Published by Kemilembe Barongo

Any party who wishes to act as a clearing agent for Importers and any person who wishes to operate any of the following businesses, Customs Bonded Warehouses, Manufacture Under Bond facilities, Transporters of Goods under Customs Control, Inland Container Depots and Container Freight Stations must obtain a customs agent licenses from the Tanzania Revenue Authority. 

Clearing and Forwarding Agents (CFAs) are persons licenses by the Commissioner for Customs & Excise Department to carry on the duty of processing documents and clearing goods from customs control on behalf of the importers

Interested parties are normally invited to submit their applications to the Commissioner for Customs and Excise provided they meet the General Conditions as well as Specific Conditions for the license category.


To make an application specifically for licenses as clearing and forwarding agents, the following information and procedure is relevant. 


The applicant will have to appoint two competent persons to attend an interview at TRA (Tax Revenue Authority). Competent persons referred to in this context are two competent permanent technical staff who will transact company business and represent the company in the interview. To attend the interview the applicant should have an introduction letter, in duplicate, containing e-mail and telephone contact of the applicants.


The permanent technical staff should make sure they meet the following conditions: 

a. The technical staff should be either a director or a permanent staff of the company

b. The technical staff should ensure that they Possess the East African Customs Clearing and Freight Forwarding Practicing Certificate

c. The staff should also ensure that she/he has never been a director of a company whose Customs agency license has been revoked



The applicant should fill in the customs prescribed form (Form C.20) and the form must be accompanied with the following attachments:

1) Proof of payment of the application fee which is – US $ 50.

2) A Certificate of registration with SUMATRA.

3) Proof of affiliation or membership to a recognized clearing and forwarding association

4) A letter from the Business Registration and Licensing Agency (BRELA) stating the status of the company’s Directors and Shareholders.

5) Proof of membership to a public social security fund for each employee of the company.

6) A bank guarantee, drawn in favor of Commissioner for Customs and Excise, of at least shillings 100,000,000 and which shall remain valid for the whole duration of the license i.e., 1stJanuary – 31stDecember (new applicants to submit this after passing the examination).

7) A signed declaration that none of the directors of the company has previously been a director of any licensed company whose license has been revoked in the last five years.

8)   A signed declaration that none of the directors of the company is a director of an existing licensed company.

9) A signed declaration that none of the directors or shareholders of the company is an employee of TRA.

10)   Declaration undertaking to provide basic Customs services on a 24/7 work arrangement.

Once the client fulfills all conditions, the Customs Department will go through the application and decide whether to grant the license or not. 

The customs industry is one of the fastest rising, commercially lucrative industries due to the growth of international trade, advancement of technology, and facilitation of cross-border commerce. Its growth is an attractive feature for businessmen, stakeholders, and investors alike taking note of Tanzania’s development plans. However, the sector is also a highly regulated field due to the sensitivity of trade affairs and the risk of promoting corruption and other illegalities. Registration of licensees is done through much scrutiny and only once prospective licensees comply with the law and all legal requirements. It is thus advisable to ensure that all interested parties in this field use all endeavors to ensure that they comply with the laws and maintain their licenses.