Date: 05/12/2022

Government of India, Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
(Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs)
Improvements in SWIFT: Integration of ICEGATE with AQCS-ICS (Animal Quarantine and Certification Services-Import Clearance System) effective 01.12.2022
Circular No. 24/2022-Customs
Kind reference is invited to Board’s Circulars 09/2015-Cus dated 31.03.2015, 03/2016-Cus dated 03.02.2016 and 10/2016-Cus dated 15.03.2016, regarding the Indian Customs’ Single Window. In brief, vide the above referred Circulars -
(a) six Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) were brought on board the Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT). This platform enabled importers to lodge their clearance documents online through ICEGATE at a single point, facilitated risk- based inspection and an Online NOC from the PGAs could be obtained, without the trader having to approach these agencies.
(b) these agencies were Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Plant Quarantine (PQ), Animal Quarantine and Certification Services (AQCS), Central Drugs Standards Control Organization (CDSCO), Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), and a lab module for the Textile Committee (TC) to provide its NOC for live consignments.
2. Under SWIFT, the FSSAI and PQ are connected through online message exchange with their own systems, while the remaining four PGAs use ICES for providing online NoC. Further, vide Circular No. 01/2017-Cus dated 04.01.2017, the facility for automatic routing of Bills of Entry (BOEs) of WCCB for NoC in exports in SWIFT was introduced.
3. Further, the facility of eSANCHIT, was enabled for the importers/exporters to upload all Licenses, Permits, Controls and Orders (LPCOs) issued by the PGAs and other documents on ICEGATE, via Circular no. 40/2017-Cus dated 13.10.2017 and extended to exports across the country, vide Circular No 43/2018-Cus dated 08.11.2018. The facility of eSANCHIT was leveraged for uploading of authorisations and LPCOs issued by PGAs in PDF format, thus dispensing with the requirement of importers and exporters to separately upload these documents, in phases vide Circular nos. 44/2018-Cus dated 13.11.2018, 13/2019-Cus dated 03.06.2019, 19/2019-Cus dated 16.07.2019, 03/2020-Cus dated 15.01.2020, 11/2020-cus dated 10.02.2020 and 24/2020-Cus dated 14.05.2020.
4. To enhance transparency and better informed compliance, the Compliance Information Portal ( was launched on 04.08.2021 on a single platform to provide all necessary information related to Customs laws, procedures along with applicable duties and taxes on each Customs Tariff Item, as also the information about necessary permissions to be obtained from any PGA for import or export of goods.
5.1 To further enhance SWIFT, the Digital Import Clearance System of AQCS-ICS has been developed by AQCS for purposes of improved functioning. This would enable migrating from Online NOC through ICES to online message exchange mode, similar to that of FSSAI and PQMS. The AQCS-ICS shall be introduced from 01.12.2022. For this, the following changes will be made in the Customs System:
5.2 Integrated Declaration:
To enhance the ambit of paperless processing and to facilitate risk-based inspection, changes in the Integrated Declaration as follows:
a. The importer must upload the Veterinary Health Certificate issued by the exporting country with Document Code 853AQ1 for the concerned Customs Tariff Items (CTIs) listed in Annexure A (Sl.No 1) of this Circular.
b. The importer must upload the Laboratory reports/certificate of analysis (COA) with Document Code 001AQ1, for the concerned CTIs listed in Annexure A (Sl.No 2) of this circular.
c. The Importer must quote the IRN generated in eSanchit pertaining to Sanitary Import Permit with document Code 911DF1, issued and uploaded by AQCS, for the concerned CTIs listed in Annexure A (Sl.No 3) of this Circular to obtain the NOC.
d. The importer must give the following declaration under Statement Code AQ002 at item level for the CTIs listed in Annexure B of this Circular: “I certify that the invoice issued by Authorised officer of Manufacturer in the exporting country contains a declaration that the product has undergone the irreversible process of tanning in terms of O.M vide F.No. L- 110110/17/2017-Trade-Part(1) (E-15243) dated 17.12.2021.”
5.3 Risk-based Inspection:
Based on the above additional data being received through integrated declaration, risk-based selectivity criteria shall be introduced in stages for CTIs requiring NOC from AQCS along with the integration of AQCS-ICS with ICEGATE.
5.4 Post Filing requirements for NoC by AQCS:
All documents required to be submitted to AQCS to obtain NOC, will normally be uploaded during Integrated Declaration. Under circumstances where additional documents are required by AQCS from the importer post-filing, the importer may submit the same by logging in via ICEGATE. Till the time that the integration of AQCS-ICS with ICEGATE is complete, the importer may log in to the AQCS-ICS portal to submit the additional documents.
5.5 Electronic transmission of NOC to Customs:
The Online NOC will be automatically transmitted to ICEGATE, and importers will also have complete visibility as soon as it is issued (or rejected) by PGA officers. Any further queries by PGA officers as well as real time tracking of the status of processing of applications can be accessed through ICEGATE portal and as well as the AQCS-ICS Portal.
6. With the introduction of AQCS-ICS, there is no change in the role or functioning of Customs officers. The Customs officers would be able to access the details of the BOEs referred by ICES to AQCS-ICS. The electronically received Release Order (RO) regarding the BOEs referred to AQCS-ICS shall be accepted by the Customs. The documents referred before the implementation of this Circular will continue to be processed in ICES.
7. Suitable Public Notices may please be issued to guide the trade/industry.
8. Any difficulties in this regard may be brought to the notice of the Board at the earliest.
Ananth R., Deputy Secretary (Customs)