As a general rule, importers and exporters are required to electronically submit to MX Customs a form called pedimento for each customs operation. The pedimento includes detailed information about the importation or exportation of the goods. Normally, during an import or export process, a previously validated and paid pedimento (including customs duties and fees), for each customs operation is filed with MX Customs along with the merchandise to be imported or exported. This should be done prior to activating the MX Customs random selection system, which determines whether or not the goods will be inspected. Starting December 19, 2016, importers and exporters will be required to present a DODA instead.

DODA, which is an acronym for Documento de Operacion para Despacho Aduanero (Customs Clearance Operation Document), is generated through the MX Customs portal or through the designated Customs broker web service and includes a QRC (Quick Response Code) linked to a URL which lists all the related pedimentos. The purpose of DODA is to automate and expedite customs inspection and the clearance process. It must be prepared to include specific information about previously validated and paid pedimentos (including customs duties and fees).

Therefore, under the new regulation, the importer/exporter having a DODA in hand may appear before MX Customs and activate the MX Customs random selection system without being required to present a printed copy of the pedimento, a simplified version of the pedimento, aviso consolidado (consolidated notice), or pedimento parte II (supplement).

Basically, the way it will work is this:

Companies will have the customs broker/legal representative prepare a DODA, which will be printed and handed to the corresponding freight forwarder who will then present it along with the merchandise, before MX customs for inspection. As soon as MX Customs receives it, they will scan the QR code. Thereafter, all pedimentos covered by such DODA will automatically be displayed. Immediately afterward, the MX customs system will determine whether an inspection will be performed or not.

The QR application can be downloaded to a cell phone (or mobile device) so that companies may review the pedimentos status online. This will allow for better traceability of all operations without the need for any paper documents. MX customs will first implement a pilot program on the smaller customs checkpoints to test the system. They have also created a manual with details which should be released within the second half of December 2016. However, as of today, nothing has been released yet.

According to MX Customs, DODA will offer the following benefits:

  • Expedites customs clearance process by as much as 5 times faster
  • Reduces the amount of time for random selection
  • Prevents and detects errors
  • Traces customs operations’ status

MX Customs offers DODA as a part of its modernization and trade facilitation effort. While automation is a welcomed change, it can also lead to greater visibility of any errors submitted. Thus, companies should be careful when completing these electronic documents so to avoid any errors, (such as typos) on the submitted information, as errors may be considered a violation to the regulations with potential for sanctions/penalties being imposed.