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Measures Taken by the Chilean National Customs Service Regarding COVID-19 

by Matías Vergara, Francisco León and Tamara Feliú

Published: March, 2020

Submission: March, 2020


Considering the Covid-19 pandemic and Chile's declaration of a State of Catastrophe, the National Customs Service ("Servicio Nacional de Aduanas," SNA) has issued certain regulation to facilitate electronic foreign and domestic trade operations and to protect the health of people involved in its operations.

Regulations currently in force and effect:

A. Circular Letter No. 67 from February 11, 2020: instructs the Customs Offices as an exceptional measure to refrain, following a case-by-case assessment, from carrying out sanctioning procedures for import and export regulatory breaches caused by Covid-19;

B. Exempt Resolution No. 1179 dated March 18, 2020: adopts thirteen measures that came into force on March 20, 2020 and will remain in force until a well-founded resolution by the National Director terminates them ( https: //www.aduana .cl / foreign-trade-facilitation-measures-are-established-for / customs / 2020-03-19 / 140021.html ):

  1. (i) Authorization, upon request of the customs agent, of physical inspections of the goods (capacity) without the presence of customs agents;

  2. (ii) Authorization for the notification of responses to requests from customs agents to be made through the e-mails registered before the SNA;

  3. (iii) Authorization for Bill of Lading (B / L) exchanges and its corrections to be sent electronically to customs agents by the issuer. These scanned documents must be signed or stamped by the personnel of the customs agent duly authorized before the SNA. The latter, subject to the condition that within 30 calendar days from receipt of these documents, the dispatcher collects the original B / Ls and attaches them to the respective folder;

  4. (iv) Authorization to grant dispatch powers of attorney (“PoA”) to the respective customs agent by e-mail, individualizing the dispatches and the PoA and its content. The principal / representative shall ratify this PoA pursuant to any of the means under Article 197 of the Customs Act (ie special PoA granted by public deed or other means authorized by the National Director of SNA; or endorsement of B / L, consignment notes, air waybills or other document that takes their place), within 15 days since this Exempt Resolution No. 1179 losses its effectiveness;

  5. (v) Authorization for remote work of customs agents and their assistants, and being understood that such places constitute their offices of habitual performance;

  6. (vi) Extension of the validity of customs cards that expire during the validity of this resolution, until September 30th, 2020;

  7. (vii) Authorization for customs agents to receive by e-mail from consignors, consignees and other participants in the logistics chain, the basic documentation required to prepare and submit customs declarations. The latter, notwithstanding that within 30 calendar days after Exempt Res. 1179 losses its effectiveness, the dispatchers must collect the original documents;

  8. (viii) Authorization for the Request for Amendment of Customs Document ("SMDA") and all supporting documentation to be submitted electronically. The response of approval or rejection shall be informed by e-mail to the sender. This authorization does not apply to the refund of duties regulated in paragraph a) of numeral 2.1.4 of Chapter IV of the Payments Manual (ie Refunds with Reasoning of the General Comptroller of the Republic);

  9. (ix) Authorization for the withdrawal of goods from customs warehouses by customs agencies other than those responsible for clearance, to take place through a simple PoA issued by the agent responsible for clearance to the one who will make the withdrawal. The principal must previously authorize or ratify this operation;

  10. (x) Authorization to send the documents of the Legalization of Export Declarations by the customs agent by e-mail;

  11. (xi) Authorization to send the documents of the effective arrival of the ship-manifest by e-mail to the box designated by each Customs Office;

  12. (xii) Authorization for the documents regarding the application for issuance of a passenger (ie document issued by the SNA authorizing the owner of a vehicle who is a resident of the Regions of Arica and Parinacota, Tarapacá, Aysén and Magallanes, and the Province of Palena, Region of Los Lagos), to take his / her vehicle out to the rest of the country for up to 90 calendar days, to be sent to the SNA by e-mail ( https://www.aduana.cl/aduana -extends-validity-of-interns / customs / 2020-03-24 / 155723.html ); and

  13. (xiii) Suspension of the deadlines of passengers, of admission destinations and of temporary exit of cars and aircraft, which may expire during the validity of the Exempt Res. No. 1179, until the latter losses it effectiveness.

Additionally, the SNA instructs the Regional Directorates and Customs Administrations to grant assistance to their users and to coordinate with foreign trade operators processing customs procedures electronically.

C. Exempt Resolution No. 2262 dated March 20, 2020: establishes a temporary proceeding for the import of goods whose FOB value exceeds USD 3,000, through International Express or Express Delivery Companies (EEER);

D. Circular Letter No. 120 dated March 26, 2020: clarifies Exempt Res. No. 1179 to specify that e-mails registered with the SNA must be used to make corrections and / or exchange B / L (indicated in letter B. ( iii) above), and keep emails stamped and / or signed in the respective folders;

E. Exempt Resolution No. 1313 dated March 26, 2020: establishes a simplified procedure to import critical goods by any means of transportation and shipping company. The determination of which goods correspond to critical goods is determined by the Chilean health authority ( https://www.aduana.cl/simplificar-tramites-de-importacion-de-insumos-criticos-para-controlar/aduana/2020-03 -26 / 130457.html )

A reference list of these critical goods can be found here ; and

F. Circular Letter No. 121 dated March 26, 2020: repeats and clarifies certain instructions on the processing of certificates of origin to request tariff preferences currently in force and effect ().


II. Import of goods

To date, there is no formal resolution issued by the SNA restricting the import of goods into Chile. However, considering the regulations and / or measures adopted by the Chilean health authority, the SNA may issue particular import regulations related to Covid-19.


III. Practical matters

The SNA adopted the use of facemasks in the port and air systems. Additionally, controls on truckers / transporters entering into Chile after the border closure on March 18, 2020 intensified, as well as to the cordons sanitaire that have been set up in the country.

On the other hand, Exempt Resolution No. 487 dated January 31, 2020 regulates the submission and conservation of dispatch folders by customs agents; consignors and consignees with a license to clear, and cabotage and export agents, through electronic means. This resolution will enter in force and effect on March 31, 2020.


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