Korea maintains an import declaration system that allows for the immediate release of goods upon acceptance of an import declaration filed without defect. With the exception of high-risk items related to public health and sanitation, national security, and the environment, which often require additional documentation and technical tests, goods imported by companies with no record of trade law violations are released upon the acceptance of the import declaration without customs inspection. The Korean Customs Service’s (KCS) Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system for paperless import clearance allows importers to make an import declaration by computer without visiting the customs house.
Import declarations may be filed at the Customs House before a vessel enters a port or before the goods are unloaded into bonded areas. In both cases, goods are released directly from the port without being stored in a bonded area if the import declaration is accepted.
Exporters can file an export notice to Korean Customs by computer based shipping documents at the time of export clearance. All commodities can be freely exported unless they are included on the negative list.
With rare exceptions, Korean Customs allows free customs entry of goods brought into Korea that are hand-carried by foreign businesspersons (such as laptop personal computers) for use during their stay in Korea. In such cases, Korean Customs makes a note on the traveler’s passport and then requires the traveler to take the item(s) out of Korea when departing.