• Appealing the Decision to Seize Goods

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Appealing the Decision to Seize Goods

If your goods were seized by Customs, there are several actions you may take.

Appeal against the legality of the seizure

If you believe that Customs had no legal right to seize the goods, you can challenge the legality of the seizure within five (5) days of receiving a Notice of Seizure.

For example, you may challenge the decision to seize goods on the grounds that:

  • goods were within your statutory allowance
  • excise goods were for your own use or to be given away
  • goods were not prohibited or restricted, or
  • a vehicle complied with the provisions set out in Decree Law 30/2011.

Prepare a Notice of Claim in writing to appeal against the legality of the seizure of goods.

You must hand in your Notice of Claim personally to:
The Office of Legal Counsel of the National Directorate Revenue and Customs,
Revenue and Customs Building, Opposite Dili Port,
Dili, Timor-Leste.

Only the owner of the goods at the time they were seized can successfully appeal the seizure, although the owner can instruct another person to submit a Notice of Claim on their behalf.

Ask us in writing to consider returning the goods to you

Even if you accept that Customs had a legal right to seize the goods, you can write to Customs requesting it considers returning the goods to you.

Customs cannot accept a guarantee for:

  • the release of motor vehicles more than five years old
  • prohibited or restricted merchandise, or
  • when a case has been referred to the prosecutor.

If Customs accepts your request, your merchandise may be replaced by a guarantee, surety or cash deposit to the amount equivalent to the value of the goods.

The goods and guarantee will not be restored to the owner until any Customs debt and  fine, where applicable, are paid.

Give your letter to:
National Director of Customs,
Revenue and Customs Building, Opposite Dili Port,
Dili, Timor-Leste.

Do both at the same time

At the same time, you can contest the legality of the seizure while asking Customs to return the seized goods in the meantime.

Follow our complaints procedure

In addition to the actions outlined above, you may, where appropriate, follow our complaints procedure.

The complaints procedure is about how you were dealt with as a person rather than whether goods should have been seized from you or restored to you.

Hand in your letter detailing the complaint to:
National Director of Customs,
Revenue and Customs Building, Opposite Dili Port,
Dili, Timor-Leste.