Due to excessive smuggling of mobile phones in Pakistan, The Board of Revenue in Pakistan has announced, A “Mobile tax policy” for foreigners visiting Pakistan and the travellers returning back to Pakistan. The Board has also released the details of the duties it has imposed on imported handsets.
If you are coming to Pakistan or you have a relative coming to Pakistan from abroad, you are surely thinking about a mobile phone and how are you going to get it cleared. The PTA gave out several warnings regarding the blocking of unapproved PTA mobile phones and the last deadline was January 15, 2019.
After many extensions, January 15 was the last deadline. People who were active on the network with their unregistered phones were automatically registered. However, unregistered and inactive phones were blocked.
How to register your mobile phone in PTA? – Updated March 2019
PTA has advised all customer counters at the airports to be winded. This is due to inconvenience caused to the travelers by waiting in long queues to get their mobile phones registered. People also faced inconvenience in reaching out to custom houses to get their phones registered, also over crowding these places.
The government has now launched an online service to register your devices. This service is known as Device Registration System (DRS).
Steps to register your Mobile Phone
- Click the DRS online service link and login with your email.
- Provide passport number, CNIC number, IMEI number and other details that the system asks for.
- The request will then be processed through WeBOC (a web based system for import & export cargo)
- After the mobile device has been cleared by the system, it will determine whether you are registering your first device or not.
- If you are registering your first device, there will be no charges and the device will be registered automatically, however if it is the second device or so, a payment slip for you.
- You can then have the option to pay the duty/tax through online banking, ATM, mobile banking and bank branches etc, whatever suits you.
- The process of registration must be done within 60 days of arrival in Pakistan.
- Local applicants can also use this system.
The previous method (discussed below) is no longer operational according to PTA. However, it might be operational in some areas.
When you land in Pakistan, no one is going to forcefully take away your mobile. There is a customs clearance desk at the airport and you can voluntarily walk up to it and get your device registered by paying the duty charges. You can obtain the registration form from the counter at the airport or download it from the post, below and fill it beforehand to save time.
If you don’t want to clear your device at the airport or forget to do so, then that’s not an issue. You can then search for the Custom House near your city. Custom houses are located in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar. During this process, your mobile phone will not be confiscated. They will only ask you to provide a 15-digit IMEI number for your device and your proof of identity whichever will be applicable to you. In this way, they will register your mobile phone against your name.
What are the Conditions?
The registration process of the first device will be duty-free while for the others you will have to pay the duty tax. So, now if you are coming to Pakistan from abroad you need to be careful about how many mobile phones you are carrying. Apparently, the customs regulations allow every traveller to register one mobile phone/device without paying duty charges. The good news is, even if you are 1 year old, you can get one device registered for free. One device per passport is registered duty-free.
People who don’t have to register their phone
- Any traveller travelling to Pakistan using foreign sim or international roaming network and has to stay for less than 30 days will not have to get their device registered or pay any duty charges.
- If you are using a mobile phone that was used in Pakistan with a local service provider sim purchased from Pakistan before December 1 then you are free to use that mobile phone without any registration that devices are already registered on the relevant body monitoring system.
- If a mobile phone is going to be used on a roaming network then it does not have to be registered.
How many phones can you register?
Maximum of 5 mobile devices can be registered in one year against one person.
You can download the registration form for registering your device here:
How much duty do i have to pay?
The duty tax is pretty high, considering that people were bringing mobile phones in to the country for free, this will seem a lot. Then again, the government has put this system in place not only to stop smuggling but also to demotivate the influx of products in to the country. You can calculate the duty tax through online calculators.
How to register IMEI number in PTA?
International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is a unique 15-digit number. It is used to keep track of the hardware since sim cards can be swapped. The Government can simply block an IMEI from the mobile networks (Ufone, Zong, Telenor etc) and stop it from functioning. Your device will still work but will not be able to use network services like calls, messages etc.
How to check IMEI and device status
To check your device’s IMEI number, dial *#06# and text this IMEI to 8484 to check if it is registered or not. To register your device, follow the process of how to register your device with PTA above. However, if you were unable to get your device registered somehow before January 15 while living in Pakistan, you can get it activated after paying a fine worth 10% of the customs duty.
Dual Sim Phones can still have the second IMEI registered!
One issue that aroused was that dual sim phone owners having unregistered phones were mostly using a single sim. Now, through the automatic registration process, one IMEI got registered whereas the other one was blocked. However, PTA Director has assured that dual sim mobile owners can get their second IMEI registered as well.
Email at [email protected] and make sure to include the subject line as “Registration of second sim slot non compliant IMEI”
What is DIRBS?
PTA Director Nauman Khalid said Device Identification Registration and Blocking System DIRBS forces the one who plans to import mobile phones or purchase an imported mobile phone in the country to ensure that the device PTA number is approved and compliant. In this way, PTA keeps an eye on the mobile phones brought into the country and makes sure they are taxed properly under the tax regime defined by the Government. DIRBS is basically set to render the smuggled phone into the country.
Any Unregistered device will not be registered onto a mobile phone network and make calls or any other communication message.
Why is this system in Place?
Pakistan doesn’t house many production units and people are fond of using imported products. People prefer imported products over the local ones even if they have a choice. Pakistan’s car import jumped up 70% of how much they imported previously in 2017. The newly appointed government took strict action to put an end to this. However, mobile phones are mostly smuggled rather than imported. People bring mobile phones from abroad, avoid customs tax and then sell these mobile phones cheaply in the market. Due to this, there is a very limited number of customers opting for PTA approved brand new mobile phones. And yes, not to forget, smuggling is illegal.
The FBR Customs authorities are registering mobile phones under the newly based System known as Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS).
It has strictly imposed duty tax on imported mobile phones, for example, any person travelling from abroad to Pakistan if possesses 5 mobile phones. He can only get one mobile phone registered legally without paying taxes, but he will have to pay duty tax to register his remaining mobile phones. If he does not do so the four mobile phones will not be activated within the country because of the restrictions applied by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority PTA.