility, a review will be carried out, and thereafter, it will be introduced as a mandatory requirement.

For this pilot project, members have to follow the given below procedures:

Uploading supporting documents

  • For uploading supporting documents on ICEGATE, the authorized persons must Open ICEGATE URL, Click on Login/Signup button for login into ICEGATE by using his/her access credentials and then Click on e-SANCHIT link provided in left vertical menu to redirect on e-SANCHIT.
  • While preparing a job for submission on ICEGATE in their respective Remote EDI Systems (RES), the authorised persons must ensure that they have uploaded all the necessary supporting documents.
  • A facility has also been provided on ICEGATE to the authorized persons to access and view the documents uploaded by them.
  • In case the authorised person seeks to provide a document after the generation of the Bill of Entry number, he/she may first upload the document on ICEGATE, obtain a unique ID Image Reference number (IRN) for the document and link that document with the corresponding Bill of Entry by submitting an amendment at the Service Centre.
  • This procedure will also apply when the authorised person submits a document in response to a query raised by Customs for a Bill of Entry.

Assessment & Document Verification

  • During assessment, ICES provides for a query to be raised in order to call for additional documents or information.
  • In response to a query, supporting documents can also be uploaded online by following the procedure described in para 4 above.
  • All documents required for the purposes of assessment would be viewed online.
  • In due course, the facility to view supporting documents will also be extended to officers of the Participating Government Agencies (PGAs).
  • Post Clearance Compliance Verification (PCCV) will be carried out online based on the electronic versions of supporting documents instead of hardcopy dockets of the Bills of Entry.

Goods Registration, Examination & Clearance

  • After filing of the Bill of Entry, the authorized person (e.g. importer/Customs Broker) may with his self-assessed copy of the Bill of Entry, approach the designated place for goods registration, document verification and clearance. In case goods are to be examined, the officer examining goods may record the results of inspection/examination online on ICES.
  • Some types of supporting documents are required to be presented in original (as specified in the respective notifications) for verification of seal/signature etc., for defacement and for the debit of quantities/value.
  • Trade should present hardcopy at the time of the registration of goods or at a place specified by the Commissioner of Customs.
  • It may however be noted that all supporting documents shall be uploaded digitally, including those documents that must be presented in hardcopy.
  • For supporting documents, where a debit of quantity/value is required to be made on hardcopy, for every subsequent Bill of Entry filed for import, the latest debit sheet shall be uploaded.
  • The authorized person filing the Bill of Entry should pay attention while linking supporting documents with Bills of Entry and should ensure that the correct unique reference numbers (IRNs) are mentioned in the Bills of Entry.

Manifest Closure

  • With the submission of supporting documents online, the manifest closure department of the Custom House will not receive hardcopies of dockets.
  • Officers shall rely on the electronic records maintained on ICES to carry out activities in relation to manifest closure.

Other features to be pilot-tested

  • The following features will be taken-up for pilot-testing:

(a) Upload of supporting documents for Bills of Entry is filed through the Service Centers.

(b) On a test-basis, handheld devices would be used by Examining Officers and Shed Superintendents to record inspection/ examination reports on the spot.

(c) Presently, electronic copies of Out of Charge orders and assessed copies of Bills of Entry are delivered online to the Custodians and authorised persons. In the course of the pilot, digital signatures will be applied on these messages and not copies of Bills of Entry.

  • The updated Bill of Entry (Electronic Integrated Declaration) Regulation, 2011 Regulations provide for the authorized person to submit digitally signed electronic integrated declarations (Bills of Entry) and supporting documents and dispenses with the need for trade to submit the corresponding hardcopies.
  • The draft Regulations also provide that the authorised person shall retain, for a period of 5 years from the date of acceptance of the Bill of Entry, all supporting documents in original, which were used or relied upon by him in submitting the electronic integrated declaration, and shall produce them before Customs or other Government agencies in connection with any action or proceedings under the Customs Act 1962 or any other law for the time being in force.
  • To facilitate smooth roll out of pilot, members may kindly send their queries/ feedback  by email to and References in hardcopy may be sent to Commissioner (Single Window), HUDCO Vishala Building, B - Wing, Bhikhaji Cama Place, R.K. Puram, New Delhi -110066.

This is for your information.

Thanking You,


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