Federal Board of Revenue has released the details of duties it has imposed on imported handsets.
For people still confused about how the two things affect them, some important information is being provided here.
What is the registration process?
The registration process is entirely voluntary. When you arrive in the country, you can register your device(s) at the Customs counter at the airport you land at.
You can download and print the declaration form beforehand and hand it to the authorities to save time.
You can also leave the airport and have your mobile device registered at a Custom House near your location within 15 days of arrival.
The Custom House Karachi is located near the KPT Head Office in Kharadar. Custom House Lahore is located near the AG Office in Anarkali; Custom House Islamabad is located near the KRL Hospital in G-9/1; and Custom House Peshawar is located in University Town off GT Road.
Your mobile phone will not be confiscated during the process of registration.
You will be asked to provide a 15 digit IMEI number for your device at Customs and a proof of identity (whichever is applicable). Customs will use that information to register the device’s IMEI against your name.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has shared this video detailing the mobile device registration process for international passengers if you need further help.
How much will the registration cost me?
The first device is duty free!
All persons flying in to Pakistan are allowed to register one handset without having to pay any duty charges.
Furthermore, you do not have to register or pay any duty charges on mobile devices that will be used on a roaming network (i.e., used with a foreign SIM card), or which will be used in Pakistan for less than 30 days.
Lastly, if you are carrying a phone that was used in Pakistan with a local service provider SIM before December 1, you do not need to worry about anything. That device is already registered on the relevant authority’s monitoring system.
In case of extra devices, you will be informed about the taxes applicable on them based on their pre-assessed value. You will be asked to settle those taxes before your device can be registered.
Unfortunately, a comprehensive list or calculator that can help you figure out exactly how much in taxes is applicable on each device is not available, and you will have to rely on the Customs official’s assessment for the total due on each device.
Why is this system in place?
The government is basically attempting to control the influx of smuggled mobile devices through a system called ‘DIRBS’. That’s short for Device Identification Registration & Blocking System.
PTA Director ‘Type Approvals’ Nauman Khalid told us that DIRBS forces anyone who plans to import a mobile device or purchase an imported device within Pakistan to ensure that the device’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is “PTA approved and compliant”.
This basically means that the PTA keeps an eye on all mobile phones brought into the country and makes sure they are taxed properly under the tax regime defined by the government.
Smuggling phones into the country had previously been a big problem and DIRBS has been set up to render smuggled phones useless as communications devices. With a flip of a (virtual) switch, any unregistered device will be unable to register onto a mobile phone network (and therefore make phone calls, send and receive messages, use a mobile data network, etc).