A Definitive Guide on Bill of Entry: Types, Process to File & More

BOE (Bill of Entry) plays an integral role in the international trade industry. The customs services are not only the responsibility of the exporters but also the importers. BOE is a legal document that serves the latter in getting customs clearance for their goods. Every trader and professional who is somehow associated with the import/export business knows how crucial it is to get the Bill of Entry stamped and checked by the customs clearance department. It is a time-taking procedure that requires accurate documentation and information. Therefore, a trader must know everything about the Bill of Entry to run his business successfully.

What is a Bill of Entry?

BOE is a legal declaration made by an importer or his CHA (Customs House Agent) under the prescribed Bill of Entry Regulations, 1971. It is the prime document needed for initiating the import customs clearance process. The importer has to specify all the details in the Bill of Entry related to the type, quantity, and quality of goods that he has imported.

Importance and Types of Bill of Entry

The importance of the Bill of Entry is beyond the personal gains of a trader and reputation of the customs duty department. The trade industry does not only benefit the individual businessmen who perform the activities but also the economic welfare of the country. Therefore, every document has a legal significance in the process, let alone the BOE. It ensures transparency between private trade companies and the government.

Considering the nature and purpose of imported goods, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs classifies the Bill of Entry into three categories. There are three forms; Form I, Form II and Form III, each dedicated to the three types of bills respectively.


Sl. No. Type of Bill of Entry Colour Customs Section
1. BOE for House Consumption White Section 46 of the Customs Act, 1962
2. BOE for Warehousing Buff Section 46 and 60 of the Customs Act, 1962
3. BOE for Ex-Bond Goods Green Section 68 of the Customs Act, 1962


BOE for House Consumption – The goods that importer imports for self-consumption or business purpose.

BOE for Warehousing – Also known as Bond Bill of Entry, one must file this document in the case where he does not want to pay the import duty right away at the time of import. So, the importer can store his goods in the warehouse until he clears the dues to the customs department.

BOE for Ex-Bond Goods – When the importer must release his goods from the warehouse and overrule the BOE for warehousing, this document comes into action.

What are the Components of a Bill of Entry?

The Bill of Entry is much simpler in form than the shipping bill with a limited number of components. The customs department and the government of India keep making regular amendments to the BOE given the international trade industry keeps evaluating with time. Recently, the government framed certain norms to enforce the “rules of origin” for the import of goods in India. All the new rules under this regulation came into effect from 21st September 2020. The major components of the BOE form are:

  • Name and business address of the importer.
  • Name, country and business address of the exporter.
  • Name of the destination port (where goods will arrive).
  • Description and monetary value of the goods.
  • The license number of the importer.
  • Value of import duty and the rate payable.
  • IEC (Import Export Code), CHA code and Port code are also mentionable.

How to file a Bill of Entry?

Gone are the days when the importers had to run after customs agents to get their documents filed and cleared from the customs clearance department. There is neither the need for standing in queues to file the documents manually nor the chances for delayed submission. With the online portal of the customs houses and convenient gateways of the shipping service providers, the task has become a cakewalk.

EDI Portal – EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) is the online portal that both the importers as well as the customs house agents can access from filing the Bill of Entry. This portal is an easy gateway for the importers who yet to establish an association with a reliable logistics service provider. All one has to do is visit the EDI website through their browser, register himself as a certified importer and submit the electronic format of the BOE and other documents.

Customs House Agent’s Server – In India, there is an online software named ICE GATE (Indian Customs Electronic Gateway). This software is for the CHA to perform their duties through the online medium. Every CHA can get registered access to this software by entering his license number and other necessary details. The CHA’s are well-trained in filing these documents and bills on the online platforms which is why experienced importers too, need their help and assistance for completing the process without any glitches and hurdles.

The manual process is becoming insignificant day-by-day with the rise and advancement of modern technology. The importers who are not gadget-friendly should take help of a reliable service partner who looks after every step of the shipping process from start to end.

Documents Required for Filing a BOE

The importers must submit duplicate copies and photocopies of their required documents along with the Bill of Entry to the Customs Department. Most importantly, the GSTIN (Goods and Services Tax Identification Number) must be mentioned on the bill for making it eligible for further proceedings. Apart from that, the customs department may ask for the following documents depending upon the nature and type of import.

The common ones include a signed copy of the shipping invoice, Packing List, Bill of Lading, letter of credit/bank draft, insurance documents, industrial license, importer’s or his CHA’s declaration, etc. It is the sole responsibility of the importer and his CHA to ensure the accuracy and originality of every document that he submits to the customs department.

The Bill of Entry is not a regular document as it directly impacts the customs clearance process of a freight shipment. An importer, therefore, is always recommended to take help and guidance of a reliable service provider. Also, every trader needs to know everything related to trade business to grow eventually in the international market.

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