Customs Clearance Process

Customs clearance is a process that every international shipment needs to go through before getting released for delivery. It can take anywhere from one day up to three weeks.

In the customs clearance procedure, customs brokers represent importers and exporters.

They are responsible for dealing with customs regulations and laws as they apply to trade law of customs duties, international shipping, tariffs, quotas, sanctions, and embargoes.

The customs brokerage ensures that all imported or exported goods meet the customs declaration requirements.

What is the whole customs clearance procedure, read on and find out if you’re going to import from China!


What is Customs Clearance?

Before exporting or importing goods internationally, the shipper must complete customs clearance.

This process ensures that the correct duties and taxes have been paid on the shipment and that all necessary documentation is in order.

During custom clearance, if a shipment is clear, the shipper will provide documentation confirming the payment of dues. It allows the shipment to be processed and delivered.

If a consignment still needs clearance, customs will hold it until the correct documentation and payment of taxes.

In addition, various customs and trade restrictions exist globally.

A specialist in customs clearance is essential for any comprehensive world business importing or exporting products.

Now, we will take a look at the customs clearance process. Let’s see what we’ve got here! 

Suggested reading: Customs broker

Following The Customs Clearance Procedure

 Customs Clearance Procedure

Cross-border shipping entails a few specific processes.

This post goes through the whole process of customs clearance, as well as provides clear answers to the frequently asked questions:

1. Paperwork Verification

A customs official verifies that the documents have been completed, including all bank transfer fees and shipping bills with the correct shipping label.

Commercial invoices are necessary for international shipment with all the paperwork and accurate value of the goods.

After verifying the documents, the goods will be identified by a shipper’s and receiver’s contact information that appears on the document.

The export date and airway bill number are necessary while shipping to the other countries.

Suggested reading: Customs commercial invoice

2. Customs Officer Check

A customs officer checks the duties and taxes levied on a shipment.

He will review the documents to comply with the customs regulations of the importing country, according to the type of merchandise and its value.

In case the value of items falls within a tax bracket, customs officers will check the payment of the taxes and duties.

Officer will review the additional fees or fines to make sure everything is in place.

Moreover, the customs clearing agent’s work entails communicating with the customs authorities and ensuring a smooth shipment for your items.

Filling out the detailed paperwork is not simple.

As a result, these professionals may help you fill out all necessary papers and overcome any barriers your consignment may encounter using their knowledge and experience.

Suggested reading: Customs power of attorney

3. Payments

If there are any outstanding taxes or customs fees, customs will request that you pay them.

There are two payment options: DDU (Delivered Duty Unpaid) and DDP (Delivered Duty Paid).

DDU implies that the seller should ensure the safe delivery of goods to a designated destination, covering all transportation costs and assuming risks in transport.

Therefore, a shipment is labeled as DDP if payment of taxes and duties is clear. You get these services at a set price when you pay for a label.

Many buyers are unaware of the shipping costs involved with international purchases.

It is also possible that customs duties (customs clearance charge) will be charged at both ends, causing additional expenses.

This procedure may be costly since brokers have varying commission rates (especially independent customs brokers).

Customs inspections, storage, late payment, and other costs might be incurred, which would impact the overall delivery charge.

Suggested reading: Customs bond
Suggested reading: Alibaba DDP Shipping

4. Release Of Shipment

After paying taxes and duties and all the documents are provided, shipments are released according to international trade laws.

From here, if paperwork, duties, and taxes are clear, the items should be delivered to the target place.

Experienced shipping firms and brokers can guarantee that all documents are complete and accurate, displaying correct financial and business information and a fair price for goods.

Suggested reading: China import tax
Suggested reading: Import Tax From China To US

 A Fast , Easy and Cheap Way to Ship from China 

Do not hesitate to contact Leeline Sourcing at any time regarding your shipments from China.


Is customs clearance needed for international shipments

Is customs clearance needed for international shipments?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the customs clearance process may be for international shipping compulsory or optional depending on the country of import and the type of shipped goods.

However, in most cases, customs clearance is required to ship internationally.

If you are unsure whether or not customs clearance is mandatory for your cross-border shipment, don’t hesitate to contact your local customs authority for more information.

How long does it take for my shipment to clear customs?

It depends on the country of importation and the type of product.

For example, a customs clearance takes up to a week for cosmetics to clear, but it can take three months for agricultural products.

Each country has its own set of regulations and procedures governing the importation of goods, so it’s impossible to give a precise answer without knowing more about the specifics of your shipment.

However, most shipments will clear customs within a few days or weeks. I hope your shipment arrives soon.

Can my shipment still be stuck in customs if I hire a customs broker?

Yes! Customs broker will help you a lot!

At the time of export, shipments must have a commercial invoice with Purchase Order information for each item on an International Shipments Form.

The shipment must also have an attached copy of the Commercial Invoice. In this process and understanding each country’s regulations, you need customs brokers.

Will I pay customs charges for my shipment and customs clearance process?

Import taxes and other associated fees such as tariffs on imported goods or regulatory levies may apply when importing into a country.

Customs charges apply to imports of goods from another country.

At the same time, the exporting company typically imposes export charges upon the purchaser of merchandise ordering goods from outside of their home country.

Is the custom clearance process possible without customs brokers?

Yes! If you know international shipping laws, customs declarations, import duties, trade agreements, import duties, and taxed details, then it is possible to handle it yourself.

In other words, you don’t need a customs broker if you already have a complete guide with accurate information.

Final Thoughts

customs clearance procedure

The customs clearance procedure is an essential component of any cross-border trade transaction.

While large companies have departments and staff dedicated to this challenging process, smaller firms and startups may find it challenging to navigate the complexities of customs clearance.

Importing and exporting customs clearance are both complex processes essential for the whole process.

On the other hand, importing involves a thorough examination of the goods and paying duties and import taxes. The process starts with customs in both countries.

They’re responsible for checking if an item was imported or exported as claimed by its original owners before permitting whether these goods can legally enter another territory.

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Article by:

Sharline Shaw

Hey I'm Sharline, the founder of Leeline Sourcing. With 10 years of experience in the field of sourcing in China, we help 2000+ clients import from China,Alibaba,1688 to Amazon FBA or shopify. If you have any questions about sourcing , pls feel free to contact us.