South Korea Humanitarian Customs Regulations

This document was submitted in response to a questionnaire distributed by Global Hand regarding humanitarian customs information. It provides regulations for importing humanitarian aid into South Korea.

Required Documents

  • bill of lading/airway bill
  • commercial invoice
  • packing list
  • certificate of origin
  • declaration of Price
  • certificate of approval permission(when required by law)
  • application for customs exemption(if applicable), etc. *N.B. The import of humanitarian goods follows the same customs procedures as for all other imported products.

Prohibited Goods

  • All humanitarian goods are permitted entry in the Republic of Korea. However, in accordance with domestic laws, export and import of the following products is prohibited:
  • Items that will either disturb the national order or harm public security or customs
  • goods which will reveal confidential information of the government or which are used for intelligence activities
  • coins, paper currency, bank notes, debentures and /or any other negotiable instruments which are counterfeited, forged or copied
  • goods infringing on trademark right registered, etc.

Tax Exemption

  • Tax exemption is applied to:
  • products that are directly used for charity or humanitarian purposes
  • products that are donated for designated charity or humanitarian facilities and public welfare facilities and
  • products that are donated from international Red Cross, foreign Red Cross and international peace or international goodwill organisations. However, tax exemption is not applied to all non-profit consignees. The non-profit organisations for livelihood protection, disaster relief, and children’’s welfare are tax-exempt. They must be designated as such by the Korean Law and the Minister of Health and Welfare.

PreShipment Application

Korea does not require pre-shipment application for tax exemption.

Monetary Valuation

Monetary valuation is required on an individual item basis. An importer should indicate the CIF amount in US dollars and Korean won.


  • There are no restrictions on new or used products. However, in accordance with domestic laws the following products are subject to proof and confirmation of permit, approval, or fulfillment of other conditions:
  • drugs, grain, feed, waste, environmental protection materials, fishery products, weapons, bird/animal protection and hunting, cultural artifacts, nuclear materials, medicine, herbal medicine, medical equipment, veterinary medicine, plants/seed/lumber/processed lumber, livestock, disease prevention medicine, livestock products, electrical tools, ozone protection products, foreign currency, poisonous substance, manufactured cigarettes, fertilizer, salt, drinking water, household waste treatment equipment, used cars, cosmetics, etc.

Other Info

There are separate trade regulations between North (Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea) and South Korea (Republic of Korea).


Customs Cooperation Division, Republic of Korea Date published: 20/05/2002