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Getting an OMB Certification, Permit, or Clearance

Hey! Sharing my recent experience of getting an OMB certification, permit, or clearance for a DHL package that customs put on hold.

It’s been a while since my last blog. In this post, I will share my not-so-pleasant experience of getting an OMB certification or permit for the CDs I’ve purchased from South Korea.

Shopping

So, it was last month, October, when I bought various CD albums from an online store in Korea. Prior to that, I did my research and found out about the OMB policy on importation of storage devices including CDs and DVDs.

According to the blog and Facebook posts I’ve read, I may need to get an OMB clearance or import permit prior to the release of my package. That is if customs will require it. (fingers crossed)

I ordered 40 albums. Per the OMB website, the consignee of a shipment or package containing 6 or more of CDs and DVDs needs to get a permit or license whichever is applicable.

The CDs are for personal use, so I applied for a one-time permit instead of a license which is good for regular importation.


The online store I bought the CDs from separated my order into two boxes and shipped them via DHL. I wouldn’t have known if I did not contact them. There’s no additional shipping fee, so it’s OK.

They shipped my order in the last week of October (the 28th), and it arrived here in the Philippines after two days.

After its arrival, it was immediately processed for clearance. Guess what? Both boxes were put on hold. :D

I did not ignore the possibility of getting a permit. That is why on the same day that the store shipped the boxes, I’ve emailed OMB at omb.centralized@yahoo.com. I got that information from their official Facebook page.

Getting an OMB Certification, Permit, or Clearance [Day 1]

I’ve sent them a letter of intent in PDF format. I addressed it to their new chairman or CEO.

On the following day, October 29, 2020 at 3:12pm, I’ve received a response.

They sent me a sample copy of the letter of intent (assuming they rejected my drafted letter) and an affidavit of undertaking. The latter is new to me because no blog nor a Facebook post mentioned it. I thought I just need to submit a letter.

In their response, they told me to send a copy of the waybill and my identification card. So, I had to submit four: letter of intent, scanned copy of my ID, an affidavit of undertaking, and a copy of the waybill.

I have never accomplished an affidavit of undertaking. Just to share, it is like a form that needs to be filled out and notarized. It is like an attestation that the package or shipment you have declared on it or say the items in your box are for personal use only. Not for commercial or distribution purposes.

Mine has been notarized a couple of kilometers away from home. I spent more than 700 pesos I think for that document alone. haha! Still, I’m thankful that the experience taught me how to have a document notarized.

Day 3

I want to get my permit as soon as possible. So, I readied and submitted the requirements to them on the following day (October 30, 2020 at 4:17pm). However, I only received a response after the long holiday.

They responded to me on November 3, 2020 at 4:30pm. Unfortunately, I’ve submitted a wrong document. Instead of a copy of the DHL waybill, I’ve sent my order invoice from PayPal.

I do not know what they need exactly, but I remember DHL sent me an email with a scanned copy of the waybill and the commercial invoice.

I haven’t mentioned it earlier. However, while communicating with OMB via email, DHL also sent me an email on November 2, 2020. They informed me that in order to release my box, I need to get an OMB clearance. Take note, they used the term “clearance”.

Also, in the email, they informed me that if my box is not cleared in 30 days from its arrival, they will tag it as abandoned.

To clarify, customs put just one box on hold. They released the other box the following day from the arrival.


Going back to OMB, I immediately forwarded to them the PDF file that DHL sent me.

Before I proceed, let me just share that some blogs or online posts I’ve read mentioned that we can apply for a clearance in advance as long as you have a copy of the tracking number. Per my experience, this is possible if you have a copy of the waybill also. If I knew it is a requirement, I should have informed the store to send me a copy.

Day 12

I dunno what happened to OMB, but I only received a response on November 9, 2020 at 4:47pm. One thing I noticed is that they usually reply in the afternoon and that they are slow in responding.

In the email, the representative I’m exchanging emails with just acknowledged receipt of the document and that’s it. No setting expectation or whatever. lol I don’t know when will I get my permit, how do I pay for it, whatever.

Days passed by including Typhoon Ulysses without getting any emails from them. I followed up to no avail.

I’m near the deadline and already frustrated for getting no feedback. So, I tried to approach CCB or Call Center ng Bayan for assistance. They are quite fast in replying and they endorsed my issue to OMB heads. Sadly, nothing happened. It’s funny that they endorsed my complaint to the previous chairman. haha!

Again, the deadline is near.

To my surprise, someone from their office with a different email address got back to me regarding the payment. It was on November 17, 2020 at 8:18am.

OK! So, they told me to pay 150 pesos via Landbank. In the email, there’s an instruction in a PDF file and an assessment slip that shows the breakdown of fees.

It was an easy pie. Good thing I can pay with my UnionBank account. There are many options on the website, but the major banks are missing.

Again, I don’t want to waste time. I immediately made a payment, and sent them back the assessment slip and a screenshot of my 150 peso payment plus the transaction fee. Yap! I did not pay just 150. I think 170 or 180.

So, now the question is, what happened after I made a payment? Did I get my clearance or permit right away?

Day 23

Of course not! haha. I only received it on November 20, 2020 at 12:23pm. They did not reply back to my last email. However, they sent me a separate email with my certification attached to it. It’s a PDF file. I thought they will require me to pick it up, but thankfully, they sent it to me through email.

The document is not labeled as a permit nor a clearance. It’s a certification which says that the recipient can have his/her shipment released and that OMB do not object to it. lol

I immediately forwarded the file to DHL who then responded to me quickly. They told me that they will process the release of the shipment which they did. The sad news is they only told me that time that I have to pay customs fees of P4,221.00. :(

But they did not deliver my package immediately! It took them two days. Also, I paid the tax in cash.

Lesson Learned from Getting an OMB Certification, Permit, or Clearance

Will I put myself on the same situation again? Nope! I’ll better buy CDs or DVDs and keep it at six pieces or below per box only.

If you are reading this and you are importing KPOP albums as a group manager, if customs will require you to get a certification, you need to get a copy of the identification card of each of your customers. :| I just read it on the previous email that OMB sent to me. If not and if you are a minor who purchased some items, your parents need to execute the affidavit on your behalf.

Of course, the list of requirements gets updated from time to time. It is best to contact them first to confirm.

As per OMB’s latest posts on Facebook, getting an OMB clearance, permit or license will take 5 business days. But were not sure about that! haha

Note that getting an OMB clearance, permit, license, or certification is not just for CDs and DVDs. Other storage devices such as SSD, HDD, SD card, etc. are also regulated by them. If you will import, export, distribute, sell, or whatever the said items, they or any other government agency like customs may require you to get a clearance, permit, license, or certification from them first.

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