If you are preparing a web application, you are likely to face SyntaxError that states the import statement may not be used beyond the module.

Why such error pops?

This error can occur when working with either JavaScript or TypeScript in the back end, as well as when using client-side technologies like React, Vue, and others. The root cause of such error is when it try to get import statement when it is not an ES . It can appear in an environment of Node.js or a web browser. There are also other possible reasons for encountering this error, including:

  • Running Node.js with a version lower than 13.2.0
  • Using Node.js without the correct settings in the package json file
  • Utilizing a web browser that doesn't have support for ES modules
  • Improperly defining the type in the script tag of the browser.

This can be quite perplexing, especially for beginners in JavaScript who are following code examples provided by others without an adequate understanding of the underlying module types.

The scope to be dealt with Cannot use import statement outside a module

You can resolve the "Cannot use import statement outside a module" error. Know the better strategies to do it:

  • Use the appropriate file extension: When using the import statement in a Node.js environment, use the ".mjs" file extension instead of ".js" for modules. If using TypeScript, use the ".ts" extension.
  • Use the require() function: In a Node.js environment, use the () function instead of the import statement to import modules.
  • Use a bundler: Use a bundler like Webpack or Parcel to bundle your code and handle module loading.
  • Use a transpiler: Use a transpiler like Babel to transpile your ES modules. It will give you the format that an older browser can use.

By following these solutions, you can effectively deal with the "Cannot use import statement outside a module" error.

The "Cannot use import statement outside a module" error can cause several problems, like:

 Code maintenance issues: The error can make code maintenance more challenging as it may require frequent modifications to ensure compatibility with different environments.

Runtime errors: The error can lead to runtime errors that may be difficult to track and resolve, causing delays in development.

Loss of productivity: The error can cause significant delays and disruptions to development, leading to a loss of productivity and, ultimately, revenue.

How can I prevent the error from appearing?

To prevent encountering the "Cannot use import statement outside a module" error, it is necessary to follow certain precautions when working with modules. Use the appropriate browser support: Ensure that the browser you are using supports ES modules. With these basic things, you can avoid encountering the "Cannot use import statement outside a module" error and ensure that your code is well organized and runs smoothly.


By applying these solutions, you can enable the use of import statements in your code and guarantee that your project is correctly set up to utilize a module system.