With the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent pandemic, shipping and courier services have become widespread and more essential than ever before.
Using international courier services has always been somewhat inconvenient and includes substantial paperwork. There is no deviation in this when shipping to or from India.
KYC or Know Your Customer is a new requirement that has been introduced with the onset of the global Covid pandemic.
This particular article serves to answer most of the frequently asked questions regarding the introduction of mandatory sender KYC requirements for all shipments to India.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is KYC?
KYC or Know Your Customer is an identity and address proof verification procedure that has been established to prove the legitimacy of the exporter of the shipment. The KYC process is completed with the help of government issued identification documents belonging to the sender of the courier. The customs office at the port of entry will check the KYC proof and accordingly allows entry of goods into the country.
Why is KYC needed from the senders?
KYC documents are needed from the shipment exporters or the courier senders at the time of export in order to comply with the Government of India regulations. The exporter KYC documents have been mandated by the Customs circular number 09/2010 (amended by circular no. 2/2018, circular no. 13/2016, circular no. 07/2015). The courier must be booked by the original exporter/ owner/ Sender of the shipment any only that party ass the owner of the shipment can provide their KYC.
What KYC documents should individuals produce?
KYC proof must consist of government issued documents with both a photo ID and proof of address together. Any of the following documents can be used as KYC:
- Aadhar Card
- Valid Passport
- Self-certified copy of Voter ID with a phone number written on it.
Is PAN Card copy valid as KYC proof?
KYC proof must consist of both photo ID and address proof. In case of a PAN card with no address mentioned, you must submit one of the following documents in addition:
- Bank Account Statement
- Telephone Bill
- Rental Agreement
- LPG Connection Agreement
The address on my ID is different from the Place of Shipping; can I book a shipment. If so, what should I provide as KYC?
If your address proof is different from the place of shipping you must submit KYC according to one of the following cases:
- In case the sender is temporarily residing in a rental in a different place from their different address, the KYC documents are:
- Rental Agreement Copy for a temporary address
- Proof of permanent address i.e. Aadhar/ Passport/ Voter ID
- In case the sender is temporarily residing at a hotel room in a different place from their permanent address, the KYC documents are:
- Hotel Booking Invoice
- Proof of permanent address i.e. Aadhar/ Passport/ Voter ID
- In case the sender is residing within the districts of the same state, the shipper must provide four sets of self-certified copies of their permanent residential address proof i.e. Aadhar/ Passport/ Voter ID.
If you do not have any sort of local address proof you will not be allowed to book a shipment. You need to have an additional local ID or you must send it via a third party.
Are regular customers required to provide their KYC with every shipment?
Yes, all sellers must provide their KYC with each and every shipment irrespective of their shipment history.
I want to book my shipment through a trusted third party. Whose KYC must be produced for shipment approval?
In such cases, both the owner’s and the third party broker’s KYC must be produced for booking the shipment.
What documents must a registered Business/ Trust/ Foundation provide as KYC?
- If your business is registered under GST and you have an IEC (Import Export Code), you must provide a one-time GSTN certificate, IEC, and PAN Card copy. These certificates must be submitted every three months.
- If your business is registered under GST but you do not have an IEC, you must submit your business firm related registration certificates or partnership deed along with a PAN Card copy as a one-time document. These certificates must be submitted every three months.
- If your trust/ foundation is not registered under GST, you can provide your trust/ foundation’s registration certificate along with your IEC and PAN Card copy as a one-time document. These documents must be submitted every three months.
What KYC must a foreign tourist produce in order to send articles of Indian origin to their home country?
In case you are a foreign tourist, you must provide the following KYC documents in order to send Indian articles to your home country:
- Valid Passport/ PIO Card
- Valid Indian Visa
- Rental agreement/ Hotel receipt/ Friend or relative’s photo ID proof in case you are staying at a friend or relative’s house
In case my name is being changed in government records, what must I do to ship my package?
Certified copies of your proof of address documents containing your old name must be provided as KYC. Additionally, you must submit a copy of the affidavit notarized by the state government or gazette/marriage certificate/ name change certificate.
Apart from the KYC documents, what else must I provide to ship my package?
You must provide an official invoice and a signed Letter of Authorization along with all other relevant documents necessary to comply with the origin and destination import/ export regulations and guidelines.
Am I allowed to ask someone else to prepare and sign the invoice for me in case I cannot?
No. An invoice is a legal instrument and in any circumstances, it should not be signed by any other person other than the owner of the shipment.
I do not have the required facilities to generate and print an invoice. What should I do?
In case you do not have the means to prepare a printed invoice, you can sign a hand-written invoice. Then you should issue a Letter of Authorization to a third party through Power of Attorney (POA) who can then generate a printed invoice and sign on your behalf.