Don’t bother about the ICTA Permit when importing mobile phones for personal use

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Update : Febuary 2015

Great! I just called the customs at the central parcels office. The polite officer informed me that any device (whether using wifi, bluetooth etc) imported in REASONABLE quantity for PERSONAL use DOES NOT REQUIRE any ICTA permits. Read Facebook post here.

*end update*

I was much confused as you are right now when I was made aware of this.

In March 2014, the ICTA published a communique to inform the public about the existing regulations which will henceforth be more strictly enforced. Yes, that famous TAC (Type Approval Certificate) that is needed to clear any device with communication frequencies out of the customs. After personally inquiring about the exact procedures, I wrote my blog post to provide more clarifications about the topic. You can read the post here.

However, a reader (whom I will nickname as the Whistle-Blower) mailed me yesterday to inform me that the ICTA replied the following in different mails when he contacted them :

The ICT Authority wishes to reiterate that should you, as an individual, wish to bring in mobile phones in reasonable quantities for personal use, the ICT Authority has no objection for you to use same within the territory of Mauritius.

ICTA’s reply

To clear any doubts about this, I promised him to give ICTA a call today. When I got in touch with one of the officers, I got the official confirmation that a mobile phone IMPORTED FOR PERSONAL USE does not need any Type Approval Certificate (that famous ICTA ‘permit’) to be cleared out of the customs.

However, the procedures remain the same in case you are importing for resale in Mauritius. Also, this means that Mauritians can now import their “high-copy” versions of mobile phones without any problem while this was practically impossible if a TAC was required since most of these phones do not follow European or any other recognized standards, as required by the Type Approval Certificate.

People should also bear in mind that this applies to mobile phones only.To make things clear :  tablets, phablets, routers, laptops etc are not MOBILE PHONES!

The official communique

I must say that I had that strong feeling that the person on the other end of the line was pretty embarrassed about my questions, especially when I read out the official communique which is still on their web site :

ICTA-communique-mobile

Conditions for “Personal” use

The officer has put emphasis that this applies only for personal use. And according to ICTA, you can import up to 5 mobile phones for your personal use. Here’s a written confirmation from ICTA :

ICTA-mobile-5

And the most stupid thing : Despite that the “regulation” exist to ensure that all devices on the Mauritian territory are conformed to standards for performance and safety, the the ICTA officer told me the following which also features in a mail sent to me by my “whistle-blower” :

“The ICT Authority shall under no circumstances, be held responsible for the safety and performance of the equipment. The mobile phones are solely for your personal use, and shall in no circumstances be marketed in Mauritius”

An ICTA clearance letter if Customs don’t agree!

Here’s a part which will make most of you laugh!

ICTA is aware that customs might create problems in here by making things more difficult for you when you need to clear out your item from there. In case you have such problems, you need to mail ICTA to inform them and ask for a Clearance letter. According to the officer on the other end of the line, that clearance letter can take up to 10 days ans is free of charge.

How stupid again!!! ICTA does not require any permit (the Type Approval Certificate) for mobile phones for personal use but the customs might need a Clearance letter!

Okay, you can now laugh at them, our incompetent authorities and people making those decisions.

Your questions and comments are the most welcomed. Thank you for reading and keeping tuned to the blog!

You might be interested to read more on this topic :

 

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103 thoughts on “Don’t bother about the ICTA Permit when importing mobile phones for personal use

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    1. Thanks for clarification yashvin. Its mean that we may also import wireless device(bluetooth or wifi ) not related to mobile phone without a tac or license either for import in bulk or for personal use

      Like

      1. For smart watch and wireless wifi or bluetooth toys. Should a tac or license be obtained prior to import?

        Like

    2. for laptop too. last time I was at custom zot in saisit laptop ain pauvre boug et zot in koz ar li brit zot in dir li ou pas gagne droit al rod ou permi ar icta apres ou vini ????? ki permi ? moi mo penser ki ena volair laba zot pe profite lor sa la loi la pu fr ban saizit ensuite grand question ki nu tou pose nou ki zot faire ar sa .. gouvenrment in changer la premier zafaire ki mo pou faire c’est al depoz ain plainte ICAC. pars ki li pas logique

      Like

  1. Ki fer sa banne institutions la pas collaborer plus et arete mete batons dans la roue globalisation?!!! Ena baiser la!!! Ki ministe bizin alle gueter pou aret sa madness la? Baye Yashvin – fer ene petition pou aret sa madness la. Mo soutenir ou.

    Like

  2. Hi Yashvin,
    If I am buying a tablet on Ebay (like the Dell tablet) and this tablet is already available in Mauritius at Courts (same type at double the price of course!), do I need to have a TAC? If Courts has the model available, does it mean that they have got the model already in the ICTA base?

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    1. You should always double verify before any imports. It might be that Courts have imported the device long ago the TAC was required and in this case, the device won’t probably be listed.

      Like

  3. How do they distinguish between mobil phone and phablet? My mobile phone can have a 6″ screen.

    A geek will know that the term phablet is no longer used nowadays.

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  4. “the person on the other end of the line was pretty embarrassed about my
    questions, especially when I read out the official communique which is
    still on their web site”

    What a HUGE facepalm moment, I guess…

    This was a first step in getting things in order in the country, a means of ensuring that IT products landing here would perform to expectations. But the hesitation and obvious confusion in their own minds now leaves them in a very uncomfortable position in the eyes of the public at large – can we trust them?
    All the laudable objectives blown up by lack of strategic planning, execution to term, and maintenance. What a waste of time and resources…!

    Pushing it further, what are these super-competent authorities waiting for implementing the same harsh-sounding regulations on say, junk food (aka gonaz), street-level “luxury” goods (sandals, textile products, “optical” eye-wear, la-poudd-léra, you name it), and all informal junk that it allowed to enter the country with absolutely no control over their safety and effectiveness? And enforce these regulations.

    Ha!

    Like

    1. we don’t give a fuck .. nu bizin aret sa ban manier compare lezot zafaire etc ti lesprit net sa kot nu al deblok situation pu fini plis vite biento banla pu block textile et autre. avoye zot ferfout .. si nu envi ki sa situation icta la douane la changer nu bizin aret faie comparaizon .. nu al icta nu al fight pu se ki nu pe roder .. fr ain ta palab ar comparer sa pas pu change narnier … ki zot penser si nu negotier ar icta pu ki zot sort out sa zistoir ki ena dans la douane la ?

      Like

      1. Er, just to get you in the picture: I don’t even have a smartphone. On the marketing adoption curve, I am a real laggard and will not adopt anything until it is fully tried and tested to its limits – like choosing a VW Golf (8th generation already) over a Fisker Karma (caught fire so many times despite its space-age tech, unfortunately) , if you get what I mean…

        This ICTA thing is for me trivial: the resultant of a systemic problem at national level, a general batt-batté trend that authorities have been breeding for long by abysmal governance practices.

        Just focusing on one thing in isolation, while forgetting about its interaction with the whole of the system is like giving glucose-rich medication to a diabetic patient: it will not resolve things, and may even kill the patient…

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    1. I have a wild guess. I think that they have probably been overloaded with work during the past weeks because of the number of approval certificates and letters to deliver, so they decided to let mobile phones to bypass their own regulations lol.

      Like

  5. Hii Yashvin..
    Supppose I buy a new Sony Xperia Z Ultra on ebay (Same model as listed on the ICTA website)..
    Then do i need to do any additional formalities regarding ICTA?

    Like

    1. Hi.

      No need for any additional paperworks for you except if the customs require that stupid “Clearance letter” from ICTA.
      Do keep me informed if you are going through this process.

      Like

      1. Thanx..the customs always require ‘clearance letter’
        or it can happen that they may not demand a ‘clearance letter’?

        Like

      2. I never heard of that ICTA Clearance letter since my last call to the ICTA. And as the officer said to me, the customs “might” require it, so I guess that either they are not following established legal procedures or someone does not want to do their job correctly.

        Hopefully, you can fall on a customs officer who’s not strict then 😛

        Like

    2. be sure that the stupid mfkers of la douane will ask you a clearance letter or koz brit ar you zis pu zot saisit telephone la … ain ban voleur ki ena laba … mo demande moi si zot pas ena aimpe la honte

      Like

    1. Nops, two different things. The TAC it’s issued after they do the necessary ‘tests’ and paperworks to ensure that the device follow minimum standards. That so called clearance certificate is just a bull shit piece of paper issues because of the incompetency of our authrorities. Just my point of view.

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      1. So for the time being, what shall we do before we import a new phone? Apply for tac or apply for certficate.

        What is the procedure for the one to apply for?

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      2. None, as specifically written in the article but if the customs ask for a clearance letter when you go to clear your PERSONAL PHONE(s) out of the customs, then you might need the clearance letter.

        Like

      3. How to obtain that clearance letter? I wan to buy an oppo phone but i am worried about those regulations

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      4. I dont think u r clear. Is only a mail sufficient for that clearance or supporting documents have to be furnished???

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      5. Sorry, I sincerely apologize for not being clear enough. I’m unable to answer to this question of your. Unfortunately, I can’t do any better and I advise you to call ICTA directly.

        Like

  6. How much days does mauritius post hold your parcel upon arrival and to inform you?

    for usps it is quick i guess?

    my parcel arrived on saturday

    no little paper till now 😦

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      1. the tracking says “released by customs”

        I wonder what that means

        And it reached on thursday
        so basically i wonder why i have not received any paper about it yet :s

        Like

      2. yeah got it

        actually there was a problem lately
        i got my parcel at my local post office not at customs
        i guess postman changed or smthing
        because there was 3 parcels lying there and i did not receive any notification

        Like

      3. the 2 parcels were normal ones

        the one i was awaiting was an iphone 5

        it was declared 18 dollars so i guess thats why it came directly to my local post office

        i currently bought a laptop which require icta’s approval

        waiting for the permit

        got permit today for a laptop which i applied some while ago

        i guess wouldn’t be needing it since i decided not to opt for it

        Like

  7. Hi Yashvin.
    I am buying a New Samsung S5. But the seller opened the box to change the language setting on the phone. Do you think I will need import permit for that? Also the phone is coming through FedEx priority mail. Will I need the ICTA clearance letter?

    Like

  8. So basically in order not to wait for another 10 days when the device reach and getting a strict officer, it is better to apply it beforehand for the clearance letter. Which brings us to the starting point again with this nonsense law.

    Like

  9. hello yashvin, i intend to buy a samsung s5 or sony z1 using DHL. I have already negociated with the seller to undervalue the phone around $40. Well using your xp, do you think i will have to go to the custom office to get my phone as we all know DHL is a door to door service!!!!
    Thank you

    Like

    1. DHL might be a door to door yes, but even they go through the process. So, if the customs require them to pay a vat of X amount, based on a true value of the mobile, they will then charge you that amount + other associated charges.

      Seriously, a phone at $40? Only a dumb custom officer will let this one pass without opening it.
      Well, cross fingers meanwhile, you might be lucky!

      Like

      1. well thanks dude for your rep….. lol $40,ya it’s too low for a new phone.
        i just want to confirm this with you, the first 2k is exempted for vat and the remaining amount is chargeable for vat??

        Like

  10. hi,just bought a rc helicopter from ebay. would like to know if i have to produce a certificate of conformity to icta for the transmitter.
    I called icta and they are not sure whether or not i should apply for a type approval.they said i should send them a technical maunual of transmitter for them to ecide if i need a type approval form.

    Like

    1. Hi.
      Nothing surprises me anymore in this country. They are so incompetent that they don’t even know if they will need to issue a TAC. As per their own communiqué, every device with wireless transmission should have a TAC. Of course, they later ‘corrected’ their statement and excluded mobile phones.
      To answer to your question : Yes, you should probably have that TAC (according to their own laws) and as they requested you, you will need to fill in those paperworks and submit all technical papers to show that your device follows established standards.

      Like

      1. Hi ! I want to buy a Rc quadcopter on a website and I want to know if I must apply for a permit from the icta before buying my item or when my item arrives at ‘ la doaune’ Mauritius. ? Thank you in advance for your answer

        Like

  11. hello has anyone been able to take the phone from the custom without icta permit? Am thinking of buying a chinese phone but as we all know rule here :/

    Like

      1. Thanx dude, i mail them and to my suprise they reply me as such:
        from icta:
        Should you, as an individual, wish to bring in mobile phones in reasonable quantities for personal use, the ICT Authority has no objection for you to use same within the territory of Mauritius.

        The ICT Authority shall under no circumstances, be held responsible for the safety and performance of the equipment.

        The above equipment is solely for your personal use, and shall in no circumstances be marketed in Mauritius.

        i was expecting a yes or no but the icta reply is so………. turning around

        Like

      1. I’m afraid that after buying the item . ‘la douane’ ask me for a permit which I don’t have. Should I apply for it before buying my item or after it arrived in mauritius ? What are the procedures to obtain the permit. Do I need to buy the item first or not ?

        Like

  12. Hello, I bought an iphone 5 from aliexpress and was declared 30$ and was sent as a gift. I would like to know if Clearance certificate will be needed and whether will I pay tax on the mobile.

    Like

      1. I can tell them a fake price, there is no receipt for that.
        Anyway thanks man for the advice…Your blog is superb, keep it up man…

        Like

  13. Customs SUKS…. When you go to take something that you purchase the question you such a way as if you are importing drug in the country. A real mess up. Zot sezit telephone plusieur dimoune kin amener pou personal user. zot p profite lor sa la loi la pou kokain dimoune. c’est bien vilin et c’est ain la honte. et se ki komik ladan c’est ki zot vir sa boule la lor icta et c icta ki passe a mal .. mo penser ki sa bizin a revoir sa zistoir entre la douane ek icta la … pfffff

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  14. as I said problem does not come with ICTA itself problem comes with the this that control at the customs, they are the best THIVES …. ban VOLAIR EN PLAIN ICAC ti bizin ouvert ain enquete lor zot pu koner ki zot faire ar tou sa ban zafaire ki zot saizit la !!!!!!!! bien villain image pu nu pay.

    Like

  15. Hello Yashvin, Its me Dj_Avy i email you recently, you are absolutely right the ICTA replied me, I quote:

    ” Dear Mr Avy,

    Your email dated 14 March 2015 refers.

    Please be informed that the ICT Authority has no objection that you one mobile phone at the MRA Customs Department for your personal use.

    In this respect, submission of Type Allocation Code (TAC) is applicable for Dealer’s Licence holder only.

    However, the ICT Authority shall under no circumstances, be held responsible for the safety and performance of the equipment.

    The above equipment is solely for your personal use, and shall in no circumstances be marketed in Mauritius.

    You are kindly requested to consult the link below for more information regarding type approval procedures (for personal use only) at the ICT Authority:
    https://www.icta.mu/documents/Type_Approval_-_All_you_need_to_do….pdf

    We hope the above meets your request.

    Thanking you.

    Yours sincerely ”

    unquote

    Like

      1. Thanks, wanted to know if anyone had bought an iPhone from Aliexpress.com coz I was wondering if they’re new or refurbished.

        Like

  16. hello everyone , so anyone can give a proof that the this shit tac… is not needed??? Anyone please. Is this a cyber island where all device is high price and putting law like the icta is doing to reduce competition from abroad. Our internet speed and price say it all. in country like america,india , canada , reunion no such restriction is made. the european are more health conscious but all mobile are imported with no restriction. Lol this law favour big shops and dealers by cutting competition.

    Like

  17. Thanks for this update Yashvin. I have two questions:
    1. Can I buy CHINESE smartphone, brands which are unknown online, to be shipped to Mauritius?
    2. Can I buy 1:1 clone of smartphone (e.g iPhone 6, Samsung galaxy s6) online?

    Like

      1. Thanks for the reply. Can you please share the phone number of the customs to me? I need to call for further info about chinese smartphones. And keep the work going; really helpful articles.

        Like

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