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Dutiable Commodities System (DCS) FAQ

A.   General

1. What is Dutiable Commodities System?
Dutiable Commodities System (DCS) is an electronic platform for traders to submit applications for dutiable commodities (DC) licence of the following types to the Customs & Excise Department (C&ED):
  • - Import and export licence
  • - Special import licence
  • - Warehouse licence
  • - Manufacturer's licence
  • - Distillery licence
  • - Still licence
The applications include application for a new licence as well as renewal, amendment or cancellation of an existing licence. Apart from supporting electronic submission of DC licence applications, the DCS also provides traders with a means to apply for DC Code and Supplier Code electronically.
2. When will electronic submission of DC licence applications become mandatory?
Upon the official launch of the DCS on 27 January 2017, there will be a transitional period of six months during which applications for DC licence can be submitted in either paper form or electronic form. However, from 27 July 2017 onwards, all licence applications shall be submitted to the C&ED electronically through the DCS.
3. Can I apply for DC permit through the DCS?
No, there is no change in the current mode of DC permit application. An application for DC permit has to be made electronically through one of the following electronic service providers:
4. What are the system requirements of a trader's computer/electronic device for making an application for DC licence through the DCS?
The computer/electronic device has to be connected to the Internet, and the system requirements are as follows:
System required configuration
Operating System and Browser
Operating System Browser(s)
Microsoft Windows 10 Microsoft Edge
Mozilla Firefox
Google Chrome
macOS Safari
Mozilla Firefox
Google Chrome
Android Google Chrome
iOS Safari
Javascript Enabled
Cookies Enabled
Chinese Character Support Hong Kong Supplementary Character Set (HKSCS-2008)
Software for Opening PDF Documents Adobe Reader
Last Revision Date: 15 June 2022
Although we make our best effort to test our online services with the latest version of the browser, it takes time to perform testing. If you experience any issues, please report to us.

5. Can I use mobile phones/devices (e.g. tablet computer) to use the DCS?
Yes, the DCS is accessible through mobile phones / devices as long as they meet the system requirements as mentioned in Q.4.

B.   Digital Certificate (Organisational)

1. Is it necessary to use a digital certificate when making DC licence application through the DCS?
Yes, you have to use a digital certificate (Organisational) issued by the certification authorities in Hong Kong. Currently, "Hongkong Post Certification Authority" and "Digi-Sign Certification Services Limited" are the certification authorities. Below please find the types of recognized digital certificates supported by the DCS:

Hongkong Post Certification Authority
  • - E-Cert (Organisational) certificate
Digi-Sign Certification Services Limited
  • - Organisational ID-Cert Class 2
  • - Organisational ID-Cert Class 5
  • - Organisational ID-Cert Class 9

Please click here for more information about the recognized certification authorities in Hong Kong.

However, a digital certificate is not required for any application for DC Code and Supplier Code through the DCS.

Last Revision Date: 12 Jul 2018

2. Can I use digital certificate (Personal) to sign for a licence application in the DCS?
No, only digital certificate (Organisational) is acceptable for signing a licence application in the DCS.
3. Who can sign a DC licence application for my company?
Any person authorized by his/her company to hold a valid digital certificate (Organisational) can sign a DC licence application through the DCS. As such, a company, and strictly speaking the owner(s) of the company, should be prudent to authorise a person to hold the digital certificate (Organisational). Each time the authorised person signs a DC licence application through the DCS with the digital certificate is acting on behalf of the company, and the company has to take responsibility for such signing action.
4. Will an additional digital certificate (Organisational) be required if I own more than one company dealing in dutiable commodities?
Given the digital certificate (Organisational) is issued by the certification authority on company basis, additional digital certificate(s) (Organisational) will be required if the companies are registered with different Business Registration Certificates. However, if the first 8 digits of the Business Registration Certificates are the same of the parent company, no extra digital certificates (Organisational) will be needed for the subsidiary companies.

C.   Licence

1. When is a licence required?
A person who imports, exports, stores or manufactures dutiable commodities must possess an appropriate type of licence.
2. What are the major types of Dutiable Commodities Licence?
Please click here for details.
3. How to apply for a licence?
Please click here for details.
4. Do I need to renew a licence?
Yes, a licence is valid for one year and a licensee has to renew the licence and pay the relevant licence fee at least one month before the expiry date of the licence. According to Regulation 22AA of the Dutiable Commodities Regulations (Cap. 109A, Laws of Hong Kong), except with the written permission of the Commissioner, an application for the renewal of a licence shall be made at least one month before, and no earlier than two months before, the expiration of the licence.
5. How can I check the progress of my application?
You may log in to the DCS to check your application progress by clicking on "View progress of my application".
6. I am going to close down the dutiable commodities related business. How should I notify C&ED of such decision?
Please log in to the DCS and submit an application for cancellation of licence as soon as you decide to close down your business.

D.   Application for Dutiable Commodities and Supplier Code

1. I understand that application for DC and supplier code can now be submitted through the DCS. Can I still submit my application through fax or email as we used to?
Yes, C&ED will also accept application by fax or email.