In order to avoid potential problems in the clearance of your merchandise, Division of Customs Service recommends that you familiarize yourself with the CNMI regulation, policies and procedures prior to actually importing/exporting your goods. You should also be aware of any entry requirements specific to the particular commodity you are importing/exporting, including those of other state government agencies.
Prohibited and Restricted Imports
It is unlawful for any person to knowingly enter the Commonwealth with the intent to import, or attempt to cause another to bring or import any of the following items:
- Controlled substances (drug, substance, or immediate precursor of opiates, barbiturates, etc.)
- Currency, coin, travelers’ checks, money orders, and/or negotiable instruments of a total of more than $10,000 unless the same is reported to the Division of Customs in a signed customs declaration form prior to entry into the Commonwealth.
- Firearms and ammunition. For a detailed list of exemptions, click here.
- Goods, merchandise or commodities that violate international or U.S. copyright or patent laws.
- Undeclared goods, merchandise, or commodities subject to excise tax.
- Cigarettes, the package of which fails to bear any warning label as required by United States federal law. (i) Exemption for Personal Consumption. An exemption from this subsection shall apply to allow each person entering the Commonwealth to import, for personal use and consumption, into the Commonwealth, up to 10 packs of tobacco cigarettes that do not contain the federal warning required by this subsection.
- Motor vehicles (which are not covered by a certification issued under 49 U.S.C. § 30115, as amended, and regulations promulgated thereunder)
- Used Tires
- Banned Pesticides
There are items that are allowed for import into the Commonwealth, however, are required a permit from other state government agencies. They are:
- Animals - Dept of Lands & Natural Resources – Animal Health & Industry, 670-234-6169
- Plants - Dept of Lands & Natural Resources – Animal Health & Industry, 670-256-3319
- Pesticides - Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality 670-664-8500
- Firearms and ammunition
Commercial Ships and Cruise Liners
Twenty-four (24) hours prior to the arrival of a vessel, the owner, agent or master must submit a “Notice of Arrival.” Immediately, upon arrival, the following additional documents are required: General Declaration, Passenger Manifest, Cargo Manifest, Transit cargo manifest, Bill of Ladings, Last Port Clearance (Original), Crew Manifest & Declaration list, Crew Personal Effect list, Ship Store List and CNMI Division of Customs Service Form 1350
Excise Tax Rates
There is an excise tax on the sale, use, lease or rental of goods, commodities, resources, or merchandise in the Commonwealth. These are the following tax rates:
|Agricultural Commodities||1% ad valorem|
|Aviation Fuel||3% ad valorem|
|Beer and Malt Beverage||$ 0.02 per fluid ounce or fractional equivalent|
|Boats and Yachts in Excess of $500,000.00||5.75% ad valorem|
|Cigarettes||$ 3.75 per 20 cigarettes or fractional equivalent|
|Construction Material, Equipment and Machinery||3% ad valorem|
|Cosmetic||17.25% ad valorem|
|Distilled Alcoholic Beverages||$ 0.18 per fluid ounce or fractional equivalent|
|Foodstuff||1% ad valorem|
|Goods Derived Locally||1% ad valorem|
|Hygiene and Toiletries||1% ad valorem|
|Jewelry||5.75% ad valorem|
|Leather Goods||5.75% ad valorem|
|Liquid Fuel||$ 0.15 per gallon|
|Passenger Vehicle Not Exceeding $30,000 per Unit||5% ad valorem|
|Passenger Vehicle Exceeding $30,000 per Unit||5.75% ad valorem|
|Perfumery||23% ad valorem|
|Precious Metals, Precious or Semi-Precious Stones||5.75% ad valorem|
|Prescription Drugs or Medicines||1% ad valorem|
|Soft Drinks||$ 0.005 per fluid ounce or fractional equivalent|
|Tobacco/Tobacco Substitute||60% ad valorem|
|Wine and Sake||$ 0.05 per fluid ounce or fractional equivalent|
|All Others (not otherwise provided by law)||5% ad valorem|
Environmental Beautification Tax
In addition to the excise tax imposed on the importation of goods, there is an additional rate of 0.42 percent ad valorem assessed on all consumer goods. (NMIAC §4-1401(f)). Exemptions to this rule may be found in 4 CMC 1402(c)(2) - (4) and 4 CMC 1402(d).
New & Returning Residents
Personal vehicle(s), personal household goods, and other items imported into the CNMI is allowable for the purpose of establishing a household. The new or returning resident must import or arrangement shipment of personal vehicle(s) or personal household goods or other items within six (6) months of first establishing a household in the Commonwealth. A returning resident is one who resided outside of the CNMI for a minimum of one year.
Churches & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations
Items brought into the Commonwealth by churches for the purpose of carrying on the religions functions of the function shall be exempted from paying excise tax. Applicable items may include sacramental wine for use in religious rites, chalice, habits, cassocks, vestments, and other items.
Items brought into the Commonwealth by an organization granted tax exempt status by the CNMI Division of Revenue and Taxation, which are to be used to further the organizations tax exempt purpose shall be exempted from paying excise tax.
Import payments and refunds
All taxes, fees and charges are due and must be paid in cash, or by US postal money order, or check drawn at a bank in the Commonwealth, or a bank in any of the states in the United States of America. Payments shall be made within thirty (30) calendar days after entry.
Consignees that do not make payments within thirty (30) calendar, shall be denied clearance and release on future import of goods, commodities or merchandise.
Payment of taxes and fees can be performed at the Seaport location.
The Official Website of the CNMI Department of Finance